If you blog it, they will come

You guys are killing it! Total hits jumped from 855 in October to 1,272 in November. See! I told you November was the better month.

December started off on the right note too with 73 hits yesterday. I give up trying to guilt you bums into leaving comments 🙂 Thanks to my mom, dad, and Rena for being consistent commenters! Everyone else continue your voyeuristic ways and keep lurking (I’m looking at you, KJE!)

Yesterday was… interesting?

It started out in Morgantown, WV. And it was snowing! You can almost never go wrong with starting a day out with snow. After getting packed up, I hit West Virginia’s stadium. Nothing really unique about it. I just kept thinking about the reputation they’ve got of semi-rioting and burning couches when I was there. And for some odd reason, it fit the personality of the campus. It was really cold. At one point, my truck thermometer read 26 degrees. But it was fun walking around taking pictures in the snow. A South Carolina boy doesn’t get to do that too often.

The original plan was to try and hit the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park. But after checking my passport, not seeing it in there, and not really knowing what it was all about, I decided to pass up on it. Instead, I went straight to Antietam National Battlefield. I’m definitely not a Civil War guy. I just shrugged off going to Gettysburg on a family vacation back in high school. So in that regard, I wasn’t really pumped about it. From a purely visual perspective though, if it hadn’t had been so windy and cold to walk around, you could get some amazing pictures there. My brother (history major) and step dad (war buff) would have loved it though.

These are pictures from the Mumma Cemetery on the Mumma Farm. The unique thing about the farm is that it’s the only deliberate destruction of property during the battle here. The reason being was so the Union sharpshooters would be prevented from having a structure at the top of a hill.

Then there was Bloody Lane. Antietam is known as being the bloodiest day in American history with 23,000 casualties. And this lane is a big reason why. 2,220 Confederate troops held off 10,000 Union troops for three hours at this farm lane. The Union ended up falling back after they saw how many casualties they had. Pretty spooky reading the quote from an onlooker in the park map too: “They were lying in rows like the ties of a railroad, in heaps like cordwood mingled with the splintered and shattered fence rails. Words are inadequate to portray the scene.”

And finally, the Burnside Bridge, which seemed to be the last straw in essentially calling Antietam a stalemate. 500 Confederate soldiers held it for roughly three hours, but eventually Burnside’s troops were able to capture the bridge and move across the creek.

It’s crazy to me to see all of the sites at this battlefield and compare it to what the perception of both the war then, as well as warfare now, is really like. You would think that everything was really spread out. But in reality, it wasn’t. At Bloody Lane, once the Union troops retreated, it was only several hundred yards to the shelter of a farm. So, in all likelihood, the Confederate army still could visually see the Union army. If an army moved, it was out in the open for everyone to see just because of how close everyone was during the whole mess. It just gives a different appreciation for the relatively safe conditions our guys overseas have now in hostile situations.

From there, I hit the Antietam National Cemetery. Only Union soldiers were buried here. The map states “Separate even in death, Confederate soldiers were buried in Hagerstown and Frederick, Maryland and Shepherdstown, Virginia (now West Virginia).” Being a Southern guy, I think that’s kind of cool.

Because I spent so much time hopping out of my truck to take pictures, it was too late to hit Harpers Ferry. So that will be this morning. After that, I think I’m going to just drive to one of the DC Metro stations, park the truck, and hit Washington DC for the rest of the day. I was looking last night at what I really want to hit in DC and it’s ridiculous how much there is to do there. I want to see the Holocaust Museum, the Library of Congress, the National Mall, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian, the Supreme Court, the US Capitol, the White House, Ford Theatre, and try to get as many passport stamps as I can get. And I know there’s stuff I’ll miss out on seeing. I didn’t even take a hard glance at places like Arlington National Cemetery. Just such an overwhelming place to visit! So I’ll probably spend at least two days here. I was toying with the idea of grabbing a room through the weekend and just doing that. But we’ll see what kind of progress I can make on foot!

Enjoy your Thursday!

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8 Responses to If you blog it, they will come

  1. Bonnie says:

    Congrats on all your hits, Matthew! It is very interesting following your travels. I’ve tried to leave comments before, but they didn’t show up. Now I think it’s because I didn’t enter email addy. Everything’s a little more challenging without a computer. I’m still hoping someone will be able to recover my data. Keep telling us the stories of your travels and travails!

    • Thanks Aunt Bonnie! I’m not sure what it is, as I’ve only commented back on a computer, but it doesn’t seem to like phones. I had a friend that couldn’t leave a comment for the longest time from her iPhone.

  2. Yep on the zoo. I have a picture of me somewhere visiting the zoo at age 5. (OMG, that makes me shiver realizing how long ago that was.) You’ve seen Arlington. I still say see the Smithsonian Art History Museum. Imagine seeing original Monet! And I’ve walked past the Ford Theatre, but never gone in. That would be cool. I think they do presentations there. Have fun and take your time. You’ve done 49 states. So cool. When you do Hawaii, however, take someone with you. That state would be no fun without a companion.

    • I got hooked up with the AAA discount in my hotel for the night. So I might just stay an extra night since it’s a lot cheaper over the weekend. It all depends on how much I can get done tomorrow so I have a better feel for how long everything takes to see. I should wind up with a billion pictures though!

  3. Rena Jarvis says:

    You have to go to Ford’s Theatre and the house across the street where Lincoln died. Saw them when I was in the 3rd grade. You will enjoy it. When I went they even had the pillow that was under his dead when he died and had the blood stain. That was a long time ago, but so worth the time to go check and see if it is still there. It took us hours waiting to get into the White House for a 10 to 15 minute tour. It was okay, nothing like OMG! There is too much to see in DC, you will need the whole weekend. Enjoy!

    • I had planned on hitting Ford’s Theatre, just because I’ve done everything else the country has to offer on Lincoln (it’s crazy how emphasized he is when you really think about it). But that’s good to hear it’s worth seeing. And I’m worried about that with the White House. It’s almost one of those things I want to do just to say I’ve done it. But we’ll see how bad I want to go once I’m staring a line down face to face.

  4. RMJinAK says:

    Do the zoo, but you may be disappointed after all the others that you have seen. You were there when you were about 3, but the most interesting thing to you were the squirrels!

    • Funny you should mention that. I was at the Washington Monument tonight and was fascinated by this tiny little mouse running around the edge of a trashcan. The zoo’s on my list of things to do though! The only problem is I have a huge list of things to do/see!

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