In many ways, the Battle of Antietam is the most pivotal battle of our Civil War. The outcome here allowed Abraham Lincoln, through issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, to fundamentally change and broaden the meaning of the war; from a political contest over restoration of the Union, to a moral imperative freeing the slaves and giving force to the Declaration of Independence. Antietam also holds the painful distinction of remaining the most blood-soaked single day in American history.
I first came to this battlefield when I was 6 years old and have been coming back ever since–learning, studying and contemplating the sacrifices of the men who gave life and limb here. I have been a life-long student of the Civil War period and the Battle of Antietam in particular. In the intervening years, I graduated from Washington and Lee University with a BS in biology and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Virginia Tech. After a residency in oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, I have practiced veterinary oncology for over 25 years.
But I have always returned to this beautiful, utterly unique place. If you visit Antietam National Battlefield, I would be most happy to serve as your guide as you experience one of the most well preserved, pristine battlefield sites in the National Park Service system. I think you will readily see that it is a place of pastoral beauty and serenity as well as reverential commemoration and remembrance. Let me help you explore this place I so dearly love, and tell you the stories of the people who endured, died and sacrificed to make it such a consequential place in American history.
Hi Rogers: This is Jim Garrett, SJS class of ’74. I plan on doing a tour with you soon.