Sunken Road Antietam

Sunken Road, Antietam

Sunken Road, Antietam


Sunken Road, Antietam National Battlefield

My photo of the Sunken Road Antietam National Battlefield was taken on October 21, 2009 at 2:31pm.  I used a Nikon D200 set a iso 100 with a focal length of 52mm with 1/100 sec exposure at f9.0. The lens was a Nikon 19 – 55 DX.  The view of the Sunken Road Antietam is from them the west looking to the east.  The tower was built in the 1890’s by the War Department.  From the tower there are excellent views of the battlefield including down the length of the Sunken Road Antietam.


“The Battle of Antietam was the culmination of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the first invasion of the North by Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In Kentucky and Missouri, Southern armies were also advancing as the tide of war flowed north. After Lee’s dramatic victory at the Second Battle of Manassas during the last two days of August, he wrote to Confederate President Jefferson Davis that “we cannot afford to be idle.” Lee wanted to keep the offensive and secure Southern independence through victory in the North; influence the fall mid-term elections; obtain much needed supplies; move the war out of Virginia, possibly into Pennsylvania; and to liberate Maryland, a Union state, but a slave-holding border state divided in its sympathies.”

When I first developed my websites, I focused Gettysburg on Gettysburg which I used Thomas for other related Civil War information such as photographs from other battlefields such as the Sunken Road Antietam National Battlefield.  I have decided to start offering my photographs for sale and using Thomas as an ecommerce site and then moving all my Civil War material to Gettysburg including photo galleries from over 20 Civil War battlefields. It is still a work in progress with such battlefields as Shiloh, Petersburg, and several more yet to be uploaded.  Since I still have a full time job and my wife likes to see me now and then, it is taking some time to get everything moved over, but with the great improvement in the galleries the move is well worth the time it is taking me.
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Gettysburg Panoramas


I am excited to be using WP-PhotoNav by Fabian Stanke to display my panoramic photos of Gettysburg.  This photo of Devils Den was taken in 2007 and WP-PhotoNav gives you the opportunity to just let it scan through the photo or stop it at anytime and do a manual scan.  This photo was taken before the major tree removal on the confederate approaches to Devil’s Den.

I am still in the process of uploading my panoramas and other battlefields and I hope to have them entire site updated by January 1.  In the meantime, I have many of them already uploaded and they give you interesting views of the battlefield.


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Website Update

The move to Word Press has been more time consuming than I expected.  My old galleries were a simple upload from Adobe Lightroom with very little opportunity for content.  Plus at the time I knew very little about Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  I am using a Word Press plugin to evaluate each page, so it will be more likely those interested in Gettysburg and the Civil War can find my site.

Since there are so many photo galleries, I am borrowing lots of content from other sources with of course credit given with a link back to the original.  While I think it makes the galleries and panorama photographs a bit more interesting, it also helps the pages score higher with search engines.

I am already seeing a sharp increase in site traffic even before the new SEO pages have been included in Google’s page ranking.  I would greatly appreciate any feedback on how you think the redesign is coming along.


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Copse of Trees

Copse of Trees

Copse of Trees

Only the 72nd Pennsylvania’s Monument at the Angle gives you any hint of where this was taken.   There is a great debate if the Copse of Trees was the focus of the third day’s attack on Cemetery Ridge.  There are photographs taken later in the 1800’s from a distance showing a line of what looks like small trees or brush, but there are no close up photos showing what the Copse of Tress looked like soon after the battle. So there is a question if from Robert E Lee’s point of view if this was a landmark that would have caught his attention from Seminary Ridge.

While photographers were on the battlefield shortly after the attack, they knew little about the battle and focused on the taking photos that meant more immediate cash for them. There was a large demand for photos with dead bodies in them and most likely most of the bodies on Cemetery Ridge were already buried by the time they arrived on the battlefield, so we know little about what the trees looked like in 1863.

By 1892, when the High Water Mark Monument was dedicated at the Copse of Trees, they were an important landmark on the field.


Photograph details

Taken at 8:59 pm on June 2, 2011.  I was in Gettysburg to attend the annual muster of the Gettysburg Discussion Group.    I used a Nikon D200.  Since I didn’t have a tripod with me, I used 1/60s second exposure at f5.3.  With a tripod, I would have bracketed the shot so I could have done a HDR merge in Photoshop to get more foreground details.  The lens was a 18 – 55 Nikon DX.  I laid on the ground to get the angle to raise the 72nd monument into the sunset.

My novel Courage on Little Round Top (now an ebook) ranks 4.4 starts in reader reviews on

Posted in Civil War, Gettsburg Battlefield, Gettysburg Photographs, Uncategorized

Brians Farm

In 1857, Abraham Brian purchased the farm south of Gettysburg. The farm included a house, barn, and an additional structure on Emmitsburg Road.  When Robert E Lee cross the Potomac on his way north, Mr Brian (and most of the other freed blacks living around Gettysburg) packed up his family and left.  It was assumed, and rightly so, that the invading army would capture freed blacks and send them south to a life of slavery.

Brians Farm

111th New York

There was much shuffling of troops along Cemetery Ridge including on the Brians Farm.   The 111th New York took position near Ziegler’s Grove on the morning of July 1st.  They were sent to the left of the line in support of the Third Corps then took position that evening in the line that ran through the Brian Farm.

Hide Tide of the Confederacy

On the third day’s attack of Pickett and Pender’s Divisions, the task of over running the Brians Farm fell to the 11th Mississippi.  Despite their gallant efforts the 111th New York held the farm.   The 11th Mississippi came to Gettysburg with 393 men.  They suffered 110 killed, 193 wounded (many of which were captured, and 37 captured.  The 111th New York came to Gettysburg with 390 men suffering 58 killed, 177 wounded, and 14 missing.


When Brian returned home he found extensive damage to his farm.  He filed a claim with the government for $1028, but was only compensated $15 paid by Union troops in the area.  Unable to recover from the loss he sold the farm in the late 1860’s.  A second story was later added to the house and it was last used in the 1940’s.  In the 1950’s the house was torn down and one was built to match the 1860 appearance.

Photo details:  taken on October 20th 2009 at 4:30 pm.  Camera:  Nikon 200 with an iso of 100 and a focal length of 18mm.  Lens:  18 -55mm Nikon DX.




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20th Maine Infantry

From looking at regimental histories for the regiments of the Third Brigade, First Division, of the Fifth Corps, the 20th Maine was either the second, third, or fourth regiment up on Little Round TopColonel Strong Vincent had ridden ahead and had a few minutes to examine the southern slopes of Little Round Top.  Like the marching order, there is disagreement in the historical record about what led to the placement of the 16th Michigan on the right flank; 44th New York & 83rd Pennsylvania in the center; and the 20th Maine on the left flank of the entire Union army at Gettysburg.

20th Maine, Gettsyburg

20th Maine position on Little Round Top


20th Maine

Their position rested on a spur coming away from the larger hill we now call Little Round Top.  At the time of the Confederate attack on the afternoon of July 2nd, there were no walls on Vincent’s Spur.  On the night of the second and on July 3rd, the hill was occupied by other regiments and they are the ones who built the walls.

When Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain returned for the dedication of Maine Monuments, we was quick to tell everyone that the 20th Maine had no walls to hide behind.  The walls in the photo were restored during the Great Depression as part of the many WPA work projects on the battlefield.

The momentum in the forward ground is the 20th Maine’s right flank marker.  When they first came into line, the position was further to the right down the hill about half way to the modern road.  During the battle, as more troops were moved to the left, the right flank was pulled back to the top of the hill.

Past the right flank market is the larger monument that marks the original left flank of the 20th Maine and the center of the extended line.

Photo Details

Taken June 29, 2006 at 10:40 am.  Camera: Nikon 200 ISO 200 with a focal length of 35mm, f stop 3.0.  Lens 35 – 105 Nikon DX



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First Minnesota Monument

This is one of three monuments at Gettysburg National Military Park dedicated to the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  This on is located south of the Pennsylvania Memorial along Hancock Avenue.  The second is behind the stone wall on Cemetery Ridge.  The third is in the National Cemetery.

“General Hancock displayed great initiative in shifting units from quiet sectors of his II Corps line to stop the attacking Confederates. Col. George L. Willard’s New York brigade slowed Confederate Dead at the Edge of the Rose Woods Barksdale’s advance, with both commanders losing their lives in the desperate fighting. The famous charge of the 1st Minnesota helped to stop Wilcox’s Alabamians and some of Lang’s Floridians. The regiment lost 82 percent of the Minnesotans who went into the charge, but the frightful losses did not deter the survivors from accomplishing their mission. According to Sgt. Alfred Carpenter, “Bullets whistled past us; shells screeched over us; canister andgrape fell about us; comrade after comrade dropped from the ranks; but on the line went. No one took a second look at his fallen companion. ‘We had not time to weep.””

The Gettysburg Campaign


First Minnesota

First Minnesota


First Minnesota

The  regiment reached Gettysburg with 420 officers and men.  Of those, 88 men were detached for other duties.  The regiment suffered 50 killed, 173 wounded, and 1 man was missing.

Photo Technical Details

It was taken on October 26th, 2009.  It is an HR merge of 7 photos taken at a different f stops then merged in Adobe Photoshop.  Photo was taken by a Nikon 200 using a 18 – 55 mm lens with a focal length of 26mm.  The photos were imported and review on the computer using Adobe Lightroom.  This was the best of a series of four sets taken that afternoon.


Posted in Civil War, Gettsburg Battlefield Tagged , |

I got hacked

So I’ve had the Word Press for a couple of weeks, and this morning, I got an email from site lock that my website was hacked.  I had two people leave me comments and when they did, they left malware behind.  Going forward to make it more difficult for that to happen, I am going to require people to sign in to leave comments.  The news got a little worse, my site lock account wasn’t setup correctly, so I have a few links that are infected and I don’t know which ones.  So this is going to be fixed in about four hours, so until then, I wouldn’t click on any links.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

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155th Pennsylvania

155th Pennsylvania

Photo of the Day – 155th Pennsylvania Monument

The 155th Pennsylvania Momentum on Little Round Top was dedicated on September 17, 1889.  The 155th Pennsylvania was a Zouave regiment assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division Fifth Army Corps.   The regiment was commanded by Lt Colonel John Cain.  During the battle of Gettysburg, the 155th Pennsylvania losses included 13 wounded and six killed.

This photograph was taken at 3:54pm on October 25, 2013.  It was taken from the north slope of Little Round Top looking down the length of Cemetery Ridge.  The house just beyond the soldiers head of the 155th Pennsylvania soldier is the G. Weikert House at the intersection of Hancock Avenue and United States Avenue.  This photo is part of my Little Round Top photo gallery.  In  previous views from this position, I would use Photo Shop clone stamp tool to hide the Cyclorama Building into the trees, but not this time.  As part of the battlefield restoration the Cyclorama was torn down in March 2013. 

For this photo, I only used the clone stamp tool to remove vehicles including one on the Wheatfield Road, lower left foreground between the trees.  Normally Gettysburg has wonderful fall colors but in 2013, it didn’t cooperate.  Some of the trees turn colors early and by late October their leaves were already on the ground.  While others hadn’t enough started to turn.  The major disadvantage of traveling from Houston is I have to live with and work around mother nature.  For this trip to save some money, I camped in the KOA west of town.  I had a small tent with a warm sleeping bag, but not warm enough.  After the first night, I bought a small electric heater to fight off the cold.



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Gettysburg Rehabilitation

Restoration of Gettysburg National Military Park

At the time of the Battle of Gettysburg the ground consisted of farm land including: planted fields; pastures; orchards; and managed wood lots.    Today, we are left with unused, over grown pastures, thick woods, and orchards.  While the NPS is in the process of returning the sight lines to the 1863 views, little is being done with the land management that will effectively keep those restored sight lines or give visitors a real glimpse of what the battlefield looked like in 1863.

Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg

Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg

My suggestion to is as part of the Gettysburg rehabilitation is to return the land back to a working farm land.  In return for putting up with and working around millions of visitors, the park should lease out the land to organic or Amish Farmers for $1.00 an acre.  For those who wish to live close to their fields, lease out the historic homes and barns on the battlefield for a nominal fee.   In addition to restoring the farm land, farmers could return animals to the wood lots to deal with the under bush and return the many woods on the battlefield back to managed lots with much clearer sight lines as they were in 1863.  It would require the farmers fencing in the wood lots to keep the animals in, but that would be a small price to pay in exchange for using the farm land for $1 an acre per year.

Also, this would save the park money by greatly cutting down the need for mowing the unused pasture land that makes up the vast majority of the battlefield.   Animals could also be returned to the historic pasture lands and cutting down even more the need for mowing, or like they tried this fall, burning parts of the battlefield.

Currently, the park will lease land for farming, but at a price that isn’t attractive to farmers.  I think this is very short sighted approach and missing the opportunity to find a reasonable and affective way to deal with the long term management of the park.  Returning Gettysburg National Military Park back to a working farm or farms would be a tremendous boom for the long term rehabilitation effort.



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