Antietam 150th Anniversary

It was a gorgeous morning by the time we arrived in Sharpsburg, Maryland -- and we quickly found ourselves mixed in with hundreds of like-minded folk.  After being directed to general parking near the north woods, headed off in search of that one incredible historic moment.

Susie and I spent pretty much the entire day strolling the battlefield, beginning with a talk at the North woods. We then  ambled over to the Bloody Lane, wending our way through some of the new foot trails that now criss-cross the battlefield, and popped up at the Roulette Farm. From there we strolled through the cornfields, where so many federal troops had perished 150 years ago that day, and found ourselves in Bloody Lane. From there we climbed the tower for a birds-eye view of the lane and the much of the early part of the battle.

After strolling back to the visitor center and stopping at the bookstore (of course),  we picked a spot near the Maryland monument and across from the Dunker Church where we could listen to several speeches honoring those men who spent their final moments on earth in agony and anguish right where we were standing. Aside from thanking all the gods that ever walked the face of the earth for our good fortune,  we also thought how much we owe them, a debt that can never be repaid in full but only through installments in spirit and time.

George A. Bennett

George A. Bennett was born 1839 in New Haven, Connecticut.

George left Connecticut and moved westward, eventually settling in western Michigan.

He was 22 years old and probably living in Muskegon County when he enlisted as Second Sergeant in Company H on May 13, 1861, and was probably related to brothers George W. and Jonas Bennett who also enlisted in Company H. (Company H, formerly the “Muskegon Rangers”, was made up largely of men from the vicinity of Muskegon and Newaygo counties.)
George was reported as having deserted on November 26, 1861, as did George W. Bennett also of Company H. It is quite likely that George A. was related to brothers George W. Bennett, who enlisted at the same time as Second Corporal of Company H and Jonas Bennett who also enlisted in Company H.)

In any case, while he was away from the regiment -- presumably as a deserter -- George married Helen Dean (b. 1836) on March 30, 1863, in Freeport, Stephenson County, Illinois. George eventually returned to the regiment from desertion under President Lincoln’s proclamation of amnesty on April 7, 1863, at Camp Pitcher, Virginia (oddly enough so did George W. Bennett).

George died on August 8 or 10, 1863, of typhoid fever at Frederick, Maryland, and was buried on August 11 in “Area O Hospital cemetery” (now Mt. Olivet cemetery) in Frederick. His remains were reinterred in Antietam National Cemetery (grave no. 2557).

In 1864 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 23,479).

Helen remarried James D. Cheeseman (d. 1916) in 1866 in Muskegon, Muskegon County. She was residing in Muskegon in 1919.

Remembrance Day at Gettysburg

As a holiday Thanksgiving has reportedly been around in the US since 1619, and while George Washington proclaimed "Thanksgivings' in 1789 and agian in 1795, it wasn't until the American Civil War that it became a national holiday. In early October of 1863 President Lincoln called for a national day of Thanksgiving to be held that yearon the final Thursday. It has been held as such ever since.

In keeping with that same spirit there was an enormous "Remembrance Day Parade on November 21 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Antietam National Park Ranger Mannie Gentile was there to film it and he captured thousands of Civil War reenactors and lots of brass bands. It's really quite an awesome thing to see and hear.

Anyway, Mannie put a short clip of excerpts from his film online at YouTube. To check it out just click here!

Best to you all this holiday!