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5249Re: [TalkAntietam] Union Soldier's Remains Found at Antietam

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  • richard@rcroker.com
    Dec 29, 2008
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      Wonderful! I hope there's more of that story to come!!!

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: RoteBaron
      To: TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 10:06 PM
      Subject: [TalkAntietam] Union Soldier's Remains Found at Antietam

      The WASHINGTON POST provided this article:

      A visitor who was walking the battlefield in mid-October,strayed off the Corn Field Trail and saw some bones on the ground that he later left at the visitors' center. He didn't give his name, saying only he had found something in a field off the trail, next to an animal hole.

      "It was a jaw bone with four teeth attached and one loose plus some other fragments," said Ed Wenschhof Jr., Antietam's chief of Natural Resources Management and Resources Protection. "We get a lot of these bones brought in here, almost all of them are animal."

      He needed to check it out. Several protographs were emailed to the National Park Service's regional archaeologist, Stephen Potter, in Washington. Potter said he knew right away the jaw, and what turned out to be skull fragments, belonged to a human. And he knew they were very old bones.

      "When I realized what I had -- an unmarked, unknown burial of a Civil War soldier, not a victim of modern mayhem -- it grabbed me in the gut," he said. ""I was totally focused. i forgot everything else. I immediatley started planning what we would do next."

      He said he estimated the soldier's age at 19 to 21, based on an impacted wisdom tooth in the jaw bone, the lack of wear on the teeth and an open suture in the cranium. That suture closes only when an individual ceases to grow.

      He called Wenschhof. Potter wanted to see the bones but his first impulse was to collect whatever else was out there in the field. It was going to be difficult to find the spot. The field covered acres of land, but they had to move quickly because relic hunters might hear about the discovery and disturb the grave.

      Wenschhof and a team of park rangers crisscrossed the field that was adjacent to the infamous Corn Field, where brutal hand-to-hand fighting had taken place during the battle. There were burrows everywhere, and they had to be careful not to step in to them. Finally, one of the team found bone fragments and several pieces of leather outside a ground hog hole. It had to be the right place. The soldier had been found.

      Read entire story at:

      Tom Shay

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