Alabama soldiers honored at Antietam
- From today's Hagerstown Herald-Mail:
ALABAMA SOLDIERS HONORED AT ANTIETAM CEREMONY
The calm, shady field underneath towering trees a few feet from Sunken Road
at Antietam National Battlefield displayed a different scene 139 years ago.
On Sept. 17, 1862, the constant blasting of muskets and the screams of
wounded Civil War soldiers rang out as piles of Alabama corpses covered
Sunken Road, giving it the nickname "Bloody Lane."
"They were buried right here," said Randall Marott of Daphne, Ala. "They're
still here. They're in the meadow. This is a sacred ground. This is a sacred
place for the men of Alabama." Those hundreds of men, fighting in the
Confederate Army, were remembered in a ceremony Monday at the battlefield.
Monday also was the 139th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.
A cast iron tablet paid for by the State of Alabama was dedicated to the
state's 3rd, 5th, 6th, 12th and 26th infantries led by Brig. Gen. Robert
Rodes along Bloody Lane. The brigade was pushed back by Union troops and fled
toward the town of Sharpsburg. Marott, who was ceremony coordinator, said a
tablet had been dedicated in the 1890s by the War Department, but it
disappeared from the battlefield 50 years ago.
Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman was in attendance and urged the crowd of more than
100 to pass on to children "the values that led those soldiers to stay in
that lane to fight ... to pay the supreme sacrifice."
Siegelman and Marott pulled the Alabama flag from the tablet, revealing it to
the crowd, who clapped and waved Confederate and American flags in unison.
Spectators said the ceremony was held to promote history and to pay respects
to the fallen soldiers of Alabama, not to provoke debates about slavery.
The newly dedicated tablet also marks the position of the Rodes' Brigade,
"It was good. It was moving," said Mike Martin of Forest Park, Ga., just
outside of Atlanta. Martin, who is a re-enactor and volunteer for Kennesaw
Mountain Battlefield, was on vacation and decided to attend. "Even though I
live down there, I wear Union clothes and Confederate clothes," he said. "We
should show respect to all our ancestors, not just mine."
Marshall Chalkley Jr., of Towson, Md., said it's important that the South's
old traditions not be left behind. "We cannot forget where we come from,"
Chalkley said. "We cannot reflect on the future if we forget the past."
Chalkley is a re-enactor with the Second Maryland, Company A Stewart's
Brigade and is also an extra in the Hollywood movie "Gods and Generals."
"It's heritage, not hate," he said. "We're all Americans, but we're not going
to let our Southern heritage go.
Article is on web at:
Tom Shay - Cressona, PA