Thanks. What a cool article!
Yr. Obt. Svt.
G E "Gerry" Mayers
To Be A Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even on
one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the Union, a
passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from the Almighty
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:16 AM
Subject: [TalkAntietam] Researchers study Piper Orchard
> From today's HERALD-MAIL:
> "Underground history: Researchers study Antietam's Piper Orchard"
> SHARPSBURG - In a sun-dappled field, where molten lead once rained
> from the sky, researchers armed with metal detectors listened for
> evidence from America's bloodiest one-day battle.
> Stephen R. Potter, who headed a team of National Park Service
> archaeologists at Antietam National Battlefield, said Tuesday that
> the group, which included a couple of amateur metal detectorists,
> was studying an area of Piper Orchard where the 7th Maine fled from
> a smaller Confederate force. "I don't think they would've been able
> to drive the Maine guys back if they wouldn't have had the artillery
> that they had, because what we're finding out here is pretty nasty
> stuff," Potter said.
> Now a cornfield, the area will be planted with apple trees to
> recreate the appearance of the landscape Sept. 17, 1862, when more
> than 20,000 Union and Confederate troops were killed, captured,
> injured or went missing.
> After the battle, which was the bloodiest one-day engagement in
> American history, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation
> Proclamation. "I think about who was out here, that's what I think
> about ... and the proximity to each other. This wasn't (soldiers)
> shooting at each other at 250 yards. This was 70 yards. You could
> see the faces of your enemy," archaeologist Bob Sonderman said. "It
> must have been terrifying."
> Karen Orrence, who like her colleagues works in the National Park
> Service's capital region, said the team found more than 400
> objects - mostly bullets and shrapnel - during their time on the
> field Monday and Tuesday. For each hour in the field, Orrence said
> the archaeologists likely will spend about three hours in the lab
> analyzing the evidence they discovered.
> Potter said the locations of shrapnel and spent and unfired bullets
> helps the team determine troop movements, such as the retreat line
> of the fleeing 7th Maine, which was ordered to attack a Confederate
> unit near Piper Farm in the late afternoon.
> Potter called the order a stupid move. With the Union troops in
> their artillery sights, Confederate troops managed to drive back the
> assault. One piece of shell that the group found was about half the
> size of a human hand. Inside would have been lead shot about the
> size of pingpong balls. Any piece could have taken off a limb,
> Potter said.
> "They're designed, to put it rather undiplomatically but
> graphically, they're designed to turn people into hamburger meat.
> It's a horrible, horrible thing," Potter said.
> By looking at the marks on bullets, Potter determined whether
> bullets found on the field had been fired. Deformities at the
> bullets' tips indicate they hit something, though without any other
> evidence, Potter said there's no way to know what they struck.
> Orrence said the team found at least two buttons from soldiers'
> uniforms in the field. "Millions and millions and millions of
> rounds," were fired at Antietam, Potter said.
> According to the Antietam National Park Web site, more than 3,700
> Confederate and Union troops were killed, captured, injured or went
> missing during the battle's afternoon phase. Tom Henrique, a
> volunteer metal detectorist from the Gettysburg, Pa., area, said he
> collects bullets, firearms and cartridges from the Civil War era,
> and he loves history. On Wednesday, he said he was proud to be part
> of science.
> "It just also nice to be on such hallowed ground with permission,"
> Henrique said. Debbie Cohen, geographical-information systems
> specialist in the national resources division of the National Park
> Service, said the apple trees will be planted in October.
> Article URL:
> Tom Shay
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]