Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Conn. Civil War Round Table
2008 Antietam Work Party
April 24-26, 2008
April 26, 2008
The boys detailed to the support of the National Park Service arrived at Sharpsburg on Thursday afternoon after a good trip by the cars, a fine stop for a good large breakfast in Strausburg, and a better tour of a favorite establishment in Pottsville, Pa.
We arrived and found our way to our assigned garrison barracks at the camp at Shepards Springs. Everything was found to be very acceptable at the location. We took the early hour a chance to tour the field, and had the chance to show some of our frends the places for the first time. We rounded up our party, and took our customary and honorable hike retracing the path and the fate of our boys across the Final Attack on the Left Flank of the Aarmy. We paused at the Eighth's monument as we always do, to say a few words aloud, and silent. We placed a fresh national flag at the base of the monument in the annual tradition. We posed efor the obligatory image in the places of the original boys who dedicated our monument.
We returned to the camp, and cleaned up a bit. After some time, the rest of the work party arrived from their days work, and we all shook hands and welcomed each other to the task. The evening was passed in quiet comraderie and a joint feeling of dedication to the task at hand. To make the battlefield proud to have the hands of Connecticut keep it alive.
Upon the morning, we packed quicky and got to the local general store for some coffee and breakfast, and reported to the Poffenberger farm for assignments. The large party of Connecticut supporters were divided into several details. One detail was working to replace a rail fence in the front of the Poffenberger place. A second party was working to clear bad fence and whitewash the out buildings. A third party was set to planting trees in an orchard, and our boys were put on a fourth detail, to clear cut a vista from the Mumma farmyard to the back of the Roulette place.
Our duty was to clear and drag all the old field juniper and cedar that we could cut to a large burn pile in the middle of the field between the two places. We used hands and feet to drag the most of the trees up the hill in the early morning, but soon found that the use of mules and chains to wrap larger piles of larger trees was most effective. Our mule drivers would come about, back in, and hook on to a chain wrapped bundle by the lower team. They would drive the mule up the hill, and stop where the upper team would unhook the chain, and pitch the trees up on the pile. The mule drivers would commence back down the hill, hook on again, and the process repeated until we had built a burn pile 100 feet long, 50 feet wide, and likely 25 feet high. We rested 10 minutes out of the hour, as good army details do, and kept up a pace that cleared the view shed in short order.
We were ordered to knock off early Friday afternoon, and were treated to the presentations and tours of the knooks and crannies of the battlefield by Ted Alexander. Such an honor is greatly appreciated. It makes our hard labor and volunteering seem like a thrill.
That evening we spent back at the barracks, where we had a grand company meal, and adjourned to the pleasures of a warm bath and a dry bunk. We chatted and joked until sleep overtook us all.
We got up the next morning, being Saturday, and repeated the process to a tee. We workedwith the mules and the tree cutters, and accomplished the feat of clearing the old growth from the period view. We knocked off early once more, and were conducted by Ranger Keven Walker to the Roulette farm. He showed us the spring house, recounted many a record of the events there, and gave us all a close personal tour of the house itself. In the upstairs, there are still the holes and the lodging in a closet of bullets that hit and passed deep into the house. We all shook hands around, posed from some photographs on the same location as the veterans of the 14th Conn. Vols., and vowed to keep the connection built by our ancestors between Connecticut and Sharpsburg alive and well for eternity.
The evening was spent much the same, with a great cook out, and an evening of laughing and talking, and welcoming our friends, coworkers, and sponsors from the park at our humble table. A pitch or set back card tournament in our cabin that rivaled the world.
In the morning, all the wagons were packed, and the Connecticut "Locusts" departed. We of the 8CV took breakfast at the Red Bird establishment and were bound north once more, leaving behind our sweat and accomplishments, branded for all our heros and patriots that made Sharpsburg a name to be remembered in the Nutmeg State for ever.
Your humble servant,
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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.