Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers
Company A, Inc.
Conn. Civil War Round Table
2009 Antietam Work Party
April 15-19, 2009
April 20, 2009
It is my honor to report on the recent activities of the Eighth Conn Vols, our friends and supporters, and the Connecticut Civil War Round Table. It is an annual pilgrammage to the Antietam National Battlefield Park in Sharpsburg, Maryland for a week of preservation volunteer work.
Most of our contribution traveled on Wednesday, and wrrived at the Shepards Springs church camp in the late afternoon. We took up residence in a fine cabin appointed with ten bunks, sinks, and a good view of the woods and teh secluded area. We were located just off the Potomac river, along the C & O canal, and very pleasant surrounding in the outskirts of the town proper. We arrived in just enough time to share in the community supper of beef and rice stew. It was a little drizzle coming down, so the hot stew hit the spot. We retired for the evening and got ready for the big work day.
Thursday morning came, and we got to the local store for some coffee and breakfast, then went to the Poffenburger farm for assignments. The 8CV contingent were sent over to the Roulette lane. At that location we set to clearing at least an acre of old growth long standing trees from the corner of the two lanes. This will open the view shed so that all viewing the ground from near and far can see the true lay of the land, and not be confused by tree lines and blocks that were not there on that historic battle day. Hard work indeed. After our dismissal, we visited the Roulette farm, their famous spring house, the barns, with cassions and cannons, and reviewed the success of our clear cutting the previous year between the Roulette and Mumma farms.
The day ended, and we crawled back to the camp, cleaned up some, and proceeded to try to find an establishment in the locale to get some supper. It proved a daunting task, as we were guided to Boonesboro via the Hagerstown side, and passing the state prisons, and all, found that the intended sight was a vacant lot. We proceeded into Boonsboro proper and ate at the first available fare, then headed back to camp once more. We spent another pleasant evening, and awoke early again.
Friday morning found us once more at Roulette's lane, and cutting, dragging, and piling trees. hacking, cutting, and removing fences, and altogether, clearing a jungle thick area. The work day went fast, and ended around 4.00 o'clock.
We on our little crew, determined to hike to Snaveley's Ford, and return via the left flank fields of the battle, tracing the path of the 8CV and visiting and honoring their monument. It was a revealing experience, as the historic maneuvers of the 8CV were made even clearer to us for the on the ground experience.
That evening we shared a cookout with the rest of the CCWRT folks, and pitched into a very sizable card tournament in the cabin, with Set Back being the game of the night, and teams swapping in and out of the competition.
We got to Saturday morning with a rendezvous at the Poffenburger farm once more. This morning our 8CV band was assigned to plant new trees in the East Woods. We arrived there and with shovels and hands, planted black locusts into the expanding woods, planted oaks in between, and planted dogwoods along the edges.
That afternoon, all of the Connecticut workers adjourned to the National Cemetery, and attended a ceremony that honored the Connecticut men buried there by having the women sprinkle Connecticut soil on theire graves, and adopt them as honored sons.
Saturday evening we were invited to a one time experience. We had a supper program served to us in the Mumma barn that represented all the favorite foods of President Abraham Lincoln. The meal started off with summer sausages, cheese, apples, and biscuits. These were the favorite pocket foods of Lincoln. The first course was a salad topped with citrus fruits, a great treat to Lincoln in the White House. The main course was Chicken Fricasse, boiled root vegetables, wild rice, and pickled ocra. These again were his favorites. Dessert was Mary Lincoln's own almond cake. It was a hit with Lincoln, and with all of us there. Looking out over the battlefield from the barn doors was sublime. The panorama experience was not to be forgotten.
Some of our boys left the supper, and walked in the dark to the bloddy lane. Others returned to camp, where we all ended the trip and the efforts with a grand evening of fun and friends. We awoke early Sunday morning, got breakfast at the market, and went our own ways, getting the cars back to the Nutmeg State.
It must be noted that the several other projects conducted by the CCWRT this work week were to rebuild the Poffenberger's lane, to place battens on the coping of the Burnside bridge, and to do extensive restoration work to the Rostrum in the National Cemetery.
It simply must be noted that it is my and I assume all our honor to have such a hospitable and warm reception to our efforts by the staff of the NPS at Antietam. This cooperation and singleness of cause is a breath of fresh air in this modern world. We humbly thank all the people of the NPS and the CCWRT for including us in this joy. This is a life changing experience for all that patricipate, and there are life long friends being made at every turn. For this I humbly thank you all for letting us be part of it. It never gets better than this.
Your humble servant,
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Eighth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Co.A, Inc.