#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller


Antietam/Sharpsburg

Different names for the same battle–which took place in Maryland.

Today was an easier day, in terms of hiking and heat, but it sure seemed long. Cousin Doris and I leave the hotel with the tour group at 7:30 am, and tonight was typical: we didn’t get back until around 9:30. Although our bus is very comfortable, I’ve about had it with that form of travel for a while. Sure beats riding in a Civil War supply wagon, though–never mind an ambulance.

I am always struck by the pastoral beauty of these places where such terrible things happened. What is it about this dreadful war that fascinates me so? I don’t really know–I am not into brutality, and this conflict was as brutal as any in history, for my money.

Tomorrow, the last day of the tour, we have the luxury of sleeping an extra hour, and Manassas (Bull Run) is just down the road, so traveling will be easy. We’ll trek all over the battlefield, like always, but the bus will come back to the hotel at 3:30. Doris and I plan to catch our breath, then mail my books and maps home, and goof off for the rest of the day. My gosh, we are SO tired. Exhausted, in fact. So we plan to stay here tomorrow night and crash early, then hit the road for Chester first thing Saturday morning.

We have laughed so much, despite the serious nature of the tour’s subject. I suppose it’s better than crying, and when I look into the eyes of those soldiers, in books and on the postcards I’ve been collecting, I want to weep. Officer or private, Yankee or Rebel, here’s what they have in common: bewildered sorrow. They seem to be wondering, “How did I get here?”

In the words of the old Peter, Paul and Mary song, When will we ever learn? Oh, when will we ever learn?

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