Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Booknotes: Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam

New Arrival:
Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam by Joseph Stahl and Matthew Borders (Arcadia Pub & The History Pr, 2019).

"The Battle of Antietam, fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was the bloodiest day in American history, with more than twenty-three thousand dead, wounded and missing." Joseph Stahl and Matthew Borders's Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam "invites the reader to walk the routes of some of the units on the field through the stories of thirty-six individual soldiers who fought on that day. The images of the soldiers in this work, many of which have never been published before, give faces to the fighting men at Antietam, as well as insight into their lives." Borders is a park ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield and Stahl is a retired defense analyst who is currently an Antietam/Harpers Ferry battlefield guide and volunteer. 

Chapters are oriented around the major sectors of the Antietam battlefield (i.e. Cornfield, East Woods, West Woods, Sunken Road, Burnside's Bridge, and "Final Attack"), and each includes a well-chosen battle map borrowed (with permission, of course) from Gottfried's atlas. Accompanying each soldier CDV image (presented front and back) is a brief essay exploring the Antietam experiences of both individual and regiment. There is also frequent commentary in the text addressing details from the photograph itself, focusing mostly on grooming, uniform style, buttons, headgear, etc.

A lengthy appendix reproduces all of the available O.R. battle reports from the units referenced in the book. Notes, bibliography, and index round out the volume.

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