Monday, July 8, 2013

Lost in the Woods




I spent the past seven days hiking the Civil War battlefields of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. Killing fields with iconic names like The Bloody Angle, Slaughter Pen, Devil’s Den, and the Sunken Road. Through dense wilderness, over rolling hills, and across now silent peach orchards, cornfields, and wheat fields that, for one terrible season, yielded only unspeakable human carnage and immeasurable tragedy. I stood in the cool waters of Antietam Creek and the Potomac River, and crossed the Rappahannock, Rapidan, Shenandoah, and dozens of other creeks, runs, and branches. I took in the expansive vistas from atop Maryland Heights, Marye’s Heights, Culp’s Hill, and Little Round Top

Today, some of these battlefields are utterly surrounded, besieged from all sides by a standing army of urban encroachment; others lay beyond the edge of forgotten gravel roads, or buried beneath 150 years of thick, tangled undergrowth.

And yet, I never found what it was I had come in search of: Answers to fundamental questions about this, the bloodiest, and arguably most significant war in all of U.S. history...

Why did they fight? What was accomplished? Was it worth it?

And the deeper I searched, the more disoriented I became.

I was lost in the woods.


(to be continued...)

4 comments:

Rachel said...

And to think that there are battlefields from ages past that we don't know anything about. That we've fought to the death over things since the beginning of time.
It surely does seem pointless at times. But I'm glad you got to experience the history that must have been heavy at those places.

Anonymous said...

You have disappeared, again...perhaps you're still "lost in the woods"...

Romilda Gareth said...

Thanks

Tessa Wildfire said...

Learning history through books is not the same as experiencing it on the ground by touching the very ground on which the history took place. You had such an amazing time, I guess. However, you must have amazing wilderness survival skills to have successfully visited such a place. Survival skills, such as the ones presented in this post: http://wildernessmastery.com/survival/how-to-survive-being-lost-in-the-woods.html