The day started with a great breakfast at the Shepherdstown B&B and nice conversation with fellow bikers who made up all guests of the folks last evening.
We hit the trail at 10 a.m., a leisurely start and made it to the Antietam Battleground about a half-hour later.
After watching the brief video we slowly biked around the different tour sites and read about the battle.
This was a sobering morning… so many lives were lost. I had not learned, or more likely didn’t remember, the significance of this battle that occurred 18 months into the Civil War. From the Union’s perspective it was an opportunity to reverse a string of military setbacks, and more critically, President Lincoln was seeking a Union battle success to press for emancipation; from the Confederate side it was a bold opportunity to gain victory on Union soil and convince Europeans, notably Great Britain and France, to recognize the Confederacy diplomatically and likely deliver critically-needed supplies.
The cornfield stunned me. It’s here that several regiments of Union and Confederate forces clashed, coming from different angles, unable to see more than perhaps a dozen feet (Bruce is in the last picture, in a bright yellow jacket, maybe three rows deep). By the end of that single day, over 8,000 men laid dead in that field, almost equal losses on each side.
In this area of rolling hills over 100,000 troups opposed each other, with 22,000 casualties at the end if the day.
We departed the National Battleground and started back toward the C&O. In less than a mile we stopped for lunch at the Battleground Deli, Bait Shop, and Liquor store – who could pass this up?
Bruce’s favorite lunch spot today, and it was tasty (part of the selection criteria is based on the establishment’s availability of live bait). We recommended the deli to fellow cyclists later in the day.
We rode along the Potomac all afternoon.
Corn fields along the way
We pulled into historic Williamsport and our B&B, had a great italian meal followed by local ice cream, and watched an hour of the presidential debate before we passed out.
The Candlelight B&B is the yellow three story mid-block
No snakes, 1 deer.
Self-policing: if you’ve done wrong in Williamsport, just pay up and put it in the box
Stats: 38.6 trail miles. Max speed 28.6mph, Woo-hoo!