1. To explore my South Mountain theory. I am fairly convinced that the battle of South Mountain was the crucial battle of the campaign rather than Antietam. For decades, South Mountain has been in the shadow of Antietam. I hope to correct this historical slight and place South Mountain not only on the list of great Civil War battles, but have it recognized as the pinnacle of the campaign (pardon the pun).
2. To examine terrain features. I love military geography and this campaign has it all! Stone walls, fences of all types, farms and barns, bodies of water big and small, bridges, roads, mountains, valleys, woods, cornfields!!! And most importantly, swales!!! God, i love that word. I will pick terrain features and show how they affected the battles by aiding or hindering troop movements. Get ready for lots of pictures of grass and fences. With any luck I will be able to find "then" pictures to accompany my "now" pictures.
3. To introduce the cast of characters. No doubt this campaign had more than its fair share of colorful characters. Instead of the usual suspects, I plan to focus on some of the lesser known individuals and show what they brought to the table. No one will be safe from me. Not even McClernand, don't ask.
4. To help myself study for the Antietam Battlefield Guide test. I figure with all the reading and writing I plan to do that I should learn something. Every little nugget of information counts. I hope people ask me questions so I can find out what I know and don't know. I hope people challenge my opinions so that I'm forced to defend them and in the process actually think about why I have that opinion.
So here I start. Stay tuned...
(all pictures courtesy of Library of Congress)