Sunday, April 5, 2009

Poffenberger Farmstead--Rock Ledges

In the account of Semmes' advance to the Alfred Poffenberger farmstead, Carmen writes that the advance was "brought to a halt, the right at a rocky knoll very near the Alfred Poffenberger barn ... the center and left of the brigade were under partial cover of the many projecting rock ledges."

The field this Sunday was in full light, perfect for some further camera studies of the Poffenberger farmstead. The set below shows the rock ledges where Semmes' brigade took cover as they engaged the 15th Massachusetts "130 to 190 yards in front."Above. This ledge is situated between the barn and the Locher Cabin and runs parallel to the 15th Mass. line about 130 yards beyond the center of this photo. The ledge, which is in shadow here, is about 3 feet tall.

Left. The same ledge looking from North to South.

Right. Looking south at another set of ledges, these are just to the northwest of the Locher Cabin.

Right. Looking north at a large outcropping about 30 yards northwest of the Locher Cabin.


John Banks said...

Hi, Jim. Just stumbled upon your blog. I am a frequent visitor to Antietam. Like you, I am especially interested in the fighting in the West Woods. A few years back, I bought a photo of a soldier from the 15th Massachusetts who was killed at Antietam, likely in the West Woods. Private Justus Wellington's name is on the bottom left of the 15th Massachusetts monument. Here is more info on him.

I am glad I found your blog.

John Banks

Jim Buchanan said...

Hi John--Thanks for your post. I hope that folks will follow your link to the 15th Mass site--it is a remarkable resource. I see that you are a researcher on the project--do you know how it was started? Is it still active? How did you come across the photo of Justus Wellington? Nice photo of the Mary Locher cabin, by the way. I am gathering some materials on the cabin and thought I would post something in the next few weeks on it.

John Banks said...

Jim: I am not sure how the project started. I Googled it one day in looking for information on the 15th Massachusetts. The site is run by Susan Harnwell, who does terrific work. It is one of the best sites of its kind on the Internet. I bought the photo of Justus Wellington from a New Hampshire antiques dealer several years ago. I collect ambrotypes and tintypes of Civil War soldiers...although it's getting pretty pricey. Justus' name and where he died are written in period pencil inside the case. Some 15th Massachusetts soldiers were buried on the west(?)side of the cabin and later reinterred at the cemetery there. Justus was from West Brookfield, Mass., and is not buried there. I have checked the cemetery there. So I assume he is buried in Sharpsburg in a grave marked unknown. I got most of Justus' records from the National Archives. I took the photo of Justus to Antietam a couple years back and propped it up on the 15th Mass monument there and took a pic of it. Justus' name is in the bottom left corner of the 15th Massachusetts monument. Showed the photo to ranger Keith Snyder there, and they made a copy of it and use it on some of the ranger walks there to tell the story of the battle. Ted Alexander has copy of the photo in the research file there for Mass. soldiers. I will be your way in a couple weeks and would enjoy touring the West Woods if you are available. Here is some more on Justus on my blog:

And here is another link of interest:

Jim Buchanan said...

Thanks! John for your post. I think that, ultimately, the best thing we can do is to tell the stories of those on the field. What you have done is just that and your efforts have helped us better understand who Justus Wellington was (and in some ways, is). To paraphrase Ed Bearss, we have to find and tell the personal narratives of as many as we can--that way we keep history (and memory) alive.

I'll look forward to seeing you up on the field.

Send me an email to let me know when you'll be