23 June 2013

Honeymooning in History--Military Monday

I have been out of commission from posting and actively working on genealogy since I recently got married, but by no means have I been idle. Because my husband and I share a mutual love of genealogy, we decided to spend our honeymoon on the Civil War trails throughout western Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We managed to see Antietam, Harper's Ferry, South Mountain, and Gettysburg.


Bloody Lane--Antietam National Battlefield


We visited Antietam National Battlefield, which was a special experience for me. I felt a much deeper connection to my ancestor Richard C. Keatts who fought there with the 57th Virginia Infantry for the Confederacy. Everywhere I looked, the place seemed so alive with the memory of him. He couldn't have seemed more real to me than if he had been walking there beside me. Looking back through my pictures, I almost expect to see him posing in a gray uniform.

I had only begun my Civil War research at this point, so I was only vaguely familiar with which of my ancestors fought in which battles. Not missing the opportunity, I asked a lovely older woman if there was any way to look up my ancestors by name or regiment to confirm it. She pulled out a book which lists which regiments fought in which places at Antietam, then kindly made copies of all the pages of the Confederate regiments from Virginia and North Carolina for me.

To pay it forward, I decided to post copies of those rosters here. They are available to view below.

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

Harper's Ferry also proved a great opportunity in disguise because of a roster we found in one of the small museums. It was a list of all the regiments who had been stationed in Harper's Ferry during the Civil War.

North Carolina Confederate Units stationed in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia


Virginia Confederate Infantry Units stationed in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia


Virginia Confederate Cavalry and Artillery Units stationed in Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

My mother's family has been making trips to Harper's Ferry for the past 4 generations, and I never realized that one of our ancestors had been stationed there. One of my father's ancestors also spent time there, William E. Loveless of the 45th North Carolina Infantry.

I had done little research on Gettysburg before we made the journey there--but sometimes it isn't necessary. I could feel in my heart that my ancestors had been there. William E. Loveless especially stood out to me in my mind. As we approached the monument for North Carolina, I felt a deep sense of pride for my heritage.




We could have chosen to do a lot of things for our honeymoon. We also considered not having one and saving the money to buy a house. But in the end, the choice to make this journey together was the best we could have made. I didn't just find information going to these places--I got to know my family and my ancestors in a much more personal way. No amount of reading could have given me the experiences I had in these places.

I'm looking forward to a future full of many more experiences like these with my new husband. And the greatest gift of all is having someone by my side to share in it with me, who loves the history as much as I do...




...that, and the sword he bought with boyish delight in Gettysburg