This is not a set of pictures from a vacation. It is me, with my husband, following as closely
as possible over a period of five days down the modern versions of what once were the rural
lanes, the town streets, the battlefields, the river fords where my great, great grandfather
Jonathon James McDaniel of the 13th Mississippi Infantry...walked, stood, waited, and
sometimes charged during the first part of the Civil War, from Manassas to Gettysburg.
This is a pilgrimage and it follows along the routes the 13th took except for the month and
a half after he was wounded at Sharpsburg and was separated from his regiment in Charlestown
in what was then still Virginia. These are albums of routes, of tracings of his presence, of
attempts to locate where he was and find some sense of him there.
The routes I followed were not done in the order in which he did them, but in an order that
fit with where I was coming from (Pittsburgh) and where I wished to end (Gettysburg) and
see as many as possible within the confines of five days/four nights. The syrup pitcher that is
in some of the photographs belonged to Jonathon and was in his wife's family from before the
Civil War, coming with her from Alabama to Mississippi when she married him in 1866. He
held it in his hands, used it, and placing it here and there is my gesture of bringing something
of his back to places where he was, of connection, of making somewhat of a full circle.
ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 CARL AND I WENT BACK TO GETTYSBURG AND THERE IS
ANOTHER SET OF ALBUMS OF JUST GETTYSBURG HERE
AND NOW THERE IS A 3RD SET OF JUST GETTYSBURG HERE
FROM AUGUST OF 2012
PAGE ONE: MAY 13, 2011...WILLIAMSPORT, MARYLAND
It had rained hard in the night before we left on Friday morning and as we headed out at 6:40 I took this picture of the sky.
The clouds seemed to be moving off toward the east, ahead of us, but we caught up with them an hour later and then drove
in a hard rain along the Pennsylvania Turnpike toward Breezewood, getting off and heading south to Hagerstown. As soon as
we got on 81 south of Hagerstown, going toward Williamsport, I was in Jonathon country and I silently said, "Hello, Jonathon,"
and was surprised my eyes stung with tears. He marched north through Hagerstown on June 27, 1863 on the way to
Gettysburg and then south to it on July 6, 1863 after that battle, camping 1 1/2 miles south of it, staying in the area several
days, picketing at Downsville, then back up 2 miles toward it to build fortifications.
We drove through the little and old town of Williamsport, on the Maryland side of the Potomac, and where the 13th
crossed the river June 25, 1863 on their march from Fredericksburg up toward Gettysburg.
They crossed the Potomac here on pontoons on the way north.
Looking downstream from Williamsport. I try to get a loose, small rock from places and spotted my Williamsport
one here, just out of frame to the right off the edge of the boat ramp. I pointed to it under about 3 inches of the
Potomac and Carl reached down and got it for me.
The Potomac downstream from further out the boat ramp.
Looking back at the modern bridge. I was interested in how the debris collected on the upstream sides of the bridge piers.
Just downstream was a cemetery atop a high, grassy hill. We parked there for a while and I walked around. The cemetery was
here at the time of the war, many of its markers dating from the 1700's.
At the very end of the cemetery, closest toward the bridge, is a higher, man-made knoll with an American and a Maryland
flag flying atop it.
As I walked toward the knoll, I studied some of the old markers and how the long years have worn them down to the barest
shapes of what their original forms once were.
Upstream view of the Potomac from the knoll end of the cemetery.
Self-explanatory sign by the knoll
Looking into Williamsport from near the sign. The troops probably marched past rather near this high hill, possibly up the street I
could see below.
Several cannon around the knoll.
Looking back through the old cemetery to our green car.
...and back toward the knoll in a deliberate attempt to get this particular marker with the flags
I found this broken obelisk interesting at the base of the tree. Someone had placed a very much
worse-for-wear wreath atop part of it.
A broken tomb where, alas, people come to sit after dark, drink, and then stuff their empty beer cans inside.
ON TO PAGE TWO
BACK TO JO'S OTHER PLACE