“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
by Gary Lanham
Post 142 was proud to support our fellow veterans at the Labor Day Ralston Parade. We brought the Vietnam Era US Army Jeep for their commander to drive and it was quite the hit of the parade. The Post 333 poured out the hospitality and it was like a family gathering. That Jeep will also be on display in Hominy during the Main Street Halloween event as well as the Christmas Parade so keep an eye out.
On this day in 1862 Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac fight to a standstill along a Maryland creek on the bloodiest day in American history. Although the battle was a tactical draw, it forced Lee to end his invasion of the North and retreat back to Virginia. After Lee’s decisive victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30 1862, the Confederate general had steered his army north into Maryland. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis believed that another Rebel victory might bring recognition and aid from Great Britain and France.
Lee also sought to relieve pressure on Virginia by carrying the conflict to the North. His ragtag army was in dire need of supplies, which Lee hoped to obtain from Maryland farms that were untouched by the war. Lee split his army as he moved into Maryland. One corps marched to capture Harpers Ferry, Virginia, while the other two searched for provisions. Although a copy of Lee’s orders ended up in the hands of McClellan, the Union general failed to act quickly, allowing Lee time to gather his army along Antietam Creek at Sharpsburg, Maryland. McClellan arrived on September 16 and prepared to attack. The Battle of Antietam actually consisted of three battles.
Beginning at dawn on September 17, Union General Hooker’s men stormed Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops around the Dunker Church, the West Woods, and David Miller’s cornfield. The Federals made repeated attacks, but furious Rebel counterattacks kept the Yankees in check. By early afternoon, the fighting moved south to the middle of the battlefield. Union troops under General Edwin Sumner inflicted appalling casualties on the Confederates along a sunken road that became known as “Bloody Lane” before the Southerners retreated.
McClellan refused to apply reserves to exploit the opening in the Confederate center because he believed Lee’s force to be much larger than it actually was. In the late afternoon, Union General Ambrose Burnside attacked General James Longstreet’s troops across a stone bridge that came to bear Burnside’s name. The Yankees crossed the creek, but a Confederate counterattack brought any further advance to a halt. After dark on September 18, Lee began pulling his troops out of their defenses for a retreat to Virginia. The losses for the one-day battle were staggering. McClellan lost a total of 12,401 men, including 2,108 dead, 9,540 wounded, and 753 missing. Lee lost 10, 406, including 1,546 dead, 7,752 wounded, and 1,108 missing. Although the Union army drove Lee’s force back to Virginia, the battle was a lost opportunity for the Yankees. McClellan had an overwhelming numerical advantage, but he did not know it. As a result of McClellan’s habit of not seizing opportunities and remaining hesitant in combat an exasperated President Lincoln began replacing generals, eventually appointing Ulysses S. Grant, a known drinker, gambler, and uncouth type to lead. And of course we all know that led to a presidency for Grant famous for his Civil War leadership.
Thanks to Babo Carter (Service Officer for the Hut) and the crew for the stand up and retrieval of our colors for Labor Day. For old Glory it is a Labor of love..
Have you bought your ticket for the Damascus Knife raffle (donated by Dan Rathbun)? Tickets are on sell. The drawing will be November 11th, Veteran’s Day. Tickets are $1 each and 6 tickets for $5. You can get your ticket around town where you see advertising or any American Legion member (the usual gang).
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (September 17th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in August are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.