Dunker Church I

Dunker Church, Antietam: close up
(US Library of Congress)

Once upon a time…ohhh, about 3-4 years ago, I modelled the Dunker Church as a digital file, the result of a quick google, it served it’s purpose but, in truth, it was never accurate enough for my eye.

And so as part of my return the ACW, I decided I needed to rectify the obvious errors in my first effort, and come up with 2 models: one for the eve of the battle, undamaged and ready for its Parish, and the other as it was photographed by Alexander Gardner in Sept of 1862. A high resolution of the image at right would serve as a main point of research, but sadly photos from other angles taken in the days after the battle are rare. There is this photo, from the North, taken in the right year, (printed later), but it unfortunately was either taken before the battle, or after any damage was repaired.

Flag of Truce, Alfred Waud
(US Library of Congress)

I had almost given up finding an image showing the North side of the church, when I found the drawing at left on in Antietam, Voices of the Civil War (pg136), I then went looking for it at the Library of Congress, to see if there was any other information attached and to get the high quality version. Importantly for me, it shows the damage done to the North side of the Church, and shows that cannon fire tended to shatter whole bricks giving the damage a geometric and squared shape rather than a splintered or round hole, and further it also shows the shutters on that side are shut.

Back to the software.

Antietam 3D

Sharpsburg, Lutheran Church
(US Library of Congress)

So with a New Year I decided I needed to establish a new plan, or rather rationalise my projects into some form of coherence.

Sadly, a few years ago I had a successful Kickstarter based around the La Haye Sainte farm at Waterloo, but only sadly in that I let life get in the way, and never really followed up with a sequel.

So with some time to spare on a recent sojourn to visit my parents I “got lost in the footnotes”(1) of the US Library of Congress photo archive, and suddenly the plan was a little clearer, 3D models (as I had for my Kickstarter) for Antietam. Starting with the Dunker Church, then the Lutheran Church, the Burnside Bridge (though I have the Hovell’s model of this so it is less important), and then 2-3 generic clapboard buildings that can serve to represent a small built up area, or a farm.

Thankfully, the preservation of many Battlefields and the abundance of archival photos should make the research stage a little smoother unlike earlier periods, and it should help me get onto the technological stage of creating so much faster. And who knows, maybe along the way I will get inspired to finish the long procrastinated rebasing of my Confederates and Union figures into a semblance of uniformity.

But one question: to make the models “perfect” or if appropriate, with battle damage?

(1) Getting lost in the footnotes is a phrase I first heard from Thomo (of the Hole fame) in an anecdote relating to how he got through University with some learning instead of simply an education.