ithin this beautifully created film, we are driven to see war in a very different way. There is no glory. There are no winners. At the battle of Antietam, or, Sharpsburg, Maryland, one was there who saw and heard, who still stands, who still speaks. Our witness is a tree. The now 50’ sycamore was quite young on September the 17th of 1862, the day that the bloodiest battle in American history took place, but old enough to take note of the awful aftermath, the outcome of violence against our fellowman. We see war through HIS eyes; we hear the awful explosions of artillery and the groans of men through HIS ears and we come to know of the desolation, the futility of war via HIS mind.

Utilizing reproductions of period photographs by noted Civil War photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, the battle unfolds. Included is a rarely seen photo of “Bloody Lane” by T. Dwight Biscoe. In front of our eyes, the once peaceful wagon trail is transformed into the painting of what is, perhaps, the most moving work of United States Captain James Hope, who fought at Antietam.

“And then,” the tree states, “The battlefront came before me.” He tells us, firsthand, of the carnage, the terrible results of war, of battle, of death. His soft, wise voice tells us a story as it has never been told before.