The Antietam Campaign, fought in Maryland in September 1862, constituted Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion north of Virginia. Federal forces defeated the Confederates at South Mountain and stymied Lee at Antietam, thereby presenting President Abraham Lincoln with his first opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation – not only freeing slaves in the states of rebellion, but also undermining Southern hopes of achieving foreign recognition from Great Britain and France.
The Battle of Antietam has been called the bloodiest single day in American History. By the end of the evening, 17 September 1862, an estimated 23,000 Confederate and Union soldiers had been killed or wounded in and around the small farming community of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Emory Upton, then a captain with the Union artillery battery, later wrote, “I have heard of ‘the dead lying in heaps,’ but never saw it till this battle.
The experience at Antietam is intended to emphasize the importance of strategic leadership in very intense conflict as well as the cost of unprepared leadership. The contest between Robert E Lee and George McClellan shows that even a superior force armed with near perfect intelligence will lose to an opponent led by a dynamic and confident commander. The Antietam experience is particularly effective in larger groups in that accommodations are available and the battlefield is usually uncrowded. The purpose of any staff ride is to learn from the past by analyzing the battle through the eyes of the men who were there, both leaders and rank-and-file soldiers. Antietam offers many lessons to the modern business leader allowing us to gain insights into decision making and the human condition.
Some of the leadership lessons explored are:
- Communicating Vision
- Empowering trusted subordinates
- Task vs purpose
- Performance usually rises and falls according to expectations
- Building professional relationships
- Individual vs Team success
- Managing incompetence
- Risk vs Reward
- Accepting the reality of the environment in order to solve the right problems
- Awareness of the competitive environment
- Transforming actions into strategic effect
Day 1 begins with pick up at the Baltimore International airport and transport to our lodging at the Bavarian Inn in nearby Shepherds Town, WV. These are unique European style situated on the banks above the Potomac River. Arrival is followed by a reception, dinner, briefing and a strategic overview of the battle. After breakfast the second day, the group boards a private charter bus for a short ride to the battlefield. The staff ride takes an off the beaten path to examine critical aspects of the battle but we also visit important sites such as Artillery Hill, Miller’s cornfield, the Sunken Road, Burnside Bridge, Dunker Church and Antietam Cemetery. We will cover a lot of ground during the morning then break for a box lunch and a partial After Action Review. During the afternoon portion of the ride we will retrace the footsteps through the cornfield and other key areas. The day ends back at the Bavarian Inn with a dinner an after action review facilitated by our staff specifically focused on the connections between the volatile circumstances of the battlefield and present day leadership of your corporation. After breakfast on Day 3 we will transport your group back to Baltimore Airport for departure.
Costs associated with this event include:
- Pick up and delivery from/to Baltimore Airport
- World class staff ride facilitated by Boardroom to Battlefield former senior military officers who are all combat veterans with extensive knowledge of history, tactics and battlefield leadership.
- Two nights Luxurious accommodations at The Bavarian Inn.
- A reception cocktail hour, dinner and briefing the night before staff ride
- Breakfast prior to departure on ride
- Lunch with After Action Review (AAR)
- Beverages & snacks throughout the day
- Transportation from hotel to/in and around the Battlefield and return
- A reception, dinner and After Action Review (AAR) following the ride
- Read ahead packet
- Memento gift of ride
- All fees associated with National Battlefield