Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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Antietam Creek’s Historic Stone Arch Bridges – Gary W. Rohrer

May 8th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Gary Rohrer

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Gary was born and raised in Washington County, MD where his family has lived for at least 225 years. His interests in the Civil War and passion for the 1862 Maryland Campaign go back more than 50 years to his days as a Boy Scout camping on the battlefield in the final attack area near Burnside Bridge and at Crampton’s Gap on South Mountain. There, he listened to the true stories of E. Russell Hicks, noted county historian. Gary also attended Antietam’s Centennial events as a young Boy Scout passing out programs for the last re-enactment held on the battlefield.

Gary’s professional career spanned 34 years in the public works arena as a registered professional engineer with extensive experience in the restoration and preservation of historic 19th century transportation structures such as wooden covered bridges, wrought iron truss structures, & stone arch bridges. He spent the last 20 years of his career in the roll of Washington County’s first Public Works Director. In that capacity, he revamped an effective preservation program for restoring and preserving many of the county’s 19th century stone arch bridges which are very much in tact and carrying modern traffic today.

Upon his retirement, he became involved as a Battlefield Ambassador while pursuing the National Park Certification for Battlefield Guide. In 2013, he became one of the first four guides ever certified by the NPS as a Battlefield Guide at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park for the 1862 Maryland Campaign. He has traveled to many of our country’s Civil War battlefields in the west and the south in an effort to further enhance his tours at Antietam. Gary has led hundreds of tours with clients ranging from the very young to the very seasoned students of the battle including retired officers of flag rank, college professors and their students. Today, Gary is a member of the Washington County Historic District Commission and Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF). He resides near Boonsboro, MD with his family. He is also a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy.

On Wednesday, June 28h, Gary will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – Antietam Creek’s Historic Stone Arch Bridges.  Gary’s presentation will give a broad overview of the many stone arch transportation structures in Washington County, primarily those along the Antietam Creek. His materials will include the history, construction techniques, failed preservation efforts, & today’s success stories of ongoing preservation with numerous photos & diagrams. The real success story lies in that Gary’s successors continue this program that leave these structures still carrying modern traffic.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Faces from the 9th Corps at Antietam – Joe Stahl

May 8th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Joe Stahl

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Joseph Stahl retired from the Institute for Defense Analyses where he authored or coauthored more than 50 reports on defense issues. Since his retirement he has become a volunteer and Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam. He grew up in St. Louis, where he earned an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, SHAF, the Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and is co-author of the first book on ID discs Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War. He has spoken to various Civil War groups including the Northern Virginia Relic Hunters, South Mountain Coin and Relic Club, Rappahannock, York and Hagerstown Round Tables, Chambersburg Civil War Tours, Save Historic Antietam Foundation and the NPS Antietam. In addition Joe has authored more than two dozen articles about items in his collections for the Gettysburg Magazine, the Washington Times Civil War Page, Manuscripts, America’s Civil War, Military Collector & Historian the Journal of the Company of Military Historians, the Civil War Historian and the Skirmish Line of the North-South Skirmish Association. Displays of items from of his collection have won awards at several Civil War shows.

He has been a member of the North-South Skirmish Association for more than 20 years and has shot civil war type muskets, carbines and revolvers in both individual and team competitions.

On Wednesday, June 21st, Joe will present his Summer Lecture Series talk Faces from the 9th Corps at Antietam. Battlefield Guide Joe Stahl will introduce you to a number of Union Soldiers who were members of the 9th Corps on September 17, 1862. This will be done through images (CDVs) of each soldier. His service record will be reviewed and in addition he’ll include maps showing where these soldiers were on the battlefield. Joe will also point out things that can be learned from the images themselves.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle – John Michael Priest

May 8th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

John Michael Priest

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

A retired high school history teacher, John Michael Priest has been interested in Civil War history since an early age. He is a graduate of Loyola College in Baltimore and Hood College in Frederick, Md., and has written extensively about the Civil War. His many books include “Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle (1989);” “Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain (1992);” “Nowhere to Run: The Wilderness, May 4th & 5th, 1864 (1995);” “Victory Without Triumph: The Wilderness, May 6th & 7th, 1864 (1996);” and “Into the Fight: Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg (1998).”

Praised by legendary historian Edwin C. Bearss as the “Ernie Pyle” of the Civil War soldier, Priest appeared on the Discovery Channel’s “Unsolved History: Pickett’s Charge (2002),” and served as a historical consultant for the miniseries “To Appomattox.” His newest work, “Stand to It and Give Them Hell!” chronicles the fighting on July 2, 1863, from Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top from the perspectives of the soldiers who fought the battle.  Mike is also an Antietam Battlefield Guide.

On Wednesday, June 14th, Mike will present his Summer Lecture Series talk Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle.  John Michael Priest has carefully weaved together over 200 recollections, diaries, letters, and regimental histories making it easy to visualize the battle as the average soldier experienced it. During his talk he will provide a definitive study of the battle of Antietam from the soldier’s view.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

“This Old House” – The Thomas Jackson Room Renovation

May 3rd, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Right after Valentine’s Weekend we closed off the Thomas Jackson Room to begin the long overdue renovation.  This room was one of the original guest rooms when the house was turned into a bed and breakfast thirty years ago. This second floor addition was added around 1804.  When the west side of the house was added between 1832 and 1845, this room became the formal parlor.  It was truly fascinating to uncover some of that early construction during the renovation.  We are very pleased with the project and would like to thank Anne Marie & Marty of Uphome Renovations, LLC for the tremendous work they did.  They were also extremely helpful in recommending an electrician, drywaller , and brick mason, all local craftsman, who did an excellent job as well.  Another ‘Thank you’ goes to Antietam Wood Floors for repairing and restoring the hardwood floors.  They turned out even better then expected and really make the room fitting for a general like “Stonewall” Jackson.

So here are a few picture BEFORE…..

Thomas Jackson RoomThomas Jackson RoomThomas Jackson RoomThomas Jackson Room

 

 

 

 

Before the room had wall-to-wall mauve carpet, wallpaper, and a functional, but very dated, bathroom.

 

A few pictures DURING…..

Bye-Bye Carpet!

See-ya later wallpaper

 

Standard 30″x 36″ fiberglass walled shower

Small vanity & mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old wallpaper covers the inside chimney or west side fireplace for the room. (this is located behind a bathroom wall)

The old beam and floor boards.

Great to see the old hardwood floors again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maya giving Marty the final stamp of approval.

And a few pictures AFTER…..

 

48″ vanity with a large mirror, lots of storage and updated lighting.

Beautiful 36″x 48″ tiled shower with rainfall showerhead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We added a mini-fridge in the room too.

 

Old brick laid hearth and refurbished mantle for the fireplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War Medicine Hollywood Style-The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Gordon Dammann

May 3rd, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

 

Gordon Dammann

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Gordon E. Dammann D.D.S. founded the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland to tell the true story of Civil War medicine. His medical collection formed the core of the museum holdings. He is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago and holds a bachelor of science degree with a minor in history. In 1969 he received his D.D.S. degree from Loyola University School of Dentistry

Gordon is the author of Pictorial Encyclopedia of Civil War Medical Instruments and Equipment Volumes I, II, and III. He and Dr. Alfred Jay Bollet co-authored Images of Civil War Medicine. He has served on the editorial staff of North/South Magazine and was editor of the Reprint of Memoirs of Jonathan Letterman, MD Surgeon of the U.S. Army 1861-1864.

Gordon is a recipient of the Nevins Freeman Award of the Chicago Civil War Round Table and the Iron Brigade Award of the Milwaukee Civil War Round Table. These are presented to an individual whose advancement of the American Civil War scholarship and support of the Round Table movement deserves special recognition

He has presented programs on Civil War Medicine for the National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, Civil War Institute of Gettysburg College, and Round Tables and Historical Societies across the country. Since retiring from his dental practice, Gordon has become active as a Licensed Guide at Antietam National Battlefield

On Wednesday, June 7th, Gordon will present our first Summer Lecture Series talk Civil War Medicine Hollywood Style -The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  Gordon will be looking at Hollywood’s representations of Civil War medicine in the movies. Seven movies contain scenes which depict the Hollywood version of Civil War medical practices. Some are good, some are bad, and some are really ugly. During the presentation the scenes will be “dissected” and discussion will follow.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Apple Maple Sausage Patties

May 1st, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Sizzling brown sausage patties!

One of our signature accompaniments for breakfast at the Inn is our Apple Maple Sausage Patties.  This delicious side compliments any sweet or savory dish that we serve.  Guests rave about the flavor and request them on return visits.  This is an easy recipe that will quickly become a family favorite!

Serves 10 – (makes 20 patties)

You will need:

2 pounds of ground lean sausage*
1 tsp fine salt
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp ground sage, dried
3 Tbs organic maple syrup
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and shredded*

 

Ingredients ready.

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cover a cookie sheet with foil.

Peel, core, and grate one large apple.

In a large mixing bowl combine two pounds of ground sausage, grated apple, salt, pepper, sage and syrup.

Using clean hands, or a large spoon, mix well to incorporate.

A patty press is the best!

We use a ¼ cup measuring cup to get the right amount of sausage to place in our two-patty sausage press.  If you don’t have a sausage press, don’t worry just roll into balls and then you can pat them into small patties – not too big, not too small.  Place sausage patties evenly across sheet.

Bake sausage for 15 minutes.  Flip patties over and bake another 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown.

You can serve with any main entree but we like to serve them with our Oven Omelets or Baked French Toast

*We use tart apples from Distillery Lane Ciderworks but a nice Granny Smith works well.  We also purchase our ground sausage from Crestview Meats in Martinsburg.  Just make sure you use lean, quality meat, this is not the time to try to save a few cents.  Trust us, it makes a difference!

Perfect round patties ready to go in the freezer.

Tips:
– Place sausage patties on parchment/wax paper and freeze, then store in a plastic bag in the freezer. This allows you to remove and bake only what you need.
– Pull out sausages the night before and place in refrigerator.
– We bake the patties instead of frying; this allows the meat to bake in the naturally blended juices of the meat, apple and maple syrup.

The Farmsteads at Antietam – Samuel Mumma Farm

April 28th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

The most well known farmstead at Antietam is the Samuel Mumma farm.  A number of accounts during the battle from both armies make reference to the farmstead and it was the only one to be deliberately destroyed during the battle.  It is a vivid reminder of the destruction of war and the rebirth in its aftermath.

The property that would later become the Mumma Farmstead was comprised of at least three separate land grants to various settlers.  The largest land grant was known as Anderson’s Delight.  In 1761, John Reynolds, an Anglo-Irishman who migrated to Washington County from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania acquired 212 acres of Anderson’s Delight.   In 1764 and 1765, Reynolds would add another 173 acres to his holdings from parts of two other tracts known as Abston’s Forrest and John’s Chance. He farmed this property until his death in 1784.  According to Reynolds’ will, the 385 acres was divided between his two sons, Francis and Joseph. Joseph’s portion would later become the William Roulette farm.

As the French and Indian War was ending, Christian Orndorff, a millwright who was also from Lancaster County, arrived in the area in 1762.   Now that the region was safe and open for settlement, Orndorff found a suitable site along the Antietam Creek to build a grist mill.  Today we know the site as the Joshua Newcomer farm.

In 1785, Francis Reynolds’ portion (182.5 acres) was conveyed to Christopher (Stuffle) Orndorff.  In 1791, Christopher (Stuffle) Orendorff sold the Reynolds property to his father Christian Orndorff.  After Christian moved to his new property, he turned the the mill over to his son, Christopher.

springhouse

The original springhouse

Christian Orndorff would build the first dwelling on the property (Mumma farm) and the springhouse.  In 1796, Christian passed away and the property was divided between his wife Elizabeth and another son.  That same year, Jacob Mumma purchased the mill complex from Christopher Orndorff.  Like many of the settlers coming to America, the Mummas were fleeing religious persecution in Germany’s Rhine River valley.  They arrived in Philadelphia in 1732 and settled in Lancaster County.  The Mumma family was not alone traveling down the Wagon Road to Sharpsburg, they were accompanied by Joseph Sherrick, Sr. and his family.  Sherrick would also purchase property along the Antietam from the Orndorff’s.

After purchasing the Orndorff Mill, which included two houses, a grist mill, a saw mill and more than 324 acres, Jacob Mumma began to buy other properties in Boonsboro and Sharpsburg .  In 1805, Jacob would purchase 182.5 acres from Elizabeth Orndorff.  This property, now known at the Mumma Farm, included a house, barn, springhouse and other outbuildings that had been built by the Orndorff family in the 1790’s.  Over the next six years, Jacob acquired the remaining parcels of the Orndorff land.

It is believed that Jacob’s son, John was the first Mumma to live on the farm.  During this time a two-story brick addition was constructed, doubling the size of the house.  In 1831, Jacob sold the 182.5 acre parcel to his son, Samuel Mumma Sr.  Samuel moved to the farm with his young wife and two children.  Samuel had married Barbara Hertzler in 1822.  Tragedy had struck the young couple shortly before moving to the farm in 1830 with the death of their third child, John.  Three years later, Barbara died giving birth to their fifth child, Catherine, who died just three weeks later.  Samuel was left with three sons and a large farm to take care of.  Before the end of the year Samuel would marry the daughter of a neighbor, 18-year old Elizabeth Miller.  Together they would have eleven children including a son who died in infancy.

The red line represents the approx. boundary of the Samuel Mumma property.

As the Mumma family grew, so did the community.  For years the German Baptist Brethren, or “Dunker”, congregation had met in the private home of Daniel Miller, the father of Elizabeth Miller Mumma.  In 1851, Samuel donated a small 4.5 acre tract at the edge of a woodlot that would become known as the West Woods.  Over the next several years a new church was constructed of bricks that were made and donated by another Dunker and close neighbor of the Mummas, John Otto.

 

 

 

 

The Mumma farm layout

By 1860, the Mummas owned a very diversified farm valued at $11,000.  They had large yields of wheat, Indian corn, rye, Irish potatoes, clover seed, and hay.  Their livestock included 8 horses, 5 milch cows, 17 other cattle, 11 sheep, and 20 swine valued at over $900. From these the Mummas were “able to obtain, 500 pounds of butter, 60 pounds of wool, and $200 worth of meat”.  The orchard was producing $30 worth of apples.

 

 

September 14, 1862 started out as most Sundays, but as the members of the Dunker Church met for worship, the Battle of South Mountain erupted near the mountain gaps just six miles to the east.  Later that day the Mummas invited some members of the congregation to their house for lunch.  The children went up the hill above the farm to watch as the battle raged, they could see the smoke and hear the sound of guns like thunder on the mountain.  The next morning as Confederate soldiers started to cross the Antietam, neighbors began meeting at the farm to see what Samuel Mumma thought they should do. He told them, “Go with me for we must get you out of the battleline.”

The Confederate battle line stretches across the Mumma farm at daybreak on September 17, 1862

One of the older Mumma boys was told to take the horses away to safety as the rest of the family prepared to leave.  Samuel Mumma, Jr. remembered that, “Some clothing was gotten together and the silverware packed into a basket, ready to take but in our haste to get away, all was left behind.  Father and Mother and the younger children left in the two-horse carry-all (the older children walking as there was a large family) going about four miles, and camped in a large church (called the Manor Church), where many others were also congregated.”   Samuel, Sr. was the last to leave as he was carrying his 3-year old daughter, Cora who was upset.  Samuel had noticed his gold watch over the mantle.  He grabbed the watch and hung it around Cora’s neck to settle her down.  Little did he realize that beside the clothing the family was wearing, the watch would be the only item saved from their belongings.

As the battle rages around the farm at around 7:30a.m., the house is set afire by Confederate forces.

Samuel Mumma, Jr. returned to the house on Tuesday evening, but found that the house had been ransacked and everything of value taken. Later, skirmishing erupted just beyond the farm across the Smoketown Road in the woods.  The next morning the battle would begin in earnest.  As the fighting shifted from the Miller Cornfield toward the Mumma farm, Brig. Gen. Rosewell S. Ripley’s brigade was forced back.  Ripley ordered the farm burned because he feared the buildings would be taken over by advancing Federal troops and sharpshooters would occupy the buildings to pick off his officers.  James Clark of the 3rd North Carolina Infantry regiment took charge of a squad of volunteers to set the Mumma farm buildings on fire.  Clark “recalled throwing a torch through an open window and onto a quilt covered bed.  Within a few moments the whole house was in flames.”

 

Throughout the day the battle swirled around the burning Mumma farm.  The next evening Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces withdrew back across the Potomac, but the “embers from the ruins of the Mumma buildings continued to smolder.”  As the smoke cleared the devastation was visible, the Mumma farm was completely destroyed.  “The Hagerstown Herald reported that Samuel Mumma had suffered the greatest loss as a result of the battle. In addition to his house and barn and their contents, the family lost all its furniture, clothing, grain, hay and farming implements. The fences were all destroyed, the fruit trees were striped, and the fields were trampled flat.”  

The ruins of the Mumma house taken by Alexander Gardner. (Note the photographer’s studio wagon)

When the Mumma family returned they could not believe the destruction to their farmstead.  Only the brick walls and a chimney were still standing among the ruins of the house.  The smokehouse was still intact and the springhouse survived, although the roof had been burned.  Photographer Alexander Gardner, who worked for Matthew Brady, arrived at the Mumma farm a few days after the battle to capture the scene of not only the destruction of the buildings but of the carnage that remained on the Mumma fields near the Dunker Church.

The carnage of the battle by the Dunker Church showing dead men and animals from Stephen D. Lee’s artillery position.

Devastation at the western corner of the Mumma Farmstead, 19 September 1862. This area is now the site of the Maryland Monument Park.Monument.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next several weeks the Union army encamped on Samuel Mumma’s fields.  The quartermaster would requisition his “firewood, 592 bushels of corn, 75 bushels of wheat, and sixteen ton of hay which somehow escaped the fire.”  Samuel attempted to get a voucher from the quartermaster, but he was told that a government commission would come around to settle his claims.  The commission never came.  When he did filed a claim for just the firewood and grain he was told his “losses were a direct result of the battle and therefore ineligible for reimbursement”.

The rebuilt farmhouse from 1863 to 1919.

Until the Mummas were able to rebuild their home, they stayed at the home of their neighbor, Joseph Sherrick, Jr.  In the spring of 1863 they started to rebuild the house and the family moved back in June of 1863. As time went on the rest of the farm buildings were rebuilt and additions to the house were added.

 

Of course Samuel Mumma’s postwar claim for damages was extensive.  The property and building included:

One house destroyed by fire($2000), one barn ($1250), one spring house and hog pen ($100), household furniture and clothing ($422.23), farming implements included McCormick reaper, a wheat drill, two grain rakes, a wheat fan and a wheat screen, six plows and a threshing machine, in addition to the usual pitch forks and other tools. He also lost 2 wagons ($457), fence destroyed ($590), land damaged by traveling and burial ($150), and fifteen cords wood ($37). 

For the damages  of crops, food stores and livestock, the claim included:

46 tons of hay (valued at $508), 80 bushels of wheat ($100), 20 bushels of rye ($15), 25 bushels of corn ($16.25) and 75 bundles of straw ($88). Another 75 bushels of wheat ($93.75) were plundered,
and Mumma lost 16 acres of corn ($355), 16 acres of fodder ($88), 100 bushels of Irish
potatoes ($100), 10 bushels of sweet potatoes ($15), and 15 tons of straw ($97.50). Destroyed
in the farmhouse or outbuildings were a bushel each of dried corn ($2) and dried apples ($1), a
half-bushel each of dried peas ($1.50) and beans ($.75), 1¾ bushels of dried cherries ($4), 12
crocks of preserves ($12), 12 crocks of marmalade ($12), 8 crocks of apple butter ($6), 4
barrels of vinegar ($20) and 16 gallons of wine ($24) and a half-barrel of pickles ($4). Two
household gardens, valued at $10 each, were devastated. [6] Mumma also lost a wide variety
of livestock in the aftermath of the Battle. In his claim he listed 6 steers ($150), 2 calves ($12),
2 colts ($60), a horse ($100), 9 hogs ($90), 9 shoats ($27) and 8 sheep ($40). He also lost 200
chickens ($30), a dozen turkeys ($6) and 2 ducks ($.50).

The claim was one of the only ones refused by the government, which said the Confederate forces did the damage, so the Federal government was not responsible.

In 1876,  Samuel Mumma, Sr sold the farm to his son, Henry C. Mumma.  Samuel died on December 7 of that year.  His wife Elizabeth passed away ten years later on August 25, 1886.  They are buried together in the Mumma Cemetery beside the farm, along with many of their family and friends.

The gravestones of Elizabeth & Samuel Mumma at the Mumma Cemetery.

In 1885, Rezin D. Fisher acquired the farm from Henry Mumma.  In 1890, Congress established the Antietam National Battlefield Site which would be supervised by the War Department. As the battlefield site was being developed, “Fisher sold off small parcels of land to various states for the erection of commemorative monuments” like the Maryland Monument and New York monument parks.   Fisher would sell the property to Walter H. Snyder in 1923, who owned the farmstead for just over a year.  In 1924, he sold the property to Hugh and Hattie Spielman who would farm the property until 1961. “With the passage of the Congressional authorization for additional land acquisition for the battlefield in 1960, the Park Service quickly moved to purchase the Mumma property. The 148.5 acre tract was acquired from Hugh and Hattie Spielman in December 1961 at a cost of $51,570”.   The Spielman’s would remain on the property with an agricultural lease until the mid-1980s.

As part of the “Mission 66” program the National Park Service built a new visitor center in 1962 on the newly acquired Mumma farm near the New York Monument Park.  After the Spielman’s moved off the property, the Park Service performed a stabilization and preservation project of the house in the 1990s.  In late 2001 the preservation work on the exterior of the farmhouse began and the interior was restored.  Today the Mumma Farm is used by the National Park Service for ranger-led educational programs for school groups and other youth groups coming to the battlefield.  The Samuel Mumma farmstead was an eyewitness to history and a tragic reminder of the impact of the battle on the local population.

 

The Samuel Mumma farm today.

 

  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Civil War Glass Negatives and Related Prints, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/related/?fi=subject&q=Antietam%2C%20Battle%20of%2C%20Md.%2C%201862.&co=cwp
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  •  Schildt, John W., Drums Along the Antietam. ParsonMcClain Printing Company, 2004.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Historic Preservation Training Center, Historic Structures Report for the Samuel Mumma House, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1999.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Mumma Farmstead Cultural Landscape Inventory, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

 

25 Things to do within 25 Minutes of the Inn

April 17th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

During your visit to the Jacob Rohrbach Inn there are so many things to do, see, and experience.  Here are our Top 25 Things to Do within 25 minutes of the Inn.

1Antietam Battlefield Guides. Take a guided tour of Antietam National Battlefield – One of the best ways to experience the pristine Antietam National Battlefield is on a private tour with a National Park Service certified guide.  The Antietam Battlefield Guides will lead you across the hallowed ground of Antietam so you understand why it was a major turning point in the war.  They can also take you on a campaign tour which includes Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Shepherdstown and other off the beaten path locations.

 

Tuding the Antietam

2. Tube the Antietam – Enjoy the day with a relaxing float down the Antietam Creek.  Travel from the Devil’s Backbone and down past the Burnside Bridge and you’ll meander by some scenic farms, historic buildings and then drift under the old stone arched bridges of the Antietam.

 

 

Antiquing

3. Go Antiquing – If you’re looking for that rare, unique or special item than we have a few places to search.  Try the Boonsboro AntiquesMemory Lane Antiques & Collectibles, Valley Antique & UniquesThe Olde Homestead and Beaver Creek Antique Market.

 

 

Washington County Playhouse

4. Take in Dinner and a Show at the Washington County Playhouse –   Year-round you can experience a Broadway-style show or musical comedy with a buffet dinner at the Playhouse.  A great place for ‘Date Night’.

 

 

Harpers Ferry

5. Spend the day at Harpers Ferry –  At the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, a walk through Harpers Ferry is like stepping into the past. Take a stroll along the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike the trails and battlefields.

 

 

Crystal Grottoes Caverns

6. Explore the Crystal Grottoes Caverns – The caverns offer a beautiful display of natural rock formations.   Take the guided tour to learn about the cavern’s history and geology.

 

 

 Washington County Rural Heritage Museum

7. Learn about regional history at the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum – Stop by the museum during your weekend stay and travel back to a time when the pace was a bit slower and life centered around the farm, family, and community.  See what life was like in Washington County, MD prior to 1940.

 

 

Family biking the C&O

8. Bike the C&O –  This 185 mile path follows the Potomac River from Georgetown DC to Cumberland MD. Here the terrain is gentle, and along the scenic tree-lined path you will find historic ruins, cliffs and caves, and some good riverside picnic spots.  Shady biking conditions make this trip a great option for those hot summer days. In the fall the trail becomes radiant with the colors of changing leaves.  Rent your bikes at the Inn and enjoy the day biking the canal.

 

Fort Frederick9. Visit Fort Frederick – Built in 1756 to protect settlers during the French and Indian War, the fort host a number of interpretive programs and events throughout the year.   The park is a great place for an afternoon picnic and hike along the C & O Canal.

 

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

10. Stop by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts –  Located in historic City Park in Hagerstown, the museum has over 7,000 works of art.  The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts has been recognized as one of the finest small museums in the nation.

 

 

 Captain Benders Tavern

Awesome Burgers and fries at Captain Benders Tavern

11.  Explore Area Dining – Enjoy casual pub fare at Captain Benders Tavern, sit down with a farm to table dinner at Domestic, delight in upscale contemporary American dishes at The Press Room, or savor fine dining at Old South Mountain Inn.  These are just a few of the many dining choices in the surrounding area.  You will be sure to find a new ‘favorite’ restaurant during your stay!

 

 

 

 

Monument along the A.T.

War Correspondents Memorial at Gathland State Park

12. Visit Gathland State Park – The park is located on the site of the Civil War Battle of South Mountain and was once the mountain home of  George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist.   Two of the structures serve as a museum, one to Townsend and the other to the Civil War.  The park is a great place for picnicking and hiking along the Appalachian National Scenic Trail which traverses the park and passes the monument base.

 

 

 

Elk Mountain Trails

Horseback riding at Elk Mountain Trails

13. Go Horseback Riding with Elk Mountain Trails – Take a relaxing horse ride on the trails near historic Harpers Ferry, down on the banks of the Potomac River and along the C & O Canal.  Plan ahead and sign up for their romantic Potomac River Moonlight Dinner Ride.  After riding along the canal you’ll stop and have dinner around the campfire watching a full moon rise over the valley.

 

 

Cronise Market

14.  Eat Fresh and Buy Local at a Farmer’s Market – Shepherdstown has two Farmers’ Markets; Morgan’s Grove and Shepherdstown Farmers Market.  Operating every weekend from early spring to early winter, they provide visitors with ample opportunities to engage in the local food and craft experience.  Boonsboro also has two Farmer’s Markets, providing a variety of local fare.  Boonsboro Farmers Market has great community and farming support offering ‘no spray’ fruits, grass fed meats and cheeses and vegan breads.  For over 90 years the Cronise family at the Cronise Market Place has provided the freshest local fruits and vegetables, as well as gorgeous flowers, plants, decor and sweets.

 

Maya

Maya hiking the A.T.

15. Hike the A.T. – The Appalachian Trail in Maryland follows the ridgeline of South Mountain and you can access the trail at the Washington Monument State Park or from Gathland State Park.  Whether you’re looking for some scenic beauty and wildlife, a taste of history, or a little exercise, the A.T. offers all these things and much more.

 

 

16. Go shopping at the Premium Outlets  – If shopping is on Outlet Mallyour list of things to do during your stay,  then stop by the Premium Outlets.  Retailers range from jewelry to women’s apparel to sporting goods, with over 100 designer and name brand outlet stores including Banana Republic, Coach, Guess, Kate Spade New York, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and more.

 

Nutter's

And this is a small…

17. Enjoy Nutter’s Ice Cream – A stop at Nutter’s Ice Cream is a MUST while you’re staying at the Inn. With over 32 flavors of hand-dipped and soft served ice cream you will get a generous portion for a very affordable price.  Be sure to go there hungry!

 

 

 

Ghost Tour

Mark & Julia Brugh

18. Take a Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour – The best attraction in town, next to the battlefield, is the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour.  Based on of the lives of Sharpsburg citizens who lived through the Battle of Antietam. Mark and Julia Brugh will take you through the Confederate Soldiers’ Passageway or the Children’s Alley as they explain the ghostly images that still linger in the town, possibly remnants of souls who never crossed over.

 

Rafting

19. Go rafting with River & Trails Outfitters or River Riders – Experienced guides will take you on an exciting trip down Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia come together.  As you’re splashing through the white water rapids you’ll see some of the most breathtaking scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

20. Take the Antietam Highlands Wine Trail – Enjoy the day driving through the DLC tourrolling hills of the Antietam Valley to each vineyard, like BIG Cork Vineyards or Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery .  Don’t forget about visiting our favorite cidery; Distillery Lane Ciderworks.  Sample their cider, pick your own apples or take a tour of the orchard.  Be sure to stop by Sharpsburg’s newest vineyard – Antietam Creek Vineyards, located right at the edge of the Battlefield.

 

Washington Monument21. See Washington Monument State Park –  Located atop South Mountain, Washington Monument State Park is named for the first completed monument dedicated to the memory of George Washington.  Initially erected by the citizens of Boonsboro in 1827, the rugged stone tower provides a magnificent vista to the valley below.

 

 

Antietam Battlefield

22. Witness the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum – The Philip Pry farmstead would be transformed from an army headquarters to a field hospital within 24 hours.  See exhibits relating to the care of wounded, the effects on the civilian population in the area and the innovations of Civil War medicine, which continue to save lives today.

 

Hollywood Casino

23. Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is the place for a total entertainment experience, practically in our own backyard!  Hollywood Casino has exciting Vegas-style casino gaming, first-class entertainment that is up close and personal, and live thoroughbred racing. Before heading back to the Inn, Hollywood has five restaurants that offer a variety of cuisine that is sure to satisfy.

 

Discovery Station

24. Discover Discovery Station – This is a great stop for families.  How can you go wrong with dinosaurs, Lego’s and airplanes… this hands-on museum allows youngsters to discover, explore, and investigate a wide variety of exhibits and programs that stimulate their curiosity and create lasting experiences.

 

 

25. Just relax at the Inn.  After experiencing the first 24 activities on this list, you will be sure to appreciate the tranquility of relaxing on your porch, listening to the chirping birds and enjoying the views of the gardens.

Porch at the Inn

Relax on your porch at the Inn

 

The Farmsteads at Antietam – Alfred Poffenberger Farm

March 31st, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Perhaps one of the least known and seldom visited farmsteads at Antietam is the Alfred Poffenberger farm also known as the Mary Locher cabin.  One of the oldest historical structures in the area, many visitors traveling to or from Antietam along Route 65 do not realize that this farmstead was at the center of the most ferocious fighting in the West Woods.

In the 1730s and 40s, settlers from Pennsylvania began passing through Maryland on their way to Virginia.  To entice these German settlers to stay in Maryland’s backcountry, Lord Baltimore issued a proclamation in 1732, “offering 200 acres of land in fee, subject to a four shilling per year quitrent per each 100 acres to any family who would settle and work the land.”  The opportunity for large land tracts attracted speculators like James Smith, Dr. George Stuart, Col. Edwin Sprigg and Richard Sprigg.

As the migration of settlers traveled south from the Cumberland Valley into the valley of the Antietam, they would follow a trail that would lead them to a ford on the Potomac River.  Today this ford is known by a number of names: Pack Horse Ford, Boteler’s Ford, Blackford’s Ford or the Shepherdstown Ford.  The trail that the early settlers traveled became known as the “Waggon Road” and was referenced in many of the land patents of the day. In 1734, Richard Sprigg was granted 500 acres called ‘Piles Grove‘ which was located between Antietam Creek and the Potomac River, just north of the area that would become Sharpsburg. Also sometimes referred to as ‘Piles Delight‘, the property was described as “beginning at a White Oak near a small branch and near a larger spring.. about a mile from a road called the Waggon Road…”  The tract of land on which the Alfred Poffenberger farm is located, was first surveyed and patented by Richard Sprigg.

The Alfred Poffenberger farm or Mary Locher cabin.

Less than ten years later, in 1743, Colonel Edwin (Edward) Sprigg was granted a portion of the Piles Delight tract.
In 1750, Col. Sprigg had two patents resurveyed into a tract called Piles Delight (Addition and Resurvey) which totaled 2,617 acres.  It was very typical of eastern Maryland land speculators to lease or sell smaller parcels of land to the arriving settlers.  During this time parcels of the property were probably leased to tenants. Although nothing is known of the builder, it is believed that the log structure on the property today was constructed before 1760. When Col. Sprigg died, his will divided the tract to his children, but his son Frederick would later sell the entire tract to David McMechen in 1791.

Following the death of David McMechen in 1811, the final 600 acres of the Resurvey of the Addition of Piles Delight was put up for sale.  The parcel was quickly purchased for $19,300 by John McPherson and John Brien, both well-known land speculators and owners of the nearby Antietam Iron Works. By 1814, they had sold 225 acres to Philip Grove for $13, 500.  Michael Havenar also purchased a parcel just to the north of Grove, which would eventually become the Nicodemus Farm.

 

The Jacob Grove homestead was just west of Sharpsburg.

The Grove family in Maryland had descended from the German settlers of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Hans Groff had emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1695.  His grandson, Jacob had moved to Maryland in 1765 and their last name was changed to Grove.  Jacob’s son Philip would become one of the leading merchants in Sharpsburg, owning large estates in and around town.  One of these estates was known as Mount Airy, a large farmstead just west of town which had been originally owned by the Chapline family.  Philip had purchased the property in 1821 and completed the building of the house, which became the Grove homestead.

 

 

 

 

Mary Grove Locker parcel

The red line represents the approx. boundary of the Mary Grove Locker parcel and the blue boundary was the Joseph Grove parcel.

Upon Philip’s death in 1841, Mount Airy was acquired by his youngest son, Stephen P. Grove.  The other tracts of land in Philip’s estate were divided among his other children.  The 225 acre farm on Resurvey of the Addition to Piles Delight was divided between his daughter Mary Grove Locker and his son Joseph Grove. The eastern half of the property, that Mary received, included a dwelling, a large bank barn, a root cellar and several outbuildings.  Joseph was most likely already living in the large house on 112 acres on the western portion of the property.  The house still stands today.  Joseph Grove’s property would eventually become the Jacob Hauser farmstead.

 

 

 

 

The foundation of the bank barn recently restored by the NPS.

The root cellar by the dwelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westerly view to the Hauser farm.

The log constructed cabin, pre-circa 1760.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary Grove had married Jacob Locher of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The young couple may have lived at the farm she inherited from her father, but most likely it was leased to tenants. By 1860 the original 16 x 16 foot round-log cabin had been expanded with additions to its north and south end.  The southern end was probably a large parlor with a sleeping loft and the northern addition including a large working fireplace and wainscoting which suggests it was built as a kitchen.  A set of winding box stairs in the kitchen led up to another sleeping chamber.

 

Alfred Poffenberger Farm

On March 2, 1858, Alfred Poffenberger married Harriet Hutzel.  According to the 1860 census they were residing at the Mary Locher farm along with a one year old son, William.  Also listed was a 10 year old named Emma Ziah, and Peter Krutzer, a 28 year old farmhand.  Alfred’s uncle, Joseph, had a farm about a mile to the north of the Locker house.  His cousin Samuel was soon to be married and they would then move to an established farm just a half a mile to the east of Alfred, off the Smoketown Road.  Like his relatives on the surrounding farms, Alfred had harvested his crop of wheat, rye, corn and hay before Confederate soldiers started to occupy his farm on September 16, 1862.

 

Sept. 17th – 9:00-9:30AM

It is unknown where Alfred Poffenberger and his family went during the battle, but it is certain that they left in a hurry.  According to one Confederate soldier who found “the cabin” abandoned just hours before the fighting, he found two loaves of fresh bread which relieved his hunger.  By the early morning hours,  Confederate forces were rapidly moving across Alfred Poffenberger’s fields.  Artillery had set up near the barn and other positions were established by Jacob Hauser’s house and the ridge overlooking the Nicodemus farm. Around mid-morning the fighting was creeping closer to the Poffenberger farmhouse through the West Woods.  As Major General John Segdwick’s Union division was about to break out of the woodlot, Confederates under Major General Lafayette McLaws and Brigadier General John Walker struck the federal forces. The farmstead was engulfed in the confusing battle for the West Woods.  The  ebb and flow of the battle was happening along the lane in front of the cabin.  Finally the Confederates pushed the Union soldiers through the West Woods and back across the Hagerstown Pike.

15th MASS monument

View across MD Route 65 in front of the A. Poffenberger farm to the 15th Mass. monument

The Poffenberger barn had become an ambulance station for the Rebel forces.  As the wounded gathered,
ambulances and wagons arrived to transport them to a field hospital that had been established outside of Sharpsburg on the Shepherdstown Road at the David Smith farm.  Two days later after the Confederate Army retreat back across Shepherdstown Ford, a burial detail from the 15th Massachusetts dug a 25 foot trench near the cabin by the garden to bury their comrades.

 

The 5,300-man Union  division that advanced through the West Woods was wrecked, suffering over 2,200 casualties in less than thirty minutes.  The Confederates  would suffer almost 2,000 casualties as well.  One Rebel soldier attempted to describe the fighting in the West Woods stating,  “We were in the hottest part of the fight under Jackson, and for me to give an idea of the fierceness of the conflict, the roar of musketry, and the thunder of artillery is as utterly impossible as to describe a thousand storms in the region of Hades.”  

The amount of damage to the Alfred Poffenberger cabin and buildings must have been very substantial considering the fighting that occurred there, however Alfred’s claims do not reflect that.  It is possible, that since it would be very hard to determine whether the damage was caused by Confederate or by Union troops, Alfred did not include structural damage in the two claims he submitted to the Federal government.  He would receive $144.30 for stores that included wheat, hay, and corn taken between September 20-27, 1862 and another $661.40 for corn, rye, and hay that was taken September 30, 1862.

 

Survey of the property of George Poffenberger and Mrs. Nicodemus by S.S. Downin, in 1883.

After the battle, the Poffenberger’s briefly moved into a tenant house at his Uncle Joseph’s farm.  He continued to be a tenant of the Locher farm until after 1870, when he moved his family to Iowa.  The next tenant of the log house may have been his younger step-brother George Poffenberger, but only for a short period.  By 1883, George had purchased 65 acres from David R. Miller.  This parcel included the entire West Woods east of the cabin to the Hagerstown Pike.  George immediately built a house there, while renting the Locher farm.  In 1898 George Poffenberger would purchase the Locher farm from the heirs of Mary Locher.

 

The property would remain in the Poffenberger family until 1991 when it was sold to the Conservation Fund and donated to the Antietam National Battlefield.  Since that time the National Park Service has conducted archaeological investigations around the house site and constructed a temporary canopy in order to protect the cabin during the stabilization and restoration process.  In the future, the National Park Service would like to create an interpretive hiking trail through the Alfred Poffenberger farmstead to continue to tell the story of the West Woods and the civilians involved.  The Alfred Poffenberger farm was an eyewitness to the history of this desperate fight in the West Woods.

 

The Alfred Poffenberger farmstead today.

 

  • Barron, Lee and Barbara Barron, The History of Sharpsburg, Maryland: Founded by Joseph Chapline, 1763. Sharpsburg: self-published, 1972.
  • Buchanan, Jim,  Walking the West Woods, 20 March 2017.   Retrieved from http://walkingthewestwoods.blogspot.com/search?q=Mary+Grove+Locher+Cabin%2C+Poffenberger+Farmstead
  • Curci, Jane. Mary Poffenberger: Information about the Poffenberger Family, 20 March 2017. Retrieved from http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/poffenberger/210/
  • Gallagher, Gary W., Editor, The Antietam Campaign. Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historical American Building Survey MD,22-ANTI.V,2- (sheet 1 of 5) – Mary Locher Cabin, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/md0837.sheet.00001a/
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  •  Schildt, John W., Drums Along the Antietam. ParsonMcClain Printing Company, 2004.
  • Williams, Thomas J.C., A History of Washington County, Maryland. From the earliest settlements to the present time. Vol. 2: Hagerstown, 1906. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books/about/A_History_of_Washington_County_Maryland.html?id=c9AwAQAAMAAJ
  • Early Colonial Settlers of Southern Maryland and Virginia’s Northern Neck Counties  Edward Sprigg. Retrieved from  http://www.colonial-settlers-md-va.us/getperson.php?personID=I013535&tree=tree1
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

Spring means BASEBALL!

March 15th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

You know spring is coming when the flowers start to bloom, the birds are chirping and you hear the National Anthem in the distance.  That’s right – spring means BASEBALL, and in Sharpsburg little league begins the first Saturday of April.  When you’re sitting on your guest room porch, you can hear an announcer calling off the starting lineups for each team and then the National Anthem begins to play.  You close your eyes as the final notes echo through the town and your memories take you back to an earlier time; playing a game of catch in the backyard, going to your first big-league ball game with the smell of hot dogs in the stands, the roar of the crowd as the umpire yells, “PLAY BALL!”

That’s right, spring means baseball and what better place to experience both major and minor  league baseball than during your stay at the Inn.   Pick a day of the week and chances are, you can catch a major league game with the Baltimore Orioles or the Washington Nationals.   Both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. are just a short drive from the Inn and perfect for a day-trip.

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles

 

In Baltimore, you can visit the National Aquarium, explore the Maryland Science Center, tour the USS Constellation and have dinner at one of the great restaurants at the Inner Harbor before you head over to the O’s game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

 

Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals

Of course, in Washington, D.C. you could see the Lincoln Memorial and the National Air & Space Museum.  Stop by Arlington National Cemetery for the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before heading over to Nationals game.  The Nat’s new stadium, Nationals Park is located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol.  Before or after the game you can enjoy dinner at one of the restaurants along the fast-developing Capitol Riverfront adjacent to the Navy Yard.

 

If you’re looking for more of a small-town feel, but still want to get plenty of action, than we have two great minor league teams in Hagerstown and Frederick.

Frederick Keys

Frederick Keys

 

The Frederick Keys was established in 1989.  The Keys are a Carolina League Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles and play on Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, which opened in 1990.

 

Hagerstown Suns

Hagerstown Suns

 

 

The Hagerstown Suns have been part of the South Atlantic League since 1993.  The Suns are a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. They play in Hagerstown at Municipal Stadium, which was built in 1931.

 

 

 

Manny Machado

Manny Machado

Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper

 

If you take in one of these games you just never know who the next All Star you’ll see out on the field.  Manny Machado played with the Keys and Bryce Harper spent a short time with the Suns before making their major league debut.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for some down-home family fun, then staying at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn is the perfect choice  to get out to the old ball park and take in “America’s favorite pastime”.  So step up to the plate and hit a home run by booking your room today.

 

 

The Farmsteads at Antietam – David R. Miller Farm

March 3rd, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Map

Daybreak on September 17, 1862.

On the morning of September 17, 1862, Major General Joseph Hooker rode out from the Joseph Poffenberger barn where he had spent the drizzly night.  When he reached the edge of the North Woods and looked to the south he could see the objective of his Union First Corps – a small rise of ground at the junction of Smoketown Road and the Hagerstown Turnpike.   Nearly a mile away, this intersection was next to a small whitewashed building, thought to be a schoolhouse but was actually the Dunker Church.  Confederate forces under Stonewall Jackson defended the intersection in a line extending from the Mumma farm northwestward across the Hagerstown Pike through the woods to Nicodemus Heights.  Halfway between Hooker’s First Corps and his objective at the Dunker Church stood the farmstead of David R. Miller.  During the morning of September 17, the majority of the fighting would take place surrounding D.R. Miller’s farm – at the Cornfield, in the East Woods, along the Hagerstown Turnpike, in the West Woods and around the Dunker Church.

Miller farm

D.R. Miller Farmstead today.

Like the Joseph Poffenberger farm, the D.R. Miller property was once part of the tract granted to Joseph Chapline called ‘Loss and Gain’ that was bequeathed to his son, James Chapline.  In order to satisfy his creditors, James began leasing and selling parts of his land in the late 1790’s.  Although there is no recorded lease or deed, it is believed that a John Myers was occupying on a portion of Chapline’s tract, now call “Addition to Loss and Gain“.  In 1796, James Chapline sold 40 acres to Jonas Hogmire and that deed refers to “the part of Addition to Loss and Gain that John Myers now lives on..”  Hogmire would also purchased another 40-acre lot from Chapline in 1797.

floor sketch

Sketch plan of the first floor of the D.R. Miller farmhouse.

In 1799, Hogmire sold 81 3/8 acres to John Myers for £610, 6 shillings and 3 pence.  Around this time the main house was built.  The log structure sat on a limestone foundation with a central chimney system.  “The chimney served the fireplaces of several rooms on each floor and was indicative of traditional Pennsylvania German floor plans”.  The additional ell on the north side of the building would include a dining room, kitchen and porch.   By the end of 1812, John Myers would acquire another 150 acres and several other smaller lots from James Buchanan, who was the Trustee for the sale of James Chapline’s land.

John Myers lived on the property until his death in 1836.  According to his will, he directed that the farm be rented out for five years and that his daughter Kitty, “is to have and enjoy the free entire use and benefit of the mansion house in which I reside”.   Based on the information in the will, the property included the “mansion house” and the “old house”.  It is likely that the “mansion house” was referring to the house that is standing on the property today and the “old house” may have been a dwelling first occupied by John Myers, but being utilized as a tenant house in the 1830’s.  Other improvements on the property included a second tenant house, a blacksmith shop, an out-kitchen, a spring and two gardens.  The farm was divided by the “big road” referring to the Hagerstown-Sharpsburg turnpike.  Across the turnpike stood the barn, a stable, a corn crib-wagon shed and hog pens.

Miller famr

The red line represents the approx. boundary of the farm based off the 1859 Taggert map.

In January, 1842 the property was put up for sale by the executors of John Myers will.  An advertisement in the Hagerstown Mail stated that the farm consisted of “265 Acres of first-rate Limestone Land; about 150 Acres of which are cleared, the balance in thriving timber.  In addition to the buildings there was an orchard of “fine Fruit Trees”.   On April 24, 1844, David R. Miller purchased the farm for $53.00 per acre.  That same day, David transferred the property to his father, John Miller, who was one of the executors.  Although John Miller continued to own the farm until his death in 1882, his son David, known as D.R., would live there.

D.R. Miller was given his name in honor of his grandfather David Miller.   David Miller and his wife, Catherine Flick, were from the Rhinepfalze region of Germany.  In the 1760’s they emigrated to Maryland  and established the first store in the new town of Sharpsburg in 1768.

David’s son John, followed in his footsteps  operating not only the store, but the town post office, a hotel, a gristmill and also owned several farms.  During the War of 1812, John was a colonel in the militia and continued to be referred to as Colonel Miller.

Farm layout

D.R. Miller Farm in 1862.

The very wealthy Col. Miller helped establish his sons on farms throughout the Sharpsburg area. On April 2, 1846, his son D.R. married Margaret Pottenger.  Together they set up housekeeping and started to raise a family on the recently purchased farm.  By September 1862, they had seven children and like the neighboring farms, they worked hard to harvest their crops that fall.  Near the west side barn a number of haystacks stood and the garden was “sprawling with pumpkins, potatoes, and beans.”  Just to the south of the farm was  Miller’s 24-acre cornfield with “stalks higher than a man’s head” standing ready to harvest.

As the converging Union and Confederate armies neared Sharpsburg, Miller had his livestock driven to safety before they arrived, “all except one angry bull that refused to be herded”.  The day before the battle, D.R. and his family left the farm and moved closer to safety at his father’s house on the other side of Houser’s Ridge.  They made sure to take along the family’s pet parrot – Polly.  As the fighting raged closer and the family moved into shelter, they realized that Polly was still in her cage on the porch. Just as D.R. ran out to rescue the petrified parrot on the porch, a shell fragment sliced through the leather strip and the cage fell to the ground as the squawking parrot cried, “Oh, poor Polly.

While the Miller’s were sheltered at his father’s house, the battle raged back and forth across their farm, the fields and in the woods.  Some of the most vicious fighting occurred in and around D.R. Miller’s cornfield.  Gen. Hooker would write in his official report that, “every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battle-field”.  When Miller and his family returned to their home, the field was exactly how Hooker had described it, “not a single stalk left standing”. D.R. Miller’s field would forever be known as The Cornfield.

 

Dead Confederates

Confederate soldiers along Hagerstown Pike. D.R. Miller’s cornfield is just over the top of the fence rail in the distance.

Hagerstown Pike

Modern view of the photograph on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the battle Union casualties gathered at the farmstead, but were quickly moved to an established hospital further to the north. The days following the battle, Union burial details swept across Miller’s property, first to bury their comrades, than to bury the Confederates.

burial detail

Union burial detail on the D.R. Miller farm. The barn roof can be see on the far right of the photo.

site of burial detail

Modern view of the photograph on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90 PA monument

Modern view of the photograph on the left.

Burial detail

Union Burial detail on the Miller farm where the 90th PA monument is today.

Surprisingly there was very little damage to the house and barn, only the blacksmith shop was destroyed.  The crops in the fields were ruined and the stacks in and around the barn were used for the wounded and feeding the horses.  David R. Miller filed a claim of $1,237.75 for damages of which he received $995.00 from the Federal government for his losses on July 6, 1872.

D.R. Miller house - 1862

Photograph of the Miller house taken shortly after the battle.

Miller house

Modern view of the photograph on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D.R. Miller and his family continued to live and work on the farm for the next twenty years.  When Colonel John Miller died in 1882, he left a large amount of real estate, with eight children and no recorded will.  This would place D. R. and Margaret against several of the other surviving heirs.   After a bitter court battle it was agreed to sell the property and divide the money among  the heirs.  In November of 1882, 150 acres around the house and the farm buildings were put up for public sale. It is unclear what happened to the remaining 100 plus acres at the southern end of the property, but it is possible that they were parceled off and sold as well.

Survey of Miller farm

Survey of the southern parcels of the D.R. Miller property by S.S. Downin, in 1883.

Eventually a year later, in November 1883, D.R. and Margaret purchased the farm they had been living on for almost forty years.  A little over two years later they would sell the farm to Euromus Hoffman on March 29, 1886.  Unfortunately the Miller’s did not enjoy a long retirement from the farm, for on November 13, 1888, Margaret passed away at the age of 63.  D.R. survived until the age of 78, when he died on September 10 1893, almost thirty-one years after the battle.  Margaret and David R. Miller rest together at the Mountain View Cemetery in Sharpsburg, near their neighbors, Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger.

The Millers

Daguerreotype of David R. and Margaret Miller

Millers gravesite

David R. and Margaret Miller’s gravestone at Mountain View Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The farm stayed within the descendants of the Hoffman family until 1933 when it was sold to John C. and Emma F. Poffenberger.  In 1950, a widowed Emma Poffenberger would sell the farm to William and Lucy Barr who would only own it for two years before they sold the property to Paul and Evelyn Culler in 1952.  On July 3, 1989, Paul Culler sold the farm to the Conservation Fund which would donate the property to the National Park Service in 1990.

Today, the D.R. Miller house has been stabilized and restored to its post-war appearance.  A large portion of the farm is utilized by the National Park Service for their Living Farm program.  The post-war outbuildings and fields are leased to local farmers to raise crops and livestock, generating some revenue but more importantly preserving the agricultural landscape of the battlefield.

The D.R. Miller farm was at the epicenter of the battle.  According the a National Park Service ranger, the carnage here was some of the worst of the entire war. “There was a soldier killed or wounded every second for four hours straight”.  This hallowed ground became the “bloodiest square mile in the history of the United States.”   The D.R. Miller farmstead is a true eyewitness to history.

The Bloody Cornfield

D.R. Miller’s Cornfield

Sources:
  • Barron, Lee and Barbara Barron, The History of Sharpsburg, Maryland: Founded by Joseph Chapline, 1763. Sharpsburg: self-published, 1972.
  • Dresser, Michael, (September 13, 2012). 150 years later, Preservationists see victory at Antietam. The Baltimore Sun.  Retrieved from http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-antietam-anniversary-20120913-story.html.
  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Downin, S. S., Survey of the property of George Poffenberger and Mrs. Nicodemus in Washington County, Md, 1883. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/item/2005625029/.
  • Gardner, Alexander,  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Selected Civil War Photographs Collection, Washington, D.C., 1862.  Retrieved from http://www.loc.gov/pictures/related/?fi=name&q=Gardner%2C%20Alexander%2C%201821-1882
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  •  Reed, Paula S., History Report: The D.R. Miller Farm, Hagerstown, MD: Preservation Associates, 1991: Retrieved from  https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/anti/miller.pdf.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape, Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols, Washington, D.C.; Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.
  • U.S. War Department, Atlas of the battlefield of Antietam, prepared under the direction of the Antietam Battlefield Board, lieut. col. Geo. W. Davis, U.S.A., president, gen. E.A. Carman, U.S.V., gen. H Heth, C.S.A. Surveyed by lieut. col. E.B. Cope, engineer, H.W. Mattern, assistant engineer, of the Gettysburg National Park. Drawn by Charles H. Ourand, 1899. Position of troops by gen. E. A. Carman. Published by authority of the Secretary of War, under the direction of the Chief of Engineers, U.S. Army, 1908.” Washington, Government Printing Office, 1908.   Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3842am.gcw0248000/?sp=5.

Civil War Lecture Series

January 30th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

JRI Civil War Lecture Series

Join us at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn this summer to hear leading historians, Antietam Battlefield Guides, and living history presenters as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Lecture Series.

2017 Speaker Schedule

June 7: Civil War Medicine Hollywood Style -The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, presented by Gordon Dammann

June 14:  Antietam: The Soldiers’ Battle presented by John Michael Priest

June 21: Faces from the 9th Corps at Antietam presented by Joe Stahl

June 28: Antietam Creek’s Historic Stone Arch Bridges presented by Gary Rohrer

July 5: Antietam Personalities presented by Tom Clemens

July 12: Henry Hunt and the Maryland Campaign presented by Jim Rosebrock

July 19: Too Useful to Sacrifice; Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam presented by Steve Stotelmyer

July 26: The Battle of Five Forks presented by Perry Jamieson

August 2: Water to his Front, Water to his Rear: Robert E. Lee Defends the Confederate High Water Mark at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862 presented by Kevin Pawlak

August 9: Evading Capture: Union Cavalry Escape from Harpers Ferry, September 14, 1862 presented by Sharon Murray

August 16: The Woman Soldier at Antietam presented by Mark Brugh

August 23: From Dred Scott to Secession presented by Matt Borders

August 30: These Honored Dead presented by John Schildt

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public.  They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Inn at 7:oo p.m so bring a chair or blanket to sit around our event tent.  In case of inclement weather the talks will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street.   Check our Blog  and Facebook page for weekly updates about the speakers and their topics.

 

Civil War Lecture Series Notice

Speaker Schedule

The Farmsteads at Antietam – Joseph Poffenberger Farm

January 30th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Antietam is said to be one of the most pristine and well preserved Civil War battlefields.  When you look across the landscape little has changed since that fateful day of September 17, 1862.  The preserved fencelines, fields and woodlots help us understand the ebb and flow of the battle.  The details of the Battle of Antietam are well known to students of the Civil War, but as you survey the battlefield, you see scattered across the countryside the proof that battles are not fought in a vacuum.  Several farmsteads dot the landscape as well.  We tend to forget about the civilians that are caught up in the events swirling around the homes where for generations families lived, worked, played, and died.  One of the most frequently asked questions from our guests is about the families that lived in and around Sharpsburg.

Each month we will explore one of the farmsteads at Antietam to help answer some of these questions: What did the farm look like?  Who lived there before the battle?  What did the families do during the battle?  What happened to the families after the battle?

In the early 1700’s very few people lived west of Frederick.  To induce immigrants into western Maryland, land was being offered at very low prices; and people with disposable wealth began to purchase large tracts of land.  Since 1738, Joseph Chapline, Sr. had been acquiring hundreds of acres of land along the Potomac River through grants and purchases.  When war with the French and Indians erupted in 1754, Chapline was called upon to assist his friend and Maryland Governor, Horatio Sharpe.  As a Captain, Chapline would help finance and build forts along the frontier.  For these efforts, Captain Chapline received over 10,000 acres adjacent to his existing estate from Governor Sharpe after the war in 1763.  In honor of his good friend, Chapline established the town of Sharpes Burgh.  Totaling more than 15,000 acres, or 24 square miles, in the Antietam Valley, Joseph Chapline was one of the largest landholders west of Frederick town.

The Joseph Poffenberger House

Joseph Chapline died on January 8, 1769, and in his Last Will and Testament, the huge estate was divided among Joseph’s nine children.  Just east of Chapline’s plantation estate, known as Mount Pleasant, lay a 1,484 acre tract called ‘Loss and Gain’ that was devised to his son, James Chapline (the Joseph Poffenberger Farmstead was originally part of the large estate).  It is almost certain that it was occupied by a tenant when James inherited the property.  Although there is no record, the architectural evidence  indicates that the construction of the 1 1/2 story log house dates to 1770 with a 2nd story added circa 1790.

Wash House

During this period James began leasing and selling family farm-sized tracts of 100 to 300 acres.  Robert Smith purchased a number of these 100-acre tracts and in 1813 sold 272 acres to Christian Middlekauff.  In addition to the house, the farm consisted of a shed, the wash house, and a wagon shed & corn crib.   In 1820, Middlekauff’s daughter Rosanna married Daniel Finifrock and according to the census, it appears that Rosanna and Daniel moved onto the property.  Over the next thirteen years they would have seven children together.

Bank Barn & Corn Crib / Granary

In 1828, Rosanna’s father, Christian Middlekauff died and her brother-in-law, David Neikirk was left in charge of the estate.  The following year Neikirk sold the farm to Daniel, presumably to settle the estate.  In 1833, Daniel mortgaged the property to his neighbor, Jacob Coffman, obtaining a $3,000 loan and given ten years to repay him.  Several other structures were built around this time, suggesting that Daniel used the loan to pay for some improvements to the farm.  The bank barn and equipment shed were built and an ice house and smokehouse were added completing the farm complex.

Location of Ice House

Tragedy struck that same year with Rosanna dying in August, followed by Daniel just two months later in October.  With no disposition of the property recorded after the Finifrocks’ passing, it’s believed that the seven orphaned children remained on their parents farm for the next ten years.  With the loan not satisfied, Jacob Coffman assumed ownership of the property in 1843. It’s possible that the Finifrock children remained for a while as tenants but by the 1850 census, Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger were living on the 124-acre farm.

On February 8,  1838, Joseph Poffenberger and Mary Ann Coffman were married. The youngest son of Adam Poffenberger, Joseph was born on July 26, 1812.  Joseph’s grandfather, John was Washington County’s first resident with the Poffenberger name.  As a skilled artisan, John operated blacksmith shops and forges which produced such a large volume of smoke, that the village built up around his works was called Smoke Town.

Location of tenant house at southwest corner of property

In 1852, Mary Ann’s father, Jacob Coffman sold his son-in-law the 124-acre area plus an additional 20 acres he had most likely parceled off his property along the Hagerstown turnpike to increase the farm to 144 acres.   Over the next ten years, Joseph would increase the size of his farm to 166 acres.  Mary Ann and Joseph had no children,  but with the substantial number of Poffenbergers in the Sharpsburg and Washington County area, they would have taken in relatives in need.  His nephew, Josiah Poffenberger is listed on the 1860 census as a farm hand and the couple also took in a young boy named Isaac Mallet.  They had a tenant, Samuel Kretzer who most likely lived in a tenant house on the southwest corner of the property along the Hagerstown Turnpike.

Joseph Poffenberger Farm 1862

Joseph Poffenberger Farm 1862

Over the summer and into the fall of 1862, Joseph Poffenberger, like all of his neighbors had worked to harvest their crop of wheat, flax, corn and clover.  Straw was stacked high in the barnyard and the produce from the orchard around the house filled Mary Ann’s cellar with “apple, peach, and plum butter, barrels of pickles and preserves of all kinds. Hundreds of pounds of smoked meat hung in the storehouse, and there was even a barrel of whiskey.”  Unfortunately they would not stay to enjoy the fruits of their labor knowing that Union and Confederate forces were quickly approaching Sharpsburg.

Position of Union forces across the Joseph Poffenberger farm as the battle erupts on the morning of September 17, 1862.

 

Before leaving the farm Joseph moved all his horses and locked up the storehouses and cellars.  It is unclear where the Poffenbergers went during the battle but with both having family in the area they may have stayed with relatives at a nearby farm.  By the afternoon of September 16, the Union First Corps occupied the whole Poffenberger farm, with artillery taking up positions on the ridge directly behind the house.  Major General Joseph Hooker, the First Corps commander, made his headquarters in the barn as the battle erupted in the East Woods at the southern edge of the Poffenberger property.  As day broke on the morning of the 17th, Confederate artillery fire from batteries on Nicodemus Heights and near the Dunker Church began raining down on the Union positions.   As the battle ebbed and flowed to the south through D.R. Miller’s cornfield, the Union First Corps soldiers found themselves back where they started twelve hours before; at the Poffenberger farmstead.

The red line represents the approx. boundary of farm when NPS acquired the 120 acre farm in 2000. Additional acreage was to the east across Hagerstown Pike and on the west along the Smoketown Road.

When Joseph returned that evening he recalled, “… my house it was completely empty. I had nothing left. I lived on army crackers that I found on the battlefield for five days.”  The damage was significant according to Jacob Eakle, who visited shortly after the fighting ended, and he stated the “farm was a perfect wreck after the battle, crops destroyed, house riddle and every thing taken out.”  The most significant damage occurred in the days after the battle as Union soldiers plundered his farmstead using his fields for horse’s of the army’s wagon trains, taking up the fences for firewood, and carrying off forty-ton of straw and hay for army stock and bedding for soldiers.

 

The Union army encamped on the farm until October 20, 1862, and used up the resources that Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger had stored for the coming winter months.  According to Poffenberger’s claim against the Federal government, his losses included:

• 500 bushels of wheat
• 60 bushels of rye
• 150 bushels of oats
• 80 bushels of potatoes
• 20 tons of hay
• 240 pounds of bacon
• 28 acres plus 200 bushels of old corn
• 18 loads of fodder
• 14 tons of straw
• 20 acres of pasture
• 7 beef cattle
• 20 swine
• 13 sheep
• 5 cords of hickory wood
• 7 cords of oak wood
• over 5,350 fence rails (described as a worm fence, nine rails to the panel),
• 50 bushels of apples
• 4 four barrels of cider
• 4 bushels of peaches
• grapes on the vine
• 2 bushels of dried cherries and plums
• 10 gallons each apple, plum and peach butter

This claim of $2,277.55 was “disallowed” by the government “because the proof of the stores and supplies was insufficient” and they were “not convinced that the stores and supplies were actually taken and used by the United States Army.”  Joseph would go to his grave without receiving reimbursement from the government. Five years after his death in May 1893, Lawson W. Poffenberger, the executor of Joseph’s estate was awarded $1918.00 for a resubmitted claim of $2,721.50.

Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger’s gravestone at Mountain View Cemetery

The greatest loss of the Poffenberger family would be the death of Mary Ann, just two years later, on August 12, 1864.  Like many of Sharpsburg residents, it is possible that her death was a result of the rampant disease that took many of Mary Ann’s neighbors following the battle.  Joseph never remarried but continued to live and work on his farm.  With help from his nephew Alfred Poffenberger, who had leased the Mary Grove Locher farm in the West Woods at the time of the battle, Joseph was able to increase production and add another 28 acres to the farm.

By 1880, Alfred had moved to Iowa and Joseph turned over the operation of the farm to his nephew, Otho J. Poffenberger and his wife Elizabeth.  Joseph would move to the tenant house to allow Otho and Elizabeth room in the main house to raise their children.

Joseph Poffenberger passed away on June 13, 1888 at the age of 76.  Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger rest together at the Mountain View Cemetery in Sharpsburg.

 

Otho had purchased the farm, updating the house and building on a rear addition.  In 1895, the War Department purchased property from Otho in order to build a tour road known as Mansfield Avenue, which allowed for the placement of monuments, tablets and markers.

Otho Poffenberger family in front of Joseph Poffenberger’s house, c. 1880.

Newly constructed War Department road, Mansfield Avenue, looking east from Hagerstown Turnpike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Otho would continue to live and manage the farm until his death in 1932, when his son, Joseph W. Poffenberger purchased the farm.  In 1944, Joseph and his wife Bertha deeded the property over to Elmer L. Poffenberger who would later sell the farm to Fred and Renee Kramer in 1966. The last transfer of the Joseph Poffenberger farmstead occurred on June 8, 2000 when the National Park Service purchased the property from the Kramer’s.  Since that time the Park Service has stabilized the structures and restored the landscape to its post-war appearance.  Like the other farmsteads throughout the battlefield, the Poffenberger farm is an eyewitness to history.

Joseph Poffenberger Farmstead today

 

 

Sources:
  • Barron, Lee and Barbara Barron The History of Sharpsburg, Maryland: Founded by Joseph Chapline, 1763. Sharpsburg: self-published, 1972.
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Joseph R. Poffenberger Farm, WA-II-279, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1978, 24 January 2017
    https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Washington/WA-II-279.pdf.
  • Tuomi, Suanne, One REALLY Big Family!: Information about John Poffenberger, 25 January 2017
    http://www.genealogy.com/ftm/t/u/o/Suanne-Tuomi/WEBSITE-0001/UHP-0172.html
  • U.S. National Park Service, Joseph Poffenberger Farmstead Cultural Landscape Inventory, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2007.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.

10 Must-See Events around Sharpsburg

January 16th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Looking for an excuse to extend your stay?  No matter what the season, we’ve got you covered!  From Sharpsburg to Shepherdstown, Boonsboro to Hagerstown, there are plenty of things to do, featuring everything from theater arts to festivals to the awe-inspiring luminaries at Antietam.  This Top 10 list of “Must-See” events is a great starting point for planning your ‘Bucket List’ of activities during your stay at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.

Washington County Playhouse

Washington County PlayhouseThe Washington County Playhouse is a wonderful gem in downtown Hagerstown offering intimate dinner theater featuring various plays & musicals, plus shows for children.  The productions are vibrant and well produced and the actors are also your waitstaff.  Dinner includes a full buffet and salad bar and the drinks are fun and have theater themes.  A little piece of Broadway, right here in Hagerstown! Definitely a MUST-SEE!

This year’s lineup includes:
Mel Brooks’ The Producers January 21 – February 25
Steel Magnolias March 17 – April 22
Dial M For Murder May 5 – June 10
Lerner And Loewe’s Gigi – The Broadway Musical June 30 – August 5
The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy September 9 – October 29
A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story Of Christmas November 17 – December 16

The 18th Century Market Fair

Held every April at Fort Frederick State Park, Big Pool MD.
Come to historic Fort Frederick, an original stone fort built in 1756 during the French and Indian War, and travel back in time to an authentic 18th century market fair. A whiff of campfires fills the air and colorful entertainers are found strolling about the fair.  Visit sutlers (period vendors) selling 18th century wares: pottery, tin and copper ware, clothing, material and patterns, books, fireplace and cooking hardware, muskets and accoutrements, paintings and prints, lanterns and other camp gear, etc.  See hundreds of fair-goers of all ages dressed in colonial clothing: artisans, soldiers, ladies & gentlemen, Native Americans, longhunters, traders, servants, etc.  With free entertainment for all this fair is a MUST-SEE!

The Western Maryland Blues Fest

Held the first weekend after Memorial Day in Hagerstown, MD.
The Western Maryland Blues Fest serves up an annual community celebration centered around one of America’s most enduring musical forms – “The Blues.”  Set amidst raw-boned guitar riffs and emotionally charged vocals, Blues Fest represents a unique partnership between City government, event volunteers and local business sponsors as they team together to present four incredible days of musical entertainment and family fun.  A very musical MUST-SEE!

Salute to Independence

Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s Salute to Independence Concert

Held the first Saturday of July near Sharpsburg, MD.
Since 1986 the Maryland Symphony Orchestra has presented a free “Salute to Independence” Concert at Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, MD.  The evening concert attracts nearly 30,000 people from all over and is capped off by a spectacular fireworks display, one of the largest in the region. The “Salute” has been billed as “Maryland’s Most Patriotic Event” and “One of the top 100 Events in North America”.  Absolutely a MUST-SEE!

 

 

Contemporary American Theater Festival

Held during the month of July in Shepherdstown, WV.
Founded in 1991, the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) is a professional, nonprofit theater company hosted on the campus of Shepherd University. It focuses on new works by American playwrights, most often premiers, or second and third productions.  Each July, it presents five new plays in a rotating repertory, accompanied by free workshops, talks and discussions. In 2015, The New York Times recognized CATF as one of “50 Essential Summer Festivals.”
Several plays which originated at the Festival (like Stickfly, Uncanny Valley, H20, The Insurgents, and Dead and Breathing) have been staged on or Off-Broadway.  Farragut North–by Beau Willimon, the mastermind behind House of Cards–was produced by CATF in 2009 and later adapted for the silver screen as The Ides of March.  Clearly a MUST-SEE!

Over the Mountain Studio Tour

Held the second weekend in November – Shepherdstown & Jefferson County, WV.
Start your Christmas Shopping during the annual Over the Mountain Studio Tour.  Visit 10 different studios showcasing the works of 25 juried artisans.  The show includes Stained Glass, Silver Art Jewelry, Blacksmithing, Woodcarving, Heirloom Baskets, Pottery,  and Wooden Toys and more.  Including live demonstrations, snacks, and wares for sale this tour is completely free! Unmistakably a MUST-SEE!

Augustoberfest

Dancing at Augustoberfest

Held late August in Hagerstown, MD.
The annual Augustoberfest pays tribute to the area’s rich German heritage and supports scholarships for exchange students to Hagerstown’s Sister City—Wesel, Germany. This exciting event is run by the nonprofit organization, the Augustoberfest Charitable Foundation.  Augustoberfest is a two-day festival that boasts festivities found at traditional Oktoberfest celebrations in Bavaria. The attendance of this event has doubled in size over the last few years and is becoming one of the most anticipated festivals in Washington County. Clearly a MUST-SEE!

Boonesborough Days

Held the second weekend of September in Boonsboro, MD.
Sponsored by the Boonsboro Historical Society, Boonesborough Days is a festival devoted to showcasing handmade crafts by more then 150 venders. Browse through historic and picturesque Shafer Park and shop for traditional and Early American handmade crafts, paintings and unique gifts.  Experience demonstrations of colonial candle making as well as age old skills of blacksmithing, chair caning, basket weaving, broom, soap and pottery making.  The festival also features a Civil War display with artifacts, the Tri State Astronomers, horse-drawn wagon rides, great food and a classic and antique car show on Sunday.  A really fun MUST-SEE!

The Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival

Held the end of September in Shenandoah Junction (Harpers Ferry), WV
The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce invites you to come and enjoy the Mountain Heritage Arts & Craft Festival in the rolling countryside of Jefferson County, WV.  Leisurely stroll among the tents as you admire the many crafts, fine arts, and wine.  Meet approximately 200 artisans and craftspersons carefully selected and prejudged, demonstrating and showcasing their work at this nationally acclaimed festival.  Enjoy listening to the best live bluegrass music, taste wines from the area’s foremost wineries and enjoy the many varieties of food that are available.  Clearly a MUST-SEE!

Antietam Memorial Illumination

Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination

Held the first Saturday of December at Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, MD.
On the first Saturday of December for over 25 years volunteers spend the day placing luminaries along the park roads and the rolling hills of the Antietam National Battlefield. By twilight, 23,110 luminaries will be lit, one for each soldier who was killed, wounded or missing during the bloodiest day in the American Civil War. The free 5 mile driving tour is the largest memorial illumination in North America. The first Illumination was held in 1988. Antietam National Battlefield, in cooperation with the American Business Women’s Association and the Washington County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, will host the Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination in honor of those soldiers who fell during the Battle of Antietam.  A very touching MUST-SEE!

Check your calendar and make your reservations now so that you can be sure to include one of these MUST-SEE events during you stay at the Inn!

2016 in Review

January 6th, 2017 by jacobrohrbach

Click here to watch our Year in Review

A New Year usually brings with it both a sense of reflection and the possibility of change and, for us, 2016 was no exception. We entered our second year of Innkeeping last January with a lot of big plans for the Inn, and we wanted to finish the year by looking back and celebrating all of the events and changes that took place.

From all of us at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn: “THANK YOU!”  Thank you for your business, friendship, loyalty, and support in 2016 and we look forward to seeing you again in 2017!

 

 

Christmas at the Inn

November 30th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Christmas is our favorite time of year at the Inn.  As soon as Thanksgiving is over the decorations come out and Christmas music is playing 24/7 in the Gathering Room.  Every room gets a decorated tree, a wreath on the door and special decorations throughout the room to make guests feel at home for the holidays.  Each day you can smell a new batch of cookies or holiday treats being made as more decorations are added inside and out.  Maya and Zoey even get into the festive spirit…  So whether you’ve been Naughty or Nice, we’re sure Jolly Old St. Nick will stop by to pay you a visit at the Inn.

 

sign

Christmas is our favorite time of the year!

 

reindeer

As soon as Thanksgiving is over        the decorations come out.

tree-2015

Christmas music  plays all day in             the Gathering Room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

generals-christmas

The rooms are decorated inside and out to give our guests a little Holiday Cheer during their stay.

 

navity-yard

Peace on Earth and Good Will toward Man!

 

maya-zoey

Waiting on Santa to arrive.

 

christmas-with-snata

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night! Chris, Amy, Zoey and Maya

 

 

Connected to the Past

September 16th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

132nd Penn. Vol. Inf. Monument

132nd Penn. Vol. Inf. Monument

As you drive through the Antietam National Battlefield you will see the monuments across the low rolling hills, in woodlots, along cornfields and old farm roads.  They are dedicated to the men who fought here over 150 years ago.  You may wonder,  how are we connected to the past through these monuments in our backyard?  Here is the story of one connection.

September 17 marks the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. An estimated 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of some of the most savage fighting of the Civil War. The Battle of Antietam ended General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North and led to the issuance of President Abraham Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

For many Union soldiers, Antietam would be their first sting of battle or ‘baptism of fire’. For one young man named Henry Vincent it would be his first such action. Henry was born on Christmas Day, 1844, in England. In 1852, his father Job immigrated with his family to America where they settled in Montour County near Danville, Pennsylvania. Henry worked in the local roller mills from the age of ten until he answered President Lincoln’s call for 300,000 more volunteers in July 1862.

!32nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument at the Sunken Road

132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry monument at the Sunken Road

Henry enlisted in the Danville Fencibles, which was comprised of men mostly from the Danville Iron Works. By mid August, they joined other recruited companies from Wyoming, Bradford, Carbon, Luzerne and Columbia counties at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg where they were mustered into service as a ‘nine-month regiment’ and organized as Company A, 132nd Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.  Richard A. Oakford of Luzerne County was appointed colonel of the regiment and within days the regiment was moved to the front on the outskirts of Washington. For the next two weeks the regiment encamped near Fort Corcoran, just across the Potomac, where they drilled intensely amidst the sound of the guns from the plains of Manassas.

On September 7, 1862, Henry and the men of the 132nd marched twenty-two miles in seven hours to Rockville, Maryland, which was an amazing feat for any regiment, especially a green one. Here the 132nd was assigned to Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball’s First Brigade alongside of three veteran regiments, the 8th Ohio, 7th West Virginia and the 14th Indiana. The First Brigade was part of the Maj. Gen. William H. French’s Third Division of Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner’s Second Corps in the reorganized Army of the Potomac under the command of Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan.

Once they joined the ranks of the Army of the Potomac there was no rest for the regiment. Just days before, Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia had crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland and now McClellan was moving to intercept Lee. By September 13, Henry’s regiment had marched to an open field near Frederick, MD to bivouac for the night. The same field had been occupied by Confederate soldiers a few nights before as the rebel army was on the move to South Mountain and McClellan was on their tail. The next day the regiment was on the march again. By the time they reached Fox’s Gap on the evening of the 14th, the battle for South Mountain was over, with the exception of some artillery batteries firing back and forth at each other. It was here that Henry and his fellow comrades would witness the sight of their first dead soldiers, an image that would stay with them the rest of their lives.

On the morning of September 15, the Army of the Potomac began their “chase” of the rebel army through the gaps of South Mountain as they marched toward the small village of Sharpsburg. The next day the regiment made its way to Keedysville, along the Antietam Creek, where it bivouacked for the night in preparation for the next day’s battle. That evening the camp was still–no singing or fires, except to make some coffee. As one man from the regiment wrote, ‘Letters were written home–many of them last words–and quiet talks were had, and promises made between comrades.’ Colonel Oakford had asked his adjutant to ensure the regimental rosters were complete for ‘We shall not all be here to-morrow night.’ That night a light rain fell as they lay on the ground under their gum blankets.

The next morning on September 17, the men quickly awoke to the simple call from their sergeant or corporal. They were on the march about 6:00am, wading across the waist deep Antietam Creek.  Soon the cannonading and the shrieking of shells could be heard. One veteran wrote they knew they were approaching the ‘debatable ground’ when they heard the rattle of musketry which sounded ‘like the rapid pouring of shot upon a tinpan, or the tearing of heavy canvas, with slight pauses interspersed with single shots.’ The Second Corps had been ordered into battle in an effort to turn the Confederate left flank and assist the Twelfth Corps near the West Woods.  Maj. Gen. Sumner had escorted his lead division, under Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, on the attack as French’s division was directed to support on the left flank.  When Sedgwick’s division came into contact in the West Woods, Gen. Summer had sent French orders to press the attack toward the Sunken Road. French had moved to the south of Sedgwick’s attack and ran into Confederate skirmishers near the swales around William Roulette’s farm. Seeing an opportunity for a fight he ordered his men forward.

The William Roulette farm at Antietam.   The white bee hives lie scattered in the foreground. To the right is the spring house where men stopped for a cool drink before moving into line. Behind the house is the barn where the wounded and dying were taken. The Sunken Road or Bloody Lane as it was called after the battle was about a quarter mile to the right of the picture.

As the men of the 132nd were ordered into line of battle behind the other two brigades of French’s division, they were marching past the Roulette farm when a shot from a Confederate battery slammed into the Roulette’s yard. The men quickly moved through the yard trampling over the family garden and smashing into some white crates in the yard which were the Roulette’s bee hives. The annoyed bees engulfed the regiment. Some men dropped their muskets and ran into nearby fields, while others slapped their clothes and batted at the angry honey bees. In the meantime, more Confederate artillery shells and bullets were finding their marks among the Union troops. One soldier wrote, “Soldiers were rolling in the grass, running, jumping, and ducking.” Concerned that the hysteria that gripped the 132nd could rapidly spread to wholesale panic among the rest of the brigade, Brig. Gen. Kimball barked out a “double quick” order allowing the Pennsylvanians to advance past the Roulette farm and eventually outdistance the bees.

Kimball’s staff and regimental officers hurried to rally the regiment back into battle lines with the rest of the brigade. The regiment advanced across open fields toward the Sunken Road just to the east, the lane that led to the Roulette farm. They were slightly to the rear between the two smaller veteran regiments of the 8th Ohio and the 7th West Virginia. As they crested the hill the Confederates opened with a terrific volley of musketry that brought down many of the Union line.  Colonel Oakford died in the first volley from a minie ball that struck an artery in his left shoulder. Henry’s own First Sergeant, 1st Sgt J. M. Hassenplug was killed. With no cover from the fire, the 132nd was ordered to lie down and crawl toward the Rebel lines below the crest of the ridge where they reloaded and fired individually. One soldier that was next to the adjutant, “inadvertently stood up, a minie ball struck his rifle in the forestock and prostrated him. Regaining his senses, the fellow discovered he was only bruised. He picked up another gun and returned to the line.”

Antietam Battlefield map showing location of the 132nd PA during the attack by the Irish Brigade around 10:30, September 17, 1862.

Location of the 132nd PA during the attack by the Irish Brigade around 10:30, September 17, 1862.

The regiment held their ground as the men of Maj. Gen. Israel B. Richardson’s division came up to support their attack. The famed Irish Brigade continued the assault past the 132nd toward the Rebels. To their left flank another Union brigade was able to hit the flank of the Confederate line seizing a knoll overlooking the Sunken Road forcing the Rebels to withdraw.

Seeing them run, the men of the 132nd rose up and pursued the Rebels into the lane. Richardson’s brigades pursued the retreating Confederates toward Sharpsburg until Confederate Generals James Longstreet and D.H Hill personally led a counterattack with artillery and 200 men. Richardson was forced to withdraw back to the lane.

The fighting around the Sunken Road had ended around one o’clock. The men of the 132nd continued to hold the line the rest of the day and into the next. According to the official report after the battle, they had taken over 750 men into battle; thirty men were killed, one-hundred and fourteen wounded and eight were missing from the ranks. At least thirty of the wounded would die from their wounds within days after the battle. More than 5,600 casualties were inflicted on both sides around the Sunken Road. The carnage was so horrifying that the Sunken Road would be forever known as the ‘Bloody Lane’.

Members of the 132nd Pennsylvania return to Antietam for a reunion in 1894.

Members of the 132nd Pennsylvania return to Antietam for a reunion in 1891. On September 117, 1904 they would return to dedicate their monument.

As for Henry Vincent, he made it through his ‘baptism of fire’ unscathed. According to the county history, “his coat sleeve was completely shot off at Antietam.”  Henry would continue to serve with the 132nd and participate at the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He was promoted to Corporal in March 1863 and was mustered out with Company A on May 24, 1863. Henry returned home to Danville, to become a successful businessman, lawyer and a father to eight children.  He was an active member in both the 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Regimental Association and the Goodrich Post No. 22, of the Grand Army of the Republic until he passed away in 1916.

Standing next to the 132 PA Monument at Antietam.

Standing next to the 132 PA Monument at Antietam.

For many of us, the monuments in our backyard connect us to the past.  The 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment monument at the Sunken Road and Henry Vincent, will forever be my connection to the Battle of Antietam, as Henry was my great-great-grandfather.

 

 

 

Civil War Ghost Stories at the Inn

September 12th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

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Civil War Ghost of Sharpsburg by Mark & Julia Brugh

In September 1862, fighting from the Battle of Antietam spilled into Sharpsburg’s streets. Residents were left to bury the dead from both sides. Today, locals report lingering echoes of that strife, from the faint taps of a Union drummer boy named Charley King, to the phantom footsteps of Confederate soldiers charging up the stairs of the Rohrbach House.

On October 12, come hear tour guides Mark and Julia Brugh craft a vivid portrait of Sharpsburg in the Civil War and bring to light stories of the ghosts for whom the conflict never ended.

Mark and Julia are also the authors of Civil War Ghosts of Sharpsburg, which features the story of Jacob Rohrbach.

 

 

 

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Julia & Mark Brugh

Julia Stinson Brugh is a native of West Virginia and grew up surrounded by Civil War legends. She was exposed at an early age to the rich history of the area, and lived in a haunted house in Harpers Ferry as a small child. Julia’s father was a historian with the National Park service, and growing up included frequent visits to Antietam with her parents and younger sister. Julia has a love of oral history, folklore, and ghost stories, which combined with Mark’s passion for history, makes the Sharpsburg Tour Company special.

Mark P. Brugh has studied Civil War history for more than thirty years. This passion led to the inception of the Sharpsburg Tour Company and the Gravediggers and Ghosts of Sharpsburg Ghost Tour, which offer both historical tours of the town, and family friendly ghost tours with a strong historical foundation. He is a member and volunteer for the C&O Canal Association and the Sharpsburg Historical Society. He is also a member of the Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.

Join us on Wednesday, October 12 at 7:30 pm around a campfire in the side yard of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn to hear these intriguing Civil War Ghost stories. This program is free and open to the public. Please bring a chair or blanket to sit around the campfire. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates. For further information call (301) 432-5079.

Testimonials by our Guests

August 17th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Our goal at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn is to provide every guest with warm hospitality, comfortable accommodations, and gracious service. Before you book your stay with us, take a moment to read what our past guests have to say about their stay. We know you won’t be disappointed.

We would highly recommend the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.  We’ve traveled all over the world and stayed in a variety of places – yours was a top spot. – Reviewed by Barbara & Chris, March 2017 via Thank You note.

My husband, daughter, and I were driving home from a college visit and decided to stay in Antietam. Amy and Chris took us in at the last minute and it was wonderful!! We had the inn (and innkeepers and puppy dogs) to ourselves. We fell in love with the Harper’s Ferry room; it was perfect for our family of 3. We had ice cream at Nutter’s and then settled in for the night. Breakfast was delicious with fruit, scones, egg casserole, cheese toast, herbed tomatoes, sausage, and juice. Once we got home my daughter said her favorite part of the trip was sitting in the common room with Amy Monday night drinking tea and talking and playing with Maya and Zoey. We’ve already booked a return trip for April. See you soon Amy and Chris (and Maya and Zoey)!!!  – Reviewed by Mary, January 2017 via Facebook.

Beautiful place, amazing food and wonderful owners. Kid and dog friendly. – Reviewed by Mary, January 2017 via Facebook.

Beautiful Inn operated by Amy and Chris Vincent – great place to stay and enjoy comfortable pampered lodgings and outstanding breakfasts.  Thank you for hosting our veterans.  – Reviewed by Sharon, November 2016 via Facebook.

What a great experience the four of us had at the Jacob Rohrbach B&B during our stay Oct 28th, 29th and 30th of this year. The Owner’s Chris and Amy were everything great Innkeepers you hope and expect from a stay at a great B&B. Clean, beautifully decorated throughout inside and for Halloween a bonus of outside tasteful decorations that not only delighted the guests but the Town of Sharpsburg’s residents. Breakfast were especially unique with creations of homemade scones, biscuits, egg casserole, French toast, apple bacon sliced thick from local butchers, your choice of juices and fresh fruit especially prepared to complement your complete breakfast. Their knowledge and recommendations for seeing the area history of the Antietam Battlefields were extremely helpful especially with Chris’ history and involvement with volunteering. They provided excellent recommendations for area restaurants that included their special ice cream parlor there in town. We will be sure to return for another visit to these wonderful folks.  – Reviewed by Bob, Debbie, Bill & Susan, October 2016 via Facebook.

Thanks you for all your hospitality and delicious food.  Added pleasure – Maya & Zoey!  – Reviewed by Marianne & Perry, October 2016 via Guest Survey.

The hosts Amy and Chris are amazing and the food is excellent. Highly recommend!  Reviewed by Dana, October 2016 via Facebook.

We enjoyed our stay at this lovely inn. Chris and Amy made us feel right at home. Our room, the General’s Quarters, was wonderful. Breakfast was delicious along with the afternoon cookies- even accommodating my ovo-vegetarian diet.The inn is conveniently located to all the historical sites. I highly recommend this inn for a getaway!  – Reviewed by Stacy, October 2016 via Facebook.

Excellent, Hospitable Welcoming, well worth a Second Visit, Need I say more, First Class.  – Reviewed by Catherine, October 2016 via Facebook.

We recently arrived home from our seven week odyssey and have to say that the evening at your Inn and the tour of the Battlefield with you were highlights on our trip. Thank you so much for the hospitality the accommodations, and your incredible knowledge and presentation of the Battle.  – Reviewed by Rebecca, September 2016 via email.

It is a wonderful place to stay and the breakfast is outstanding. – Reviewed by Christina, September 2016 via Facebook.

Great place with great history! The hosts (including the dogs) are very accommodating. Highly recommended. Reviewed by Dan, September 2016 via Facebook.

We just spent 3 days here for my husbands 60th Birthday. Love the Inn and its hosts Chris & Amy.  They were so welcoming and accommodating.  Atmosphere and food were awesome.  The location sets right in the middle of this historic area and adds to your experience. My husband is a Civil War enthusiast and his friend Ken, who also is, and Peg from North Carolina came to stay here for two days and tour Antietam Battlefield. A great time was had by all. – Reviewed by Donna, August 2016 via Facebook.

Wonderful stay, cordial hosts, delicious breakfast & interesting battle discussion. It was a comfort to return to the Rohrbach Inn after the sadness of the Antietam Battlefield tour. The rooms are lovely and luxurious without being froo-froo. Hosts Chris and Amy are cordial with smiles and conversation, skillful with a delicious breakfast, and interesting with a vast knowledge of the Civil War. We’d go again in a heartbeat if we didn’t live 1,000 miles away. Come to think of it, we might come anyway and stay longer.  – Reviewed by Kate & Julien, August 2016 via Guest Survey/Facebook.

My husband and I just spent a night at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn and we were blown away by the experience. The room was immaculate and expertly decorated and the breakfast was absolutely delicious. The best part of the experience by far was the warm and welcoming Innkeepers, Chris and Amy. You can really tell that they put love into every aspect of the Inn.  We will definitely be booking at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in the future.  Reviewed by Felicia, August 2016 via Facebook.

My wife and I just returned home after spending 3 delightful nights at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn in Sharpsburg, Md. The Inn is comfortable and very cozy, centrally located, and the innkeepers are the best. If you love history, and want to stay at a historic property close to the Antietam battlefield and Harpers Ferry, you need to come to Sharpsburg, Md. and definitely stay with Chris and Amy at their Inn! By the way, breakfast is delicious!  Reviewed by Allen, August 2016 via Facebook.

My husband and I just returned from a weekend stay at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn. Our stay could not have been more delightful! The inn itself is brimming with historical character and lovely gardens. And Amy and Chris, the owners and hosts, are totally charming and really good cooks!  – Reviewed by Dee, July 2016 via Facebook.

Our stay at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn was relaxing and delightful all around. During our most recent trips to Maryland to visit our daughter, we stayed in hotels. Our time at the B&B was much more of a vacation. My husband loved the multi-course gourmet breakfasts and we enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. The covered deck was perfect for early morning reading or a glass of wine at the end of the day. The beautiful gardens, historic attractions, and charming main street were also highlights of our trip … and the sweet and friendly little dogs were an added treat.  – Reviewed by Carolyn & Tom, June 2016 via Guest Survey.

We stayed for a weekend with our daughter. An amazing inn and an amazing home cooked breakfast everyday. Great location and so beautiful! A must stay!!  Reviewed by Susie, June 2016 via Facebook.

We highly recommend this beautiful B&B as a great place to start our exploration of the National Park and the surrounding historic area. The Inn Keepers, Amy and Chris, are great hosts providing comfortable beds, lots of Civil War reading material, a full snack bar, lovely grounds and delicious breakfast.  Reviewed by Janet, June 2016 via Facebook.

A great place to stay with wonderful hosts, Amy and Chris.  – Reviewed by Bill, June 2016 via Facebook.

Could not be happier with lovely rooms and grounds of the Inn. We enjoyed our stay very much and are booked to return in July.  Our enjoyment of the surrounding was only exceeded by the graciousness of our host and hostess.  – Reviewed by Anna, June 2016

We loved our stay at the Inn! The innkeepers were amazing, friendly and knowledgeable and the food was awesome. It was perfectly secluded for our wedding night in the General’s quarters. I would recommend this place to anyone. It was a night I will never forget and I’m glad that we spent it here.  – Reviewed by Holly, June 2016 via Facebook.

First stay at a B&B and loved it, very personalized service. Rooms are nice size, Civil war memorabilia everywhere gives it a nice unique flavor. And breakfast of cherry and chocolate scone, strawberries and blackberries, with egg soufflé and bacon was delicious. Will be back.  – Reviewed by Debbie, June 2016 via Facebook.

A beautiful, bed and breakfast, the room was outstanding, we chose the General’s Quarters. The owners are friendly and attentive, ask about food allergies, 24 hour beverages and snacks. Wonderful experience, highly recommend.  – Reviewed by Dee H. May 2016 via Facebook.

The accommodations, food and location are excellent. Chris made us feel welcomed from the start. We look forward to returning in the future.  – Reviewed by Gina, May 2016 via Facebook.

We had a wonderful stay!  It was the perfect getaway for our anniversary.  We have stayed in a few B&Bs, this is our favorite! Loved the outside entrance from the rooms and breakfast was delicious!  – Reviewed May 2015 via Guest Survey.

Amazing place with wonderful accommodations! Innkeepers Amy & Chris are a delight and very knowledgeable about the area. Breakfast was outstanding!!! I would recommend this place in a heartbeat!!  – Reviewed by Kathleen, March 2015 via Facebook.

Lovely, comfortable rooms, friendly innkeeper, Chris and Amy. Great breakfasts, beautiful grounds. We enjoyed our stay there very much.  – Reviewed by Kathy, April 2015 via Facebook.

 

You can find more guest reviews on   Google +     TripAdvisor    Yelp

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes around the Inn

July 20th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

It has been a busy first half of the year at the Inn with all the updates, additions and changes.  Here is a little peek at what’s been happening.

Unfortunately,  we had to remove two trees this spring, the Maple tree by the parking lot and the Ash tree in the backyard.  Our friends as Prefered Arbor Care in Hagerstown did a great job.  With the parking lot opened up, we decided to put in a new rock wall and flower bed along the front to welcome guests as they pulled in.

Prepared Arbor Care

Getting ready to start removing the Ash tree in the yard.

Prepared Arbor Care

Taking down the tree by the parking lot.

 

Putting in garden

Putting in the flowers

New flower bed

New flower bed

 

An over grown bush was removed to open the view to the Spring House.  As we were leveling out the ground what we thought was a rock turned out to be an old pipe.  It looks really good with the new sod in place.

An unexpected surprise...

An unexpected surprise…

Springhouse

New sod coming in nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the walk, we thought it would be the perfect spot for a new seating area.

Maya lending a 'paw' digging in the garden.

Maya lending a ‘paw’ digging in the garden.

Our new Blue & Grey Garden.

Our new Blue & Gray Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flowers coming in around the seating area.

Flowers coming in around the seating area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the addition of the new seating area and the Ash tree gone, we moved the old pump closer to the house and designed a new flower bed around the old maple tree.

Maya & Zoey supervising the job.

Maya & Zoey supervising the job.

Getting ready to take out bush.

Getting ready to take out the Mock Orange bush

 

 

 

Finish!

Finished!

The old well pump.

The old well pump.

 

Found a nice spot for our little wheelbarrow boy.

Our big wheelbarrow boy looking for a nice spot for our little wheelbarrow boy.

Found a nice spot for our little wheelbarrow boy

Under the lilac bush – perfect!

 

We added a few more blueberry bushes, some other vegetables to go with the tomatoes and peppers; added the herb garden and the strawberries took off like wildfire.

Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, and zucchini plants

Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, and zucchini plants

Planted herb barden

Potted herb garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberry patch

Blueberry patch

Strawberries

Strawberries

Tomatos & Peppers

Tomatoes & Peppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With most of the major projects done outside, we had time for a few updates inside.  We upgraded the mini-fridge in the General’s Quarters and moved that smaller one to the Harpers Ferry Suite.  The flat screen TVs in both the Clara Barton Suite and the Thomas Jackson Room were upgraded.  And finally, just in time to beat the summer heat, both the Jackson Room and the Clara Barton Suite received their own individually controlled high efficiency cooling and heating systems.  These two Mitsubishi wall-mounted, ductless systems were installed by McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning along with Steenburg Electrical Services.  In a few hours these guys had completed both rooms and it was a comfortable 65 degrees, outstanding job!

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McCrea Heating & Air Conditioning and Steenburg Electrical Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Running the line from the Clara Barton Suite.

Running the line from the Clara Barton Suite.

Hooking up the electricity

Hooking up the electricity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Jackson Room

Thomas Jackson Room

New wall unit in the Clara Barton Suite,

Clara Barton Suite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, that’s all the updates for now.  Check back in the fall to see more of the changes around the Inn.

Find Your Park – Gettysburg

July 1st, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Find Your Park

Find Your Park

This month we continue our Find Your Park in our backyard series, featuring the Gettysburg National Military Park.  Just an hour’s drive from the Inn, Gettysburg is a great day trip for guests.   The Battle of Gettysburg, where the Union victory ended General Robert E. Lee’s second and most ambitious invasion of the North, is considered a turning point in the Civil War.  Often referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Confederacy”, Gettysburg was the Civil War’s bloodiest battle and the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address”. 

Pennsylvania Monument (Photo credit: NPS)

Pennsylvania Monument (Photo credit: NPS)

In June of 1863 Robert E. Lee was moving north again.  Just nine months earlier his first incursion into the North ended with the Confederate retreat from Antietam.  Motivated by his recent victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Lee moved his army west of the Blue Ridge, through the Shenandoah Valley across the Potomac River, and into the Cumberland Valley.  Once again the people of Maryland found themselves between two great armies, with Lee moving into Pennsylvania and the Union forces following cautiously, while still protecting Washington.

 

Little Round Top (Photo credit: NPS)

Round Tops at Gettysburg (Photo credit: NPS)

On June 30, elements of the two armies would meet just west of Gettysburg. The next day, on July 1st the fighting would escalate throughout the day as both Union and Confederate forces arrived on the field. Despite the Union attempt to defend their lines, the Federals were forced to retreat through Gettysburg and rally around Cemetery and Culp’s hills.  By the morning of July 2, the main body of both armies had arrived on the field.  The Union army, under Maj. Gen. George Meade, formed a defensive line south of town along Cemetery Ridge with his flanks tied to Culp’s Hill on the right and Little Round Top on the left.  Gen. Lee launched a series of attacks on both ends of the line, but they were checked by Federal reinforcements.  On July 3, Lee decided to focus on the center of the Union line.  Preceded by a two-hour artillery bombardment, Lee would send some 12,000 Confederate infantrymen to break through the Federal line on Cemetery Ridge.  Despite their heroic effort, the attack was repulsed with heavy losses sustained.  Lee realized that he could no longer continue the fight and on July 4 he retreated back to Virginia.  The Battle of Gettysburg was over.  In the three days of fighting there would be 51,000 casualties.  Gettysburg would be forever known as the “High Water Mark of the Confederacy”.

Plan your visit to Gettysburg:

Visitors can be a little overwhelmed by Gettysburg, so here are a few things that will fill your day.

Gettysburg Address

Lincoln Monument (Photo credit: NPS)

  • The Museum and Visitor Center is the best place to start.  After you watch the film, “A New Birth of Freedom”,  go into the Cyclorama.  This three-dimensional diorama brings to life the battle’s climatic event of Pickett’s Charge.  After the movie and cyclorana you may think you know everything about Gettysburg, but head into the museum to understand the story of the Battle of Gettysburg and its significance to our nation’s history.
  • Tour the Battlefield.  The best way to understand any battlefield is to get out and see the terrain.  Using the park brochure you can follow the self-guided auto-tour or guests of the Inn can borrow our ‘Gettysburg Field Guide’. This audio CD and guidebook allows you to explore the battlefield at your own pace.
  • Soldiers’ National Cemetery.  There are more than 6,000 veterans buried in the national cemetery, including 3,500 Union soldiers.  See the site where President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address.  If you have time, be sure to stop by the David Wills House to see where President Lincoln stopped to put the finishing touches on his speech.
  • Ranger Program.  Check out the daily schedule of these free ranger guided programs.  NPS Rangers bring to the life the story of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the American Civil War, by exploring the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, walking in the footsteps of Pickett’s Charge, or hiking the slopes of Little Round Top.
  • Eisenhower National Historic Site. Visit the home and farm of General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower adjacent to the battlefield.  You can purchase shuttle and admission tickets to the Eisenhower home at the Museum and Visitors Center.

“Gettysburg National Military Park offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the history and culture of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War. Each year, more than one million visitors explore the site of this pivotal Civil War battle and the place where President Abraham Lincoln outlined the future of the nation in his Gettysburg Address. Visitors who experience Gettysburg National Military Park leave with an understanding of the scope and magnitude of the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians alike, which ultimately gave way to a new birth of freedom for our country”.

Now get out and Find your Park – Visit Gettysburg.

 

“Four Days in October” – Rev. John Schildt

June 29th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Rev. John Schildt (photo credit: fredericknewspost.com)

Rev. John Schildt (photo credit: fredericknewspost.com)

John Schildt hardly needs an introduction. He is well known for his many books relating the various aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and local history. Reverend Schildt graduated from Shepherd College, Wesley Theological Seminary and has studied at Western Maryland College, Gettysburg Seminary and West Virginia University.

Rev. Schildt was introduced to Civil War history by his great-grandmother who fed Union troops on the way to Gettysburg when she was a little girl. John has been a lecturer and guide for the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute, Bud Robertson’s “Campaigning with Lee”, the Chicago Civil War Round Table, and many other groups. He was the main speaker at the 125th anniversary of Antietam. Outside of Civil War history, John has led three educational excursions to Normandy and took part in the American and French commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the D-day landing in 1994. While leading explorations, he likes to make history come alive by sharing human interest stories about people and places. Having been a lifelong student of Antietam, John has written many books on the subject, including “September Echoes,” “Drums along the Antietam,” “Roads to Antietam,” and several others.

Rev. Schildt will present the final talk in this year’s Summer Lecture Series talks on Wednesday, August 31st with Four Days in October”.  The Valley of the Antietam has heard the beat of Indian drums, the drum beat of revivalism, and the drums of the Blue and the Gray during the Maryland Campaign of 1862 . But two weeks after the battle the drums beat again. This time in honor of the visit of the President, Abraham Lincoln. John will discuss the story of Mr. Lincoln’s visit to Antietam, telling why he came, how he arrived, and what he did during those eventful days when he made history by walking over the hills around Sharpsburg.

Come join leading historians, Antietam Battlefield Guides, NPS volunteer interpreters and living historians as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public.  They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m.  Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.
Check our Facebook page for updates.

Ezra Carman and the Battlefield – Tom Clemens

June 28th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Tom Clemens

Dr. Tom Clemens

Summer Lecture Series

Dr. Tom Clemens holds a Doctorate in College Education-History from George Mason University, Professor Emeritus from Hagerstown Community College. He is a Tour guide for the Maryland Campaign for the past 30 years. Tom is the Editor of Ezra Carman’s Maryland Campaign of September 1862, 3 Vols. 2010, 2012, 2016. Author of numerous essays and Magazine articles, appeared in several documentary films as on-screen historian, including the orientation film in the NPS Visitor Center.

On Wednesday, August 24th , Dr. Tom Clemens will present his Summer Lecture Series talk on “Ezra Carman and the Battlefield”.  No single person has had more effect on the Antietam Battlefield than Ezra Carman. A veteran of the battle, he was hired in 1896 as “historical expert” to create the maps, layout the tour route, mark the points of special interest and create a “pamphlet” to guide the government in future modifications to the battlefield. His “pamphlet” became an 1,800 page manuscript providing the most detailed account of the campaign ever written. It is the guide still today for most histories of the battle. He also authored all the cast iron tablets seen on the field today, using official and private sources, and amassing over 2,800 accounts from veterans of the battle. Although at times imperfect, his work on Antietam still guides us today.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

Pollinators at the Inn

June 27th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

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Visiting Purple Sage

 

Everyone that stays at the Inn comments on the yard, almost always like this: “Wow, this is beautiful!”, “Do you do all of this yourselves?”, “This is a lot of work!”  The response to those comments is: “YES!”   Yes, it is beautiful and yes, it is a lot of work, but we can’t say we do it all ourselves.  Mother Nature has provided some outstanding helpers, our friends the pollinators!  If you didn’t know, National Pollinator Week was this month (June 20-26)  and I thought it would be fun to do a photo blog of some of our garden assistants hard at work in the flower beds.

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Checking out the Coral Bells

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lunching on a Lavender Pincushion Flower

 

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Resting on a White Impatient

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They love the Purple Sage

 

 

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Honey Bee blending into an Annual Sunflower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Blue Lobelia’s petals mirror the bee’s wings

 

 

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Taking a taste of a Blue Pincushion flower

Bee inside flower

Dipping inside a Hosta Bloom

 

Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Filling up at an Obedient Plant

 

 

 

Women soldiers in the Civil War – Audrey Scanlan-Teller & Tracey McIntire

June 26th, 2016 by jacobrohrbach

Audrey Scanlan-Teller & Tracey McIntire

Audrey Scanlan-Teller  and          Tracey McIntire

Summer Lecture Series

Tracey McIntire earned her BA in English at Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. She was born in Concord, Mass. and grew up surrounded by Revolutionary War history, but became interested in the Civil War when she discovered 11 ancestors who fought for the Union. Tracey is a Battlefield Ambassador at Antietam National Battlefield where she also serves on the artillery and infantry detachments, is a certified master docent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, and an active Civil War living historian, where she portrays a woman soldier in various guises. She is also a paid Historical Interpreter at South Mountain State Battlefield where she serves on their cannon detachment. She is a member of the Company of Military Historians, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, and the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic. Tracey has worked for the Civil War Trust since November of 2009, a true dream job for her.

Audrey Scanlan-Teller earned her MA and PhD in art history at the University of Delaware. She was a Samuel Kress Fellow at the Walters Art Museum and an exhibition advisor for the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts exhibition “Valley of the Shadow” which commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Maryland and Gettysburg Campaigns in the Civil War. Her interest in the American Civil War was rekindled after moving to Frederick County, Maryland, and the discovery that her own Union relatives fought and died there. Since 2005, she has portrayed a Civil War enlisted soldier for historical interpretive demonstrations, a portrayal that compelled her to study the women soldiers of the Civil War. A published scholar and public speaker, Dr. Scanlan-Teller is a Master Docent at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, an active interpretive volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield Park and South Mountain State Battlefield Park and a small business owner.

On Wednesday, August 17th , Audrey Scanlan-Teller & Tracey McIntire will present their Summer Lecture Series talk on “Woman Soldiers in the Civil War”.  There are hundreds of documented cases of women who fought disguised as men during the Civil War. Tracey and Audrey will discuss and share documentation of some of the more fascinating women and what motivated them to fight alongside men.

These Wednesday evening programs are free and open to the public. They will be held outdoors on the grounds of the Jacob Rohrbach Inn at 7:oo p.m. Feel free to bring a chair or blanket to sit around the event tent. In case of inclement weather talks will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets. Check our Facebook page for updates.

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