Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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Upgrades at the Inn

May 12, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

It has been a busy spring at the Inn in more ways then one.  Besides repainting the Clara Barton Suite, this is the year for technology upgrades.  This past week we finished up another photo shoot with Christian Giannelli.  It was great to work with him again, and Christian’s photography will highlight the changes we made over the last seven years.

Setting up on the Antietam Room porch for photo shoot

Christian and his father taking some food shots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These new photos will be the mainstay of our new website.  That’s right. Although everyone tells us how much they love our webpage, we are in the process of tweaking it to make it even better.  Thanks to Patricia McCauley, and all the folks at InsideOut Solutions for their patience and great work in upgrading our website again. Hope to switch over to the new site by mid-summer.  We’ve also worked with them to create a new logo for the Inn, focusing more on the Civil War interest of the area.

A few other upgrades with born out of the pandemic. Like most everyone in the hospitality industry we had to rethink the guest experience in terms of both health and safety. This spring we installed keyless door locks to all the guest rooms entry doors to the Inn.  Not only is it an added step for security, but this is a BIG improvement.  All the doors close tighter now and they’re easier to use without having to worry about a key.  A shout out to Smith Renovations for their quality work and for changing all these out in one day.

Back porch door

Jackson Room

Inside view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For two years during COVID, our inch-thick guest information binders were removed out of the rooms.  Instead of placing them back in the rooms, we went digital. Now, guests can not only find information about the Inn, but they can find places to eat, stores to shop at and things to do in the area in our Digital Guestbook.

Digital Guestbook

We have several different sections to help guests navigate through the book. Even better, while they are out and about, they can open the guest book to find a nearby place to eat or an attraction to see and get directions right from their location.

The ABOUT, INFOMATION GUIDE & GUEST ROOMS sections provide you with information about the Inn, history, maps, and room specific information

About the Inn

 

The EAT, SHOP & PLAY sections guide you to all the local restaurants, stores and attractions in the area.

Eat

Shop

Play

 

 

 

 

In the EVENTS. LOCAL SERVICES, & CHURCHES sections you will find all the extra information (like where the closest gas station or pharmacy is) and some of events happening during your stay.

Favorite place to shop

 

 

Another cool feature about the Guestbook is you can plan your trip by saving the places you want to visit or eat at under ‘your favorites’. Then, the next time you return and can’t remember the name of restaurant or store you liked, you just open up your favorites and there it is.

 

 

 

 

You can use our Guestbook any time while your here or planning you vacation, just put in this URL address http://frcls.com/11443 or use the QR Code.

Clara Barton Suite

May 12, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

The Clara Barton Suite was the first room we renovated as soon as we purchased the Inn back in 2015. The original suite was two separate rooms connected by a pass-through closet.  Since they were two different rooms, each were completely different colors. The bedroom was a two-tone brown and the smaller sitting room was a very deep pink.

 

 

 

 

The first thing we did was remove the closet and make repairs to the wall.  This would allow for a king size bed in the main room.  The large bathroom was wrapped in bead-board and had an antique clawfoot tub, which we decided to keep, but we upgraded to a larger vanity and new toilet. The whole suite received a new coat of a two-tone green paint. We also turned the smaller room into a second bedroom with a full sized bed.

 

 

 

 

 

After seven years the suite needed a fresh new look, so in March we painted again.  This time the walls off-white and the trim a deep navy blue.  Of course, that meant new curtains, blankets, and comforters.  We also added new matching wing-back chairs that provide a perfect spot to read or watch TV. Oh, we also upgraded the bedside lamps to 3-way touch control lamps with a USB port and the ceiling lights & fans are remote controlled.

 

 

 

 

The Clara Barton suite is located on the second floor at the front of the Inn, in the portion of the house dating to the 1830’s. This expansive two room suite offers entrance from inside the Inn.  In the spacious main room, natural light from three windows illuminate a graceful, king sized iron bed.  The adjoining second bedroom offers a full sized, four post pineapple bed. The large bath, wrapped in bead-board, features an antique clawfoot tub with shower.

 

 

 

 

This suite is perfect for a family or friends and it can be combined with the Antietam Room to accommodate groups. The Clara Barton Suite is named for the valiant “Angel of the Battlefield” and founder of the American Red Cross.

 

Book your next stay in the Clara Barton Suite to – Relax, Refresh, & Renew.

Egg Soufflé

May 12, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

 

One of the most visually impressive dishes we serve is our version of an egg soufflé.  It’s super easy to make and if you time it just right, the egg is popping out of the dish just in time for your friends and family to be amazed.

 

 

 

Another great thing about this recipe is it’s easy to make for small or large groups. Here’s the ingredients you need to make for two.

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tbsps. sour cream
  • 3 Tbsps. milk
  • ¼ Tsp salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 2 ½ tsp chopped green onions
  • 2 ½ tsp chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 6 Tbsps. grated cheese – we use Parmigiano-Reggiano

 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  We like to bake this in our 8oz. high blue ramekins but you can use a glass dish or cast-iron skillet especially for a large group.  Spray or butter the two individual ramekins well.

 

Next, in a small bowl, add the eggs, sour cream, milk, salt, pepper, and turmeric.  Beat until light and airy, then add the green onions, red peppers, and grated cheese.

 

 

Place the ramekins on baking sheet and add the mixture evenly to the ramekins.

Then bake for about 35 minutes, until set but still moist.  Soufflé will raise above the ramekin.  Try to serve straight from the oven to ensure the Soufflé doesn’t have a chance to cool and fall.

 

 

Egg Souffle Recipe

 

Joe Stahl & Matt Borders – “Union Faces of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry”

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

The first Confederate invasion of the North in the fall of 1862 led to a series of engagements known as the Maryland Campaign. Though best remembered for its climax, there was desperate fighting at both South Mountain and Harpers Ferry prior to the bloodletting at Antietam Creek. These battles in particular were desperate affairs of bloody attacks and determined defense.  In their second book working together, Antietam Battlefield Guides – Matthew Borders and Joseph Stahl present the images of Union soldiers who struggled up the slopes of South Mountain or sheltered from Confederate cannons at Harpers Ferry.

On June 29th, join Matt and Joe as they introduce you to some of  these men, their battles and their stories during their presentation – “Union Faces of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry”.

 

Matthew Borders is a graduate of Michigan State and Eastern Michigan University, with a BA in United States History and a MS in Historic Preservation. He taught at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before excepting a position with the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He was the historian for the ABPP for six years, during which time he became a certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield. Currently Matthew is a park ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland. He, along with fellow guide Joe Stahl, have published three books in their Faces of Union Soldiers series.

Joseph W. Stahl grew up in St. Louis and received BS, MS, and MBA degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology and Washington University. After retiring from the Institute for Defense Analyses, he became a volunteer and NPS Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harpers Ferry. Joe has authored more than two dozen articles and is co-author of several books, including: Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War, Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam, Faces of Union Soldiers at South Mountain and Harpers Ferry and the Faces of Union Soldiers at Fredericksburg.

The Faces of Union Soldiers books are available for purchase at the Antietam Mercantile Company.

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 outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  These outdoor programs are free and open to the public. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and changes to the schedule check our Facebook page.

 

David Welker – “The Cornfield: Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point”

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

On Wednesday, June 22st, David Welker will present his Summer Lecture Series presentation,  “The Cornfield: Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point”

The Cornfield: Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point tells the story of what happened in David Miller’s once-peaceful farm field on 17 September 1862, which opened the Civil War Battle of Antietam – America’s single bloodiest day.  This is the story of human struggle against fearful odds, of men seeking to do their duty, of simply trying to survive in a contest which had implications that echoed decisively throughout Antietam’s other actions and reverberated beyond the close of fighting that evening.

Author David A. Welker will share in his presentation some of the many human stories of those who fought in the Cornfield, while also clearly presenting the unfolding events of this often complex, swirling action and offering new analysis of the fight.  Some of these will challenge conventional wisdom about Antietam—such as why General McClellan directed the fight as he did, why the Cornfield mattered at all in this great Civil War battle, and why the human cost for controlling this spot was so unbelievably high—but regardless if you agree with his insights, those attending will view the Battle of Antietam in a new light.

David A. Welker

David A. Welker is the author of the recently released The Cornfield: Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point.  His previous publications include Tempest at Ox Hill: The Battle of Chantilly and A Keystone Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Joseph Garey, as well as numerous magazine and newspaper articles on the war.  He currently serves as a historian and military analyst with the US Government, a post he has held for over 35 years.  David holds a master’s degree in international affairs from American University and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Westminster College in Pennsylvania.  He lives in Centreville, Virginia with his wife.

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 outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  These outdoor programs are free and open to the public. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and changes to the schedule check our Facebook page.

 

Brad Gottfried – “Brigades of Antietam”

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

While the 1862 Maryland Campaign has been extensively studied, a comprehensive treatment of the part played by each unit has been ignored. The Brigades of Antietam fills this void by presenting a complete account of each major unit, providing a fresh perspective of the campaign.

Using the words of enlisted men and officers, the book weaves a fascinating narrative of the role played by every unit (112 entries) from the time it began its march toward Sharpsburg to the final action at Shepherdstown. Organized by order of battle, each unit is covered in complete and exhaustive detail: where it fought, its commander, what constituted the unit, and how it performed in the campaign. Innovative in its approach and comprehensive in its coverage, The Brigades of Antietam is certain to be a classic and indispensable reference for the Maryland Campaign for years to come.

Published by the Antietam Institute, the book has been written by a collaboration of over 15 Antietam Battlefield Guides, Rangers, and seasoned Antietam volunteers. Bradley Gottfried, the author of The Brigades of Gettysburg, serves as the volume’s editor.  On Wednesday, June 15, join Brad Gottfried, editor of the Brigades of Antietam, will be here for an informative discussion on some of the brigades that fought at Antietam. He will be joined by several contributors who will relate their brigade’s experiences during the campaign.

Brad Gottfried

After receiving his doctorate in 1976, Brad Gottfried worked in higher education for over 40, retiring as the President of the College of Southern Maryland in 2017. He has written 13 books on the Civil War, including the Maps of Antietam. Brad became an Antietam Battlefield Guide in 2019 and also serves as a Gettysburg Town Guide. He is married and has four children and six grandchildren.

The Brigades of Antietam book is available for purchase at the Antietam Mercantile Company.

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 outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  These outdoor programs are free and open to the public. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and changes to the schedule check our Facebook page.

 

 

Darin Wipperman – “A Damaged Friendship: McClellan and Burnside’s 1862 Correspondence”

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

On Wednesday, June 8th, Darin Wipperman will present his Summer Lecture Series talk, “A Damaged Friendship: McClellan and Burnside’s 1862 Correspondence”.

Meeting at West Point, George McClellan and Ambrose Burnside became good friends. Although McClellan was 31 months younger, he was a year ahead of Burnside at the Military Academy. Their lives intersected a great deal in the years before the Civil War, with McClellan saving his woebegone pal from financial ruin. Both men remained on good terms as they wore stars in 1861. As general-in-chief, McClellan gave guidance to Burnside during the North Carolina expedition. They shared missives through August 1862, retaining a warm friendship. After Lee invaded Maryland, however, strife began, which burst into the open at South Mountain. The course of a friendship can be seen in the messages the two men shared across the year, especially during tense weeks in September. What damaged their relationship? What defining moment gave McClellan hope in Burnside once more?

Darin Wipperman

This presentation, Darin Wipperman’s fourth for the Summer Lecture Series at the Rohrbach Inn, was inspired by research included in his second Civil War manuscript, currently titled Burnside’s Boys: The Union’s Ninth Corps and the Civil War in the East. Stackpole Books published First for the Union: Life and Death in a Civil War Army Corps from Antietam to Gettysburg, in December 2020. In the 1990s, Darin earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in political science. After nearly 17 years as a federal employee, Darin and his wife moved to northern New Hampshire, where he was a reporter and editor for weekly newspapers for more than four years. When resting from Civil War research and writing, Darin manages the 64-acre forested parcel he and his wife live on in Lancaster, NH.

Darin’s book, First for the Union is available at the Antietam Mercantile Company.

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 outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  These outdoor programs are free and open to the public. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and changes to the schedule check our Facebook page.

 

M. Chris Bryan – The XII Corps at Antietam: Tactical Details and Findings

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

Gen. Mansfield at Antietam

On Wednesday, June 1st, Chris Bryan will kick off our Summer Lecture Series with his presentation,  “The XII Corps at Antietam: Tactical Details and Findings”

The Union XII Corps formed in June 1862 as the II Corps, Army of Virginia. The corps, which joined the Army of the Potomac only a week before Antietam was small, numbering just over 7,600 men. Easily overlooked, Army of the Potomac leadership and historians since have largely glossed over this corps’ contribution at Antietam. Nevertheless, this small corps ended Confederate attacks into the Miller Cornfield and East Woods, successfully defended the Dunker Church Plateau from Confederate assaults, and captured the West Woods, which had been the goal on the Federal right all morning. This talk will examine the XII Corps’ fighting at Antietam and will focus on new findings discovered through recent archival research.

Chris Bryan

 

Chris Bryan is a native of Greencastle, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. in History from the United States Naval Academy, an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and a Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a focus on architectural investigations of Chesapeake region antebellum domestic and agricultural outbuildings. The former Naval Aviator works as a project manager in Southern Maryland. Cedar Mountain to Antietam is his first book.

Chris’ book, Cedar Mountain to Antietam is available at the Antietam Mercantile Company.

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 outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  These outdoor programs are free and open to the public. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and changes to the schedule check our Facebook page.

The Farmsteads of Antietam – Jacob Nicodemus Farm

February 4, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

Captain J. Albert Monroe

“We were awakened before daylight by the cook, who had brought up a pail of steaming coffee, some johnny-cakes and “fixins,” together with cups, plates and other table ware. A blanket was spread on the ground for a table-cloth, on which was placed the breakfast, and the officers gathered around it on their haunches. It was the early gray light that appeared just before the sun rises above the horizon, and we could little more than distinguish each other. We had not half finished our meal, but it had grown considerably lighter, and we could see the first rays of the sun lighting up the distant hilltops, when there was a sudden flash, and the air around us appeared to be alive with shot and shell from the enemy’s artillery – The opposite hill seemed suddenly to have become an active volcano, belching forth flame, smoke and scoriae.

Captain J. Albert Monroe of Battery D, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery was positioned on the hill just north of the Joseph Poffenberger barn among the United States Army First Corps.  Monroe described the first shots of the Battle of Antietam in the early morning hours of September 17th as Confederate artillery fire rained down on them from the distant hilltops of the Jacob Nicodemus Farm. Many visitors to the battlefield know about Nicodemus Heights, and every Antietam aficionado dream of getting up to the heights to see what the Confederate artillerymen saw, but very few know about the Jacob Nicodemus family and their experiences.

Johann Conrad Nicodemus was born in Bavaria, Germany and immigrated to America in the mid-1700’s.  After landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, his family soon moved to Lancaster.  Johann would eventually marry, have eight children and fight in the American Revolution.  Two of his sons, Valentine and Conrad moved to Washington County, Maryland, settling near Boonsboro.  Valentine purchased 175 acres and built a house along Dog Creek where the Nicodemus Mill would be built in 1829. Conrad married Sophia Thomas, the daughter of Rev. Jacob Thomas of the United Brethren Church.  Rev. Thomas owned a large tract of land around Boonsboro and divided it into several farms, one would be given to his new son-in-law.  Conrad and Sophia would have 13 children over the next twenty-two years.  The second to last child, was Jacob, born on May 3, 1819.

 

 

Land Patents north of Sharpsburg

The area around what we know today as the Nicodemus Farm was once part of two land tracts.  These two patents were originally part of James Chapline’s “Addition to Loss and Gain” and part of Col. Edwin Sprigg’s “Resurvey on Addition to Piles Delight”. Some of the land that Jacob Mumma, the patriarch of the Mumma family, had been acquiring in the area included a large parcel of “Addition to Loss and Gain”.  Around this same time, John McPherson and John Brien, both well-known land speculators and owners of the nearby Antietam Iron Works, were selling off parcels of the “Resurvey on Addition to Piles Delight” tract.  Michael Havenar purchased a parcel just north of what we know today as the Alfred Poffenberger farm.

 

 

 

Jacob Coffman property on the 1859 Taggert map

In 1820, Jacob Coffman (Kauffman), future father-in-law to Joseph Poffenberger, purchased 100 acres from Jacob Mumma.  Coffman’s farm was adjacent to this tract and he continued to add to his holdings acquiring the acreage that had belonged to Michael Havenar.  By 1850, Jacob Coffman owned over 500 acres valued at $35,000.  One of the farms that he acquired would become the home of Joseph and Mary Ann Poffenberger which he sold to his son-in-law in 1852.

During this time Jacob Nicodemus married Amelia Drenner in 1844 and they were living in the Bakersville area according to the 1850 census. It appears that Amelia may have died during child birth.  Within a few months Jacob would marry Hannah Miller, the eighteen year old daughter of Jacob Henry Miller from the Keedysville area.  Hannah and Jacob may have been living with family or near the Hitt (Upper) Bridge in the 1850’s while they began raising a family.  According to the 1860 Census some of their neighbors included: Samuel Pry, Jacob Cost, Sarah Snyder, and Susan Hoffman; all residents along the Williamsport-Keedysville Road,  In 1852, they had their first child, Samuel. Two year later they had a daughter named Sophia, but Sophia died just before reaching her fourth birthday. They had two more sons, Jacob C. and Otho.

 

Approximate boundary of the Nicodemus farm property.

At some point after 1860, Jacob and Hannah moved with their three sons to the tenant farm owned by Jacob Coffman. With them was a twenty-one year old farm labor, Alexander Davis and his mother, Elizabeth.  They also owned a thirteen year old slave girl. Most likely the Coffman’s built the farm and one of Jacob Coffman’s children lived on the tract before the Nicodemus’ moved there.  Alexander Davis described the the farm as they “had a log house with two rooms downstairs and just a sort of loft divided by a partition up above. There was what we called a bat-house with a couple of bedrooms in it attached to the rear like a shed. In winter we used a room in the house for a kitchen, but in summer the kitchen was in another building off a little piece from the house. We had one of these old German barns with a roof that had a long slant on one side and a short slant on the other. The roof was thatched with rye straw”.  

 

 

In addition to these buildings, there was a wagon shed, corn crib, a blacksmith shop and several other dependencies with a small orchard stretching along the farm lane. The property stretched to the west over the a ridge line toward the Potomac River, where there was a 16-acre cornfield and a small woodlot in the northwest corner of the tract.  South of the farm buildings there was a 25-arce field used for the grain crops like oat, wheat and rye. These were typically harvested in the late summer and the fields reploughed for a winter crop. Hay was stacked near the barn, and wheat shocks dotted the fields. Rail fencing bordered the different fields across the farm with a few stone fences along the lane leading to and from the the farmstead.  As for livestock, Alexander Davis said they “had ’bout a dozen large hogs and mebbe eighteen or twenty pigs… quite a few cattle. I suppose there was over twenty head . . . We had four geese and ’bout sixty chickens,..  There was six horses”

 

Captain John Pelham

On September 15, 1862, the Nicodemus family was caught in a brewing storm as the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began to converge on their community and the Union Army of the Potomac pursued them to the Antietam Creek. Initially on the 16th, the rebel line was anchored south of the Nicodemus farm at the edge of the woodlot between Jacob’s farm and that of Alfred Poffenberger with just the small 9th Virginia Cavalry, but later Major General J.E.B. Stuart reinforced the left flank with the rest of the cavalry regiments from Brigadier General Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade. They line stretched east across David R. Miller’s fields and the Hagerstown Turnpike into the woodlot between Sam Poffenberger and Samuel Mumma’s farm.  Later in the afternoon a cannonade began as Union soldiers from the First Army Corps that crossed the Antietam Creek advanced to the Joseph Poffenberger farm and into the East Woods where heavy skirmishing continued into the night.  Sensing that the fight would be renewed the next day on the left, Major General Thomas J. Jackson moved artillery batteries in the early morning hours onto Nicodemus Heights.  About fifteen cannons would be in position at first light under the command of Capt. John Pelham.

 

Carman-Cope Battlefield map, 5:30am, Sept. 17, 1862

At daybreak, the battle began just as Capt. Monroe described it, but soon his guns were returning fire onto Pelham’s guns on the heights and among the Nicodemus farm.  The family must have assumed they were safe where they were for Captain William Blackford, a staff engineer for Jeb Stuart recalled,

“Between our cavalry lines and the enemy stood a handsome country house in which, it seems, all the women and children in the neighborhood assembled for mutual protection… Between us and the house was a roughly ploughed field.  When the cannonade began [at dawn on September 17], the house happened to be right in the line between Pelham’s battery and that of the enemy occupying the opposite hills, the batteries firing clear over the top of the house at each other. When the crossing shells began screaming over the house, its occupants thought their time had come, and like a flock of birds they came streaming out… children of all ages stretched out behind, and tumbling at every step over the clods of the ploughed field. Every time one would fall, the rest thought it was the result of a cannon shot and ran the faster. … I galloped out to meet them and represented to them that they were safer probably where they had as many children as my horse could carry, I escorted them to our lines and quieted the fears of the party, assuring them that they were not in danger of immediate death”.

battlefield map

Carman-Cope Battlefield map, 10:30am, Sept. 17, 1862

Soon, Union forces were advancing south across D.R. Miller’s farm where they meet heavy resistance. The Union extended their line across Hagerstown Pike on to the Nicodemus farm to guard the right flank and work the Confederate guns off the heights.  Confederate counterattacks across Miller’s fields were met with more Union brigades coming into the fight.  By 9:00am Federal forces had driven the Rebels beyond the Dunker Church and were now advancing west across the Hagerstown Pike to roll the Confederate flank.  Just as they reached the far side of the West Woods, fresh Confederate troops from Maj. Gen. Layette McLaws’ division and others rolled through the West Wests into the flanks John Sedgwick’s Union brigades forcing them to retreat north across the Nicodemus and Miller farms.

 

Colonel Alfred Sully

Regiments from the lead Union brigade were directed to form a line along the stone fence on the Nicodemus farm as other regiments fell back.  Colonel Alfred Sully, of the 1st Minnesota wrote,

Our loss here was very heavy, yet the men bravely held their position, and did not leave it until after the two brigades in rear had fallen back and the left regiments were moving, when they received the order to retire. Retiring in line of battle, we again halted outside the woods, to hold the enemy in check while the rest were retiring. Here the Eighty-second New York with their Colonel and colors reported to me, and formed on my right. The Nineteenth Massachusetts also reported, and formed on my left. We were soon again engaged with the enemy, but, seeing that the enemy were turning my right, I ordered the line to fall back in line of battle. The regiment here also suffered greatly in killed and wounded. We again made a stand near some farmhouse for a short time, and there took up a strong position about 100 yards back, behind a stone fence, when a section of artillery was sent to assist us. We kept the enemy in check till they brought a battery of artillery on our flank, which compelled me to order the regiments back to join our line of battle”.

Colonel Henry Hudson, commanding the 82nd New York Infantry joined the 1st Minnesota in their stand across the Nicodemus farm.  Hudson stated,

We then fell back to the outer edge of the wood, and formed on the First Minnesota to hold the enemy in check, till ordered by Colonel Sully, to whom I had reported, to fall still farther back, which we did in good order. We again made a stand behind a stone wall, and poured in our fire upon the enemy till they brought a battery of artillery on our flank, when we were obliged to fall back and join the other regiments of the brigade in good order on the edge of the wood, not more than 500 yards from the spot where our right rested.” 

As the Confederate infantry pushed the Union troops out of the West Woods across the Nicodemus farm and toward the Miller barn they were supported by artillery.  Rebel batteries reoccupied the heights overlooking the farmstead, and guns were positioned in the ploughed field near the house and on the ridge by the Houser farm.

In their hasty withdraw across the Nicodemus farm a number of Union soldiers were killed or wounded.  Many of the wounded were seeking refuge in and around the buildings.  Captain Norwood Penrose Hallowell, a company commander in the 20th Massachusetts Infantry recalled,

Captain Hallowell P. Norwood

Before long I gained the little farmhouse marked on the maps as the Nicodemus House. The yard was full of wounded men, and the floor of the parlor, where I lay down, was well covered with them. Among others, Captain O. W. Holmes, Jr., walked in, the back of his neck clipped by a bullet.

The first Confederate to make his appearance put his head through the window and said : ” Yankees?” “Yes.” “Wounded?” “Yes.” “Would you like some water?” A wounded man always wants some water. He off with his canteen, threw it into the room, and then resumed his place in the skirmish line and his work of shooting retreating Yankees. In about fifteen minutes that good- hearted fellow came back to the window all out of breath, saying: ” Hurry up there! Hand me my canteen! I am on the double-quick myself now! ” Some one twirled the canteen to him, and away he went”. 

Hallowell and Holmes, along with many of the Union wounded would make it back to the Union hospitals that were quickly overwhelmed with the wounded from across the battlefield.

By the afternoon, the heavy fighting had shifted from left of the Confederate line to the right, southeast of Sharpsburg.  The left line was reestablished across the Nicodemus farm by Stuart’s cavalry supported by artillery batteries on the high ground.  Soon, nightfall ended the bloodiest single day of the war.  That evening both sides began gathering their wounded and burying the dead. This continued into the next day as there was no fighting. Later that day and into the evening the Confederates withdrew from the field back across the Potomac River.

Alexander Davis came back to the farm on Thursday before the family had returned.  Davis recalled the number of wounded and the fact they had no food in the house.  He said,

The house was full of wounded Northern soldiers, and the hogpen loft was full, and the barn floor. The wounded was crowded into all our buildings. I looked around to find something to eat, but there wa’n’t enough food in the house to feed a pair of quail. We’d left fifty pounds of butter in the cellar and seventy-five pounds of lard and twenty gallons of wine — fine grape wine — and half a barrel of whiskey. We had just baked eight or ten loaves of bread the day before, and pies, and I don’t know what else. Those things was all gone. So was every piece of bacon from the smoke-house.”

Antietam burial map

Gravestone of Pvt Grant, Antietam NC.

By the end of the week the dead had been buried. There were over twenty-five soldiers across the farm.   Fifteen of them were from Massachusetts. One of the soldiers that he buried may have been Private Alexander Grant, Company I, 19th Mass. Infantry. Grant was a 19-year old butcher from Boston. He now rests in the Antietam National Cemetery.  Davis remembered that “The stench was sickening. We couldn’t eat a good meal, and we had to shut the house up just as tight as we could of a night to keep out that odor.”  Although Davis did not indicate how many Confederates were buried on the farm, according to the Bowie List there were at least six, all unknown.

In the proceeding days after a battle, soldiers can recollect the sights, sounds, and smells of the battlefield years later, just like it was yesterday.  Civilians that experience such a catastrophic event are the same way.  Alexander Davis remembered what all the Sharpsburg civilians experienced in those days, weeks and months after the battle.

“The battle made quite a change in the look of the country. The fences and other familiar landmarks was gone, and you couldn’t hardly tell one man’s farm from another, only by the buildings, and some of them was burnt. You might be out late in the day and the dark would ketch you, and things was so torn and tattered that you didn’t know nothin’. It was a strange country to you. I got lost three or four times when I thought I could go straight home.

Another queer thing was the silence after the battle. You couldn’t hear a dog bark nowhere, you couldn’t hear no birds whistle or no crows caw. There wa’n’t no birds around till the next spring. We didn’t even see a buzzard with all the stench. The rabbits had run off, but there was a few around that winter — not many. The farmers didn’t have no chickens to crow. Ourn [Ours] didn’t commence for six months. When night come I was so lonesome that I see I didn’t know what lonesome was before. It was a curious silent world.”

The farm was devastated. Most of the fence rails were taken for firewood and some of the others were used to burn the dead horses. The wheat and hay stacks were full of shell fragments and lead. A good portion of the corn had been trampled down and most of the potatoes were dug out of the ground by the soldiers.  When the shelling started, the cattle and hogs jumped out of their pasture and headed for the woods down by the river.

Seven months after the battle, Hannah and Jacob were overjoyed at the birth of a daughter, Budelia in March of 1863. Despite the damages to their farm, the Nicodemus family stayed on to raise their family.  A few weeks later Jacob purchased the farm for $5,992.50 from the heirs of Jacob Coffman who had died in 1859.  It seemed that they were on the road to recovery in 1863, but before the end of the year tragedy stuck the Nicodemus family three-fold.  In late November, seven-year old Jacob died. Less then two weeks later, little Budelia died followed by her brother, Otha just short of his fourth birthday.  No information is available as to what caused the loss of the Nicodemus children but it was most likely due to some epidemic like typhoid fever.

Aerial photo of Nicodemus farm, c. 1930

The unfortunate location of the Nicodemus farm sandwiched between the surging battlelines and artillery fire undoubtedly would have caused some damage to the buildings. However, the Quartermaster claim filed by Jacob Nicodemus in 1866 makes no mention of damage to buildings.  They did claim “12,000 pound of hay that was “taken form the barn” by Union forces occupying the farm following the retreat of the Confederate army.”  The claim that was finally paid in 1882, was for “$410.00 worth of corn, straw, and hay”. Even though they did not file a claim for damages to the building, there must have been enough for the Nicodemus’ to build a new home, closer to the barn, the one that exists today.

Nicodemus grave at the Fairview Cemetery in Keedysville, MD

Hannah and Jacob remained on the farm and had two more children, Alice (1866) and Millard (1869).  Jacob passed away at the age of 55, in 1875. Hannah and the two younger children stayed on the farm with the help of Alexander Davis.  In 1876, Samuel had married but moved to Kansas where he died ten years later.  William Remsburg purchased the farm from Hannah Nicodemus in 1887.  It may have been for his son, Cyrus Hicks Remsburg and his new wife, Alice Ann Nicodemus, the daughter of Hannah and Jacob.  About this same time, Hannah purchased 44 acres east of the farm from David R. Miller, the pasture just south of the famous Cornfield. A new farmstead would be built for the family and was the home of Hannah, her son, Millard, his wife, Minnie Agnes DeLauney they two daughters and of course Alexander Davis.  Unfortunately Millard died in 1910, a year after his mother passed away.  Hannah and Jacob Nicodemus were buried at the Fairview Cemetery in Keedysville.  This farm was sold and Minnie, the girls and “Uncle Alec” moved to Sharpsburg where Minnie ran the Nicodemus Hotel on Main Street.

 

In 1886, Alexander Davis purchased a 32-acre tract (blue outlined tract on map above) from Samuel Michael that was adjacent to the farm bordering the West Woods.  There was no home on the this property and it may have been lease by Jacob Nicodemus in the previous years. Whatever the reason Alexander may have bought it for is unknown. He only held on to it for ten years before selling it to Cyrus Remsburg in 1896 and it is considered part of the Nicodemus-Remsburg farm today.  Alexander Davis lived and worked for the Nicodemus family most of his life, staying with Minnie at the hotel until he died in 1929.

Photo of Alexander Davis taken by Fred W. Cross

In 1892, the farm was conveyed to Cyrus and Alice. Their daughter, Flossie Elizabeth would marry Otho Flook in 1919 and they purchased the farm in 1941.  The Nicodemus farm remains in the Flook family to this day.  Even though only a few of the buildings are original, the Nicodemus farm witnessed the some of the first and final shots of the battle, north of Sharpsburg.  Like the Samuel Poffenberger Farm, the Nicodemus-Remsberg-Flook farm has been in the family for over 160 years and remains a great example of private stewardship of the land and an eyewitness to history.

Site of the original house

View of house and barn looking south

Nicodemus Heights from Hagerstown Pike near the Cornfield

View of Nicodemus Heights from the west along Mondell Rd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: There is some discrepancy between two biographers of the battle of who Alexander Davis really was.  According to Clifton Johnson, the farm hand who worked for Jacob Nicodemus was called Alex Root and was described almost like a freed slave. Fred Cross, who visited the Sharpsburg area a number of times, refers to Alexander Davis as the retainer of the Nicodemus family. During his visits, Cross stayed at the Nicodemus Hotel in Sharpsburg, interviewed Mr. Davis and even took his photograph.  Also all the census data refers to a Alexander Davis in the Nicodemus household.

Also during the research of the property we attempted to contact the Flook family for an interview and to obtain permission to get on property to take photos.  We hope to make this happen in the near future and to update this post as needed.

 

Sources:

  • Ancestry.com, Jacob Nicodemus Family, Census Data 1840-1930.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Albright, Isaiah H., et al. Landmark History of the United Brethren Church …: Treating of the Early History of the Church in Cumberland, Lancaster, York and Lebanon Counties, Pennsylvania, and Giving the History of the Denomination in the Original Territory. United States, Press of Behney & Bright, 1911.
  • Cross, Fred Wilder. Antietam, September 17, 1862, unpublished manuscript, 1921.
  • Downey, Brian. Antietam on the Web, 2022  Retrieved from: https://antietam.aotw.org/.
  • Ernst, Kathleen. Too Afraid to Cry, Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA, 1999.
  • Huskey, Nancy. Coffman Farm: From Deer Path to Tourism – How a Transportation Network Shaped a Homestead. Masters Degree dissertation, University of Leicester, England. 2004.
  • Johnson, Clifton. Battleground Adventures: The Stories of Dwellers on the Scenes of Conflict in Some of the Most Notable Battles of the Civil War. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1915.
  • Maryland. Board of Trustees of the Antietam National Cemetery, and 1869-1873 (Oden Bowie) Maryland. Governor. A Descriptive List of the Burial Places of the Remains of Confederate Soldiers: Who Fell In the Battles of Antietam, South Mountain, Monocacy, And Other Points In Washington And Frederick Counties, In the State of Maryland. Hagerstown, Md.: “Free press” print, 1868.
  • Maryland State Archives. Maryland Land Records On-Line, Washington County, January 25, 2021. https://mdlandrec.net/main/dsp_search.cfm?cid=WA
  • Monroe, J. Albert. Battery D, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862
    Providence: Published by the Society 1886. https://archive.org/details/05587901.3518.emory.edu/page/n16/mode/1up
  • New York Public Library, Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division. “Map of the battlefield of Antietam” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1864. https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/185f8270-0834-0136-3daa-6d29ad33124f
  • Nelson, John N.  “As Grain Fall Before the Reaper”, The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam.  Hagerstown, MD. 2004.
  • Newspapers.com. Alexander Davis obituary, Morning Herald, June 23, 1924. Retrieved from: https://www.newspapers.com/
  • Peters, Richard., Sanger, George Partridge., Minot, George. United States Statutes at Large: Containing the Laws and Concurrent Resolutions … and Reorganization Plan, Amendment to the Constitution, and Proclamations. United States: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1883.  Claim Payment for Hannah Nicodemus, 1883. United States: U.S. Government Printing Office, (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/books/edition/United_States_Statutes_at_Large/QFh6ABpyZO8C?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Hannah+Nicodemus,+executrix+of+Jacob+Nicodemus&pg=PA668&printsec=frontcover
  • Taggert, Thomas, Map of Washington County. L. McKee and C.G. Roberton, Hagerstown, Maryland 1859.
  • 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.
  • Tracey, Dr. Arthur G. “Land Patents of Washington County, MD. Showing their location on the land-their adjoining tracts- the relationship one to another-plus other related information”. MDLANDREC. Maryland Historic Trust. Retrieved from http://mdhistory.msa.maryland.gov/tracey_fr_wa_cr/html/index.html.
  • Williams, Thomas J. C., A History of Washington County, Maryland​ From the Earliest Settlements to the Present Time, Including a History of Hagerstown, Vol. 2, Part 1​. Higginson Book Company, MA. 1906​. Retrieved from:   https://www.google.com/books/edition/A_History_of_Washington_County_Maryland/c9AwAQAAMAAJ?hl=en.
  • 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.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield, National Register of Historic Place, ANTI-WA-II-477, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1990.
  • Williams, Thomas J. C. A history of Washington County, Maryland : from the earliest settlements to the present time, including a history of Hagerstown https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/011262603

* Layout design of farmsteads are based on a combination of maps, aerial photographs, and off site visit

Breakfast Potatoes

February 4, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

When you’re looking for a simple starchy side dish, breakfast potatoes are your mealtime answer.

Red and green bell peppers add a colorful crunch to the dish and it’s all on one baking sheet for an easy recipe that’s ready alongside your main entrée.

 

 

This recipe makes approx. 8 servings and here are the ingredients you will need:

  • 3 lbs red potatoesscrubbed or peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 large onionchopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepperdiced
  • 1/2 red bell pepperdiced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil (just enough to coat)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Spices

Diced veggies

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, spices, salt and pepper.

 

 

 

 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.

Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

Season to taste with a little more salt and pepper before serving. Breakfast potatoes can be a side for a sweet or savory entrée but goes great with an Eggs Over-Easy.

 

 

 

 

Recipe for Breakfast Potatoes

 

2021 Updates at the Inn

February 4, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

If you haven’t been able to the inn lately, you’re in for a BIG surprise. This past year we completed two projects – a fairly small one inside and a LARGE one outside. The small project was giving the upstairs room a much needed facelift. We repainted the upstairs vestibule to tie in with the staircase and foyer.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a perfect place to play a game of chess or checkers or a game of solitaire. The cabinet is filed with DVDs, playing cards, board games and coloring books for those rainy days.

 

 

 

 

 

The large project was putting in a stamped concrete patio and SureBrooming the existing walks. The first step was to remove the railings to open up the back porch.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, pull out all the old curb blocks and remove the sod.

 

 

 

 

 

Then prep the area for the concrete.

 

 

 

 

 

The concrete pour went well… except for a cicada or two.

 

 

 

 

 

Next the stamping and finally the staining.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the patio was finished, the existing concrete was ground down and prepared for the SureBroom. The SureBroom provided a thin layer of new concrete over the old and damaged walks to make them look brand new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all the SureBroom and the patio was done the “Ground Crew” came in to work on the sod and reseed the grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The open porch is great for a summer morning breakfast and the new patio is the ideal location to sit back and relax after long day exploring the area.

2022 Civil War Lecture Series

January 17, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

2022 is the 160th Anniversary of the 1862 Maryland Campaign and the Battle of Antietam.  Join us at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn to hear intriguing topics about the Campaign and the Civil War during our summer lecture series.  Many of this year’s presenters are authors with recently published Antietam related books.

June 1 – M. Chris Bryan – “The XII Corps at Antietam: Tactical Details and Findings”

June 8 –  Darin Wipperman – “A Damaged Friendship: McClellan and Burnside’s 1862 Correspondence”

June 15 – Brad Gottfried – “Brigades of Antietam”

June 22 – David Welker – “The Cornfield: Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point”

June 29 – Joe Stahl & Matt Borders – “Union Faces of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry”

July 6 – Dr. Tom Clemens – “Veterans’ Memories of Antietam”

July 13 – Mac Bryan – “The End of Compromise; Events That Led John Brown to Harpers Ferry”

July 20 – Frank E Bell III – “Unused Reserves? McClellan’s Failure “To Destroy The Rebel Army”

July 27 – Kevin Pawlak & Dan Welch – “Ohio at Antietam”

August 3 – Aaron Holley – “Mapping the Antietam Battlefield in the 21st Century – the Cope Maps Revisited”

August 10 – Dr. Emilie Amt – “An African American Family at the Battle of South Mountain.“

August 17 – Jim Rosebrock – “The Artillery at Antietam – New Insights”

August 24 – Steve Cowie – “When Hell Came to Sharpsburg: The Battle of Antietam and its Impact on the People Who Called it Home””

August 31 – Troy Cool – “The Locust Spring Hospital and the far-reaching consequences of Antietam”

September 7 – John Schildt – “Hunter Holmes McGuire: Doctor in Gray”

The lecture series will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:oo p.m.  This will be our seventh year hosting the series and we’ve raised over $2,200 for the Save Historic Antietam Foundation through our summer fundraisers.  To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.   In case of inclement weather, lectures will be moved to the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed United Church of Christ on Main Street. Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

We will be following the current state and federal guidelines related to COVID-19.

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