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The Farmsteads of Antietam – John Otto Farm

August 6, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

The John Otto farm is the last farmstead on the battlefield and is often overlooked as you drive to the Burnside Bridge.  Although the main house is the only period structure still standing on the property, the Otto farm is full of history.

In 1763, Joseph Chapline, Sr., founded the town of Sharpsburg. Upon his death in 1769, his sons inherited much of his property in the area.  In 1789, Joseph Chapline, Jr., applied to the land office in Annapolis for a resurvey of his lands into a single tract. This 2,575 acres became known as Mount Pleasant.  With the migration into Western Maryland in the 1790’s, Joseph Jr., began to sell off some of this land.

John Otto Farm

 

In 1815, Joseph, Jr. conveyed a portion of Mount Pleasant to Peter Ham, about 133 acres.  Ham lived in Sharpsburg and operated a tannery.  “When Ham died in 1819, he willed all his property except the tanyard, to his wife Margaret”.   According to an 1828 advertisement the property was placed for public sale and it described the farm as “A Valuable Plantation, containing about 145 acres of first rate Limestone Land, with common improvements and a never-failing spring thereon .. ,”  The farm never sold so in 1831, Mrs. Ham sold half of the estate, 66 acres, to Joseph Sherrick and the other half to John Otto.

 

 

John Otto was the son of John David Otto who emigrated from Hanover, Germany in 1795.  After landing in Philadelphia, he remained there for about eighteen months learning the trade of a tailor.  John David Otto moved to Sharpsburg “and opened a tailor shop in a small building near the Reformed Church”.   After moving to Sharpsburg he married Maria Catherine Bowlus with whom they had two children: Elizabeth and John.  John was born on November 25, 1802. As a young man, John worked as a farm hand and sometimes in his father’s tailor shop.

In 1825, John married Dorcas Miller and they lived on a small farm outside of Sharpsburg.   John and Dorcas would have six children together: Mary Ann, David, Ann Catherine, John, Joseph, and Daniel.  To make room for their growing family John purchased the property from the widow Ham in 1831.

Otto House

 

 

Over the next several years John and Dorcas worked to turn the property into a thriving farmstead.  John built a substantial two-story frame dwelling with clapboard sliding and a stone cellar foundation.  Near the house was an orchard containing apple, pear and cherry trees.

 

 

 

Back of house

Site of kitchen

Looking toward the barn and outbuildings

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruins of barn

Possible site of spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down the hill from the house near the Rohrbach Bridge Road, a spring-house was built over the ‘never-failing spring’.  Just to the rear of the main house, the Otto’s constructed a large log kitchen and a root cellar was built into the hill where the cool temperatures provided storage of vegetables.  Further up the hill from the house was the large Pennsylvania style bank barn.  A hog pen and various other outbuildings and dependencies surrounded the farm as well.  Across from the farm, post-and-rail and worm fences divided the fields and along the bridge road was a well-constructed stone wall.

John Otto was a stanch Democrat and served as a county commissioner in 1842 -44.  The Otto’s also owned several slaves. One of them was Hilary Watson.  Born in 1832, Hilary was less than a year old when John Otto purchased him and his mother, whom the family called Aunt Nancy.   The Otto’s were also members of the German Baptist Brethren Church or Dunkers.  After Samuel Mumma donated some property to the congregation to build a church in 1851, the Otto’s made bricks on the farm and donated them for the construction of the building which was completed in 1853.

 

Otto Family on the 1850 Census

In 1845, Dorcas passed away from unknown causes.  John would remarry in 1849 to Catherine Gardenour, who was born on the old Belinda Spring farm, on the Antietam Creek.  John became a successful farmer and “By 1862 he owned and cultivated three farms, including his 66-acre home farm, totaling over 300 acres, with over 500 head of cattle” which was a large number of livestock for the time.  According to the county records in 1860, “John Otto’s farm was valued at $4,000, and his livestock was valued at $500. In the year ending June 1, 1860, the farm produced 800 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of rye, 400 bushels of Indian corn, 70 pounds of wool, 20 bushels of potatoes, $25 of orchard products, 500 pounds of butter, 15 tons of hay, and 12 bushels of clover seed”.

Looking toward the Otto farm on the left from hill above bridge. Circa 1884

By mid-September 1862, the winds of war swirled around the Antietam Valley as Confederate soldiers from Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began to consolidate around Sharpsburg.  To the southeast of town on the Otto farm, Georgians from Brigadier General Robert Toomb’s brigade were positioned on the bluffs overlooking the Rohrbach Bridge and along the Antietam Creek.  Before long, hungry Confederates came looking for food.  According to Hilary Watson, “the Rebels came in hyar, and the hill at our place was covered with ’em.  They’d walk right into the house and say, ‘have you got anything to eat?’ like they was half starved.”  Hilary’s mother and the Otto’s provided them some bread, bacon, and milk.  The next morning, Mr. Otto took his family and Aunt Nancy away to safety.  We’re not sure where they went to, maybe to relatives but young Hilary remained behind.

Otto Farm taken circa 1900.

 

Carman-Cope Battlefield map for 4:20pm, Sept. 17, 1862

The next day the fighting along the Antietam Creek began about mid-morning.  Confederate artillery batteries positioned on the heights across the fields south of the farm.  Soon after noon, the Union IX Corps took control of the Rohrbach Bridge forcing the Confederates to pull back to the heights outside of Sharpsburg.  It took almost two hours, for the Union forces to reorganize and move into position to began their advance.  At approximately 3PM, the IX Corps attack began. Colonel Thomas Welsh’s brigade advanced through the Otto farmstead with Issac Rodman’s Division on the left flank.   Two Union artillery batteries moved into the position vacated by the Rebel guns.  As the Union pushed the Confederates beyond the farmstead toward Sharpsburg, other Union brigades advanced across the Otto farm in support.  Just as the objective seemed within sight for this final Union attack, Confederate General A.P. Hill’s Light Division arrived on the field.  Hill’s men drove the Union forces back to the Otto farm where the battle would end as darkness fell.

 

Of course after the battle the Otto farm like so many others was used as a hospital.  John Otto would write, “My House, Barn, and Granary were taken possession of September 17th and used for Hospital purposes til the 4th of Nov. 1862, during which time everything in and around it that could be of any service, was taken and used, including Beds, Furniture, Commissary stores, condiments and anything that would contribute to the comfort of the wounded, being either consumed entirely or rendered unfit for further use.  The surgeons in charge at my house was I think, Dr. Warren and Dr. McDonald.”  One Union soldier, William Mitchel of the 9th New York had engraved his name and unit in a windowsill in an upstairs bedroom of the Otto house.  In 1873, Otto filed a claim for $2350.60, he would only receive $893.85 for his losses.

Hilary and Christina Watson grave

 

In 1864, after slavery was abolished in Maryland, Hilary Watson continued to work on the Otto farm as a hired laborer.  John Otto paid $300 when Hilary was drafted to serve in the Union Army in order to keep him on the farm.  Years later, Hilary and his wife Christina would buy a lot on East High Street in Sharpsburg near Tolson’s Chapel, and build a house there.  Together they helped build the African American community in Sharpsburg in the post war years.  Both Christina and Hilary Watson are buried in the Tolson’s Chapel Cemetery.

 

 

Following the war John Otto retired from farming leaving the the tending of the farm to his son.  He moved into Sharpsburg where his second wife, Catherine died in 1867.  After her death, he made his home with his son David on Antietam Street.  John died on December 8, 1884.  John and both his wives, are buried in the Mount Cavalry Lutheran Cemetery in Sharpsburg.

Dorcas Otto

John Otto

Catherine Otto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 187o, the Otto’s sold the 66-acre property to Jacob B. Stine.  Stine would acquire the other half of the original farm in 1891 and then sold the whole 131 acres to James and Susan Dorsey in 1908.  The property remained in the Dorsey family until 1968, when the farmland was sold to Paul and Twila Shade.  In 1971, the Dorsey’s sold the 2+ acres containing the Otto buildings to Charles and Orpha Mae Kauffman who would in turn sell it to the National Park Foundation five years later.  In 1984, the National Park Service purchased the 2+ acres from the foundation and in 2003 the remaining parcels of the Otto farm and the Sherrick farmland were acquired by the National Park Service from the Shade estate.

Today, the farmland has been turned into grassland for wildlife and a habit for migrating Monarch butterflies.  Although only the main house and some ruins are all that remains of the Otto farmstead, it continues to be an eyewitness to a unique history of the Farmsteads of Antietam.

 

Sources:
  • Ancestry.com, John Otto Family, Census Data 1850-1880.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Banks, John, John Banks Civil War Blog retrieved from:  http://john-banks.blogspot.com/2013/05/antietam-panorama-ruins-of-john-ottos.html
  • Biscoe, Thomas Dwight and Walt Stanley. The view from the Conf. side of Antietam Creek near Burnside Bridge looks probably about North,. DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, 1884.  Retrieved from: http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/civ/id/132/rec/25
  • National Park Service, Antietam National Battlefield Survey Report, Paula S. Reed and Associates, Inc., Hagerstown, MD. Form, 10-900. 1999.
  • Nelson, John H., As Grain Falls Before the Reaper: The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam, Hagerstown: John H. Nelson, 2004
  • 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.
  • Schmidt, Alann and Terry Barklery. September mourn: the Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield, El Dorado Hill, CA: Savas Beatie LLC. 2018.Taggert, Thomas, Map of Washington County. L. McKee and C.G. Roberton, Hagerstown, Maryland 1859.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Hilary and Christina Watson. Retrieved from:  https://www.nps.gov/people/hilary-and-christina-watson.htm
  • U.S. National Park Service, Burnside Bridge Area Cultural Landscape InventoryAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2016.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Burnside Bridge Area Cultural Landscape ReportAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2018.
  • Walker, Kevin M., 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.

 

 

“The ‘What Ifs’ of the Maryland Campaign” – John Schildt

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

John Schildt

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. John Schildt will be our final speaker of the season on Wednesday, August 26th.  Many historians tend not to discuss the hypothetical, but John often asks, “What if…”.  John will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “”The ‘What Ifs’ of the Maryland Campaign”.  John will contemplate, what if Order No. 191 had not been found;  what if Franklin had moved more swiftly on September 13 and 15; what if Reno had not be killed; what if Lee had withdrawn to Virginia after the capture of Harpers Ferry and many more ‘What Ifs’.

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

A Very Personal Fight- Alex Rossino

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Although he is known for personally leading troops on the field during the Overland Campaign in 1864, the first time General Robert E. Lee actually took an active, direct role in tactical field operations was at the Battle of Antietam/Sharpsburg in September 1862. In this presentation, Alexander Rossino will document Lee’s movements during the fight at Sharpsburg and weigh the impact the general’s decisions had on the outcome of the battle.  ​On Wednesday, August 19th, Dr. Alex Rossino will present, “A Very Personal Fight: Robert E. Lee’s Role on the Field at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862”.

Dr. Alex Rossino

Dr. Rossino earned his PhD in History at Syracuse University in 1999. He is the author of Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity, a study of German policies against Polish Christians and Jews during the Nazi invasion of Poland in September 1939. He worked for 9 years as an historian at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum before moving to the private sector to provide market analysis for the government contracting community, work he continues to this day. Following a long hiatus from writing, Dr. Rossino moved to Western Maryland in 2013 and turned his studies to the American Civil War, a subject of interest to him since childhood. In 2017 he published Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee’s Army in Maryland, 1862 with Savas Beatie. The novel examines the history of the second half of the Confederate invasion of Maryland from a first-person perspective, combining history and fiction to help general readers better understand the importance of the 1862 Maryland Campaign to Robert E. Lee and his army. A sequel to the book giving the same treatment to McClellan’s army is due out in 2019. Dr. Rossino is also the author of two new articles on the Civil War in Maryland: one on the Confederate Army in Frederick and the other on George McClellan’s handling of Lee’s Lost Orders in September 1862, which he co-authored with Cartographer Gene Thorp. Last, but not least, he is the editor of Savas Beatie’s new Civil War Spotlight essay series, a service publishing historical essays on issues of importance to Civil War studies. His talk today is based on the inaugural offering in that series.

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862: McClellan’s Final Advance” – Matt Borders

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Matt Borders

A long time student of American History and the Civil War, Matthew Borders holds a BA in US History and an MS in Historic Preservation. He has worked as a National Park Service ranger at Antietam National Battlefield, as well as a historian and battlefield surveyor for the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He is also a Certified Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harpers Ferry.

Currently Matthew is a Park Ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland and along with fellow guide, Joe Stahl, recently published his first book, Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam. In 2019 he was honored to be the recipient of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation’s Dr. Joseph Harsh Award for his research topic: The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862: McClellan’s Final Advance.

 

McClellan surrendering the command of the Army of the Potomac to General Burnside.—drawn by A. R. Waud

The purpose of this research was to look into the thirteen days prior to McClellen being removed from command of the Army of the Potomac, October 26th – November 7th, 1862. This period has generally been overlooked by Civil War history, however, the gravity of McClellan’s final campaign, and the opportunities that it offered, should not be. Had his campaign been allowed to reach its conclusion it is possible that much of the popular opinion of General McClellan, and how he waged his campaigns, would be drastically different.

Join us on Wednesday, August 5th, for Antietam Battlefield Guide Matt Borders’ discussion about his research on “The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862: McClellan’s Final Advance”.

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“Small Arms Weapons at Antietam” – Justin Mayhue

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Small arms are the firearms carried by individual soldiers.  The American Civil War had witnessed a technological revolution in weaponry.  During the war small arms consisted of an incredible variety of muskets, rifles, carbines, revolvers, and even shotguns. Small arms, accounted for half of the war’s 620,000 killed and wounded.  On Wednesday, August 12th, Antietam Battlefield Guide Justin Mayhue will discuss “Small Arms Weapons at Antietam”.  Justin will discussion of the manufacturers of small arms, the types of weapons, what calibers there were and the uses at Antietam.

 

Justin Mayhue

Justin Mayhue is a retired Battalion Chief of the Hagerstown, MD Fire Department, docent at the Hagerstown Fire Museum, author five books.  He is the past president of the Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and he has been an actor in God’s and Generals, Ladder 49 and numerous History Channel projects.  Justin is an Antietam Battlefield Guide certified at Antietam, Harper’s Ferry and South Mountain. Justin has conduct over 1.000 career tours.

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“The American Civil War and the World” – Nigel Wainwright

June 25, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Britain’s shortage of cotton was partially made up by imports from India and Egypt; Punch cartoon 16 November 1861.

On Wednesday, July 29,  Antietam Battlefield Ambassador, Nigel Wainwright will provide an overview of the American Civil Wars’ impact on international relations and trade.  He will also discuss how a global political war got dangerously close to being a global shooting war by identifying some of the main characters involved.

 

 

Nigel Wainwright

Nigel Wainwright was a Police Officer in England for 30 years qualified as an instructor in criminal law and advanced motorcycle riding.  He also worked on road accident investigation /reconstruction.   As a hobby Nigel spent 37 years setting up and running a program teaching motorcycle riding safety mainly new to young riders. The program later became adopted by the British government and is now legal requirement.  Nigel was awarded the British Empire Medal by the Queen for services to the community.  In 2008, he retired and moved to Martinsburg, WV with his American born wife. Since first visiting Gettysburg in 2004 Nigel has had a keen interest in American history generally and civil war history in particular. In 2017, he decided to channel his interest into a more practical use and became a Battlefield Ambassador at Antietam National Battlefield which has given him a much larger understanding of the whys and wherefores of the Civil War and great satisfaction in sharing that understanding with visitors to the park.

 

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Longstreet’s Attack on French’s Right – Laura Marfut

June 24, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

According to Antietam veteran and historian Ezra Carman, confusion ‘reigned supreme’ among the Confederates after they were dislodged from the Sunken Road, with several desperate attempts to turn the flanks of Union Generals French and Richardson and save Lee’s center. In the midst of the confusion came James Longstreet’s hastily prepared counter-attack that bent back French’s line and nearly reached the Roulette farm. The audacity of the attackers and the independent maneuvers of the Union regiments that repulsed them are worth a closer look.  Join us on Wednesday, July 22 to hear Antietam Battlefield Guide Laura Marfut present “Longstreet’s Attack on French’s Right”.

 

Laura Marfut

 

 

 

Laura Marfut is a retired U.S. Army colonel and graduate of the U.S. Army War College with a life-long interest in military history. Following her military retirement, she taught high school Homeland Security courses in Washington County, MD. Laura is an Antietam Battlefield Guide, certified to include Harper’s Ferry. She lives in Hagerstown, MD with her husband, Ed. They have two grown sons and four grandchildren.

 

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“The Long Gray Line of ’54” – Sharon Murray

June 24, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

West Point Class of 1854

On Wednesday, July 8 Antietam Battlefield Guide Sharon Murray will discuss “The Long Gray Line of ’54”.  During recent research  Sharon discover some fascinating stories of the the West Point Class of 1854.  During her presentation Sharon will discuss seven members of the West Point Class of 1854 who fought at Antietam or were involved in the Maryland Campaign. One, a turn back from the Class of 1853, earned the Medal of Honor at Antietam.

 

Sharon Murray

I am a native Idahoan who moved east in 2010 to volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield. I have multiple degrees in mining engineering and history from the University of Idaho. I have published a number of articles on Idaho mining history and won awards for photographs from the International California Mining Journal and the American Battlefield Trust and am currently working on a book about a career army officer Colonel Benjamin Franklin Davis. I have been a guide at Antietam since 2014.

 

 

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“Goodbye Captain” Artillery at the Burnside Bridge and Final Attack – Jim Rosebrock

June 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

James Rosebrock

Jim Rosebrock

 

Jim Rosebrock is the former Chief of the Antietam Battlefield Guides.  Jim currently serves as a volunteer and tour guide at the Antietam National Battlefield. Jim is a retired army officer and currently works for the Department of Justice. He is currently conducting research for a book that will tell the story of the regular artillery companies during the Civil War.  Jim also discusses interesting topics about the Maryland Campaign on his blog South From the North Woods.

 

 

 

On Wednesday, July 1st, Jim will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Goodbye Captain” Artillery at the Burnside Bridge and Final Attack
Jim will cover the often overlooked artillery action on the southern end of the battlefield between Ambrose Burnside’s Ninth Corps and the batteries of David Jones and A.P. Hill’s artillery. Union Artillery played a much more important role in Burnside’s capture of the bridge than normally understood. Likewise Confederate artillery played a key role in slowing the advance of the Ninth Corps after Burnside successfully crossed the Antietam until the arrival of A.P. Hill’s division late in the afternoon.

 

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:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

The Dunker Church – Alann Schimdt

May 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

The Dunker Church is one of the most iconic structures of the American Civil War. Few people know much, if anything, about its fascinating back story, the role it played within the community of Sharpsburg, and its importance during and after the Battle of Antietam.

On Wednesday, June 24, Alann Schimdt will discuss the subject of his new book, “September Mourn: The Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield”.  Alann will look at the complete history of Antietam’s Dunker Church, including it’s background, role in the battle and aftermath, and the many ups and downs (figurative and literal!) it went through in the years since.

 

 

Alann Schmidt

Alann Schmidt spent fifteen years as a park ranger at Antietam National Battlefield. He earned degrees from theUniversity of Pittsburgh, Shippensburg University, Shepherd University, and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. While a severe case of Lyme disease forced him into early retirement, he currently serves as a pastor for the Churches of God, and lives with his wife Tracy (and their many cats) on their family farm near Fort Littleton, Pennsylvania.

 

 

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.

UPDATE: In light of social distancing recommendations, the talks will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing until the guidelines and safety allow for public gatherings.   The Zoom sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m.  The Zoom meeting link will be sent out to those signed up on our SLS Member list each week.  For those that can’t attend live, the presentation will be recorded and posted on our Facebook page.

To sign up for the SLS Member list email us at: info@jacob-rohrbach-inn.com.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.  The lecture schedule is subject to change.

Immortal Respect: Post and the 2nd USSS in the Antietam Campaign – Darin Wipperman

May 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Col. Henry Post

This is Darin Wipperman’s second consecutive summer presenting at the Civil War Lecture Series.  On Wednesday, June 17 Darin will discussion is entitled, “Immortal Respect: Col. Henry Post and the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters in the Antietam Campaign”. Post’s men had to meet an extremely difficult target shooting test before joining the command. The unit’s eight companies were recruited from six states, including five companies from the three states of Northern New England. The sharpshooters suffered severely in the Summer of 1862. Darin will examine Post’s life, as well as detail the actions of the outfit at South Mountain and Antietam. Even after a serious wound south of the Cornfield, the colonel would live for more than half a century. The presentation concludes with a few tidbits about the colonel’s interesting family. Post was very well liked by his excellent soldiers, with a Vermonter writing, “The respect which he won is immortal.”

Darin Wipperman

Darin Wipperman’s study of the Civil War has occupied much of his adult life. Growing up in Iowa, he earned degrees in Political Science from the University of Northern Iowa in the mid-1990s. A federal employee for nearly 17 years, Darin and his wife moved to northern New Hampshire in 2012, where he was a reporter and editor at New Hampshire weekly newspapers for more than four years. This autumn, Stackpole Books will publish Darin’s history of the First Corps, entitled First for the Union: Life and Death in a Civil War Army Corps from Antietam to Gettysburg. For his next research and writing project, Darin continues his interest in telling the stories of Union corps in what will be a multi-volume history of the 9th Corps. When not geeking out on the Civil War, Darin enjoys managing the forested parcel he shares with his wife in the Great North Woods.

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.

UPDATE: In light of social distancing recommendations, the talks will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing until the guidelines and safety allow for public gatherings.   The Zoom sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m.  The Zoom meeting link will be sent out to those signed up on our SLS Member list each week.  For those that can’t attend live, the presentation will be recorded and posted on our Facebook page.

To sign up for the SLS Member list email us at: info@jacob-rohrbach-inn.com.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.  The lecture schedule is subject to change.

“Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of 1862 & 1863” – Brad Gottfried

May 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Lee crossing the Potomac

Lee crossing the Potomac into Maryland, 1863

On Wednesday, June 10th, Antietam Battlefield Guide and renowned author, Brad Gottfried will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of 1862 & 1863”.

Robert E. Lee’s invaded Northern soil twice during the Civil War. He was turned back both times, but the invasion left a lasting impact on the United States. This presentation will explore how the two campaigns were similar and dissimilar. Spoiler alert: There is more similarities than most realize.

 

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.

 

 

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.

UPDATE: In light of social distancing recommendations, the talks will be conducted via Zoom video conferencing until the guidelines and safety allow for public gatherings.   The Zoom sessions will begin at 7:00 p.m.  The Zoom meeting link will be sent out to those signed up on our SLS Member list each week.  For those that can’t attend live, the presentation will be recorded and posted on our Facebook page.

To sign up for the SLS Member list email us at: info@jacob-rohrbach-inn.com.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.  The lecture schedule is subject to change.

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