Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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The Farmsteads of Antietam – Jacob Avey Farm

July 31, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Avey farm view

View of the Avey farm from the 9th NY Monument. cir. 1897

 We continue the story of the Farmsteads  of Antietam with the Jacob Avey farm that sits at the southern edge of Sharpsburg. The D.R. Miller cornfield, the Poffenberger woods, and the Piper orchard; when we hear these the names of these places we know where they are on the Antietam battlefield and the action that occurred there.  But very few people have heard of the Avey farm, know where it is or even understand what happened there.  Like the copse of trees at Gettysburg for the Confederate High Water Mark, the Avey farm is the “High-Water Mark” for the Union at Antietam and is critical to understanding the Battle of Antietam.  

land patents

Location of land patents around Sharpsburg

In the early 1700’s very few people lived west of Frederick. To entice immigrants into western Maryland, land was being offered at very low prices; and people with disposable wealth began to purchase large tracts of land. In 1736, Joseph Chapline, Sr. moved west and began acquiring hundreds of acres of land along the Potomac River through grants and purchases.  In 1747 he patented the 250-acre tract “Hunting the Hare,” located just south of present-day Sharpsburg. Earlier that year, Chapline also purchased an adjacent 150-acre tract originally patented by Francis Abston in 1742 known as “Abston’s Forrest.” When the French and Indian War 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.  

land tracts

The land tracts around Sharpsburg

With the war over, Joseph Chapline sought to take advantage of the influx of new settlers coming into the valley. In 1763 Chapline founded the town of Sharps Burgh (present-day Sharpsburg) in honor of Maryland’s provincial governor Horatio Sharpe. This new town would be located on a 200-acre tract that Chapline had purchased known as “Hickory Tavern”. What made the “Hickory Tavern” tract such an appealing place for a town was the presence of a fresh water spring (Garrison’s Spring) and its location along the wagon road to Philadelphia.  This parcel was located close to his plantation and adjacent to two other parcels he owned, “Resurvey on Abston’s Forest” and “Hunting the Hare.”  In August 1764 Chapline patented “Joe’s Lot,” which consisted of 2,127 acres on the south and east sides of Sharpsburg. The parcel included over 1,680 acres of vacant land along with the original surveys of Resurvey on Abston’s Forest and Hickory Tavern.

Joseph Chapline died in 1769. In his will he divided his vast holdings among his children. His eldest, Joseph Chapline, Jr., received the majority of his lands, including Sharpsburg and the surrounding land. In 1789, Joseph Chapline, Jr., applied to the land office in Annapolis for a resurvey of his lands into a single tract he wished to be known as Mount Pleasant, and this patent for 2,575 acres was received on July 15, 1791.  Over the next several years, the Chapline children and other land owners divided these large land tracts into smaller family sized farms and sold them to the settlers moving into the Sharpsburg area.

Joseph Avey's home near Taylor's Landing

Joseph Avey’s home near Taylor’s Landing

One of these families was the Avey or Eavey family. Henry Avey immigrated with his family to America in 1732 from Rotterdam. It is believed that the Avey’s were from the Berne, Switzerland area and were escaping religious persecution.  The Avey’s landed in Philadelphia and by 1746, Henry Avey owned 200 acres of land in what is now Washington County, Maryland.  Henry had three sons; John, Joseph and Jacob. The three brothers all assisted in the defense of the colonies during the French and Indian War.  In 1783, Joseph purchased part of the track known as Spriggs Delight along the Potomac River near where Taylor’s Landing is today. It appears that Joseph’s son, Michael  inherited his father property after he died in 1799.  According to the 1803-04 Washington County tax record, Michael Avey owned 150 acres of Spriggs Delight. Michael’s oldest son, Jacob was born on May 12, 1791.  Jacob was a farmer and in the 1820’s he began to purchase properties around the Sharpsburg area.  Jacob would marry Catharine Palmer in January 1815 and together they would have ten children. 

Notice of the John J. Hays estate.

Here our story goes back to Joseph Chapline, Jr. He and his wife, Mary Ann had no children, but other family members filled their home at Mount Pleasant.  Joseph’s nephew, Dr. John J. Hays was residing at Mount Pleasant and came into his favor.  Just a few months before his death in 1821 Joseph Chapline Jr., sold 1,000 acres of Mount Pleasant, including the house, to his nephew and named Hayes the executor of the estate.   Dr. Hayes also owned other properties in and around Sharpsburg. To settle the estate of his uncle, Hays held a public sale to sell farming equipment , livestock and household affects. Unfortunately, Dr. Hayes died shortly after Chapline in 1823.  The executor of his estate was William Price.  Not only did he have to settle John J. Hays’ estate, but now he also had the unfinished business of the Chapline estate. Within a matter of a few years the Hays and the Chapline estate was settled and most, if not all the property including Mount Pleasant and the land south of Sharpsburg was sold.

property owned by Avey

Approx. property line of the land owned by Jacob Avey

In October, 1826 Jacob Avey purchased 22 acres from the executors of the John J. Hays estate for $550. This property was just southeast of Sharpsburg near the Joseph Reel mill (this property was sold in 1831).  Two years later in September 1828, Jacob purchased another property from the John J. Hays estate for $500. This was an 86 3/4 acre farm known as the Bower Farm adjacent to Sharpsburg between the road to the Antietam Iron Works (the Harpers Ferry Road today) and the Reel Mill road (the Burnside Bridge Road today). Jacob may have owned more land, but those records have not been found. Over the next 30 plus years, Jacob and Catharine Avey raised their family on this farmstead at the edge of Sharpsburg. According to the 1860 census, the Avey farm was valued at $4,800 with $300 in personal property and three of their adult children still resided at home. 

1860 census

Jacob Avey family, 186o Census

 

1859 Taggart map of Sharpsburg.

1859 Taggart map of Sharpsburg.

Avey farm in 1862

Jacob Avey farm in 1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Avey house is a two-story ell shaped dwelling with brick and frame construction.  Just to the back of the house is a board and batten out kitchen with stone chimney and to the east of the house near the road leading out of Sharpsburg is a stone springhouse.  South of the house was a large Swisser bank barn and a number of other out buildings and dependencies.  Today only the ruins of the barn still exist. 

house

Avey House

out kitchen

Out kitchen

spring house

Springhouse

 

 

 

 

 

On September 15, 1862 Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee were withdrawing back toward the Potomac River after their defeat at South Mountain.  Receiving word from General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, that the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry was going to surrender, Lee decided to consolidate his army at Sharpsburg using the high ground east of town to position his defensive line. Throughout the day Confederate soldiers from David R. Jones’ division moved into Sharpsburg and onto the Avey farm.  D.R. Jones was responsible for the center and southern end of Lee’s line.  Jones stretched his small division from the Boonsboro Pike at Cemetery Hill to the Rohrbach Bridge road with two brigades and five artillery batteries; across the road the brigades of Walker, Drayton, and Kemper covered the raise across the Avey farm. Between the Avey house and their orchard, Captain Hugh R. Garden’s four gun battery was parked.  To his front, Jones positioned Robert Tombs’ brigade  to cover the Rohrbach Bridge with three batteries of artillery for support and part of Nathen Evan’s brigade was forward on the Joseph Sherrick farm. Later the next day, the division of John Walker arrived to Jones’ left to cover the flank and the Snavely’s Ford on the Antietam. 

With an impending battle on their doorstep, the Avey’s most likely packed up some of their belongs and left their home.  It is possible that Jacob’s family went to stay with their son Samuel, daughter in law Kate, and their 5 children in Porterstown just east of the Antietam Creek.   Their son, Jacob (named after his grandfather) who was 12 yrs old at the time, remembered “sitting on a fence beside the road, watching the soldiers striding down South Mountain” on their way to toward Sharpsburg.  When fighting began on the 17th, young Jacob was standing near the smokehouse when “a Rebel shell tore through and wrecked the building but spared his life“.

Carman-Cope Battlefield Map, 7:30am, Sept. 17, 1862

Carman-Cope Battlefield Map, Daybreak, Sept. 17, 1862

That Rebel shell most likely came from the artillery D.R. Jones had posted on the heights at the edge of Sharpsburg.  According to his battle report, “Daylight of September 17 gave the signal for a terrific cannonade. The battle raged with intensity on the left and center, but the heavy masses in my front–repulsed again and again in their attempts to force the passage of the bridge by the two regiments before named, comprising 403 men, assisted by artillery I had placed in position on the heights–were unable to effect a crossing”.  Throughout most of the morning the fighting was raging north of D.R. Jones’ position.  Early into the battle Lee directed John Walker’s division to move to the north of Sharpsburg to support General Jackson’s command near the Dunker Church. General Daniel H. Hill was directed to shift his defense to the north as well and Jones was ordered to send G.T. Anderson’s brigade to support General Hood.  Around 10am the Union Ninth Corps began attempts to force a crossing over the Antietam at the Rohrbach Bridge and the ford.  By 1:00pm the Union forces had taken the bridge and were crossing over Snavely’s Ford as well.  General James Longstreet said, “Brigadier-General Toombs held the bridge and defended it most gallantly, driving back repeated attacks, and only yielded it after the forces brought against him became overwhelming and threatened his flank and rear”.  

This redeployment of forces to the north and the loss of the bridge and ford forced Jones to realign his small division in order to defend the Confederate right.  Garnett’s brigade was left to guard Cemetery Hill. Walker’s brigade and Garden’s battery moved to the left of the Avey farm to watch the draw up into Sharpsburg along the Rohrbach Bridge Road. Captain James S. Brown, in command the four guns of the Wise (VA) Battery redeployed from the Otto farm to the hill at the edge of the stone fence on the Avey farm along with a couple of guns from Capt. James Reilly’s battery.  Kemper and Drayton moved their brigades forward to the fence at the hill to await the impending Union advance.  John Dooley of the 1st Virginia Infantry recalled, “We are moved to meet this attack almost between the advancing enemy and the town of Sharpsburg.  A few of our men are in the orchard afore mentioned, and behind a stone wall, and the majority behind a rail fence on the borders of a cornfield. Two pieces of artillery are all that can be spared to keep the enemy back”.   The Confederate artillery on the Avey farm was taking it’s toll on the Union infantry trying to move upon the Rebels along the fence line.

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

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

By 3:00pm, Burnside’s Ninth Corps was in position to begin their assault toward Sharpsburg.  Colonel Harrison Fairchild, a brigade commander in General Isaac Rodman’s division wrote, “We continued to advance to the opposite hill under a tremendous fire from the enemy’s batteries up steep embankments. Arriving near a stone fence, the enemy – a brigade composed of South Carolina and Georgia regiments – opened on us with musketry. After returning their fire, I immediately ordered a charge, which the whole brigade gallantly responded to, moving with alacrity and steadiness. Arriving at the fence, behind which the enemy were awaiting us, receiving their fire, losing large numbers of our men, we charged over the fence, dislodging them and driving them from their position down the hill toward the village,”. 

 

9 NY assaulting the high ground south of Sharpsburg.
sketch by Edwin Forbes

Next to the New York brigade on their left flank was the lone 8th Connecticut Regiment, advancing toward the Harpers Ferry Road. As the Fairchild’s New Yorkers were reaching the heights, Orlando Willcox’s Union Division advanced astride the Rohrbach Bridge Road. His left brigade under the command of Colonel Thomas Welsh advanced across the Avey fields and pushed into the orchard.  Col. Welsh reported, “I moved my whole command over a steep hill, immediately charging the enemy and driving them rapidly in the direction of Sharpsburg, my troops advancing to the edge of the town and capturing the rebel Captain Twiggs and several soldiers”. Welsh was referring to two of his regiments, the 8th Michigan and the 100th Pennsylvania that had driven the Rebels out of the orchard and to the outskirts of Sharpsburg.

Carman-Cope Battlefield Map, 5:30pm, Sept. 17, 1862

Carman-Cope Battlefield Map, 5:30pm, Sept. 17, 1862

The Confederate line was breaking, Fairchild’s men could see the spires of town.  Dooley remembered, “The Yankees, finding no batteries opposing them, approach closer and closer, cowering down as near to the ground as possible, while we keep up a pretty warm fire by file upon them as they advance. Now they are at the last elevation of rising ground and whenever a head is raised we fire. Now they rise up and make a charge for our fence. Hastily emptying our muskets into their lines, we fled back through the cornfield.”  Just as the end seemed to be in sight for the Union forces advancing across the Avey farm, Confederate brigades from General A.P. Hill’s division arrived on the left flank of the Ninth Corps.  A.P. Hill’s sudden arrival on the Union left forced them to withdraw from the Avey farm back to the Sherrick and Otto farms where they began their advance. 

S.G. Elliott map 1864

S.G. Elliott map of the Antietam Battlefield marking the graves on the Avey farm, 1864

 

Although there was no major fighting on September 18, sporadic gun fire occurred across the fields on the southern end of the lines as both sides tended to the wounded and began to bury their dead.  The Confederates buried about a dozen men on the Avey farm.  The Union would have to wait until the 19th, after the Rebels withdrew back across the Potomac for their burial details to begin the dating task of burying the almost 200 dead Union soldiers across the Avey farm.

 

Like many of their neighbors around Sharpsburg, when the Aveys returned home they found death, destruction and devastation.  Across their fields lay the dead from both sides, with guns and equipment scattered about. Most of the split rail fencing was gone, their cornfield was trampled down, and hay was either used for the wounded or fed to the horses. A claim had been filed for the damages and items taken for his farm in the amount of $477.95, but it would take until 1902 for the government to find the the claim was justified.  In 1905. the reparations were paid in the amount of $318 to the executors of the estate, Samuel and Elizabeth Avey. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just over a year after the battle, Jacob Avey died on October 12, 1863 at the age of 72 and Catharine died on July 14, 1870.  Although they are both buried in the Methodist Cemetery in Sharpsburg only Catharine’s head stone still remains.

 

 

 

 

Four years after Jacob died, Catharine and the children sold the 86 3/4 acre farm to John Ecker in 1867. John Ecker’s daughter married a Benjamin Miller and it is believed that they lived on the farm. The reasoning for this is when the Bowie List of the Burial Places of the Remains of Confederate Soldiers was completed in 1868 it indicted Confederates had been buried on the Ben Miller farm referring to locations near the Sherrick farm and the John Highbarger lot at the edge of Sharpsburg.  Further evidence of this is that the farm was sold to William Thomas in 1876 and this is indicted on the 1877 map of Sharpsburg.

1868 Bowie List identifying the Rebel dead on the Avey Farm

1877 Map of Sharpsburg. W. Thomas was the owner of the Avey Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

At some point before the turn of the century the spelling of the Avey name had changed to Eavey.  Four of the ten Avey children (Jacob and Catharine) would move west, settling in Illinois and Nebraska, while the rest remained a little closer to home. Their son, Jacob stayed in Sharpsburg and married Elizabeth Marker.  They would have a son named John Wesley Eavey who would become a prominent Sharpsburg figure.  John Wesley Eavey was the principal of the Sharpsburg school where he taught for over twenty years, he served as president of the Sharpsburg Bank, and was a member of a number of local organizations.

Veterans of the 9th NY at the monument dedication.

In October 1894, veterans of the 8th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Regiment had returned to Sharpsburg to dedicate a monument on the ground where they had fought.  Earlier that year, a small plot of ground near the stone wall was purchased from John Otto, who now owned the Avey farm, for the placement of the 8th Connecticut’s monument.  The War Department has also placed a mortuary cannon on the ridge to indict where Union Brigadier General Isaac Rodman was mortally wounded during the battle. Three years later on Memorial Day 1897, members of the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment returned to dedicate their monument on a plot next to the 8th Connecticut’s monument. The 9th New York (Hawkins Zouaves) Monument stands at the “High Water Mark” of the Union final attack at Antietam.

Aerial photo over the Avey farm looking toward Sharpsburg.

After changing ownership a half a dozen times, it appears that in the 1940’s small parcels of the farm were sold off along the Harpers Ferry Road and High Street. The same is true for a handful of lots along the Burnside Bridge Road. Over the years, the northern section of the farm was not being cultivated and trees began to take over and the orchard was cut down. In 1976, Stephen Whilden had acquired the farm and parceled off 20 acres of the property that included the original farmstead and structures near the town of Sharpsburg. This property was purchased by Robert Stransky, the current owner of the Avey farmstead. When the Stransky’s took ownership of the farmstead, only the house, out kitchen and springhouse remained.  The Avey farm remains private property, but it is a critical piece to understanding the Battle of Antietam and is an eyewitness to history.

*We are very grateful to Linda Irvin-Craig for taking the time to talk with us about the history of the Avey/Eavey family and sharing the information about her ancestors.  We also want to thank Mr. Robert Stransky for allowing us to visit him at the Avey farm (Thanks to Dr. Tom Clemens for arranging the visit).

Sources:
  • Ancestry.com, Jacob Avey Family, Census Data 1840-1940.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\.
  • Avey, Michael Garland, The Cultural Resources of the Avey Family Phase 1, Dept. of Archeology, Pierce College, Fort Steilacoom, WA, 1986. https://archive.org/details/TheCulturalResourcesOfTheAveyFamilyPhase1
  • Beeler, Ed and Michael J. Chapline, Searching for Joseph Chapline Maryland Frontiersman and Founder of Sharpsburg, Maryland, 2013
  • Irvin-Craig, Linda. Personal interview. May, 2021.
  • 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, April 25, 2021. https://mdlandrec.net/main/dsp_search.cfm?cid=WA.
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Avey-Stransky House, WA-II-151, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1977.
  • Nelson, John N.  “As Grain Fall Before the Reaper”, The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam.  Hagerstown, MD. 2004.
  • Recker, Stephen J. Rare Images of Antietam: And the Photographers Who Took Them. Another Software Miracle; Sharpsburg, Maryland 2012.
  • Recker, Stephen J. Virtual Antietam; Final Attack Trail. Retrieved from http://www.virtualantietam.com/sites/default/files/field/image/1897_9thNYmonDed.jpg. 
  • Schildt, John W. Monuments at Antietam. E Graphics, Brunswick, MD 2019.
  • Taggert, Thomas, Map of Washington County. L. McKee and C.G. Roberton, Hagerstown, Maryland 1859.
  • The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland) Jacob Eavey Obituary, 16 Aug 1948.  Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/
  • The Touch Light and Public Advertiser (Hagerstown, Maryland) Estate of John J. Hays deceased, 28 August 1823.  Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/
  • 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
  • Washington Historical Trust, Architectural & Historic Treasures: 43 – Stone Hill circa 1800-1825, North of Sharpsburg, MD. Hagerstown, Maryland February 7, 1993.  Retrieved from  http://washingtoncountyhistoricaltrust.org/3-stone-hill-circa-1800-1825-north-of-sharpsburg-md/.
  • Washington Historical Trust, Architectural & Historic Treasures: 113 – Mount Pleasant, circa 1790, Sharpsburg, MD.  Hagerstown, Maryland September 7, 1997.  Retrieved from  http://washingtoncountyhistoricaltrust.org/136-mount-pleasant-circa-1790-sharpsburg-md/.
  • Western Maryland’s Historical Library. Washington County, Maryland, Taxes 1803 Lower Anteatum Hundred, Washington County, Maryland, 1803 https://digital.whilbr.org/digital/collection/p16715coll46/id/82/rec/11.
  • 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. Court of Claims for Jacob Avey, 1902.. United States: U.S. Government Printing Office, (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.google.com/books/edition/United_States_Congressional_Serial_Set/iA1HAQAAIAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&kptab=editions

 

 

John Schildt – “Roads to Gettysburg”

June 11, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

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.

Lee crossing the Potomac

Lee crossing the Potomac into Maryland, 1863

Rev. John Schildt will present “Roads to Gettysburg” on Wednesday, August 4th.  Everyone know s about Gettysburg. But how did the troops get there? This is an epic story of 175,000 men and all the equipment of war covering , in some cases, 200 miles in two weeks, from the Rappahannock River to the fields of Gettysburg.. 100,000 men, wagons and caissons crossed on two pontoon bridges, spanning 1600 feet, resting on 64 boats.  It is the story of rain , heat, thirst and sunstroke, as they marched through Maryland and Pennsylvania towns.

 

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.  Even though those programs are outdoors, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Darin Wipperman – “‘Such a Bloody Set of Men:’ The 35th Massachusetts in the Antietam Campaign”

June 9, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Darin Wipperman

On Wednesday, August 18th, Darin Wipperman will present his Summer Lecture Series talk,  – “‘Such a Bloody Set of Men:’ The 35th Massachusetts in the Antietam Campaign”

The new soldiers of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry left Boston in late August 1862, not knowing how quickly their world would be shaken to the core. Joining Ferrero’s Brigade in the 2nd Division of the Ninth Corps, the 35th, under the command of Col. Edward Wild, moved up South Mountain in the late afternoon of September 14. Devastating events then occurred, impacting the regiment’s very foundations. Three days later, a far greater tribulation befell the unproven regiment west of Antietam Creek. In the same brigade as the 51st Pennsylvania and 51st New York — the troops who seized Burnside’s Bridge – the 35th Massachusetts suffered more casualties at Antietam than those two regiments combined. Somewhat forgotten today, the rookies’ stubborn stand north of the 40-acre cornfield did not go unnoticed at the time. After the engagement, a brigade comrade from New Hampshire, admiring the immortal bravery he saw from the rookies, noted that he had never seen “such a bloody set of men.”


This presentation, Darin Wipperman’s third for the Summer Lecture Series at the Rohrbach Inn, includes research used in his next book, currently titled Burnside’s Boys: The Union’s Ninth Corps and the Civil War in the East.  In December, Stackpole Books published First for the Union: Life and Death in a Civil War Army Corps from Antietam to Gettysburg, in which Darin focuses on the 11 months of the First Corps’ most intense service. In the 1990s, he 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 not geeking out on the Civil War, Darin spends a great deal of time managing the 64-acre forested parcel he and his wife live on in Lancaster, NH.

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.  Even though those programs are outdoors, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Steve Stotelmyer – “The Insolence of Epaulets”

June 9, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Steve Stotelmyer

Steven R. Stotelmyer, a lifetime student of the Maryland Campaign, is a native of Hagerstown, Maryland. After a stint in the U.S. Navy he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Frostburg State College and a Master of Arts from Hood College. Mr. Stotelmyer currently serves as a volunteer and tour guide at the Antietam National Battlefield. From time to time Mr. Stotelmyer has also served as a part-time volunteer and historical consultant for the South Mountain State Battlefield. In 1992 he published The Bivouacs of the Dead: The Story of Those Who Died at Antietam and South Mountain, Toomey Press, Baltimore, MD. With the recent publication of Too Useful To Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam, Savas Beatie LLC, New York, NY, Steven R. Stotelmyer provides a fresh examination and debunking of the negative stereotypes surrounding this capable commander during one of most crucial phases of the Civil War.​

McClellan and Lincoln

On Wednesday, August 25, Steve will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “The Insolence of Epaulets”. One of the most often cited criticisms of the Bad General consensus regarding George B. McClellan centers around personality and has absolutely nothing to do with military ability. As the story goes, McClellan purposely disrespected President Lincoln by ignoring him during an unannounced visit.  Steve will explore the context and circumstances surrounding one of Little Mac’s most famous peccadilloes.

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.  Even though those programs are outdoors, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Kevin Pawlak and Joe Stahl – “Casualties and Chaos Command Attrition at Antietam”

May 22, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Mortuary cannon for Gen. Rodman

 

The Battle of Antietam produced casualties on an unprecedented scale in a single day of combat. Officers were a group of men that was particularly hit hard. When officers fell on a battlefield, it produced even more confusion and chaos. This talk will examine the effect of these officer casualties on the battle and its outcome. On Wednesday, July 28, Antietam Battlefield Guides –Kevin Pawlak and Joe Stahl will present, “Casualties and Chaos Command Attrition at Antietam”  

 

 

Kevin Pawlak

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division and works as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam National National Battlefield. He graduated from Shepherd University in 2014, majoring in History with a concentration in Civil War and 19th Century America and minoring in Historic Preservation. Kevin previously worked at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. He is on the Board of Directors for the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and the Friends of the Ball’s Bluff Battlefield. He is also a regular contributor to the Emerging Civil War online blog. Kevin is the author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital and co-author of To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862.

 

Joe Stahl

Joseph W. Stahl retired from the Institute for Defense Analyses where he authored or co-authored more that 50 reports on defense issues. Since his retirement he has become a volunteer and NPS Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harpers Ferry. He grew up in St. Louis. He received BS and MS degrees from Missouri University of Science And Technology and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. He is a member of the Company of Military Historians, Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF), Hagerstown Civil War Roundtable and is co-author of the first book on ID discs Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War. His second book “Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam will be published this summer. He has spoken to various Civil War groups including the Northern Virginia Relic Hunters, South Mountain Coin and Relic Club, Rappahannock, York, Chambersburg, and Hagerstown Round Tables, Chambersburg Civil War Tours, SHAF and the NPS Antietam. In addition Joe has authored more that 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 25 years and has shot civil war type muskets, carbines and revolvers in both individual and team competitions.

 

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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Richard P. D’Ambrisi – “Military Board Games of the Maryland Campaign of 1862”

May 22, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Experience the American Civil War Maryland Campaign of 1862 from a different perspective. This presentation will review military strategy board games along with some digital versions published from 1972 to 2021. The South Mountain and Antietam battles will be discussed showing examples of original packaging and the contents used to recreate history on a game board. War game simulation that follows historical accuracy while incorporating elements of chance is a unique way to explore the battlefields. As a commander, you make decisions that can affect the outcome of the game.

Richard D`Ambrisi

On Wednesday, July 7th, Richard P. D’Ambrisi will present his Summer Lecture Series talk “Military Board Games of the Maryland Campaign of 1862”.  Richard D’Ambrisi has been a Civil War civilian living historian since 1986 and is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation. He has developed characterizations of a mid-19th Century ballist, apothecary, phrenologist, and railroad employee.

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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.   Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Sharon Murray – “The Union Cavalry During the Maryland Campaign”

May 22, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

B. F. Davis spearheaded a “valiant coup that compared favorably with anything” his classmate JEB “Stuart had ever done” when he instigated and helped lead the breakout of Union Cavalry from Harpers Ferry on  Sept. 14, 1862.  This presentation will address the status of the Union Cavalry at the start of the Maryland Campaign, their activities prior to the Battle of Antietam, their actions on September 17, 1862 and a brief overview of the cavalry breakout and capture of Longstreet’s Train near Williamsport, on September 15.
On Wednesday, July 14, Antietam Battlefield Guide Sharon Murray will discuss – “The Union Cavalry During the Maryland Campaign”
 

Sharon Murray

As a native Idahoan, Sharon Murray moved east in 2010 to volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield.  She has multiple degrees in mining engineering and history from the University of Idaho. Sharon has 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. She is currently working on a book about a career army officer Colonel Benjamin Franklin Davis and has 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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Brad Gottfried – “The Confederate Cavalry During the Maryland Campaign”

May 4, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

JEB Stuart

On Wednesday, June 30th, Antietam Battlefield Guide and renowned author, Brad Gottfried will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “The Confederate Cavalry During the Maryland Campaign”.

Jeb Stuart has become a legend among the leaders of the Civil War and he and his three brigades were tasked with important functions during, before, and after the battle of Antietam. Brad’s presentation will cover Stuart’s responsibilities and how well he and his men accomplished them. The fights prior to the battle of Antietam– along National Road (Wade Hampton’s brigade), the battle in the streets of Boonsboro (Fitz Lee’s brigade), and at Crampton’s Gap (Thomas Munford’s brigade)– will be covered.

 

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.

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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Gary Rohrer – “William B. Franklin and his impact on the 1862 MD Campaign.”

May 4, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

William B. Franklin

On Wednesday, June 23rd, Antietam Battlefield Guide, Gary Rohrer will present his Summer Lecture Series talk, “William B. Franklin and his impact on the 1862 MD Campaign.” Gary’s presentation will focus on what drove Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin’s decisions throughout the 1862 MD Campaign. While it will touch on his early life and education the focus will be on his pre-war experiences with government bureaucracy, the early years of his army career and  especially those leading up to and through Antietam.

Gary Rohrer 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 Rohrer

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, and 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 ineffective preservation program for restoring and preserving many of the county’s 19th century stone arch bridges which are very much in tack 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.

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.  Even though those programs are outdoors, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Tom Clemens – “Meet the Original Iron Brigade“

May 4, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Tom Clemens

 

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.

Eastern Iron Brigade medallion

 

Most Civil War buffs can identify the famous Iron Brigade, and are familiar with their record of valor and loss in the various battle of the eastern theater. Much less heralded is the “original” Iron Brigade which was using that sobriquet long before the Maryland Campaign of 1862, and continued to use it through their enlistment. Who were they, how did they earn this nickname, and why are there, in fact, several “Iron Brigades,” not only in the Army of the Potomac, but in the Maryland Campaign too?  Tom will answer these questions, and many other points of contention about the nickname. Find out “the rest of the story” on Wednesday, June 9th when Dr. Clemens will present his Summer Lecture Series talk -“Meet the Original Iron Brigade

 

 

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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

 Jim Smith – “The most successful in its work”: Orlando Willcox’s division in the Maryland Campaign”

May 4, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Orlando B. Willcox

Battlefield Guide Jim Smith will be our first speaker of the season on Wednesday, June 2nd.  Jim will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “The most successful in its work”: Orlando Willcox’s division in the Maryland Campaign”.  Newly released from a Confederate prison, West Point graduate Orlando Willcox took command of a division in the IX Corps less than a week before the Battle of South Mountain. His troops fought hard at Fox’s Gap and formed the right end of the Final Attack at Antietam, falling back under orders that Willcox received three times before obeying.

Jim Smith

 

 

A native of Miami, FL, Jim Smith is a lifelong student of the Civil War. He has volunteered at Antietam National Battlefield since 2017 and has been a certified battlefield guide since 2018. Jim is a member of the Antietam Institute and lives with his family in Millersville, MD.

 

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, guests are encouraged 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 the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

The Farmsteads of Antietam – Samuel Poffenberger Farm

April 30, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Sam Poffenberger farm in distance

Sam Poffenberger farm in distance, looking east across the Smoketown Road. 1891

On the late afternoon of September 16, 1862 Union soldiers pushed down the Smoketown Road as they pursued Confederate cavalry. Upon reaching the Samuel Poffenberger farm the 13th Pennsylvania Reserves, the “Bucktails”, deployed as skirmishers and crossed his fields meeting stiff resistance from John Bell Hood’s Confederates.  The Bucktails continued to advance to the edge of the woods exchanging volleys with Hood’s men.  Colonel Hugh McNeil, commander of the Bucktails, stood to encourage his men to push into the woodlot, “Forward, Bucktails, Forward!” just then he was shot through the heart and died. His angry men jumped over the fence rail into the woods but were checked by the stubborn Rebel battle line.  Other Pennsylvania Reserve regiments moved into the East Woods as support, but as darkness set in both sides settled in just yards apart from each other laying on their arms.  Just north of the house and barn Union soldiers from Brigadier General James Ricketts Division bivouacked for the evening.

The Battle of Antietam started on the Samuel Poffenberger farm in what is known today as the East Woods. The farmstead is still a working farm on private property and it remains in the stewardship of the descendants of the Poffenberger family. 

1803 Tax Assessment

1803 Tax Assessment for Sharpsburg Hundred

In 1791, German-born immigrant, John Miller arrival in Washington County, Maryland.  Miller was part of the wave of German farmers that moved from south central Pennsylvania into the area. According to the tax assessment for Sharpsburg Hundred, by 1803  John Miller owned 632 acres of “Alese [Ellwick’s] Dwelling” and “Joe’s Farm,” both located north of the town of Sharpsburg.

Land Patents around sharpsburg

Land Patents around the John Miller farm

Stone house

Stone house the John Miller built

Most of the acreage from Ellwick’s Dwelling would later be know as the Samuel Poffenberger Farm.  John and Catherine Miller first built a log house on the property, then a stone house was built between 1802 and 1804.  The 2 1/2 story field stone house had five bays with a wing built over the spring and contains the kitchen with a massive cooking fireplace.  Under the main house the cellar has three rooms and another large service fireplace. 

 

Like the other early farmers in the Antietam Valley, the Miller’s cleared more and more of the land for farming.   When John Miller died in 1821, his extensive land holdings were divided among several of his children.  Daniel Miller, the oldest son was living on a new farmstead to the east of his father (listed as D. Miller on the 1859 Map of Washington Co.). John Miller’s other son Abraham, received full interest in this farm.  After thirty years improving the farmstead, Abraham moved west to Illinois.  During this period a large stone bank barn was built, a number of dependencies, including a wagon shed and a fenced orchard north of the barn along the farm lane leading out to the Smoketown Road.

Poffenberger Farmstead

*Sam Poffenberger Farmstead

Poffenberger Barn

*Poffenberger Barn

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1854, the property was acquired by Jacob Poffenberger who sold it the following year to his son Henry Poffenberger.  It is possible that Henry and his family lived at the farm during this brief period. On the 1860 Census, there is a Henry Poffenberger listed next to Michael Miller (Daniel’s son).  Sometime before 1860, a tenant house was constructed  just south of the house along the road leading north out of the woods.  The farm hand living next to Henry was a David Jacobs.  According to the battlefield maps produced by Ezra Carmen in 1908, and post war photos, the tenant house was occupied by a Simon P. Morrison in 1862. 

tenant house

Poffenberger tenant house, 1893.

Poffenberger Farm in 1862

Samuel Poffenberger Farm in 1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approximate property boundary of the S. Poffenberger farm in 1862

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel and Catharine Poffenberger

*Samuel and Catharine Poffenberger

 

“On April 1, 1862, Samuel Doub bought the farm for his daughter Catharine and her husband, [Samuel Poffenberger] for $11,101.29”.  Samuel was one of several children of Jacob Poffenberger who lived east of Bakersville along the Hagerstown Pike.  At 24 years old, Samuel was still living and working on the family farm until he married Catherine on January 22, 1861. The following year, the young couple moved to the farm gifted to them from Samuel Doub.

 

The Samuel Doub farm was just off the Boonsboro Pike near Centerville or Keedysville (near Bonnie’s at the Red Byrd restaurant today).  At the time of the Battle of Antietam the Poffenberger’s did not have any children. Their first child was born in 1865  and they would have six children, unfortunately only three would survive to adulthood.  It is believed that the young couple went to Samuel’s parent’s farm north of the battle area for safety.

battlefield map

Carman-Cope Map at Daybreak, Sept. 17, 1862

 

At daybreak, the Battle of Antietam resumed in the woods south of the farmhouse and spread to the west to the Poffenberger’s neighbors, David R. and Margaret Miller. Union forces pushed south into the Confederate battle lines. Back and forth the sides pushed the other back through the East Woods. Finally, the Union Twelfth Corps, under Major General Joseph Mansfield arrived on the field near the East Woods.

 

 

Gould Map of the Antietam Battlefield

John Gould Map of the Antietam Battlefield where the 10th Maine fought and Mansfield wounded.

 

Being new to command and short staffed, Mansfield moved forward to deploy his infantry regiments into position when another Confederate attack struck.  Mansfield had mistakenly thought the troops to his front were Union, yelling out to his men, “You are firing on our own men!” But the soldiers from the 10th Maine try to convince him otherwise. Suddenly with a heavy volume of fire from the woods, Mansfield replied, “Yes, yes, you are right,”. Mansfield’s horse was hit and a bullet caught him squarely in the right chest. 

 

 

Mansfield cannon

Location of Gen. Mansfield wounding near the East Woods.

 

Mansfield was taken back up the Smoketown Road to the George Line farm when he would die the next day.  A division of the Twelfth Corps continued to push the Confederates through the woods, beyond the burning Samuel Mumma farm to the Dunker Church plateau. With no more threat from direct fire, the Samuel Poffenberger farm quickly became a field hospital and would be known as the “Stone House Hospital”.

 

Union and Confederate soldiers would be treated at the Stone House Hospital. Dr. Elisha Harris noted on one of his visits after the battle, that “75 soldiers were hospitalized, but the house had a capacity for 225”.  The Union surgeons were Dr. Chaddock and Dr. Young; Dr. Pierra, a Confederate surgeon, assisted the wounded.  Dr. Harris said that the Stone House hospital was “faithfully managed, every patient properly and kindly treated. Success good. No ambulances. Dr, C. has been overworked: he had but one assistant except a Confederate surgeon, he has taken care of his patients very faithfully”.

Helen Plane

 

One of the Confederate soldiers that was treated at the Stone House hospital was Captain William F. Plane.  He was critically wounded while leading a company of the Sixth Georgia Infantry in the Cornfield.  On September 9, Captain Plane had written to his wife, Helen back in Baker County, Georgia just before leaving Frederick.  He had talked about the beginning days of their campaign into Maryland and that he would be sending “an enameled leather bag with shoes, button, needles, thread & pins” to her the first opportunity he had.  He closed with, “God bless you my dear, and our baby boy. Love to Ira & the children. I am hurried up & hardly have time to say a word more. God bless all & give us success and peace”. “Yr own Willie”

 

Capt. W.L. Plane on Bowie List

This was the last letter Captain Plane wrote to his wife. On September 21, Colonel Alfred Colquitt, the brigade commander and very good friend to the Planes, wrote to Helen to notify her of her husband’s death.  Col. Colquitt explained that her husband had been seriously wounded and fell while trying to carry Col. Newton from the field.  As much as Colquitt wished to believe  Capt. Plane was just wounded and in the enemy’s care, he had found out the he and another officer were buried.   According to the 1868, Bowie List, Capt. W. F. Plane, 6th Ga, was buried on the Samuel Poffenberger farm.

 

Edward N. Fulton jacket and photo

Edward N. Fulton’s jacket and photo

Private Edward N. Fulton of the 72nd Pennsylvania Volunteers was shot through both legs while fighting in the West Woods.  He was evacuated to the Stone House hospital for treatment.  On October 4, he wrote his mother from the Stone House hospital discussing his wounds and the care he is being given.  He closes with, “We are all to be moved to the General Hospital about 1 1/2 miles from here“. The next day, Fulton was moved to the General Hospital at Smoketown and the remaining wounded soldiers at Stone House hospital were moved to other locations as well.  The Samuel Poffenberger farm was appropriated for 19 days by the Union army and it is very possible that Clara Barton administered assistance to the soldiers there during her time at Antietam.

 

Poffenberger house

*Poffenberger house, ca. 1890’s
Samuel, Catharine and Edward on front porch

It is almost certain that claims were submitted for the use of the farm as a hospital and damage to the fields and fencing, but no record has been found. In 1868, Samuel paid $12,442 to his father-in-law,  Samuel Doub for the title to their property.  Over the next several years, the Poffenberger’s restored their farmstead as their family grew.  Around this time it is believe that a brick wing was added to the house, it may have encompassed a summer kitchen on that side of the home.

 

In 1870, Samuel Poffenberger’s farm of 178 acres was valued at $12,000.  They had “produced 1030 bushels of wheat, 57 bushels of rye, and 800 bushels of corn, with an annual labor cost of $500. Ten years later, even though Samuel had sold off a 12 acre section, the 165-acre farm saw an increase in production.  The farm “was valued at $10,000, produced 1,120 bushels of wheat, 75 bushels of rye, and 1,000 bushels of corn, with an annual labor cost of $60, and an additional cost of $125 for fertilizer”.

Samuel & Catharine Poffenberger grave

Samuel & Catharine Poffenberger grave in the Boonsboro Cemetery

 

 

 

By 1880, Samuel and Catharine’s son, Edward, took over the farm operations as his parents moved to Antietam Street in Sharpsburg.  Catharine passed away in 1897 and Samuel died in January, 1917. They are buried together in the Boonsboro Cemetery.

 

 

 

Edward & Bertha Poffenberger

*Edward & Bertha Poffenberger

Soon after the death of his father, Edward Poffenberger retired from farming.  Over the next thirty years he rented the farm out until his daughter, Erma U. Poffenberger Kefauver and her husband Millard bought the property in 1948. Erma and Millard completely restored the house and many of the “precious family heirlooms. Samuel Poffenberger’s rocker, dry sink, dining table and tall clock are still in use”.  (According to Nancy Kefauver, Samuel Poffenberger purchased the clock for $10. and it was a wedding gift to her and her husband.  It has always been in the corner of the dining room.)

 

clock and chair

*Sam Poffenberger’s Clock and rocker

Their son, Millard Kefauver, Jr., was raised on the farm and went off to Johns Hopkins to college.  It was here where Millard met his future wife, Nancy Neill. They were working on degrees in mechanical engineering and mathematics. The couple married in 1956 and shortly after their wedding Millard convinced Nancy to move back to the dairy farm.    Growing up in the city, Nancy know nothing about farming but loved animals. Nancy said that her husband [Millard] never took to the cows and that the feeling was mutual among the cows, so she became the primary milker and she officially retired from the milking job four years ago.  Nancy still lives on the farm.

For 166 years the farmstead has been in the Poffenberger-Kefauver family and will remain so as a great example of private stewardship of the land and an eyewitness to history.

 

Poffenberger-Kefauver Farm

The Poffenberger-Kefauver Farm                    (Nancy Kefauver standing just inside the door)

*We are very grateful to Nancy Kefauver for taking the time to talk we us about the history of the farm, her family and sharing the photos of the her family and Poffenberger-Kefauver Farm.

* Photos provided by Nancy Kefauver of the farm and family did not have dates when they were taken, most likely between 1885-1901.

Sources:
  • Ancestry.com, Jacob Miller Family, Samuel Poffenberger Family, Millard Kefauver Family, Census Data 1840-1940.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\.
  • Banks, John, Antietam Time Travel: A Veteran of America’s Bloodiest Day Returns to Capture Photos of Scenes of Carnage. January 2019
      https://www.historynet.com/antietam-time-travel.htm.
  • Ernst, Kathleen A., Too Afraid to Cry: Maryland Civilians in the Antietam Campaign, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1999.
  • Fulton, Edward A. Edward A. Fulton Collection, American Civil War Digital Collections: Letters, Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware. Retrieved https://library.udel.edu/special/findaids/view?docId=ead/mss0218.xml;tab=print.
  • Goud, John M., Joseph K. F. Mansfield, Brigadier General of the U.S. Army A Narrative of Events Connected with His Mortal Wounding at Antietam, Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 17, 1862. Portland, Stephen Berry, Printer 1895. retrieved: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/32258/32258-h/32258-h.htm.
  • Kefauver, Nancy N. Personal Interview, 29 April 2021.
  • Lewis, S. Joseph. “Letters of William Fisher Plane, C. S. A. to his wife.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 48, no. 2 (1964): 215-28. Accessed April 11, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40578464.
  • 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, April 25, 2021. https://mdlandrec.net/main/dsp_search.cfm?cid=WA.
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Kef-Poff Farm (Kefauver-Poffenberger Farm), WA-II-346, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1976.
  • Nelson, John N.  “As Grain Fall Before the Reaper”, The Federal Hospital Sites and Identified Federal Casualties at Antietam.  Hagerstown, MD. 2004.
  • Recker, Stephen J. Rare Images of Antietam: And the Photographers Who Took Them Another Software Miracle; Sharpsburg, Maryland 2012.
  • Taggert, Thomas, Map of Washington County. L. McKee and C.G. Roberton, Hagerstown, Maryland 1859.
  • Troiani, Don. Edward A Fulton image, Don Troiani Historical Artist, Facebook. May 4, 20202. Retrieved https://www.face
  • book.com/104952196246190/photos/a.104962546245155/3626084537466254/.
  • Washington Historical Trust, Architectural & Historic Treasures: 95 – Kef-Poff Farm, circa 1802, Sharpsburg, MD Hagerstown, Maryland September 7, 1997.  Retrieved   http://washingtoncountyhistoricaltrust.org/95-kef-poff-farm-circa-1802-sharpsburg-md/.
  • Western Maryland’s Historical Library. Washington County, Maryland, Taxes 1803 Lower Anteatum Hundred, Washington County, Maryland, 1803 https://digital.whilbr.org/digital/collection/p16715coll46/id/82/rec/11.
  • 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.
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