Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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“Sumner and French at Antietam”

July 24, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Gary Rohrer at the Sunken Road

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

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’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.

Gary’s presentation will center on a topic often debated by historians: the communications between II Corps Commander Edwin V. Sumner and the commander of his Third Division, Brigadier General William H. French. What caused French’s Division to attack the Sunken Road? Did his division arrive in the East Woods some 20 to 30 minutes after Major General John Sedgewick’s Second Division? Was he ordered to attack or was he drawn south across the Mumma and Roulette farms by Confederate fire emanating in that direction? Gary’s presentation will focus on a 2013 study conducted by historian Marion Vincent (Vince) Armstrong and published in Civil War History magazine.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“Zouaves – the First and the Bravest”

July 24, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Tom Clemens

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

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

On Wednesday, August 22nd, Dr. Clemens will present his Summer Lecture Series talk –  Zouaves – the First and the Bravest.  This presentation will cover everything you ever wanted to know about Zouaves!  Who were they, where did they come from, why did they wear those outlandish uniforms, and what role they played in the Civil War, etc. Tom will be attired in a zouave uniform, and will be happy to discuss the various parts of the uniform, and its usage. Special attention will be paid to prominent zouave regiments present at Antietam, the 5th, 9th & 10 New York volunteers.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney: Beyond Dred Scott” – Matt Borders

July 17, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Matt Borders is a 2004 graduate of Michigan State University with a BA in US History. While at MSU he was first an intern and then a seasonal ranger for the National Park Service at Antietam National Battlefield. Following his undergrad he immediately went to Eastern Michigan University for his MS in Historic Preservation, with a focus in Battlefield Interpretation, which he earned in 2006. While at Eastern Matt again worked at Antietam as a Seasonal Ranger.

Upon graduation he taught for a year at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before accepting a  position with the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. Moving to Maryland in 2007 with his wife Kira, Matt worked as the historian for the ABPP for the next four years, personally surveying over 100 different American Civil War battlefields in the deep south and western United States. In 2011 his job with the ABPP was expanded to include additional duties related to the program’s preservation grants. Over this period Matt also became involved with the Frederick County Historical Society, a member, later the President, of the Frederick County Civil War Round Table and as a volunteer and Certified Battlefield Guide for Antietam National Battlefield.

Currently Matt is a National Park Service Ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland. His first book, written with fellow Certified Guide Joe Stahl, is due out this fall.

Matt’s talk, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney: Beyond Dred Scott, looks at that enigmatic figure through his case work and whether or not it gives a deeper understanding for this much maligned historical figure. Chief Justice Taney will be forever remembered for the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857, but was this hard line opinion from the bench always the opinion of the man himself, or did it develop over time during the raucous antebellum years of the United States?

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“‘The Heaviest Blow Yet Given the Confederacy’: The Emancipation Proclamation Changes the Civil War”

July 10, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Kevin Pawlak

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Kevin Pawlak is the Director of Education for the Mosby Heritage Area Association and an Antietam Battlefield Guide. He graduated in 2014 from Shepherd University with a major in Civil War and 19th Century America and a minor in Historic Preservation. Kevin has worked at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and completed internships with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Illinois, as well as at the Missouri Civil War Museum. He currently sits on the Boards of Directors of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation.

Kevin wrote his first book, Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital, which was released in August 2015. He also authored: “The Heaviest Blow Yet Given the Confederacy”: The Emancipation Proclamation Changes the Civil War”, a part of the Engaging the Civil War’s Turning Points of the American Civil War. Kevin is a regular contributor to the Emerging Civil War blog and co-authored a book in the Emerging Civil War series, To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign, 1862.

The Emancipation Proclamation is one of our country’s most misinterpreted documents. Often seen as a bland and blank document of Lincoln’s lacking the flair of his Gettysburg Address or his Second Inaugural Address, the Emancipation Proclamation in fact proved to be one of the Civil War’s major turning points from a diplomatic and military standpoint. It also upped the ante on the war, for as of the Proclamation’s issuance on January 1, 1863, there were only two possible outcomes of the Civil War: either two separate nations would emerge, one with slavery and the other without, or there would be one reunited country without the institution of slavery.

On Wednesday, August 15th,  Kevin Pawlak will present his talk, “‘The Heaviest Blow Yet Given the Confederacy’: The Emancipation Proclamation Changes the Civil War”.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“The Last Army of the Republic: the Myth of the Unused Reserves at the Battle of Antietam.”

July 4, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Steve Stotelmyer

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Always interested in local history, especially South Mountain and Antietam, Mr. Stotelmyer was a founding member of the Central Maryland Heritage League in 1989. The league gained a modest amount of success in preserving some of the lands of the South Mountain Battlefield. From 1989 through 1994 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a volunteer at the Antietam National Battlefield. In 1992 he published The Bivouacs of the Dead: The Story of Those Who Died at Antietam and South Mountain, Toomey Press, Baltimore Maryland. From 2000 through 2005 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a part-time volunteer and historical consultant for the South Mountain State Battlefield. Steven currently enjoys being a National Park Service Certified Antietam and South Mountain Tour Guide.

It is another one of those familiar stories about Antietam that has been told so many times that it is accepted as fact. Allegedly, Gen. George B. McClellan stood idly near the end of the battle while thousands of reserve troops did nothing. In most versions, the reserve troops belonged to McClellan’s most trusted corps commander, Gen. Fitz-John Porter. For a brief moment McClellan seemed ready to commit these reserves and looked to Porter, his most trusted subordinate. Porter is said to have slowly shaken his head with disapproval and is purported to have said to. McClellan, “Remember, General! I command the last reserve of the last army of the Republic. In truth, this accusation against McClellan is a complete fabrication rooted in the intrigues of partisan politics rather than historical fact. Gen. Porter, was not only a hapless victim of the debacle at Second Manassas three weeks before, but also bears the responsibility for McClellan’s less than decisive victory at Antietam. The elephant in the room that remains unacknowledged is that Porter was unreasonably punished in both battles not for his military actions, but rather for his political affiliation and friendship with McClellan. It is my hope that this talk not only debunks the myth of the unused reserves, but also contributes to the redemption of Fitz-John Porter who was quite likely the most unjustly persecuted military figure in our nation’s history.

On Wednesday, August 1st,  Steve will present his talk, “The Last Army of the Republic: the Myth of the Unused Reserves at the Battle of Antietam”.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Sharpsburg Founder’s Day – Celebrating 255 Years of History

July 2, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

In 1763, on land called Joe’s Lott, Joseph Chapline laid out what was to be the first town in Washington County. He named it Sharps Burgh, in honor of his friend Governor Horatio Sharpe. He choose this site for the town, he noted, because of the “great spring” of water located there.

The town consisted of 187 lots on eight streets. Each lot was 103 x 206 feet, except for four slightly smaller lots in the center of town. The initial price per lot was one shilling and the town grew rapidly over the next twenty years. Over time Sharpsburg transformed from a colonial town to an industrial town. It has been home to a popular spa and resort, known as a C & O Canal town, a Civil War town and a railroad town. Today, Sharpsburg is a residential and small business community that is proud of our past. We cherish the small town atmosphere of friendliness, peacefulness and a commitment to preserving our rich and diverse heritage.

As you walk the streets of Sharpsburg it greatly resembles its original appearance. Not much has changed since those early days and from July 6-8, you can come celebrate 255 Years of History during Sharpsburg Founder’s Day!

The celebration begins by welcoming in one of the newest businesses to the Sharpsburg area – Antietam Creek Vineyards. On Friday night, Antietam Creek Vineyards will host the festivities at their new 55-acre winery. Come out and taste some outstanding hickory smoke BBQ by Brentwood Smokers from Hagerstown, enjoy live music by the Speakeasy Boys from Shepherdstown and sit back and sip some wine from our wonderful hosts, Joan and George of Antietam Creek Vineyards.

A full day of activities and events are on the scheduled for Saturday. It’s only fitting that we start out with a dedication ceremony to Sharpsburg’s founder – Joseph Chapline. After the 9:00am wreath laying at Mountain View Cemetery, the festivities start at 9:30am around the Town Square.  North Mechanic Street will be filled with vendors holding an artisans and farmers market.  Some of the vendors include Kelley Farm, Cedar Ridge SoapsMillhouse Candles, Pheasant Run Farm, and The Farm at Stillwater Spring.  Throughout the day there will be demonstrations on how to make soap, candles, and rugs, as well as preserving food and a blacksmith demonstration.  The Washington County Historical Society will also have children’s crafts and demonstrate butter making.  On the the back deck of Victory Garden Ranch live music will be playing throughout the day by Voices of Vets and the Hancock Civil War String Band.

Hancock Civil War String Band

Alongside the market, local organizations will be there to provide information on their groups, their mission and upcoming activities. These will include the Sharpsburg Historical Society, Save Historic Antietam Foundation, American Legion Auxiliary Antietam Unit 236, C&O Canal Assoc., Rural Heritage Museum, Shepherd’s SpringKeedysville Historical Society and BSA Troop 51.

 

Across the street at the Town Hall, the Sharpsburg Heritage Museum will be open, displaying old pictures and artifacts of the town. Be sure to sign up for one of the walking tours that start at the Town Hall.  Mark Brugh from Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tours will take you through the back alleys and streets of town to share some of its history and interesting stories.  Vernell Doyle of the Sharpsburg Historical Society will walk through some of the town cemeteries and talk about the preservation of these sites. A.C. Ash will offer tours of her house – the Chapline/Biggs House, and you can also visit Tolson’s Chapel.

Before leaving the Square, stop by the Living History area to see a French & Indian War era camp and learn about the ‘Military through the Ages’ from living historians portraying soldiers of all eras.

 

Throughout the day, historical lectures will be held just up the street at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.  Rev. John Schildt will start things off at 10am with his talk, “Drums along the Antietam“, followed by retired Antietam Chief Historian, Ted Alexander who will discuss “Sharpsburg before & after the battle” at 11am.

Rev John Schildt

Ted Alexander

Ted Alexander

 

 

 

 

 

Over the lunchtime intermission the New Horizons Band will hold a free concert on the lawn of the Inn at 1pm and all attendees will receive a ticket for a free Kiddie Cone at Nutter’s Ice Cream.

Following the concert, local historian Tim Snyder will talk about the “Sharpsburg Rifles”  at 2:30pm and at 4pm Antietam Battlefield Guide and relic collector Stephen Recker will share the story of “O.T. Reilly: Sharpsburg Relics & Remembrances

Tim Snyder

Stephen Recker

 

 

 

 

 

All these activities and events are bound to make you hungry.  Both Captain Benders and Pete’s Tavern will be offering Founder’s Day Specials throughout the day. At the Square you can get BBQ chicken or hamburgers from Boy Scout Troop 51, a hot dog meal from Victory Garden Ranch, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church will have some homemade baked goodies.

On Saturday evening if you’re not up at the battlefield for the Salute to Independence Concert, sign up for the Fireworks Ghost Tour with Mark & Julia Brugh of Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tours.  This special 90-minute tour begins at 8:15pm and will take place under the night sky of the fireworks.

The weekend events will wrap up on Sunday morning with a Homecoming Community Church Service held at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 10am.

The Sharpsburg Founder’s Day celebration would not be possible without the sponsorship of the Mayor and Town Council and the support of these great businesses and organizations – THANK YOU!

 

 

“The Battle of Bentonville”

June 12, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Perry Jamieson

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Perry Jamieson earned a PhD and worked for about thirty years as a civilian historian for the U.S. Air Force. He retired as the senior historian of the Air Force in 2009 and he and his wife Stephanie have lived in Sharpsburg since then. He is the author of two books on Air Force history, one on the U.S. Army during the late 1800s, and four on the Civil War. His latest book, Spring 1865, includes a chapter on his topic for this year’s summer lecture series: the Battle of Bentonville.

In mid-March 1865 Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s enormous forces pinned Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the trenches around Petersburg, Virginia. More than 150 miles to the south, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman prepared to leave Fayetteville, North Carolina, join other Union commands east of him, and gain an insurmountable advantage in numbers. Desperate to stop this Federal concentration, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston determined to attack General Sherman during his march to Goldsboro. General Johnston’s plan led to the Battle of Bentonville—the South’s last gamble in the Carolinas.  On Wednesday, July 18th, Perry will discuss the Battle of Bentonville during his Summer Lecture Series talk.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination

June 5, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Dennis Frye

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Dennis Frye has been studying Antietam and the 1st invasion of the North for nearly 50 years. From his earliest days as a NPS volunteer at the Dunker Church (Dennis is a Dunker), and as a native of the Antietam area, Dennis has immersed himself into the Civil War. Known for his challenges to conventional history, Dennis’ newest book is assured to stimulate provocation and debate as he explores uncertainties and unknowns in Antietam Shadows.

On Wednesday, July 4th, Dennis will discuss  his book “Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination”  during his  Summer Lecture Series talk.

Dennis E. Frye is the Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Writer, lecturer, guide, and preservationist, Dennis is a prominent Civil War historian. Dennis has numerous appearances on PBS, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, C-SPAN, Fox News, A&E, and Voice of America as a guest historian. He helped produce Emmy award-winning television features on the Battle of Antietam, abolitionist John Brown, and Maryland during the Civil War. Dennis is one of the nation’s leading Civil War battlefield preservationists. He is co-founder and first president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, and he is co-founder and a former president of today’s Civil War Trust, from whom he received the Trust’s highest honor – the Shelby Foote Award. Dennis also earned the prestigious Nevins-Freeman Award for his lifetime achievements in the Civil War community. Dennis is a tour guide in demand, leading tours for organizations such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic, numerous colleges and universities, and Civil War Round Tables. Dennis also is a well-known author, with 99 articles and ten books. His most recent book is Antietam Shadows: Mystery, Myth & Machination. His book Harpers Ferry Under Fire received the national book of the year award from the Association of Partners for Public Lands; and September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril, was awarded the 2012 Laney Book Prize for distinguished scholarship and writing on the military and political history of the war. Dennis has written for prestigious Civil War magazines such as Civil War Times Illustrated, America’s Civil War, Blue & Gray Magazine, North and South Magazine, and Hallowed Ground, and as a guest contributor to the Washington Post. Dennis resides near the Antietam Battlefield in Maryland, and he and his wife Sylvia have restored the home that was used by General Burnside as his post-Antietam headquarters.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

 

 

Images from BG James Ricketts’ 1st Corps Division – Joe Stahl

May 10, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Joe Stahl

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

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

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

On Wednesday, June 20th, Joe will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Images from MG James Ricketts’ Division”

BG Ricketts Division was reported to consist of 3037 officers and men in 12 veteran infantry regiments. The division would report losses of 172 killed, 946 wounded and 86 missing for a total of 1204 including two artillery batteries assigned attached to the division. During Joe’s presentation he will shown the faces and history of 10 soldiers, one from 10 of the 12 regiments in General Ricketts’ Division.  He will also shown images of the Division and Brigade commanders.  Each of these soldiers has a story and Joe will tell you a little of that story.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“Gunners in the Corn – Federal and Confederate Artillery in the Cornfield” – Jim Rosebrock

May 10, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Jim Rosebrock

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Jim Rosebrock is the Chief of the Antietam Battlefield Guides. 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, June 13th, Jim will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “Gunners in the Corn – Federal and Confederate Artillery in the Cornfield

As the sun rose over the fields and woodlots north of the Dunker Church on the morning of September 17th 1862 thousands of infantrymen of Joseph Hooker’s First Corps supported by the Twelfth Corps of Joseph Mansfield crashed into Jackson’s wing of the Army of Northern Virginia reinforced by D.H. Hills division.  The key role played by the artillerymen of the Federal and Confederate armies in the fields and woodlots north of the Dunker Church on the morning of September 17th 1862 is not often as well told. While the story of Battery B of the Fourth Artillery is well known, the fact is that in the early hours of the battle the Confederate guns actually outnumbered the Federals.  This is the story of that early morning gunfight.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

Disease and Treatment{???} during the Civil War – Gordon Dammann

May 3, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

 

Gordon Dammann

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

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

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

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

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

On Wednesday, June 6th, Gordon will present our first Summer Lecture Series talk “Disease and Treatment{???} during the Civil War”.  3 out of 4 soldiers who died during the civil war  were due to disease. Gordon will examine what these diseases were and their “so called” treatment.

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.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  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 – Joseph Parks Farm

April 16, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Joseph Parks Farmstead

While traveling on the roads running through the battlefield you can see most of the farmsteads at Antietam except for one – the Joseph Parks farm.  In order to see this farm, visitors have to walk out the Three Farms Trail from the Newcomer House.  Although the land had been cultivated for more than 100 years before the battle, in 1862 the house and farm were fairly new.  Originally part of James Smith’s property and patented “Smiths Hills”, this 160 acres is known today as the Joseph Parks Farm.

Smith Hills

Plat map of Smiths Hills and surrounding region.

In 1739, James Smith, a planter from Prince George’s County received a patent of 208 acres.  It’s believed that Smith lived in the area, as he was surveying lands in the future Frederick and Washington counties and was an attorney for the Frederick courts.  Over the next fifteen years, Smith continued to add land to his holdings.  In 1754, Smith surveyed 12 acres of Porto Santo, another nearby patent. In 1756, a  “Resurvey of Smiths Hills” was done adding 302 acres for a total of 510 acres and a Resurvey of Porto Santo was done to correct several errors which increased its size to 23 acres.  During the resurvey it was found that the Porto Santo “included ‘improvements’ of one acre of cleared land, 400 fence rails and a log house”.  Smith’s holding of these two patents would become the properties of what we know today as the Newcomer and Park Farmsteads.

 

Knowing that colonial interest and the French and Indian War led to more permanent inroads into the backcountry, Smith petitioned Frederick County in 1755 for the building of both a ford across the Antietam Creek and a new road, because he intended to build a mill along the creek on his land.  Smith also knew that an improved roadway through his property would not only increase the value of his land but that of the surrounding area.  Although Smith did not build a mill, “he had set the groundwork for the future development of the milling industry on the property” and a new road would eventually be built from Red Hill to Swearingen’s Ferry on the Potomac at Shepherdstown.

As the French and Indian War was ending, Christian Orndorff, a millwright from Lancaster County, arrived in the area in 1762.   Now that the region was safe and open for settlement, Orndorff was looking for a suitable site to build a grist mill, and he found it along the Antietam Creek.  Christian Orndorff purchased 503 acres of Resurvey on Smiths Hills and 11 acres of the Porto Santo. 

Over the next thirty years the Orndorff family turned the property into a substantial industrial complex.  In addition to a large house and barn, there was a grist mill, a saw mill and a workshop near the Antietam Creek.  The mills were powered by water diverted from the creek through a mill race that Orndorff built.  They also farmed crops of wheat and corn and later established a plaster mill, a cooper shop and other tooling shops.

In 1796, the Orndorff’s sold 324 1/4 acres  for £5500 to Jacob Mumma.  This purchase included portions of several patents, but 303 acres were part of the Resurvey of Smiths Hills.  The Mummas had arrived in Philadelphia in 1732 and settled in Lancaster County.  Like other Germans settling in the area, the Mumma family traveled down the Wagon Road to Sharpsburg.  They were accompanied by Joseph Sherrick, Sr. and his family.  Sherrick would also purchase property along the Antietam from the Orndorff’s.

Photograph taken on Sept. 22, 1862, by Alexander Gardner’s assistant, James F. Gibson. The Parks Farmstead can be seen in the upper right hand corner. (LOC)

Jacob Mumma and his sons continued to run the mill and farming operations.  Over the next several years Mumma would acquire “two-thirds of the large land tract amassed by the Orndorff family decades earlier”.  This area incorporated what is known today as the Mumma Farm, Newcomer Farm and the Parks Farm.   In 1831,  Jacob Mumma and his wife Elizabeth transferred ownership of the mill property to their son John.  Around this time, it is believed that a house and barn were constructed just north of the mill along the creek for John’s eldest son – Elias Mumma. This became known as the “lower farm”, the future Parks farmstead.   Business at the Mumma mill was booming, but John Mumma died suddenly in 1835 and without a will.  His father, Jacob purchased the property back from John’s estate and resold the mill and farm to his younger son, Samuel in 1837.

 

Barn

Main House (vinyl siding covering original wood siding)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Kitchen

Kitchen

Cooking Fireplace

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parks farm

Parks Farm layout in 1862

 

Samuel and his wife had been living at the house on the Mumma Farmstead, but they moved back to the mill complex and continued the operations of the mill and farm.  Samuel sold 151 acres of the mill complex portion of the property to Jacob and John Emmert in 1841 to pay off debts, but he retained 190 acres of the “lower farm”.  By 1843, Samuel was forced to put the “lower farm” into a Deed of Trust to pay off other creditors.

 

Parks property

The “lower farm” that Phillip Pry named Bunker Hill Farm. The red line shows the property line.

In 1850, the property was returned to Samuel Mumma by the trustees and it believed that Samuel’s son, Jacob H. Mumma was living on the farm as a tenant at this time.  According to the 1860 census, Jacob had moved to Boonsboro and the farm was tenanted by a Jacob Myers (Meyer).   In 1861, Samuel Mumma sold the “lower farm” for $10,500 to Phillip Pry who renamed the 166 acre property the “Bunker Hill Farm”.   Phillip and his brother Samuel already owned a large amount of land north of the Bunker Hill Farm along the Antietam Creek, including a large grist mill.  Phillip and his family continued to live at his farm just across the Antietam but rented the Bunker Hill Farm to a tenant named Joseph Parks and his family.

Parks had owned a house in Porterstown which was just on the other side of the creek.  According to the 1850 census he lived there with his wife, Mary and their young children Rosean, Elizabeth, Mary and Martha.  His wife Mary would pass away in 1855 and shortly after that Joseph married Aletha Ann Harmon and they would have six more children together.

On the morning of September 15, 1862, as they withdrew from the Battle of South Mountain, Confederate soldiers marched along the turnpike and across the Antietam toward Sharpsburg.  General Robert E. Lee had decided to make a stand along the Antietam Creek to consolidate his divided army.  Later that day as the Union army advanced to the east side of the Antietam Creek, the Bunker Hill Farm and the Parks family stood between the two warring parties.

Daybreak map of the Battle of Antietam.

The next morning, three companies of Federal troops crossed the bridge and deployed across the Newcomer property, securing the bridge as a future crossing point for the next day’s battle.  Throughout the day the Bunker Hill Farm was in the center of a cannonade between the Union artillery on the east side of the Antietam and the Confederate guns along the ridge east of Sharpsburg.  It is not known where the Parks went during the battle, but most certainly they departed like their neighbors, to the safety of friends or relatives in the area.

 

1030 am map of the Battle of Antietam as Union forces begin to move across the Parks farm.

The next morning on September 17, as the battle raged to the north of Sharpsburg, more Union forces were sent across the Pry Mill ford just north of the Parks farm.  Two divisions of the Second Army Corps moved west toward the East Woods and then pushed into the West Woods and southward across the Mumma and Roulette farms.  About an hour later Major General Israel Richardson’s division crossed the creek just below Phillip Pry’s house and marched toward the Neikirk and Kennedy Farms before turning toward the fighting in the Sunken Road.  Brig. Gen. John Caldwell’s brigade marched in a line of battle across the upper fields of the Parks farm before shifting to the right to support Gen. Meagher’s Irish Brigade.

1:00 pm map of the Battle of Antietam with Union artillery positioned on the Parks Farm.

 

Once the Confederates were driven out of the Sunken Road, Union artillery arrived to help hold the line along the high ground of the Parks farm and the Newcomer fields.

 

 

This enlarged 1862 Gibson photo shows five buildings and the fence surrounding the main house.

Although no specific source has identified the Parks farm as a field hospital, it seems likely that the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry Regiment of Caldwell’s brigade would have used it as a temporary one.  Col. Edward Cross, the commander of the 5th New Hampshire reported the situation of his surgeon, Dr. William Child and described the conditions of the battlefield hospitals, “The barns and sheds in all this region were occupied as hospitals by the Union army, and many Confederate wounded were retained here, and I believe were as well cared for as the Union Men.  The barns were filled with flies, and wounds were sure to gather maggots about the dressings and even within the raw surfaces. To avoid this disgusting evil Assistant Surgeon Child personally gathered a few scores of shelter tents left on the battle-field, brought them to a suitable location, and with them built very comfortable hospital quarters and into them moved all the wounded of the Fifth, where they remained until able to be sent to Frederick city or were sent to Antietam hospital, which was finally established upon the western borders of the battle-field. Child was detailed for service in this Antietam field hospital, where he remained until about December 10…”

In this magnified photograph, soldiers can be seen walking along a road leading to the Parks farm.

 

Through the trees on the right the Observation Tower can be seen just beyond the Parks barnyard.

There are no known damage claims submitted by Joseph Parks, but several were submitted by Phillip Pry starting in 1865 and another in 1872.  It is believed that the Quartermaster claim was for his home farm only and not the “lower farm’ or Bunker Hill Farm.

Union artillery and infantry units go into position on the evening of Sept. 17, 1862 across the Park farm

Although Phillip Pry received some payment, his claims became bogged down in legal proceedings and in 1874 he sold the remainder of his property and moved his family to Tennessee.  During the investigation into Pry’s claim it was uncovered by Agent Sallade about Pry’s Bunker Hill farm and he reported, “Mr Pry owned two farms, one the [“Home”] farm containing 170 acres, and one the “Bunker Hill” farm of 166 acres separated by the Antietam Creek, and 1/2 mile apart… all his fencing was burned, his corn and wheat fed, together with a large quantity of hay… His wheat I find was cut in 1862, and put in 4 large stacks, some was in the barn.  These stacks contained not less than 800 bushels this quantity was arrived at by the number of loads – 40 – averaging 20 bushels per load, placed in the stacks. Messrs Joseph Parks, Henry Gettmacher and Wm. Lantz who cut, hauled, and put up this wheat fully confirm this fact. The Affidants of other parties, neighbors and ex-soldiers also confirm this, and also that a portion of the wheat in the barn was used.  Mr. Pry lost about 150 bushels on the farm across the Antietam Creek.  Mr. Pry fully sets this forth in his affidavit”.

Parks grave

Joseph and Aletha Parks grave at Rose Hill

According to records, a few years after the battle Joseph Parks had “to mortgage his household furniture and personal belongings against a debt that he owed to Phillip Pry” most likely for the tenancy.  Joseph Parks had moved several miles north of Sharpsburg, probably to Fairplay or Hagerstown, and became a full time shoemaker.  He died in 1891 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Hagerstown along with his second wife Aletha.

 

 

The 1877 Illustrated Atlas of Washington County, Maryland, District 1, Sharpsburg. The red dot shows the J. F. Miller properties

In 1867 Bunker Hill Farm was sold to Jacob F. Miller.  Jacob Miller’s son, Otho H. Miller was living at the farm according to the 1870 census.  During this time “a gabled dormer was added to the forebay of the barn  most likely to accommodate improved threshing machines” and a second story was added to the north section of the main house.

In 1884, Jacob Miller sold the Bunker Hill farm to Henry and Laura Rohrer.  The Rohrer family would operate the farm for the next 76 years.  According to the 1910 census, their son-in-law Harry O. Clipp, his wife Stella and their two daughters, Ruth and Edna were living at the farm.  Harry Clipp’s occupation was listed as a “House Carpenter” and he may have been the one who made improvements on the farm.   During the Rohrer’s time at the farm a tenant house is built around 1905 and a corn crib / wagon shed was added onto the barn along with some other out buildings.  In 1914, Henry Rohrer died leaving the farm to his wife Laura, who died in 1919.  The farm was then transferred to her daughter and son-in-law.

Foundation of the tenant house.

The Clipp’s continued to make improvements to the farm, shifting their operation to dairy farming with a
concrete milking area added.  Ruth Clipp and Edna (Clipp) Dorsey who inherited the farm from their parents, sold the farm to William Cunningham in 1960.  In 1988, Cunningham sold the farm to the National Park Service with a life estate for himself.

After the death of Mr. Cunningham in 2000, the Park Service  removed post-war out buildings including the tenant house, repaired the log out-kitchen, restored the barn, stabilized the farm house and recently replaced the roof on the house.   A new recreational trail, the Three Farms Trail was created in 2006 that connects the Parks Farmstead to the Roulette Farmstead and the Newcomer Farmstead.

The Parks Farmstead is a another eyewitness to the history of the battle and the families that lived in the Antietam Valley.

Sources:
  • Find A Grave, Joseph Parks and family, Retrieved from: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/49395745/joseph-parks
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, Antietam, Md. Another view of Antietam bridge. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/cwpb.01133/
  • Library of Congress Geography and Map Division; W.S. Long and Washington A. Roebling/Battle of the Antietam fought September 16 & 17, 1862/Washington, D.C./ Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3844a.cw0246000
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Cunningham Farm, WA-II-331, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1978, 24 March 2018
  • U.S. National Park Service,  Joseph Parks Barn,  Antietam National Battlefield, Historic Structures Report Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2008.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Parks Farmstead Cultural Landscape InventoryAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2011.
  • U.S. National Park Service,  Newcomer Barn,  Antietam National Battlefield, Historic Structures Report Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2004.
  • Walker, Kevin M and K. C. Kirkman, Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape. Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • Western Maryland Regional Library, The Illustrated Atlas of Washington County, Maryland was published in 1877. Lake, Griffing & Stevenson of Philadelphia, 1877.  Retrieved from http://whilbr.org/Image.aspx?photo=wcia053s.jpg&idEntry=3497&title=Sharpsburg+-+District+No.+1
  • 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.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies. Pl. XXVIII: Antietam, Suffolk, Gettysburg, Franklin Washington, Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.  Retrieved from  https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3701sm.gcw0099000/?sp=53
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