Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

John Schildt

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

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

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found;  what if Franklin had moved more swiftly on September 13 and 15; what if Reno had not be killed; what if Lee had withdrawn to Virginia after the capture of Harpers Ferry and many more ‘What Ifs’.

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

These outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

A Very Personal Fight- Alex Rossino

July 12, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

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

Dr. Alex Rossino

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

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

These outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:oo p.m.   Even though those programs are outdoors, we require attending guests to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at 101 W. Main Street at Town Square.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

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

May 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Lee crossing the Potomac

Lee crossing the Potomac into Maryland, 1863

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

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

 

Brad Gottfried

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

 

 

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

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

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

The Perfect 3-Day Itinerary for Sharpsburg

May 6, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

Inn SignWith so many things to do in and around Sharpsburg, it can be hard to fit everything into three days. To make your trip-planning a bit easier, we’ve put together the perfect Sharpsburg itinerary that’ll make you want to extend your stay.  You’ll definitely want to make this an annual trip!

Day 1 in Sharpsburg

Veggie Frittata

The first thing you need to do before heading out is fuel up.  Indulge in our country-style breakfast which guests proclaim ‘will fill you up so you can slide right past lunch”.   The first morning you can expect one of our specialties like a loaded veggie frittata or maybe a stack of lemon ricotta pancakes.  The main course is always accompanied by a protein side such as our signature apple-maple sausage, thick-sliced bacon or cherry-wood smoked ham. After this breakfast experience, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running!

Antietam bloody lane

Your first day is dedicated to staying local and taking in the history.  One of the best ways to experience the pristine Antietam National Battlefield is on a private tour with an Antietam Battlefield Guide.  Your certified tour guide will lead you across the hallowed ground of Antietam so you can understand why it was a major turning point in the war.

And this is a small…

 

After your tour, you will probably still be full from breakfast, but who doesn’t like something to snack on.  Going to Nutter’s Ice Cream is a MUST while you’re staying at the Inn. With over 32 flavors of hand-dipped and soft served ice cream you will get a very generous portion for a ridiculously affordable price.

 

The Pry House

After your ice cream break head down the road to the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.  The Philip Pry farmstead was an eyewitness to the Battle of Antietam.  It was transformed from an army headquarters to a field hospital within 24 hours.  Here you’ll see exhibits relating to the care of wounded, the effects on the civilian population in the area and the innovations in Civil War medicine, which continue to save lives today.  To wrap up your day stop by the Washington County Rural Heritage Museum to learn about our local history.  The museum takes you back to a time when the pace was a bit slower and life centered around the farm, family, and community.  See what life was like in Washington County, MD prior to 1940.

Since we’re staying local today, you’ll have plenty of time to take a break back at the Inn before heading to dinner. This evening we recommend taking a short stroll down the street to Captain Bender’s Tavern.  The tavern is our towns version of “Cheers”.  Steve, the owner, and his crew make you feel at home.  They have a great menu filled with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and specialty drinks (Be sure to try the Pickle Fries).

Day 2 in Sharpsburg

Breakfast

Your second Jacob Rohrbach Inn breakfast will be a whole new adventure as different entrees are served every day.  If you enjoyed a sweet breakfast your first day, you will get a savory one on your second, and vice versa.   Alongside our freshly baked scones and fruit course you might be served a Cheesy Egg Scramble or some Caramelized French Toast.  You’ll have a selection of juices to choose from so you’ll always have a different experience!

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry

For Day 2, we’re heading to West Virginia!  (Don’t worry it’s just three miles away.)  First, lets head down to Harpers Ferry.  The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.  Taking a stroll along the picturesque streets of Harpers Ferry is like stepping into the past. The Lower Town offers a number of museums, exhibits and historic sites for visitors to see with quaint little shops and restaurants located nearby.  You’ll definitely work up an appetite walking around Harpers Ferry so stop at the Anvil Restaurant.  The Anvil is a cozy outpost specializing in crab dip, onion soup & other hearty dishes in a low-key setting.  Head back up to Shepherdstown for a little more sidewalk shopping.  Shepherdstown is the oldest town in West Virginia and is filled with boutiques and specialty stores like O’Hurley’s General Store, Four Seasons Books and Grapes & Grains Gourmet.

There are a surprising number of dining choices in Shepherdstown for Day 2.  Whether it’s casual, ethnic, cosmopolitan or locally grown fare you are sure to find something for your taste and budget. For our two favorites, you can choose a farm to table dinner at Domestic, or upscale contemporary American dishes at The Press Room.

Day 3 in Sharpsburg

Monument along the A.T.

War Correspondents Memorial at Gathland State Park

After a great night’s rest and another wonderful breakfast, you’re ready to venture out on Day 3 of your vacation. Today you’ll take a break from all of the hustle and bustle of the history and shopping and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.  Rent a couple of bikes at the Inn and enjoy the morning biking the C&O Canal.  This scenic tree-lined path will lead you past historic ruins, cliffs and caves along the Potomac River.  Shady biking conditions make this trip a great option for those hot summer days. In the fall the trail becomes radiant with the colors of changing leaves.  Pick up a picnic lunch and head up to South Mountain to hit the Appalachian Trail.  Whether you’re looking for some scenic beauty and wildlife, a taste of history, or a little exercise, the A.T. offers all these things and much more. Two ideal spots for your picnic on the trail are at the Washington Monument State Park or the Gathland State Park.

Antietam Creek Vineyards

 

Wrap up your afternoon by taking a break at our newest winery – Antietam Creek Vineyards!  This 55-acre farm is adjacent to the Antietam National Battlefield and the grapes are grown, processed, aged, and blended at the vineyard. Be sure to say hello to Joan & George (the owners) and enjoy your wine tasting.

 

For your final night treat yourself to some fine dinning.  Old South Mountain Inn is a beautiful, historic restaurant poised atop South Mountain at Turner’s Gap.  Specializing in Prime Rib, Beef Wellington and Fresh Seafood Old South Mountain provides the perfect dining experience for celebrating special occasions or to just enjoy a nice evening out.  Another fine dining choice is the Bavarian Inn,  known for its German cuisine and American fare.  The Bavarian sits overlooking the Potomac River at Shepherdstown and offers both a formal dining experience in the Greystone Manor or a more casual atmosphere in the Rathskeller.

Mark & Julia

 

If you still have energy for one more activity that evening take a Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tour. These tours are based on the lives of Sharpsburg citizens who lived through the Battle of Antietam.  Mark and Julia Brugh will take you through the Confederate Soldiers’ Passageway or the Children’s Alley as they explain the ghostly images that still linger in the town, possibly remnants of souls who never crossed over.

 

In between all of these local excursions, you’ll need to rest and recharge.  This is essential because you’ll need the energy!   Enjoy the tranquility of relaxing on your porch, listening to the chirping birds and enjoy the views of the gardens.

Relax on your porch at the Inn

The Jacob Rohrbach Inn is an 1800s-era restored Inn and the only one in Sharpsburg. Make your stay a memorable one with the Jacob Rohrbach Inn and plan your small town getaway today!

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Antietam Mercantile Company is Open!

July 29, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

  After many months of planning, preparing and praying, we are pleased to announce that our store is finally open.  The Antietam Mercantile Company will not only be an expansion of the Inn’s gift shop, but we’ll be carrying many of the primitives and home decor items that decorate the Inn. Over the years the ground  floor had been used for many things, including a barber shop, dress store and a souvenir shop.  Now, the newest store in Sharpsburg will allow you to stay local and shop local.  Stop in the Antietam Mercantile Company during your next visit to Sharpsburg.

 

AMC Sign

The sign is out, we’re open for business!

 

The store will be open to guests everyday after breakfast to peruse through and shop.

For now, our store hours to the public will be:
Wednesday 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Friday & Saturday: 12:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday: 12:00am – 5:00pm.

Here is just a “sneak peak” of what you can expect at the Antietam Mercantile Company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antietam Mercantile Company
(240) 310-4011
138 W. Main Street (sidewalk entrance)
Sharpsburg, MD 21782

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“The Tale Untwisted” – Alex Rossino

July 4, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

Dr. Alex Rossino

The discovery of Robert E. Lee’s Special Orders no. 191 outside of Frederick, Maryland on September 13, 1862 is one of the most important and hotly disputed events of the American Civil War. For more than 150 years historians have debated if George McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, dawdled upon receiving a copy of the orders before advancing to challenge Lee’s forces at the Battle of South Mountain.

Alexander Rossino will discuss how ‘Little Mac’ moved with uncharacteristic energy to counter the Confederate threat and take advantage of Lee’s divided forces, striking a blow in the process that wrecked Lee’s plans and sent his army reeling back toward Virginia. 

​On Wednesday, August 21st Dr. Alex Rossino will put a final word on the debate over the fate and impact of the Lost Orders on the history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign during his talk – “The Tale Untwisted: George McClellan and the Discovery of Lee’s Lost Orders, September 13, 1862”.

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

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

These outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:oo p.m.   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.

“A Last Roll of the Dice: The Third Confederate Invasion of the North – 1864”​ – Matt Borders –

July 4, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

Matt Borders

Matthew 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. 

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, he worked as the historian for the ABPP for the next six years, personally surveying over 100 different American Civil War battlefields in the deep south and western United States. Over this period he also became involved with the Frederick County Civil War Round Table. He continues to work with Antietam National Battlefield as a volunteer and Certified Battlefield Guide, as well as a Certified Guide for Harpers Ferry National Historical Site.

Currently Matt is a Park Ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland. He continues to volunteer regularly as a living history volunteer portraying Federal infantry and along with fellow guide, Joe Stahl, recently published his first book, Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam.

Join us on Wednesday, August 14th, for Antietam Battlefield Guide Matt Borders’ talk “A Last Roll of the Dice: The Third Confederate Invasion of the North – 1864”​.  Matt will look at the far less known, THIRD Confederate Invasion of the North that occurred in the summer of 1864. Often lost within the larger campaigns for Petersburg, Atlanta and later the Shenandoah Valley, the third Confederate invasion was a last ditch effort to redirect Federal forces away from Richmond, re-leave pressure against the Army of Northern Virginia, and just maybe disrupt the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, thereby changing the course of the 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.

“In the Wake of Antietam: The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862”​ – Kevin Pawlak

July 4, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

Kevin Pawlak

On Wednesday, August 7th, Antietam Battlefield Guide, Kevin Pawlak will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “In the Wake of Antietam: The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862”​.  Following the bloodiest single day in American history, September 17, 1862, and the conclusion of the Battle of Antietam, the Federal Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia rested and refitted on either side of the Potomac River. By late October 1862, urged on by President Abraham Lincoln and his recently announced Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, the Federal army crossed into Virginia once more, armed with a plan to capture Richmond and defeat the Confederacy.

The ensuing battles that erupted in the Loudoun Valley and beyond raged for two weeks and added several hundred casualties to the nation’s growing list of names. Confederate forces attempted to slow the advancing Federal army against the backdrop of the 1862 midterm elections. Several fights erupted in Loudoun and Fauquier counties from October 26-November 10, 1862. The campaign proved to be not as decisive as Lincoln hoped. It proved to be George McClellan’s last campaign as a field commander in the Civil War.

 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.

 

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 Battle of Falling Waters” – George Franks

June 7, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

franks

George Franks

George F. Franks, III is the President of Franks Consulting Group, a management consulting firm, and owner of Geo. Franks, Hatter, a global e-commerce business. He is a former technology executive with extensive international experience. George is the founder and President of the Battle of Falling Waters 1863 Foundation, Inc. and Vice President of Hagerstown Civil War Round Table. He is a Commissioner on the C&O Canal Federal Advisory Commission. George served as an officer and governor of the Company of Military Historians and as President of the organization’s Chesapeake Chapter. He was President of the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table in Washington, D.C. and is an active member of Save Historic Antietam Foundation. George is the author of Battle of Falling Waters 1863: Custer, Pettigrew and the End of the Gettysburg Campaign and lives in the 1830 Daniel Donnelly House on the battlefield – less than a mile from the C & O Canal. George was awarded the 2015 John Frye Historical Preservation Award by the Washington County (Maryland) Commissioners. He studied history at the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Pittsburgh where he was graduated Magna cum Laude. AT&T selected George for the executive programs in marketing and international business at University of Virginia Darden School and Emory University Goizueta Business School.​

​On Wednesday, July 10th, George will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “The Battle of Falling Waters“.  The story of the Gettysburg Campaign, both before and after the July 1-3, 1863, ​ battle, has recently received increased attention from historians. The movement​ of the Army of Northern Virginia from Gettysburg and its pursuit by the Army​ of the Potomac are every bit as important to the study of the American Civil War​ as the events in and around the small crossroads town in Pennsylvania. Many​ historians agree the Gettysburg Campaign concluded with the Battle of Falling​ Waters, Maryland, on July 14, 1863. Although not the climactic battle of the​ war desired by President Abraham Lincoln, it remains a story of miscalculation, ​ bravery, larger-than-life personalities, tragedy and a cover-up.

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.

“Cole’s Cavalry” – Mark Dudrow

May 3, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

Mark Dudrow and Eve

On Wednesday, June 12th, we welcome first time speaker and local living historian Mark Dudrow for his presentation on “Cole’s Cavalry”.  During the Civil War, Cole’s Cavalry patrolled along the Potomac River and the Shenandoah Valley.  Mr. Dudrow’s discussion concerns the formation and history of Company C from 1861 to 1865 which is provided from letters and diaries of that company’s members. If the weather permits, Mark’s faithful side kick – ‘Eve’ will be part of the presentation.

Mark Dudrow lives with his wife, Sharon, in Summit Point, WV. He is retired from Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Frederick County (Virginia) Fire and Rescue. He presently works part time as a firefighter at Summit Point Raceway. Mark has been interested in the Civil War since learning of his Great-Great Grandfather, Abraham Dern, serving in Cole’s Cavalry. He has done, and continues to do, much research on the subject. Mark recently wrote and had published a book on Company C of Cole’s Cavalry entitled “The Keystone Rangers”. It is a print on demand book through the Book Patch and can be ordered online. Proceeds for the book go to the Shriver House in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. George Shriver served in Company C and died in Andersonville Prison. Mark and his horse “Eve” volunteer at Antietam Battlefield talking to visitors about the cavalry and the sacrifices of the horses. They also do many programs in Loudoun County for Tracey Gillespie and the Northern Virginia Park Authority. Mark continuously strives to promote the heritage of 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.

“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 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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