Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

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

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

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

David A. Welker

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

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

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

 

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

April 27, 2022 by jacobrohrbach

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

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

Darin Wipperman

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

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

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

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

 

Steve Stotelmyer – “The Insolence of Epaulets”

June 9, 2021 by jacobrohrbach

Steve Stotelmyer

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

McClellan and Lincoln

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

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

These outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m.  Even though those programs are outdoors, guests are encouraged to wear face coverings and to social distance as much as possible. To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed UCC Church at 117 Main Street.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

“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.

“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.

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