Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

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The Dunker Church – Alann Schimdt

May 17, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

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

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

 

 

Alann Schmidt

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

 

 

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

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

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

The Farmsteads of Antietam – The Joseph Sherrick Farm

April 23, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

The one farm house on the Antietam Battlefield that looks the same as it did on September 17, 1862 is the Sherrick House. When you stand in front of the house and hold up the historic photograph taken of the farmstead, it’s as if you traveled back in time.  The photo captures the Sherrick Farmstead; the bank barn, out buildings, fences, garden and the unique brick house.  Looking at it you can imagine what life was like on the farm.

Sherrick House

Photo of the Sherrick farm taken by Alexander Gardner, 1962

The property we now know as the Sherrick Farm was once part of the Smith’s Hills patent that was granted to James Smith on January 26, 1756.  As the French and Indian War was ending, Christian Orndorff, a millwright from Lancaster County, arrived in the area in 1762. Orndorff purchased 503 acres from James Smith along the Antietam Creek.  Of course, Christian Orndorff would establish a successful milling operation at the location of the Middle Bridge on what is known today as the Newcomer Farm.  Prior to his death in 1797, Christian Orndorff divided his holdings among his sons Christopher, Christian and Henry.

passenger list of the James Goodwill

Joseph Schurgh was listed as a passenger on the James Goodwill

Over the years as the milling industry grew along the Antietam Creek. That prosperity drew more and more migration from Pennsylvania.  In 1796, Joseph Sherrick, his wife Barbara Hertzler and their young daughter also named Barbara, left Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with his brother-in-law Jacob Mumma and his family.  The traveled down the Wagon Road to Sharpsburg.  Joseph’s grandfather was also named Joseph but the last name was spelled Shrek or Schurgh.  Born in Switzerland, Joseph and his wife Catherine “left Rotterdam Harbor, Holland in early July on the ship James Goodwill, commanded by David Crockatt, and arrived at Philadelphia on September 27, 1727″. From Philadelphia, they moved to Hempfield Township, Lancaster County.  It was here that the Sherrick family became friends with the Mumma’s, the Hertzler’s and many other families that would move southwest into the Antietam Valley.

Once they arrived to the Antietam Valley, Jacob Mumma would purchase over 300 acres from Christopher Orndorff which included the site of the mill, while Joseph Sherrick purchased the adjoining property to the south, 194 acres from Christopher’s brother, Henry Orndorff.

According to the 1796 deed that land may already have been established as a farm. In the deed there is reference to existing “houses, outhouses, barn, fields, woods, under woods, meadows, orchards, hereditaments and appurtenances“, and there is reference to a “water ditch that is made for the use of watering the meadow.” That ditch was the Town Run, a small stream that ran down from Sharpsburg, past another mill through the farm as it made it’s way to the Antietam Creek.   The Sherrick’s most likely stayed with the Mumma’s until they could establish their home on the property the following year, but it’s presumed that a log or timber frame structure served as their house.  Soon after setting up the home, Joseph and Barbara would have two more children, Jacob born in 1798 and Joseph, Jr. in 1801.

Barbara Hertzler Sherrick gravestone

Barbara Hertzler Sherrick gravestone in the Mumma Cemetery

 

 

Tragedy stuck the Sherrick family a few years later when Barbara Hertzler Sherrick died at the aged of 37 in 1804 leaving Joseph, Sr. with three children.  She was buried at a nearby cemetery that would become known as the Mumma Cemetery.  Needing a wife and a mother to raise his children, Joseph, Sr. married Barbara Mumma, Jacob’s sister.

 

 

 

Rohrback Bridge, cir 1862

Stone wall near the Rohrback Bridge, cir 1862

In 1833, the Washington County Commissioners contracted John Weaver to select a location to construct a bridge over the Antietam Creek on the Sharpsburg and Maple Swamp Road.  This road traversed Sherrick’s land along the Town Run to the Antietam.  Weaver selected a site near the edge of Sherrick’s southern property line, most likely due to the the fact that limestone could be quarried off the hillside.  The bridge was completed by 1836 for a cost of $2,300.  Soon after it’s completion the Sherrick’s constructed a stone wall on the east side of the creek.

boundary of the Sherrick farm

Approximate boundary of the Sherrick farm

 

 

Joseph, Sr., subsequently enlarged the farm by purchasing additional nearby parcels of land in 1821, 1826, and 1833.  On April 15, 1828, young Joseph, Jr. married Sarah Hamm.  It’s believed that young Joseph and Sarah ventured west to Ohio according to the 1830 census.  Their stay in Ohio was not long-lived and by 1836 the young couple had returned home with a daughter, Mary Anna.  Joseph, Jr purchased tracts of property around the family farm and in 1838 he acquired the land owned by his father.

 

 

Sherrick house plan

Side view of house showing basement

It is around this time that the home the Sherricks had been living in for over thirty years was replaced with the brick structure we see today.  Like their neighbors across the Antietam, the Pry’s, this new house reflected the “most current trends in architectural design, incorporating vernacular elements of Greek revival style of the 1830’s”.   The Sherrick’s house would be very unique, it was built into the slope much like their traditional Pennsylvania bank barn but it was also constructed over a fresh water spring.  This fresh water flowed into a spring room in the sub-basement.  Water could be drawn from the  spring room to a kitchen just above in the basement.  Also in the basement was a large fireplace and an adjoining room that was used as a small pantry.

 

Sherrick floor plan

Sherrick House Floor Plan

Sherrick Hall

Park volunteers touring the large hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first floor consisted of a dining room, parlor, bedroom, a servery and large stair hall.  The impressive hall included a “wide entry door, crowned by a divided transom”, “high ceilings, gracious moldings, and wood grained doors”.   But the staircase was the most striking, as the broad staircase lead to a landing, “The risers of these stairs and the baseboard moldings throughout the hall were painted to look like marble, a technique common during the Greek revival period”.  (This style was replicated in the foyer at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn.) Three bedrooms and a nursery were on the second floor and another unique aspect included service stairs from the nursery to the servant room and down to the kitchen.  The Sherrick house “was one of the most well appointed farmhouses in the Sharpsburg area”.

Sherrick farm

Joseph Sherrick Farm, 1862

Behind the house was their 1 1/2 story brick summer kitchen with a large hearth fireplace, bake oven and a staircase to the upper story where meats were hung.  A stone-built smokehouse was located just behind the summer kitchen and was probably built as a “dependency of the original Sherrick house’.   The large 45′ x 90′ Pennsylvania-style bank barn sat on the hill beyond the house.  This was the original barn that was constructed by either Henry Orndorff or Joseph Sherrick, Sr. between 1790 – 1800. On the northwest side of the barn was a fenced 2-acre orchard and adjoining garden. A number of other outbuildings and structures were on the property but today there is only evidence of a few.

 

Sherrick side

Rebuilt walls

barn

Barn Foundation

corn crib

Corn Crib

 

 

 

 

 

fireplace

Kitchen Fireplace

nursey

Nursery

 

 

 

 

 

The Sherrick farm prospered over the next decade.  According to the 1850 census the farm was valved at $12,000.  The Sherrick’s were members of the German Baptist Brethren or “Dunker” congregation.  The Dunkers had been meeting in the private home of Daniel Miller, the father of Elizabeth Miller Mumma. In 1851, Samuel Mumma donated a small plot of land at the edge of a woodlot that would become known as the West Woods.  Daniel Miller, Samuel Mumma and Joseph Sherrick supervised the construction of the new church. It was constructed with hand-made clay bricks from John Otto, Joseph Sherrick’s neighbor.

In May, 1858, Mary Anna Sherrick married Victor Newcomer, a merchant.  The following year they would have their first child and continue to live with her parents.  According to the 1860 Census, the family was still residing on the farm. A young female servant named Ellen Ward and Samuel Gift, a farm hand lived at there as well.

1860 census

1860 Census, Joseph Sherrick Family

Around this time Joseph Sherrick retired from farming and leased the farm to a young man named Leonard Emmert.  “At that time, the farm consisted of 200 improved acres and 20 unimproved acres and was valued at $14,000. Livestock was valued at $500. During the year ending that June, the farm produced 1,500 bushels of wheat, 20 bushels of rye, 1,000 bushels of Indian corn, 150 bushels of oats, 100 pounds of wool, 50 bushels of potatoes, $20 in orchard products, 500 pounds of butter, 25 tons of hay, and 12 bushels of clover seed”.  It is unsure where the Sherrick family moved to, possibility Boonsboro, but Leonard Emmert was still leasing the farm in the fall of 1862.

On the morning of September 15, 1862, Confederate forces under Robert E. Lee were falling back from their defeat at South Mountain.  But when Lee reached the Antietam Creek he stopped.  His small army went into a defensive mode around the town of Sharpsburg in order to wait for the rest of Lee’s men under General Stonewall Jackson to arrive from Harpers Ferry.  Near the Sherrick farm, Confederates under General David R. Jones’ division were positioned.  By the Rohrbach Bridge just down the road from the farmstead a Rebel brigade was posted on the heights above the bridge and along creek to prevent Union forces from easily crossing.  They were supported by Confederate artillery on hilltop across the Otto farm and on Cemetery Hill.  Confederate skirmishers were stationed across the fields waiting for the pending battle.

The battle on September 17 began at daybreak, but it seemed that it was happening to the north of Sharpsburg with the exception of the artillery batteries dueling back and forth.  About mid-morning, the Union Ninth Corps under General Ambrose Burnside began their assault against the Confederates to take the bridge and cross the Antietam Creek.  The Rebel forces were able to hold off the Federals for about three hours before they finally gave way and withdrew to the high ground along the Sherrick farm lane.  To the north of the Sherrick house Union forces crossed over the Middle Bridge at the Newcomer or Mumma Mill and began pressing skirmishers and artillery forward.

battlefield map

Sherrick Farm, Sept. 17, 1862 at 4:20pm

By 3:00 pm, the Union Ninth Corps was across the Antietam and in position to began their assault against the Confederate right.  The Union battle line stretched for almost a mile, from the Sherrick’s 40-acre cornfield in the south, to the Otto farm, across the Rohrbach Bridge Road and through the Sherrick farm. Burnside’s right flank tied into elements of the Union Fifth Corps as they advanced up the Boonsboro Pike through Sherrick’s fields north of the farmstead.  The 79th New York Infantry advanced in a double line of skirmishers across the farm as they spearheaded the advance of Colonel Benjamin Christ’s brigade.  When the 79th New York reached the Sherrick house and outbuildings they met stiff resistance from South Carolinian’s in an apple orchard and around the building of the Solomon Lumm mill.  Heavy artillery fire from Rebel guns on Cemetery Hill stalled the advance as Christ deployed his three other regiments to move west across the Sherrick farm.

With support from Union artillery batteries, Christ advanced as Col. Thomas Welsh’s brigade pushed up the Sharpsburg Road to his left, dislodging the Confederates, forcing them to withdraw.  As Welsh’s men continued to fight their way to the outskirts of town, the far right flank of the Ninth Corps line was being stuck by General A.P. Hill’s Confederate troops in the middle of the 40-acre cornfield.  With the line slowing collapsing and men running low on ammunition, the Union troops were forced to fall back to their starting point.

Union causalities were being treated at the Sherrick and Otto farms as ambulances evacuated the wounded further to the rear to field hospitals at the Rohrbach and the J.F. Miller farms back across the Antietam.  As the sun set on September 17,  both sides settled in posting pickets in and around the Sherrick farm.  Neither side renewed the battle on the 18th but there was substantial picket firing throughout the day.  That evening the Confederates withdrew across the Potomac and Union forces moved into Sharpsburg.  One young Union soldier, Private R.G. Carter of the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry  wrote about the scene at the Sherrick house.

Pvt. Carter

Private R.G. Carter, 22nd Mass.

“the sun came out bright and beautiful … The enemy had now, it was soon discovered, left our front … Upon visiting Sherrick’s house this morning, we found it quite a sumptuous affair. It had been hastily evacuated, as it was between the lines. The foragers ahead of us had pulled out what edibles it contained, and among them a splendid assortment of jellies, preserves, etc., the pride of every Maryland woman’s heart, but now scattered all about. The orchard was filled with the choicest fruit. What a feast! Our stomachs just beginning to become accustomed to “salt horse” and “hard tack,” earnestly opened and yearned for this line of good things. No crowd of schoolboys, Let loose from the confinement of a recitation room, ever acted so absurdly, as did these rough, bronzed soldiers and recruit allies, on that death-strewn ground about Sherrick’s yard and orchard. They would seize a pot of jam, grape jelly, huckleberry stew, or pineapple preserve, and after capering about a while, with the most extravagant exhibitions of joy, would sit upon the ground, and with one piece of hard bread for a plate, and another for a scoop, would shovel out great heaps of the delectable stuff, which rapidly disappeared into their capacious mouths …

Dead soldier at Anteitam

Photo taken by Alexander Gardner of dead Confederates near the Sherrick farm

The buildings did not suffer much structural damage but the crops were ruined, and soldiers from both sides pillaged personal possessions. Joseph Sherrick claimed damage to his home of $8 from an artillery shell and $1,351 in damages from occupying Federal troops.  According to a letter written by Jacob Miller in October 1862, the Otto and Sherrick farms were full of encamped troops.  Miller noted that he had sown nine acres of wheat on his land and if not for the army’s presence, he would have been able to sow upwards of a hundred acres.  The foraging of Union soldiers immediately after the battle caused more destruction to the Sherrick farm than the actual battle did.  Although the Sherrick farm was not used as a hospital the fields and farmland became a burial ground for soldiers from both sides.

But the damage that the Sherrick farm received was nothing in comparison to their close friends, the Mumma family.  Their house was deliberately set on fire by the Confederates and that fire bled to almost all the other buildings. Joseph opened the house up for Samuel and his family to reside until their home was rebuilt in June 1863.

Bridge

Benner-Spong Farm cir. 1910. LOC

By 1863, Joseph and his son-in-law Victor Newcomer were living in Funkstown about ten miles north of Sharpsburg.  After the Mumma family moved back to their farm it is unsure who lived on the Sherrick farm.  The property was most likely rented out to other tenant farmers.  It’s also possible that in an attempt to recoup some of their financial losses the Sherrick’s sold some of their land holdings.  That year following the battle, John Benner had been purchasing property from the Rohrbach family on the west side of the Antietam Creek.  In 1866, Benner acquired 9 acres from Joseph and Sarah Sherrick for $730.  A new farmstead was constructed there near the bridge and would be known as the Benner-Spong Farm.

Joseph and Sarah Sherrick gravestone

Joseph and Sarah Sherrick at the Mumma Cemetery

 

Victor Newcomer continued to seek money for the damages long after Joseph died in 1871, but he received very little compensation from the Federal government.  Joseph Sherrick, Jr. died on August 10, 1871.  Almost three years to the day, Sarah passed away in 1874.  Joseph and Sarah Sherrick are buried in the Mumma Cemetery, with Joseph’s parent and their friends the Mummas.

 

 

Sherrick Farm 1940

Sherrick Farm 1940

 

Sherrick Farm 1958

Sherrick Farm 1958

Sherrick Farm 1967

Sherrick Farm 1967

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the next several decades the property remained in the Sherrick-Newcomer family, eventually being inherited by Anna Newcomer’s children, Frank S. Newcomer and Virginia S. Nicodemus.  During this time, parcels were sold to both veteran’s associations and the Federal government for monument placements.  In 1925 the property was purchased by James A. Dorsey.  The property stayed in the Dorsey family until 1964 when the 186-acre Sherrick farm (known as the Dorsey tract) was sold to the National Park Service.  The following year, as part of the Mission 66 project, work began on the Burnside Bridge Bypass Road.  By redirecting local traffic past the Sherrick farm and off the bridge, the National Park Service was able to restore the bridge and complete an interpretive tour stop.

The Sherrick House remains as it was originally configured when it was build in 1835.  The summer kitchen was restored and the stone walls have been rebuilt.  Unfortunately the historic Sherrick barn was destroyed by fire in 1985, but the park service has been able to restore the foundation of the the barn.  Today the farmstead is beautifully maintained by the National Park Service and you can  hike the trails across the farmstead to the Burnside Bridge and walk the tour road around the Sherrick farm.  Not only was the Sherrick Farmstead an eyewitness to the terrible fighting that occurred there, but it is a reminder of how the families of Antietam were connected for generations and how they survived the ordeal of war.

Sherrick farm

Joseph Sherrick farmstead today

Sources:
  • Ancestry.com, Joseph Sherrick Family, Census Data 1850-1880.  Retrieved from: https://www.ancestry.com\
  • Biscoe, Thomas Dwight and Walt Stanley. The view from the Conf. side of Antietam Creek near Burnside Bridge looks probably about North,. DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University, 1884.  Retrieved from: http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/civ/id/132/rec/25
  • Civil War Talk. Sherrick House at Antietam Interior Photographs/Tour  Retrieved fromhttps://civilwartalk.com/threads/sherrick-house-at-antietam-interior-photographs-tour.158270/
  • Carter, Robert Goldthwaite Four brothers in blue; or, Sunshine and shadows of the War of the Rebellion; a story of the great civil war from Bull Run to Appomattox. Washington, Press of Gibson Bros., Inc., 1913. Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/cu31924032780623/page/n283/mode/2up/search/Antietam
  • Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division; Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey, Antietam, Maryland. Battlefield near Sherrick’s house where the 79th N.Y. Vols. fought after they crossed the creek. Group of dead Confederates, MD. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/resource/cwpb.01112/
  • Maryland Historical Trust, Sherrick House, WA-II-334, Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties Form, 1978.
  • Oehrlein & Associates Architects, Sherrick House Historic Structures Report. United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service, 1995.
  • Reardon, Carol and Tom Vossler, A Field Guide to Antietam: experiencing the battlefield through history, places and people, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • Schmidt, Alann and Terry Barklery. September mourn: the Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield, El Dorado Hill, CA: Savas Beatie LLC. 2018.Taggert, Thomas, Map of Washington County. L. McKee and C.G. Roberton, Hagerstown, Maryland 1859.
  • Summerfield, Mark. Sherrick House. Retrived from: http://msummerfieldimages.com/sherrick-farm/
  • U.S. National Park Service, Burnside Bridge Area Cultural Landscape InventoryAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2016.
  • U.S. National Park Service, Burnside Bridge Area Cultural Landscape ReportAntietam National Battlefield, Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2018.
  • Walker, Kevin M., Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscape. Sharpsburg: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010.
  • Wolfe, Robert and Janet.  Robert and Janet Wolfe Genealogy  – Joseph Sherk. Retrieved from: https://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/person/g5803.htm
  • 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.

2020 Civil War Lecture Series

January 19, 2020 by jacobrohrbach

UPDATE: As of July 1st, our lecture series has moved back to the Inn.   The schedule is subject to change.

Email Us to Sign up for the SLS Member List

Wow! This will be our fifth year of hosting the Civil War Lecture Series.  Since we started, we’ve raised over $1500 for the Save Historic Antietam Foundation through our summer fundraiser.  We have seven new guest speakers presenting and another outstanding slate of lectures scheduled at the  Jacob Rohrbach Inn.  Come learn from Antietam Battlefield Guides and other leading historians as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign and the Civil War during our summer lecture series.

civil war lecture series eagle logo

June 3 – Gordon Dammann – “The Wounding of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr”

June 10 – Brad Gottfried – “Lee Invades the North: A Comparison of 1862 & 1863”

June 17 – Darin Wipperman – “Immortal Respect: Col. Henry Post and the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters in the Antietam Campaign”

June 24 – Alann Schimdt – “The Dunker Church”

July 1 –  Jim Rosebrock – “Goodbye Captain” Artillery at the Burnside Bridge and Final Attack

July 8 – Sharon Murray – “The Long Gray Line of ’54”

July 15 – Richard P. D’Ambrisi – “Baseball in the Civil War”

July 22 – Laura Marfut – “Longstreet’s Attack on French’s Right.”

July 29 – Nigel Wainwright – “The Civil War and The World”

Aug 5 – Matt Borders – “The Loudoun Valley Campaign of 1862: McClellan’s Final Advance”

Aug 12 – Justin Mayhue – “Small Arms Weapons at Antietam”

Aug 19 – Alex Rossino – “A Very Personal Fight: Robert E. Lee’s Role on the Field at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862”

Aug 26 – John Schildt – “The ‘What Ifs’ of the Maryland Campaign”

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

 

The Farmsteads of Antietam Tour

October 29, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

The Dunker Church and debris after the battle

For those that remember the PBS series “The Civil War” by Ken Burns, the opening scenes begin with this statement:
“The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places, from Valverde, New Mexico, and Tullahoma, Tennessee, to St. Albans, Vermont, and Fernandina on the Florida coast. More than 3 million Americans fought in it, and over 600,000 men—2 percent of the population—died in it.  American homes became headquarters, American churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying, and huge foraging armies swept across American farms and burned American towns. Americans slaughtered one another wholesale, right here in America in their own cornfields and peach orchards, along familiar roads and by waters with old American names.”

Lutheran Church in Sharpsburg after the battle

No where was this more true than here at Sharpsburg.  The Battle of Antietam had effected everyone living in and around Sharpsburg. The battle only lasted one day but for the civilians living in the wake of this man-made disaster, the effects of the battle were felt for weeks’, months’, and even years.

Sharpsburg was the first organized community in the United States to suffer widespread damage from both the combat and the sheer presence of two opposing armies of more than 120,000 Rebel and Yankee soldiers and some 50,000 horses & mules.

 

The debris of battle

This would led to a tremendous threat of disease from the thousands of dead men and animals rotting in the warm September sun and the thousands of wounded left to be cared for in the field hospitals.

Combat and disease were not the only threats posed by the large battle. Economic devastation loomed as an all-too-real possibility. At Sharpsburg  soldiers from both sides raided farms and homes, carrying off valuables, destroying property, and confiscating livestock and crops as provender for the armies.

 

Joseph Poffenberger Farm

The Antietam National Battlefield is said to be one of the most pristine and well restored Civil War battlefields. When you look across the landscape little has changed since that fateful day of September 17, 1862. The preserved fence lines, fields and woodlots help us understand the ebb and flow of the battle. The details of the Battle of Antietam are well known to students of the Civil War, but as you survey the battlefield, you see scattered across the countryside the proof that battles are not fought in a vacuum. Several farmsteads dot the landscape as well. We tend to forget about the civilians that were caught up in the events swirling around the homes where for generations families lived, worked, played, and died.

Now you can join the Antietam Battlefield Guides for a Specialty Tour of “The Farmsteads of Antietam”.  Chief Guide, Chris Vincent has formatted a 3-hour guided tour of the historic Farmsteads of Antietam to learn about the families, their history, the farmsteads and how they recovered from the battle.

 

The tour will take you to each of the eleven farmsteads across the battlefield to discuss:

Who lived on the farmsteads at the time of the battle?

David R. and Margaret Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did the farm look like?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What did the families do during the battle?

Fighting around Roulette Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happened to the families and farms after the battle?

Otho Poffenberger family, c. 1880

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information about this tour and other Specialty Tours offered by the Antietam battlefield Guides, contact the Antietam Museum Store at 301-432-4329.

Burkholder’s Baked Goods

October 29, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

Fresh made cookie anyone?

The local bakery in town is just as well known as Nutter’s Ice Cream.  Burkholder’s Baked Goods has been providing delicious fresh donuts, dinner rolls, fresh cakes and pies, breads, milk, and cheese for almost 25 years now in Sharpsburg.

About Burkholder’s Baked Goods

Ruth and Nathan Burkholder

The bakery

Nathan and his wife Ruth Burkholder, started selling baked goods out of their van at the old Amoco or BP station in Sharpsburg.  They had recently sold their farm near the Hagerstown airport and moved to a farm near Sharpsburg.   The business become so successful selling out of the van, that they opened their first commercial bakery on Main Street in the Town Square.  In 2000, they sold their farm and purchased a home in Sharpsburg and remodeled the garage into the current bakery facility.

 

Unique Items at the Bakery   

I’ll take two , please!

There is not a Dunkin Donut or Krispy Cream shop within miles of Sharpsburg, but not to worry, Burkholders Baked Goods beats them hands down when it comes to fresh made donuts.  The display counter in the bakery is not that big, but they carry at least two dozen different kinds of donuts every morning.  Powdered, glazed, filled with fruit or filled with cream, and my two favorites apple fritters and bear claws.

If you’re not into donuts, the Burkholders also make cookies each day too. You can always find oatmeal raisin, peanut butter blossoms,  short bread, sugar cookies and depending on the season, decorated butter cut-outs.  Of course pies and cakes are one of the best sellers. Pumpkin, apple and pecan pie (again, my favorite) are popular around the holidays.

 

 

Even though we love the donuts, cookies, and pies; a popular breakfast item at the Inn is the homemade bread.  That’s right, we use Burkerholder’s bread for a number of breakfast dishes.  Their famous Cheese Bread is toasted just enough to brown the edges and bubble the cheese that’s carefully folded into the dough.  This makes a perfect side to any egg dish.  We recently posted the recipe for our Caramelized French Toast.  Of course you could use store bought bread, but we love the Cinnamon Raisin bread.  The extra cinnamon, raisins and yeasty sweetness makes this one of our most requested breakfast dishes.  Burkholder’s makes several kinds of bread, and they are all really good.

In addition to all these wonderful baked goods, they also sell local dairy products and honey.  They have farm fresh eggs, cheese and their milk comes in the old-fashioned glass milk bottles.

So the next time you’re at the Inn or visiting Sharpsburg, stop by Burkholders to get some fresh homemade baked goods to snack on or take home.

Burkholder’s Baked Goods
301-432-2292
106 W High St
Sharpsburg, MD 21782

The bakery is open from 6am to 5 p.m. Tuesday –  Friday, 6am-12pm Saturday (closed Sunday & Monday).

 

Directions

Driving from the Inn, Burkholder’s Baked Goods is just at the end of the block on Hall Street, turn left on High Street.   You will cross over Mechanic Street and the bakery will be on your right.  Parking is available behind the house. (Click here for Google Maps)

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

Find us on Facebook

“People and Places at Antietam” – John Schildt

July 4, 2019 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 28th.  John often talks about history being about ‘people’ and ‘places’.  John will present his Summer Lecture Series talk – “People and Places at Antietam”.  John will go from George Washington, to “the Horse Without A Tail”, to John Ticknor, Martin Eakle, Dr. William Child, Clara Barton and Axel Steele, to Dr. Dunn, Black Jack Logan, the Hoffman farm, Drs. Biggs and Shealy, the Grove family, JFK, Jimmy Carter, Patrick Roy, and Lincoln, as well as other people and places connected with the Maryland Campaign.

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.

Victory Garden Ranch

May 11, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

VGR Owner

VGR Owners – Beth and Dwayne Harris with Chris

“Welcome to Victory Garden Ranch!”  That’s what you hear as you walk through the door of this unique store at Sharpsburg’s Town Square.

About Victory Garden Ranch

Victory Garden Ranch is more than a unique store, it also serves as a Veterans Wellness Center.  VGR, as we call it, was created in November 2016 by Beth and Dwayne Harris.  The Harris’ are retired from the U.S. Army with a combined 47 years of military service.  Dwayne also served as a firefighter.

 

 

 

vegetables

Fresh vegetables at VGR

“Victory Garden Ranch – Veterans Growing Together!” The mission of VGR is two-fold.  First, it provides products grown and manufactured by Veterans and their families to the Sharpsburg community.  Victory Garden Ranch is certified by Maryland’s Best and they have been accepted by the Farmer Veteran Coalition and certified by the national Homegrown by Heroes program. Their mission is to meet other Veterans and community members and guide Veterans in growing/making their own products to sell under the Homegrown by Heroes label while providing the community with farm fresh food and other products.

Second,  it operates as a Veterans Wellness Center.  VGR has a classroom that is used to host a number of Veteran wellness programs including painting, movies, yoga and counseling.  This provides a place where people can connect.  According to Beth, “Part of the recovery is connecting with other people going through a similar recovery process. We now have a place where people can go.  It’s not just shopping – it’s sharing.”

The objective of Victory Garden Ranch is to raise funds to source the local nonprofit Veterans Group “Come All Who are Thirsty”.  The Harris’ started this group in 2013 to bring veterans and their families together through meetings and outreach programs. Their mission is to connect Veterans with other Veterans and their support teams to combat isolation, depression and suicide.  As “the Ranch” expands, they hope to provide other forms of therapy for Veterans such as archery, homeopathic services, and equine therapy.  Come All Who are Thirsty also welcomes our ‘First Responders’ – Police, fire & EMS personnel to participate in the events and activities.

Unique Items  at Victory Garden Ranch

antique plate and bottlesold glory flagVictory Garden Ranch carries a wide range of products including flags, memorabilia and some antiques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crafted foods such as soups, jams, jellies, salsas, cookies, and pretzels.

canned items

Various gifts items like crochet hats and scarves, candles, soaps and other health and beauty products.

soaps

A book-nook covering just about every American conflict and segment of our history.

  history books

Locally roasted whole bean coffee, farm fresh eggs and cheeses.

eggs and cheese

 

There is something for everyone at Victory Garden Ranch.  Be sure to stop by to say “Hello!” and check out all the latest items at the store.

Events & Classes

Throughout the year VGR hosts book signings, CPR certification classes, story time, movie nights, meditation and painting classes.

Weekly Yoga Classes – Thursday evenings

Spring Artisan Market – April

Patriotic Pancake Breakfast – Memorial Day Weekend

Sharpsburg Founder’s Day – First weekend in July

Antietam Christmas in July! – Last weekend in July

Veteran’s Day Gift Bag Drive – Veterans Day Saturday

Sharpsburg Sunday-Funday Holidays! – Sunday afternoons November – December

Victory Garden Ranch is a proud supporter and sponsor of many of the local community events and activities.  From Memorial Day to Founder’s Day and Veterans Day, Victory Garden Ranch is always there with open doors to help and assist the community.  “Victory Garden Ranch – Veterans Growing Together!”

front of VGR

Welcome to Victory Garden Ranch!

Directions

Walking from the Inn, Victory Garden Ranch is just at the end of the block, on the left at Town Square.   If you are driving,  parking is available along the street or in a parking lot off N. Mechanic Street. (Click here for Google Maps)

Victory Garden Ranch logo

Victory Garden Ranch
101 W. Main Street
Sharpsburg, Maryland

Victory Garden Ranch is open from 12 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

More Changes around the Inn

February 23, 2019 by jacobrohrbach

WOW! 2018 was a big year for changes around the Inn.  We did way more renovating, painting, landscaping, and expanding then we expected to do.

It all started toward the end of 2017 when we realized we had a great opportunity to expand the business (More on the expansion in just a bit).  First we had to renovate the Harpers Ferry Suite.  This suite was one of the original guest rooms when the house was turned into a bed and breakfast over thirty years ago and desperately needed some updating. Fortunately there was no carpet or wallpaper to remove so the project moved right along.  We are very pleased with the bathroom project and would like to thank Anne Marie & Marty of Uphome Renovations, LLC for the tremendous work they did.  Another ‘Thank you’ goes to Antietam Wood Floors for repairing and restoring the hardwood floors.

 

New vanity

Refinished hardwoods

Tiled shower

New sitting area of the Harpers Ferry Suite

Once the weather started to break we moved outside for some yard work.  We called in Jay’s Tree & Landscaping Service to remove some dying trees along the property line and we worked for over a month tearing out the old fence and brush that lined the back alley.  After adding several yards of top soil, the backyard is nicely sloped and the green grass has taken off.

Clearing out the old wire fence and putting in topsoil

Removing some of the trees along the alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

As most of you know, 2018 has gone down for being one of the wettest years in history.  We had 130 days of precipitation coming in at over 50 inches of rain.  Needless to say it was not a good year to decide to paint the Inn but we did.  We started in July… and we’re still not done.  We had to suspend operations by Thanksgiving as the temperatures began to drop, but as soon as weather warms up the last part of the Inn and spring house will be finished.  One of our local painters, Lucas Turner has done an outstanding job and was able to work around the weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Colonial Williamsburg colors have given the place a whole new look.  The body of the buildings are painted a  Tavern Gray.   We used Tyler Gray to distinguish the window slashes and Mopboard Black for the trim and accent areas.  All the porch ceilings have a traditional Pearl Blue shade to ward off insects and birds.  We can’t wait til spring to finish it up.

Fall at Inn

Back to the expansion of the business…  As this year came to a close we were able to focus on achieving one of our start up goals.  We are both big on planning and one of the objectives on our five year plan was to have a large space for a gift shop.

Gift shop hutch

After some packing and rearranging things in the old basement dress shop room we now have a large space to expand our gift shop. We gave this ground floor or sidewalk level of the Inn a new look with a fresh coat of paint and it looks great.

Antietam Mercantile Company at the Inn.

We look forward to having it completed and the shop operating sometime this Spring.  While you are here for your stay be sure to check out the new Antietam Mercantile Company at the Inn.

Captain Bender’s Tavern

November 7, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

If you’re looking for a great local restaurant near the Inn with AMAZING food then Captain Bender’s is the place.

About Captain Bender’s Tavern

Raleigh Bender was born in Sharpsburg in 1873.  Like many townsfolk in Sharpsburg, Raleigh worked on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal and would become the captain of Canal Boat No. 1.  Bender held several records during his time working on the canal.  He had also worked the longest on the canal, over 36 years; he “held the record of 62 hours for the fastest time for an unloaded boat from Georgetown to Cumberland; and brought the last load of coal from Cumberland through the Paw Paw Tunnel”.  In 1936, Raleigh opened Bender’s Tavern on Main Street in Sharpsburg and “reportedly told many stories about the canal and town”.  Since that time Captain Bender’s Tavern “has fed the hungry, quenched the thirsty, and served loyally, the historic community of Sharpsburg”.

Today, Captain Bender’s Tavern is owned and operated by Steve Kemmett.   Steve wanted the tavern “to be a fun place, a place where everybody can hang out and have fun” so in 2010 he began remodeling.  Steve turned the tavern into our towns version of “Cheers” (the 1980s sitcom where ‘everybody knows your name’).  He said he wanted “a place where customers can feel at home and feel welcome.”

The natural wood wainscoting, a tin ceiling and a long bar sets the atmosphere of a comfortable inviting pub.  The inside restaurant and bar area seat about 50 guests with an added 30-seat beer garden in the rear for outdoor dining and drinking in warmer weather.  Steve also added a dart tournament area and pool room for the Tavern Dart and Pool teams.

 

Unique Menu Items  at Captain Bender’s Tavern

Captain Bender’s has a great menu filled with appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees and speciality drinks.  We have tried almost everything on the menu, but here are a few of our favorites…

For starters you have to try the Pickle Fries.  If you have never had these you’re in for a treat, cut like french fries they stay really crispy and are served with a zesty dipping sauce.  If pickles aren’t your thing, then go for the Hog Wings.  Yep that’s right, Hog Wings.  Tender pieces of pork smothered in your choice of wing sauce.  YUMMY!   Everyday there is a new soup du jour, our top picks are the cream of crab and the french onion soup.

The Hub City Salad is chopped romaine, garden vegetables, bacon and shredded cheese topped with a blackened chicken breast.   This is served with  Steve’s own amazing honey/lime/pistachio dressing.

One of our ‘go to’ menu items is the Fish & Chips.  This freshly beer battered Tilapia is flash fried and served with coleslaw and some of the best seasoned hand-cut fries we’ve ever had.

The Monument – Tower of Death

The Monument – Tower of Death

If your hungry for a burger, and I mean HUNGRY, you need to order The Monument – Tower of Death
Not one, not two, but three 8 ounce Black Angus burger patties stacked high on a Ciabatta roll with lettuce and tomato.  Then it is layered with chili, cheese, death sauce, fried pickles, onion rings and spicy dipping sauce.   To top it off it is served with a dill pickle spear and cheese fries topped with bacon and sour cream.  The best part is, IF you finish it all in 30 minutes, it’s FREE!

 

While visiting this area and staying at the Inn, we highly recommend stopping in Captain Bender’s.  If you’re able to plan your stay when Steve and his culinary crew are hosting one of their Speciality Dinners you’re definitely in for an incredible treat.  These ticketed events feature a four course dinner paired with some of the finest local wines or spirits.

For more information about Captain Bender’s Tavern, menu items and future events you can check out their Facebook  Page or their Website

 Directions

Walking from the Inn the tavern is just a block past the Town Square on the left.   Driving, Captain Bender’s is along Main Street or MD Route 34.  Parking is available along the street or in a parking lot off N. Mechanic Street. (Click here for Google Maps)

Captain Benders Tavern
111 E. Main Street
Sharpsburg, Maryland

Weekly Events & Specials

On Saturday nights you can stay out for LIVE music or karaoke at Bender’s and if you plan to take a ghost tour with the Sharpsburg Civil War Ghost Tours, your tour begins and ends  at the tavern.

Monday night – Flagship Trivia

Tuesday night  – Crab Cake Dinner: 5 oz Lump Crab Cake served with choice of 2 sides.

Wednesday night – AYCE Wings and Narragansett drafts or Baltimore Martini’s

Friday night – Prime Rib Dinner Special

Saturday night – dinner specials

Sunday all day – Build your burger

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

O.T. Reilly: Sharpsburg Relics and Remembrances

June 12, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Stephen Recker

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Stephen Recker is a collector of rare Antietam photographs and relics. Items from his collection can be seen on battlefield waysides, in the newly renovated museum at Antietam National Battlefield, as well as in his book Rare Images of Antietam, and the Photographers Who Took Them. Recker is a member of Antietam Battlefield Guides, a service he founded in partnership with WMIA, the non-profit at Antietam National Battlefield. He produced Virtual Gettysburg, a critically acclaimed interactive Civil War battlefield tour; Antietam Artifacts, a CD-ROM with images of rare postcards from the Maryland Campaign of 1862; and www.virtualantietam.com, and recently edited and published Shadowing Grant: Reminiscences of the United States Hospital Transport Services in the Civil War 1864-65. He began his professional career as a lead guitarist, recording and touring with Al Stewart, the Spencer Davis Group, Mary Wells, and Tommy Chong, and as technician for Ringo Starr, Kiss, Diana Ross, and Madonna. In multimedia, he produced for Apple Computer, Adobe, and the Smithsonian, and was named a “Top 100 Producer” by AV Multimedia Producer Magazine. He is currently a Senior Associate – Drupal Developer at ICF International in Fairfax, Virginia, where he has worked on web sites for the White House (ONDCP), The Department of Defense (ATF), and others. Recker is a graduate of Boston’s Berklee College of Music and lives with his family in Maryland.

O.T. Reilly: Sharpsburg Relics and Remembrances: Oliver Thomas Reilly was born in Keedysville in 1857 and at the age of five witnessed the Battle of Sharpsburg. At fifteen, he become the first Antietam Battlefield guide and escorted many notable veterans around the field, including James Longstreet and Ambrose Burnside. In the 1890s, Reilly moved to Sharpsburg and opened his War View and Relics Shop near the town square, from which he published picture postcards and a guide book of the battle. Starting in 1887, Reilly wrote a weekly newspaper column chronicling the movement of veterans and relics through his shop and through the town. It is this unique trove of historic remembrances that is the basis for Stephen Recker’s upcoming book on Reilly, and for his talk. Recker is a leading expert on Reilly.

On Wednesday, July 25th,  Stephen will talk about O.T. Reilly and will bring rare O.T. Reilly relics for the group to enjoy during his Summer Lecture Series talk – O.T. Reilly: Sharpsburg Relics and Remembrances

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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