The Historical Importance of Newly Preserved Land at Antietam

September 29, 2021

On the southern side of the town of Sharpsburg the Antietam National Battlefield’s boundary is on the east side of the Harpers Ferry Rd. This fact leads to the mistaken belief that there was only fighting on that side of the road, which of course, is incorrect. The crest of the ridge along which the Harpers Ferry Rd. runs was an ideal location for Confederate artillery engaged in repulsing Ninth Corps’ final attack on the afternoon of September 17, 1862. These lots that we have purchased is on the final location of Capt. John B. Richardson’s 2nd Company, Washington Artillery of New Orleans. With the arrival of A. P. Hill’s Confederate division, the 28th North Carolina Regiment fought in the road in front of these lots. As the quote below illustrates, the batteries to the left of Richardson were captured and Confederates driven across the road to the west side of the Harpers Ferry Rd., but with the successful attack of  Hill’s Confederate division, the Union attack was driven back the east side of the road and the guns restored to position on the ridge located where we have purchased these lots.

“… I was ordered in a position to the right of McIntosh’s and Brown’s batteries. If you have the location of these two, you have only to place my position on the right. We held that position until the Federal forces made that magnificent charge, passing over McIntosh’s and Browns positions, the left of the Federal line missing my battery about 100 yards, which enabled me to save my battery, by throwing it to the right, around some hay stacks and move to the rear. My next position was in the new line formed, which captured this position back. These were the only positions that I occupied on the ground. Remained there, as you will remember, the next day and then withdrew at night with the Confederate forces. In locating my position in front of the bridge, I have recollection that there was a ravine at the rear of the battery, in which I protected my caissons and ammunition. If I were on the spot, I think I could locate it to a nicety.

           Yours respectfully,

           John B Richardson, Capt. Commanding 2nd Battery Washington Artillery of New Orleans at the Battle of Sharpsburg”[1]

The position of the 28th North Carolina is documented by their commander at the time, Col. James H. Lane;

“Almost immediately after we halted, Gen. A.P. Hill dashed up from the direction of Sharpsburg, & ordered me to move at a double quick in the direction of Sharpsburg, & defend an unsupported battery in an open field to the left, & drive back the enemy who was advancing through the field of corn on the right. I halted in front of the battery & threw out skirmishers in the corn.

           Yours very respectfully, James H. Lane[2]

Our lots about about an acre on the ground where Richardson’s battery is located on this map.

[1] Richardson to Ezra Carman, April, 1896

[2] Lane to Ezra Carman Feb. 1900

Antietam National Battlefield and Friends of Tolson’s Chapel to Debut Film, November 5, 2023

October 31, 2023

On November 5, Antietam National Battlefield and the Friends of Tolson’s Chapel will debut a film about the life of Christina Watson. The National Park Service’s full event description is below:

“Learn about the connections between Antietam National Battlefield and Tolsons Chapel and School to commemorate the anniversary of emancipation in Maryland. In 1866, African Americans in Sharpsburg built Tolson’s Chapel, which would later serve as a Freedman’s Bureau School. Some of the parishioners and students lived on the battlefield including Hilary Watson, who was enslaved on the Otto Farm in 1862. His wife, Christina Watson, who went by Teeny, was enslaved and worked in a tavern in the town of Sharpsburg and also experienced the terror of the Battle of Antietam. The Friends of Tolson’s Chapel have produced a living history film to provide insights into Teeny’s life and role in the chapel. This film will be premiered in the park theatre at 1:00 pm. The showing will be followed by a panel discussion featuring those who researched, wrote, acted in, filmed, and produced the video including ZSunee Miller Matama, Dr. Emilie Amt, Edie Wallace, and Jerris Smith.”

SHAF stepped in to save Tolson’s Chapel from demolition years ago.

The program will begin at 1 pm at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center.

John Banks to Speak at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine

April 14, 2023

Join Civil War author and adventurer John Banks at 2pm on April 16th at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine for “Faces of Antietam” as he provides snapshots of some of the men and women who witnessed the bloodiest day in American history and its aftermath. He also will spotlight a local historian as well as a man whose ancestor was rocked by the events of Sept. 17, 1862. Banks, a board member of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, is author of three Civil War books—including A Civil War Road Trip Of A Lifetime, coming late spring.

Reminder! 2023 Annual SHAF Meeting

March 29, 2023

Reminder! SHAF Annual Meeting

The SHAF Annual Membership Meeting is this Saturday April 1st, (no fooling!) starting at 10:00 am at the Mumma Barn on Antietam National Battlefield. Parking on the grass around the barn is available. After the meeting we will conduct a tour of the War Wounds house for those interested, although we may need to divide into small groups to do so.

March 11 SHAF Work Day

March 10, 2023

The next SHAF Work Day, scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2023, is still on. Meet at the grass overflow parking lot at the Antietam Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. Bring water, gloves, hand tools (no chain saws), and dress for the weather. We will work until about 1:00 p.m. and will be clearing cedar and juniper trees out of the East Woods.

SHAF Annual Membership Meeting Date Change

March 3, 2023

Due to a schedule conflict the SHAF Annual Membership Meeting will be on Saturday April 1 (no fooling!) starting at 10:00 am at the Mumma Barn on Antietam National Battlefield. Parking on the grass around the barn is available. After the meeting we will conduct a tour of the War Wounds house for those interested, although we may need to divide into small groups to do so.

And don’t forget our Spring Work Day at Antietam on March 11 at 9:00 a.m. at the Visitor Center Overflow Parking lot.