2022 Fall Conference

October 21 – 23, 2022

An outstanding group of educators and historians led the program of our second annual Fall Conference. This year’s theme was Hidden in Plain Sight – looking at some of the less well-known aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862.

Friday afternoon and evening featured speakers, a reception, and breakout discussions; Saturday included two battlefield excursions and a keynote address by noted historian Tom Clemens, and the conference ended on Sunday after a two more battlefield excursions.

Two dinners, a lunch, and a continental breakfast were included in the registration fee and all participants received a colorful booklet with maps and other illustrative materials.

The conference was based at the Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center (Friday and Saturday) and at the battlefield (Saturday and Sunday). Battlefield excursions on the Antietam National Battlefield involved light to moderate walking over irregular terrain. Antietam Institute merchandise was available for sale in the lobby area at the Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center.

Registration opened on April 24 and closed, sold-out, on 26 August 2022.

Conference Schedule

Friday October 21

12:30 Check-in at Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center

1:30 Welcome and Introductions

1:30-2:30 “Bolstering the Union Right: The VI Corps Arrives on the Field at Antietam.” Gary Rohrer

Many Civil War historians have conjectured on what might have been at Antietam had Major General William B. Franklin’s command decisions differed in the Battle of South Mountain. The central focus on this presentation pertained to the impact of the battle with the arrival of the VI Corps on the morning of September 17th as it gave critical support to the Federal position and bolstered its right.

2:30-3:30 “An August of Suffering: The Condition of the XII Corps Entering Antietam.” M. Chris Bryan

The XII Corps delivered impressive results on the Union right at Antietam, clearing the East Woods and Miller Cornfield of Confederates, defending the Dunker Church Plateau against repeated assaults and ultimately gaining a lodgment beyond the Dunker Church and inside the West Woods. Its achievements are not well known. Less well known is the condition of this corps at Antietam, which had degraded markedly during the six weeks since the battle of Cedar Mountain. This talk examined the events that led the XII Corps to Antietam and detail some of the effects of those events. 

3:30-4:30 “Splendid Genius: John Pelham & Confederate Artillery at Antietam.” Sarah Kay Beirle.

On September 17, 1862, Captain John Pelham of the Stuart Horse Artillery fired some of the opening artillery shots of the Battle of Antietam. Who was this young officer? Why did “Stonewall” Jackson trust him to oversee the artillery on the Confederate left flank? Bierle’s presentation explored Pelham’s life and memory with a particular focus on his actions during the Maryland Campaign in preparation for the tour of his artillery position later in the conference.

4:30-5:30 Informal Reception/Authors book sale

5:30-6:30 Judi McHugh Poem & Dinner

6:30-8:00 Breakout Discussion Sessions:

CDV’s and the Civil War: Joe Stahl

Images of soldiers became ubiquitous during the Civil War. This presentation discussed several aspects of how and why the soldiers sat for photographers, and attendees took the opportunity to add to the discussion.

The 7th Maine at the Piper Farm: Martin Pritchett

The regiment’s suicide mission was briefly presented, and attendees had an opportunity to provide their perspectives.

Antietam’s Burial Map: Brian Baracz

The unique burial map was discovered in the New York Public Library in 2020. Participants learned about its significance and accuracy and provided their own perspectives.

Saturday October 22

8:00-8:45 Registration and Breakfast at Shepherd’s Spring

8:45-9:00 Traveled by motor coach to Mumma Farm, Antietam National Battlefield

9:00noon Battlefield Excursions (in two groups which switched itineraries after lunch).

“Holding the High Ground: Confederate Artillery from Nicodemus Heights to the Reel Ridge.” Jim Rosebrock

On this excursion, we examined the role of the Confederate artillery battalions positioned on the ridge of high ground running west of Hagerstown Pike. The excursion began on Nicodemus Heights, private property and rarely accessible to the public. We discussed the roles of JEB Stuart and John Pelham in directing artillery operations against the initial attacks of Joseph Hooker’s First Corps. We hiked south to Hauser’s Ridge and then to Reel Ridge and covered the operations of D.H. Hill and James Longstreet’s artillery battalions. Less familiar than Stuart and Pelham but just as important were artillery commanders Henry Cabell, Allen Cutts, and Scipio Pierson and their roles in containing Federal operations in the West Woods and the Sunken Road. Participants had the opportunity to visit those important Confederate artillery positions “hidden in plain sight.”

“Greene’s Division at Antietam.” Brian Baracz & Matt Borders

This excursion explored the role of the XII Corps, with a deep focus on Greene’s Division. Matt and Brian discussed how the wounding of Gen. Joseph Mansfield essentially split the two divisions of the corps, causing them to work independently of each other on the morning of the battle. We followed the advance of Greene’s men from the East Woods, through the Cornfield, south toward the Dunker Church, and finished our study in the West Woods where their advance was stopped by a Confederate attack. Our look at Greene included the stories and words of those that fought with and against him as well as the role this action had on the events that transpired at the Sunken Road.

noon-1:00 Lunch at the Mumma Barn

1:00-4:00 Battlefield Excursions (two groups).

4:00-5:00 Free time at the Antietam National Battlefield, returned to Shepherd Springs Retreat.

5:00 Dinner at Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center

6:30 State of the Institute. Chris Vincent

7:00 Keynote Address. Dr. Thomas Clemens.

Dr. Tom Clemens earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in history from Salisbury University, and his Doctorate in History Education from George Mason University, studying under Dr. Joseph L. Harsh. He spent most of his career at Hagerstown Community College, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 2012. He has authored many magazine articles and book reviews, and appeared in several documentary movies and television shows, including the introductory film shown in the Visitor’s Center at Antietam National Battlefield. He edited and annotated General Ezra A. Carman’s narrative of the Maryland Campaign of September 1862. Monographs written by him also appear in several books. He is a founding member and current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc., a non-profit preservation organization. He is also an Antietam Battlefield Guide, and 30+ year volunteer there.

Sunday October 23

9:00 Met at Battlefield Tour Stop 8, Bloody Lane

9:00—11:00 Battlefield Excursions (in two groups which switched itineraries at 11 am).

“Desperation at the Sunken Road: Cooke and Cobb Flank the Union II Corps.” Jim Buchanan, Lucas Cade and Laura Marfut

The grounds of the Antietam Visitors Center and vicinity mark the location of two desperate Confederate counterattacks to save the center of Lee’s line. “Hidden in plain sight” between the popular tourist stops of the West Woods and Bloody Lane, the overlooked story of the 27th North Carolina, 3rd Arkansas, and Howell Cobb’s brigade lives beneath the modern structures and parking lot. Jim, Laura and Lucas transported participants to mid-day on September 17, 1862 to witness these audacious and bloody charges across the landscape that bent and slowed the Union advance. 

11:00—1:00 Battlefield Excursions (two groups).

“R. H. Anderson’s division in and around the Sunken Road.” Phill Greenwalt and Kevin Pawlak

Richard Anderson’s division played an important yet overlooked part in the Confederate defense of the Sunken Road and that position’s eventual collapse. Little has been written about the division’s role on September 17th. This walk traversed the terrain that Anderson’s men advanced over and took a detailed look at its role in the fight for the Sunken Road. 

1:00 Wrap Up at the Bloody Lane


Brian Baracz is a ranger at Antietam National Battlefield with over 20 years of experience at the park.  Over the years, he has written many articles, on a wide range of topics regarding the Maryland Campaign.  Brian received his degree in history from UMBC.  He grew up in Cleveland, OH and now lives in Frederick, MD.

Sarah Kay Bierle graduated from Thomas Edison State University with a BA in History, serves as managing editor at Emerging Civil War, and works in the Education Department at American Battlefield Trust. She has spent years exploring ways to share quality historical research in ways that will inform and inspire modern audiences, including school presentations, writing, and speaking engagements. Sarah has published three historical fiction books and her first nonfiction book, Call Out The Cadets: The Battle of New Market, is part of the Emerging Civil War series. She is currently working on a short biography of John Pelham for the Emerging Civil War series.

Chris Bryan is a native of Greencastle, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.S. in History from the United States Naval Academy, an M.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and a Masters in Historic Preservation from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a focus on architectural investigations of Chesapeake region antebellum domestic and agricultural outbuildings. The former Naval Aviator works as a project manager in Southern Maryland. Cedar Mountain to Antietam is his first book.

Matthew Borders. A graduate of Michigan State and Eastern Michigan University, Matthew Borders holds a BA in United States History and a MS in Historic Preservation. He taught at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before excepting a position with the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He was the historian for the ABPP for six years, during which time he became a certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield. Currently Matthew is a park ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland. He, along with fellow guide Joe Stahl, have published three books in their Faces of Union Soldiers series. 

Jim Buchanan. A native Washingtonian, Jim earned a BA and an MA in history at the University of Maryland, College Park. After a stint as a social studies teacher, he joined a Supreme Court history project, and then went on to write curriculum for the National Street Law project. He retired in 2017 after 25 years at the Federal Judicial Center. He is a volunteer and guide at Antietam National Battlefield.

Lucas Cade. A native of Marietta, Georgia, Lucas developed an early interest in the Civil War. He received a BS in Secondary Education from Troy State University and a MS in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. He moved to Washington County, Maryland and has enjoyed a 30-year career in business development. Lucas has been a long-time advocate of battlefield preservation and has been active in the American Battlefield Trust and its predecessors for over two decades.  A certified guide at Antietam National Battlefield, Lucas lives in Hagerstown with his wife, Julie. 

Phill Greenwalt serves as the Chief of Interpretation and Education, and is the Public Information Officer for Catoctin Mountain Park. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheeling Jesuit University and a master’s degree from George Mason University.  Phill is a is a 14-year veteran of the National Park Service, having served at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, George Washington Birthplace NM, Thomas Stone NHS, Everglades NP, Morristown NHP and De Soto NM. He is a full-time contributor to Emerging Civil War and the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War, and the author co-author of five books on the American Revolution and Civil Wars.

Laura Marfut is a retired U.S. Army Colonel with 32 years of service, including 12 years on the Joint Staff and two tours in Afghanistan. She taught high school in Washington County, Maryland and served as President of the Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America. Laura became an Antietam Battlefield Guide in 2019, adding Harpers Ferry and South Mountain credentials the following year. She volunteers for Hospice and as an Antietam Battlefield Ambassador. She and her husband Ed live in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for the Prince William County Historic Preservation Division. He is on the board of Directors for the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Kevin is the author of Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital and the co-author of To Hazard All: A Guide to the Maryland Campaign.

Martin Pritchett is a career Coast Guardsman specializing in Coastal Search and Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement and Environmental Protection. He is a graduate of the USCG Maritime Law Enforcement Academy from Modesto College, California.  Marty is currently working as the Subject Matter Expert at the USCG National Vessel Movement Center responsible for screening pre-arrival applications for commercial shipping visiting United States Ports.  In 2013, Marty became a certified Antietam Battlefield Guide and serves as a Battlefield Ambassador. He is contributing author for the Brigades of Antietam with a published article in national media.

Gary Rohrer is a native and lifelong resident of Washington County. A Vietnam era Navy vet, Gary earned a BSCE from the University of Maryland, an MBA and enjoyed a 35-year career as a Registered Professional Engineer. His passion for the 1862 Maryland Campaign stems from his Boy Scout years on the fields of Antietam, South Mountain and Gettysburg during the Civil War Centennial. Upon retirement he became an NPS volunteer and Certified Antietam, South Mountain, and Harper’s Ferry Battlefield guide. Gary has toured numerous Civil War sites throughout the U.S. He is married and resides near Boonsboro, MD.

Jim Rosebrock served 28 years in the US Army, including combat operations with the 82nd Airborne in Grenada, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He holds a master’s degree from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Jim recently retired from the Department of Justice. He was the Chief, of the Antietam Battlefield Guides from 2011 to 2018. Jim manages two blogs, Antietam Voices, and South from the North Woods. He is working on The Artillery at Antietam, a companion book to the Brigades of Antietam published this year by the Antietam Institute.

Joseph W. Stahl grew up in St. Louis and received BS, MS, and MBA degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology and Washington University. After retiring from the Institute for Defense Analyses, he became a volunteer and NPS Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harpers Ferry.  Joe has authored more than two dozen articles and is co-author of several books, including: Identification Discs of Union Soldiers in the Civil War, Faces of Union Soldiers at Antietam, Faces of Union Soldiers at South Mountain and Harpers Ferry and the Faces of Union Soldiers at Fredericksburg.


A limited number of single rooms are available for the weekend at Shepherd’s Spring Retreat.  To reserve one of these contact Chris Vincent at info@antietaminstitute.org

The following establishments are convenient to the battlefield:

Inn at Antietam (Sharpsburg)

Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg)

The Bavarian Inn (Shepherdstown)

Thomas Shepherd Inn (Shepherdstown)