Education Philanthropy Research

2024 Summer Internship

Sarah Sofsky

We are excited to announce the start of a new internship with Shepherd University at the Antietam National Battlefield. The intern will be assigned to the Resource Education and Visitor Services Division at Antietam National Battlefield under the direct supervision of the Division Chief, Park Ranger Keith Snyder.

Working with Dr. James Broomall, Director of the George Tylor Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University and Keith Snyder, we’ve selected Sarah Sofsky. Sarah is a Maryland native, but has lived in many places in the United States. She is currently a junior at Shepherd University and a proud member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. Sarah says her “time at Shepherd University has been phenomenal, the last three years of seminars, research and projects have propelled my love for all things historical farther than I ever imagined.” Sarah’s goal is to work for the National Park Service and ultimately become an archaeologist.

Sarah duties will include working at the park visitor center assisting visitors; performing roving/informal interpretation at various sites on the battlefield; and presenting the 30-minute battlefield orientation program. During her three-month internship, Sarah will also be conducting some transcription of over sixty Civil War letters related to Antietam and the Maryland Campaign soldiers that will be posted on our Historical Research Center. These documents have been provided to the Institute by William “Griff” Griffing, owner and transcriber at Spared & Shared. Board members, Brian Downey and Chris Vincent are overseeing this portion of the internship. 

Education Programs

The “Commanders of Antietam” Speaker Series in the Pry Barn

Institute historian are back at the Pry House this summer for our “Commanders of Antietam” speaker series. Come to the Pry House to hear the contributors of the Commanders of Antietam discuss in detail some of the commanders that fought in the 1862 Maryland Campaign. The series is sponsored by the Antietam Institute and hosted by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. The presentation begins in the Pry Barn at 2:00 PM and is a pay-what-you-please event. There is a $3.00 suggested donation to tour the Pry House Field Hospital Museum.

The Pry House is open from 11 AM to 5 PM on Saturdays, from June 1 through October 26. The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located at 18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756.

2024 Schedule

JUNE 1 – Gary Rohrer- MG William B. Franklin
Gary is a native and lifelong resident of Washington County. After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam era, Gary earned a BSCE from the University of Maryland and later earned an MBA from Frostburg State University. He became a Registered Professional Engineer and enjoyed a 35-year career in Public Works engineering. His passion for the 1862 Maryland Campaign was sparked by his Boy Scout years camping and hiking the fields of Antietam, South Mountain and Harpers Ferry during the Civil War Centennial and countless visits to Gettysburg. Gary’s thirst for Civil War history grew upon retirement as he became an Antietam volunteer and an NPS Certified Antietam, South Mountain, and Harper’s Ferry Battlefield guide. Gary has toured numerous Civil War battlefields and sites throughout the U.S. and also made extensive tours of both WWI and WWII battlefields across Europe. He is married and resides near Boonsboro, MD.

JUNE 15 – Laura Marfut – Col. John R. Brooke
Laura Marfut retired as a colonel in the U.S. Army with 32 years of service, including 12 years on the Pentagon Joint Staff and two tours in Afghanistan. She graduated from the U.S. Army War College with a master’s degree in Strategic Studies, and also holds master’s degrees in both International Relations and Education. After retirement, she developed the curriculum and taught the Homeland Security program at South Hagerstown High in Washington County, Maryland. Laura was certified as an Antietam National Battlefield Guide in 2019, fulfilling a long-term bucket list goal. She added Harpers Ferry and South Mountain credentials the following year. Laura served as President of the Mason-Dixon Council, Boy Scouts of America. She volunteers with Hospice of Washington County and as an Antietam Battlefield Ambassador. Laura and her husband, Ed, live in Hagerstown, Maryland.

JUNE 29 – Jim Buchanan – MG John Sedgwick
A fourth generation Washingtonian, Jim grew up spending many hours playing with friends on the earthworks of Fort [Benjamin “Grimes”] Davis in his Southeast D.C. neighborhood. He graduated from the city’s public schools, and earned a BA and an MA in history at the University of Maryland, College Park. With a teacher’s certificate, he returned to the D.C. schools to teach social studies. He eventually signed on for 11 years as an associate editor on a Supreme Court history project. That led him to a national organization where he developed law-related education curriculum for high school teachers. Then in 1992, he joined the Federal Judicial Center where he worked until retirement in 2017. Currently, he is a volunteer and certified guide at Antietam National Battlefield

JULY 13 – Tom McMillian -Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead and Brig. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock
Tom McMillan has spent a lifetime in sports media and communications – including 25 years as VP of Communications of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL – but his heartfelt passion is history. The author of four books on American history, he has served on the board of trustees of Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center, the board of directors of the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial, the marketing committee of the Gettysburg Foundation, and as a docent at the Thomas Espy GAR Post in Carnegie, PA.. Tom and his wife, Colleen, are also volunteer ambassadors at Antietam. A former newspaper sports writer and radio talk-show host who has covered the Olympics, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Finals and the NCAA Final Four, he earned a journalism degree from Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

JULY 27 – Michael Hill – Brig. Gen. Thomas Meagher
Michael Hill, a native of Atlanta who grew up on the battlefield of Peachtree Creek, came to Baltimore for college at Johns Hopkins and pretty much never left, spending 35 years as a journalist at the Baltimore Sun and another ten working for the international aid organization, Catholic Relief Services. He did live one year in Fredericksburg VA for his first job out of college, residing on a 19th century estate overlooking the Rappahannock with Confederate entrenchments in the nearby woods. And there were four years in South Africa as a foreign correspondent for The Sun. In Maryland, Michael discovered he preferred the serene atmosphere of Antietam to the honky-tonk sprawl of Gettysburg and visited many times over the years. He got serious about studying the battle after a tour with Jim Buchanan made some sense out of it and became a licensed guide in 2021.

AUG 10 – Sharon Murray – Colonel B. F. Davis
As a native Idahoan, Sharon Murray moved east in 2010 to volunteer at Antietam National Battlefield. She has multiple degrees in mining engineering and history from the University of Idaho. Sharon has published a number of articles on Idaho mining history and won awards for photographs from the International California Mining Journal and the American Battlefield Trust. She is has been a guide at Antietam since 2014 and is the author of “An Ornament to his Country: The Life and Military Career of Benjamin Franklin Davis”.

AUG 24 – Joe Stahl – Col. Harrison S. Fairchild
In retirement, Joseph Stahl became a volunteer and NPS Licensed Battlefield Guide at Antietam and Harpers Ferry. He grew up in St. Louis where he received BS and MS degrees from Missouri University of Science and Technology and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis. Joe has coauthored three books and more than two dozen articles.

SEPT 7 – Jim Rosebrock – Col. Stephen D. Lee
James Rosebrock is a retired Army officer and Department of Justice employee, with 45 years of leadership experience in the logistics, security and emergency management fields. Jim graduated from Niagara University in 1976 with a degree in Russian History. Jim served with the 82nd Airborne Division during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces where he was awarded a master’s degree in National Resource Strategy. Jim was an instructor for Combined Arms and Services Staff School when he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is a National Park Service certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield and served as Chief Guide from 2011 – 2018. He has two Civil War related blogs and is the author of the Artillery of Antietam.

SEPT 21 – Harry Smeltzer – Col Albert L. Magilton
Harry Smeltzer is the host of Bull Runnings (, a website dedicated to the digitization of primary resources and original content related to the First Battle of Bull Run. He lives just outside Pittsburgh, and was born and raised in Southwestern PA. He has earned degrees at The Pennsylvania State University and the Katz School of the University of Pittsburgh. He’s also been published in print media including in the journal Civil War History, The Civil War Monitor, Civil War Times, and America’s Civil War. He is a Digital History Advisor for The Civil War Monitor. He sits on the board of directors of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation and is a past vice-president. He has presented programs on Bull Run related topics to organizations in eight states and the District of Columbia and organizes and leads tours of the battlefield of First Bull Run. Groups with which he’s worked include Civil War round tables, libraries, historical societies, universities, and the United States Marine Corps. He’s been hosting Bull Runnings since November 2006.

OCT 5 – Marty Pritchett – Col. James A. Walker
Martin Pritchett was born in Southern Kansas. Martin is a member of the Oklahoma Shawnee tribe. He grew up in a military family that took him from the Midwest to Europe. A veteran of 23 years in the United States Coast Guard and Texas General Land Office specializing in coastal search and rescue, environmental protection response, and maritime port safety. After seven years as an Antietam Battlefield Ambassador, Martin became a Certified Antietam Battlefield Guide.

OCT 19 – Jim Smith – Brig. Gen. Max Weber
A native of Miami, Florida, Jim began volunteering at Antietam in 2017 and became a certified battlefield guide in 2018. Jim wrote several chapters for Brigades of Antietam and is a regular contributor to the Antietam Journal. He has an MA in history from the University of Georgia and undergraduate and law degrees from Duke University. A corporate lawyer for more than 25 years in the Washington, DC area, he has been with Hilton since 2011. Jim and his family live in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.


Commanders of Antietam

We are pleased to announce that our Membership incentive book for 2024 will be Commanders of Antietam.

Commanders of Antietam, the Union and Confederate Commanders at the Battle of Antietam is a comprehensive look at the biographies of both armies’ high command during the Maryland Campaign of September 1862. This treatment focuses on the lives of Union and Confederate commanders from the brigade level up to the army commanders, Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan.

Each commander’s biography is broken into three sections: Before the Maryland Campaign; During the Maryland Campaign; and After the Maryland Campaign. This is the most complete volume of commanders’ biographies in the Maryland Campaign.

This book has been written by a collaboration of Antietam Battlefield Guides, National Park Service Rangers and volunteers, and Civil War historians. Kevin Pawlak and Brad Gottfried are the editors of this volume. It is the third in a series of books focused on different aspects of the campaign, including Brigades of Antietam (edited by Bradley Gottfried) and Artillery of Antietam (by James A. Rosebrock), both published by the Antietam Institute.


2023 Fall Conference

We had an outstanding group of educators and historians leading the program for our third annual Fall Conference. This year’s theme was Prelude to Antietam: Forcing the South Mountain Gaps – looking at events of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 leading up to the battle of Antietam.

Friday afternoon we kicked off with three featured speakers.

After these three outstanding programs we had a short reception where members could mingle and chat with the speakers and get their books signed.

Members chatting with Dr. Emilie Amt, Dr. Brad Gottfried, and Dr. Alex Rossino.

Following dinner, members were able to attend three breakout sessions.

Saturday was an all-day South Mountain battlefield excursion starting out at Turner’s Gap with Steve Stotelmyer and Steve Robertson for an overview of the events leading up to the morning of September 14, 1862.

Next, we moved down to Fox’s Gap, where Steve Stotelmyer covered the all-day fighting that took place around the Wise farm and along the ridge roads.

After Fox’s Gap, the bus took us back around Turner’s Gap to the Frostown Gap where Steve Robertson discussed the advance of Gen. Hooker’s Union First Corps across a mile-long front. The bus had some difficultly tackling the steep mountain roads, but it gave us a better appreciation of the treacherous terrain of South Mountain.

After a long morning we pulled into the Gapland State Park at Crampton’s Gap for a break and some lunch provided by Bonnie’s at the Red Byrd in Keedysville.

After lunch, Steve Robertson started back up to cover the fighting at Crampton’s Gap. After a brief overview, we walked over to the War Correspondent’s monument and down the new interpretive trail.

After a long day on the mountain, dinner was ready and wanting for us at Shepherd’s Springs when we returned. Following dinner, Institute President, Chris Vincent presented the “State of the Institute” for the members. Vice President, Jim Rosebrock had the honor to introduce our keynote speaker, Scott Hartwig. As always, Scott’s talk was outstanding discussing “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of the Maryland Campaign”.

Sunday morning we met at in the barn at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum for a program by Dr. Tom Clemens. Tom discussed the whereabouts of McClellan and his true headquarters. Chris thanked Rachel Moses for not only being part of the conference, but for hosting the Institute for our summer lectures at the Pry Barn. Before heading out for the last excursion, members had a chance to tour the Pry House with Rachel.

Once members concluded the tour, we zipped up to the Newcomer House for the last two excursions lead by Kevin Pawlak and Jim Rosebrock. Members also had a chance to look through the Newcomer House and some of their new displays. Kevin discussed the Union reconnaissance efforts across the Middle Bridge, while Jim pointed out the artillery actions in that area on Sept. 16.

We had another very successful fall conference. Thanks to all the speakers and excursion leaders for sharing their knowledge and interesting presentations. Thanks to all the board members and volunteers that helped throughout the weekend. Finally, a special shout out to Brad Gottfried and the Programs Committee for all the hard work putting together another outstanding program. We look forward to seeing everyone in the spring and future events.


My Experience at the Fall Conference

  Once again, we were fortunate to have a sponsored student attend our Fall Conference, October 27-29. This year, Roy McCord a freshman at Shepherd University was selected and we asked him to tell us about his experience of the weekend.


Roy McCord with Jack Richer

This weekend was the best one that I have had in a while. Before I even start this summary of the event I would like to thank both Mr. and Mrs. Richer, along with Dr. Broomall for the opportunity I was given.

Throughout my personal studies and excursions to Civil War Battlefields, I have yet to have the same experience that the Institute had to offer. Everyone I talked to greeted me warmly and with respect, although I am a young man, I was treated as an equal by all of my fellow Historians. Within my area a Civil War battlefield is only about fifthteen minutes away, and I have been to every one of them. Yet, I had not had the chance to go to South Mountain until the offer was given to me by the Institute and its generous members. It was there and in my opinion only with the guides of the Institute that I was able to understand the battleground in such great detail among the surrounding confusing terrain.

We started our weekend Friday night with simple but well detailed presentations. One in relation to the overall battle itself, those blasted missing Special Orders 191, and the roles of the Cavalry during the Maryland Campaign. Now I found the discussion on the missing orders to be the most interesting. As we truly don’t know who exactly lost them, yet the speaker Dr. Alex Rossino, whose very own research was displayed personally for everyone in that room. It was him who was the most energetic and really brought you in on a closer level, my own regret was not having the chance to speak to him one-on-one.

After the presentations we took a short break for dinner, and I had the chance to meet and eat with both Mr. and Mrs. Richer. The meal was amazing with some form of grilled chicken meal, which I wasn’t too particularly fond of, so instead I dug-into the bread instead. Which may table, including Mr. and Mrs. Richer who found it most hilarious when I returned with my ten bread rolls. In that moment the smiles on everyone’s faces, the joyous conversations, I could not have had it any better!

After dinner we had several break-out sessions. I attended the legend of Wise’s Well, a great and interesting presentation given by Mr. Steve Stotelmyer. After watching the whole thing I can truly say with everything that goes on, it must feel amazing when you are also added into the mix; being now connected to the legend of the well via your family; congratulations Mr. Stotelmyer.

It was after that great speech that the day was done, and we were left to our own devices. Many, including new friends I had made, went to their homes and or hotel rooms away from the Retreat Center. (Shepherd Springs Retreat Center in Sharpsburg Maryland) I on the other hand had been given a room at the retreat center, which I graciously accepted. The bed was comfortable and I quickly fell asleep, greatly satisfied for the day.

Even with twelve hours of sleep, I still am not a morning person. I woke up late and went out in the lobby and greeted those I knew from the day before. I am not a breakfast person, but for anyone who is, the assorted muffins and pastries looked really good; but I did not partake. It was soon after that we boarded a charter bus, making our short journey towards the mountain battlefield seen in the distance. I had a seatmate, I can only remember his first name, Wayne. When it was quiet on the bus and no one was speaking over the intercom, we had a great time talking to each other. It goes to show that the pleasant actions the institute shows is still prevalent even down to the single member level. I tip my hat to all of those I spoke to who were kind, and if I’m right that is everyone!

The battlefields themself were confusing to traverse, the rough terrain made it very easy to get lost, even I did at times; trying to figure out where we were or who was in command of the troops in the area. My favorite was probably Fox’s Gap, the presentation given by Mr. Stotelmyer was very engaging. His imagery and portrayal of the Confederate positions, what they were up against, and even describing the charge Billy Yank and the Seventeen Michigan across the field we stood in was like. Fire from all sides, hell and damnation, all for Reno to fall at the end of it all; very moving.

Crampton’s Gap was great as well, we hiked along the very same path that the Union forces had to ascend in order to push Johnny Reb’ from their positions. Being in those fortifications, the drop was straight down, being there yourself, seeing what the men had to climb is one of the most wonderful moments just to be struck by pure awe.

After the day of excursions was over, and the sun began to set, we returned back to the Retreat Center for dinner. This time I did not eat the bread, instead it was a mountain of rice. Another day, another wonderful experience. I ended that night not by going right to bed, but instead helping the men move boxes into a car. I lent a hand and was happy to, and I would like to think I was appreciated for helping; the smiles on the guys faces at least told me that.

After the work was done the car pulled away. I sat down with a few gentlemen and we talked, we discussed several topics throughout the night as the moon rose higher and higher. We continued to talk, I had my fair bit of the stage, and I felt happy that I was listened to and engaged with fairly and not treated as less due to my young age. It wasn’t until the suggestion from the very kind Mr. Brian Downey, that I went inside and off to my room. Without his word I would have been out there with those gentlemen all night, and would have talked until the sun came up.

On the third and final day, although we put in for good weather, it started out as a rainy one. We drove independently or carpooled to the Pry House. It was not McCellan’s headquarters but rather Hooker’s, given in great detail by Dr. Tom Clemens. After the Pry House tour, we went down further to the Newcomer House, closer to the Antietam Battlefield. Luckily by this point the rain had stopped, but the ground was still wet.

Given another great presentation by Mr. Kevin Pawlak, and a hike up the rolling hills on the outskirts of Antietam. The sight from the Union Artillery position of Tidball’s guns was a sight to behold. The artillery commanders discussion delivered by Jim Rosebrock was very nice, I having worked with Civil War Artillery Pieces before enjoyed the discussion. Even with wet feet and being cold, I could not help but feel the warmth from the Institute and its members.

Kindness, engaging conversations, and the overall friendliness of the members is what the Antietam Institute offers, it is a must for anyone interested in Civil War History and discussion groups. This was one of the greatest weekends I have ever had, and I will happily join the next excursion if I will be available! A big thanks to everyone, especially the President of the Institute Chris Vincent and Dr. Broomall for selecting me to come on this adventure, and I couldn’t end with saying thank you again to both Mr. and Mrs Richer. I couldn’t have gone on this trip without your kindness, for that I am grateful.

-Roy McCord, Shepherd University.

Roy McCord

Roy McCord, a freshman at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown WV, is studying to become a History Teacher. A recent Civil War Reenactor, who participated with the BreadBasket Mess on the 160th Anniversary of Gettysburg doing artillery demonstrations at Lee’s Headquarters, has a fascination with the Civil War and the Antebellum Period. He was the President of the Musselman High School History Honors Society, member of Rho Kappa, and is now the President of the Living History Club at Shepherd University. After his studies Roy hopes to become a Highschool History Teacher, or work in the park service at Civil War Battlefields. His favorite battlefields include, 3rd Winchester, 1st Kernstown and 2nd Kernstown, and of course Gettysburg.


2023 Memorial Illumination

On Saturday, December 2, 2023, the 33rd Annual Memorial Illumination was held at the Antietam National Battlefield to honor the 23,000 casualties from the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862.

The Memorial Illumination began in 1989 and is held every year on the first Saturday in December. The idea behind the illumination is to help visitors grasp that number of soldiers that were killed, wounded, or missing in a hauntingly beautiful way.

Preparation begins weeks before the annual Illumination, when volunteers assemble each individual luminary – a brown paper bag filled with sand to weight it down and a special long-burning candle with an extra-long wick, manufactured by Root Candles in Ohio – and pack them in boxes that are stored until the event.

The morning of the event, volunteers gather at the battlefield to get their assigned location for placing the luminaries. More than 1,100 volunteers comprised of scouts, church groups, school groups, friends, and park volunteers, go about the task of placing 23,110 luminaries on the northern portion of the battlefield.

Institute members and park volunteers helping put out luminaries.

After a short ceremony at the end of the day to recognize the hard work of the volunteers and those behind the scenes, the procession of cars begins at 6pm.

If you have not been to the Memorial Illumination, it is a must see. Be sure to add it to your “Bucket List”. Thanks to institute members, Sharon Murray, Henry Stiles, Ken Derrenbacher, and Laura Rowland for sharing some of their photos from this year’s event.

Education Publications Research

Antietam Battlefield Base Map

For over three years, Aaron Holley, our cartographer, has been working on an Antietam Battlefield base map. Aaron Holley is a native of West Virginia and a lifetime student of the American Civil War. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Forestry and a Master of Science in Forestry from West Virginia University and has experience working on forest conservation projects worldwide. This professional experience has led Aaron to be intimately familiar with the practice of cartography and modern mapping techniques, which when paired with his passion for the American Civil War, results in this outstanding map.

Map created by Aaron Holley for the 2021 Fall Conference

The objective of this initiative is to recreate the 1862 landscape in three dimensions using a computer-based Geographic Information System (GIS), which utilizes modern data collected from such sources as satellites and aircraft combined with historical maps, ground-truthing in the field, and expert input. This results in a map that is true to scale and even usable in a GPS to compare the modern landscape to the 1862 landscape while in the field. For the last year, a committee of “experts”: Jim Rosebrock, Kevin Pawlak, Jim Buchanan, Steve Cowie and Chris Vincent, have reviewed every sector of the map, analyzing fence lines, roads, farmsteads, and the topography for accuracy. This base map is a “living” map that can be updated as new information is obtained, and it serves as the backdrop for Antietam Institute publications, such as Artillery of Antietam and The Antietam Journal.

Now that this initial phase is completed, the Institute is looking to print these base maps not only for members, but for purchase by the public with our vendors. The map will be 24×36 inches and in full color. A draft of the base map was revealed during the Honor Guard event to gather members’ interest and feedback. Based on that, we made some final edits and it was off to the printers!

Member Aaron Holley discusses the progress on our mapping initiative of creating a base map of the battlefield. We are looking to have the final version ready for printing and available for purchase at the fall conference.

Figuring in the printing costs, shipping and packaging, we estimate the map will retail for $30. The maps will be available for members to purchase at the fall conference.  When members start to see the value of this new and improved battlefield map, and there is an interest for more, the mapping committee will begin looking at recreating the fourteen battlefield maps with the unit positions.


2023 Honor Guard Event

The third annual appreciation event for members at the Honor Guard/Lifetime ($1,000) level was held on August 19.  Antietam Park Ranger Keith Snyder kicked off the event with a walking tour of the Antietam National Cemetery. Keith led us on remarkable walk thru the National Cemetery recounting its history and stories of some of America’s fallen heroes buried there. To thank Keith for an unforgettable day we presented him with a copy of Scott Hartwig’s new book, I Dread the Thought of the Place: The Battle of Antietam and the End of the Maryland Campaign. After the program, we wandered next door to the Inn at Antietam for some food, wine, and fellowship. The Inn is owned by one of the Institute’s Corporate Members.

It was a wonderful time at the Inn at Antietam. Thanks to Miriam, Will & HAMISH, their dog.

Education Philanthropy

Civil War Trails sign at old Lutheran Church site

New Designation for a Church Destroyed by Civil War

Heavily damaged Lutheran Church after the Battle of Antietam. Sept. 1862 Photographer: Alexander Gardner. Library of Congress

On Thursday, August 24 members of the Antietam Institute helped hoist a new set of Civil War Trails signs into place where the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church once stood. This is the first Civil War Trails (CWT) site in downtown Sharpsburg officially adding the beautiful community to the multi-state program. The church was damaged beyond repair during the September 17, 1862 Battle of Antietam.

Chris Vincent, President of the Antietam Institute (right) helps placed the new Civil War Trails interpretive sign alongside Jason Shaffer, Operations Manager for Civil War Trails (left). The new site is located at 213 East Main Street., Sharpsburg, Maryland. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc

“We are extremely excited to have this first CWT sign installed at the site of the old Lutheran Church,” said Chris Vincent, President of the Antietam Institute. The Institute was the primary advocate for the project, envisioning how to tell this often overlooked story and covering the initial costs. They will also be the sustaining partner for the site enabling the Civil War Trails program and its partners to market the site internationally to visitors from around the world.

Sharpsburg residents taking shelter in the Kretzer cellar during the Battle of Antietam. Artist: F.H. Schell Leslie’s Illustrated Magazine

This project in Sharpsburg is the latest addition to the CWT program which offers over 1,500 sites across six states. As visitors travel to each site, utilizing the CWT brochures and directional signs to navigate they visit local restaurants, stay at local B&Bs, and enjoy museums, hikes, and other amenities. Daniel Spedden, President of the Hagerstown/Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau lauded the project. “As cultural and heritage tourists seek authentic experiences, they not only generate revenue, but also support countless small businesses, create employment opportunities, and preserve the unique history, traditions, and craftsmanship of our region.”

Jason Shaffer, Operations Manager for Civil War Trails (left) and Chris Vincent, President of the Antietam Institute (right) steady the directional ‘trailblazer’ sign which helps catch the eye of drivers. These ‘trailblazers’ work in tandem with the print and digital map-guides to help visitors the sites. Courtesy, Civil War Trails, Inc.

Across Maryland there are over 180 Civil War Trails sites, including over two-dozen stops associated with the 1862 Antietam Campaign. The popularity of the 1862 Antietam Campaign driving trail dovetails nicely with the mission of the Antietam Institute. The Institute is a member centered organization with a mission to educate the public on the critical importance of the Battle of Antietam and the campaign which was a major turning point of the Civil War which directly resulted in the Emancipation Proclamation.

The two organizations are optimistic about the ability to help promote travel to region and in telling new and varied stories. Vincent continued, “This is the first of many signs the Antietam Institute plans to sponsor around Sharpsburg to tell the story beyond the battlefield, of those civilians who experienced the tragedy of the bloodiest single day in American history.”

The new Civil War Trails site is located at 213 East Main Street, Sharpsburg located on top of the hill where the cemetery is now today. Be sure to snap a #signselfie and post it along with #mdinfocus. For more information about visiting or for a free map-guide shipped to your door visit To find out more about the Antietam Institute, their programs, publications, and project visit their website at and follow them @antietaminstitute on social media.

Editorial Note: We do not recommend publishing, printing, or posting a photo which shows the entire sign content. Doing so actually decreases visitation.

Philanthropy Publications Research

2023 Summer Internship

We are pleased to announce that our summer internship program with Shepherd University has begun. Working with Dr. James Broomall, Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, we have selected Gareth Cushman-Reynolds to be a transcription intern for the Publications Committee.  Gareth is a local student, graduating from Boonsboro High School in 2019 and lives in Hagerstown, Maryland. Gareth will be a senior at Shepherd University pursuing a bachelors degree in History with a concentration in the American Civil War and 19th Century America.  He is passionate about history, and is excited to be working with the Antietam Institute to help bring historical documentation into the digital age. Gareth assisted in a separate transcription project at school, working on the Journal of Cotton Mathers, and is excited to continue with this line of work. In his free time he enjoys reading, writing, gaming, and traveling to explore new places.

Gareth Cushman-Reynolds

This summer, Gareth will be transcribing the Jacob Duryee manuscript and documents that the Institute acquired last year. He will also conduct research while transcribing and annotating the manuscript. The goal of Gareth’s work is to prepare the manuscript for future publication. Board members, Kevin Pawlak and Chris Vincent are overseeing this project. 

The internship will meet one of the requirements for Gareth’s Practicum in Civil War Studies course he is taking this summer and provide an opportunity for him to grow and develop as an historian.