Categories
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 civilwartrails.org. To find out more about the Antietam Institute, their programs, publications, and project visit their website at antietaminstitute.org 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.

Categories
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.

Categories
Education Philanthropy

Confederate “Greybacks” Donated

The Antietam Institute recently helped facilitate the donation of four Confederate notes to the Sharpsburgh Museum of History. We received an email in late April from Mr. Larry Lauer stating that he had a number of Confederate notes and wanted to donate them to an organization for preservation. The notes he had were $100, $50 $10 and $5. They were dated from 1861 ($50) 1862 ($100) 1863 ($5) and 1864 ($10).

Mr. Lauer said the the notes had been given to him by an aunt in 1965 when he was 16 years old. April 9th of that year was the centennial anniversary of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox. The centennial was a “big deal nationally with lots of activities around it”, he stated. Mr. Lauer was very interested in the Civil War reading books by historian Bruce Catton, who wrote “A Stillness at Appomattox” and others. His aunt also gave him a few older books about the Civil War to encourage his interest. Mr. Lauer donated a 1965 5¢ Appomattox commemorative stamp as well. It was one of the five Civil War Centennial Series stamps issued between 1961 and 1965.

Although he is not a collector, Mr. Lauer researched the notes and said from his understanding the bills from 1861 ($50) and 1862 ($100) are rarer because fewer of them were printed then in the later war years. All of the bills were printed in Richmond on rice paper which is thin and brittle. They are hand signed by different people and some are numbered and dated by hand.

The Confederate paper money was called “Graybacks” to distinguish them from the Union bills which were called “Greenbacks”. When the Army of Northern Virginia marched north, they gave these “Graybacks” to locals when they confiscated food and live stock to support the army on the move. These payments were essentially worthless, because they could not be redeemed for gold until after the war. The Union armies did the same thing. Maryland, being a border state, had soldiers from both armies fighting and marching through the region throughout the war, so both “Graybacks” and “Greenbacks” were not uncommon in local areas.

Once the Confederate notes arrived, the Institute coordinated with Ed Beeler, Executive Director of the Sharpsburgh Museum of History, to receive them. The museum will display the notes in a new exhibit interpreting the Civil War that emphasizes the struggle and hardships the civilians of Sharpsburg faced during the war.

We want to thank Larry Lauer for his generous donation to the Sharpsburgh Museum of History and are thrilled that the Institute was able to assist in making this happen. We look forward to seeing the exhibit at the museum.

Categories
Philanthropy

Scholarship Donation

In late, rainy September 2022, a small group of Princeton University Alumni came to the Antietam National Battlefield with a special guide, Professor James M. McPherson.  They have previously been on a tour of Gettysburg with Professor McPherson and at the end of that tour, McPherson answered their question of what battlefield should we tour next: Antietam was his immediate answer.  The group all stayed at Antietam Institute’s corporate member the Inn at Antietam, and for with owner Miriam Cunningham, it was a bit of reunion with the professor, having previously worked with McPherson at the American Historical Association.

Back Row: Stephen McMaster, Clayton Ramsey, Josh Pollack, Jimmy Teti
Front Row/Couch: Christina McMaster, Jim McPherson, Len Teti

Instead of taking a speaker’s fee, McPherson suggested that the group donate to an organization in his name.  They were all taken by the work done by the Institute, the conferences, the journals, the Brigades of Antietam book all being discussed and perused.  It was decided that they would help support the Institute’s scholarship at Shepherd University, generously donating $2000 which will be matched to the $2000 the Institute provides.  This scholarship was awarded for the first time to Kierstyn Williams in 2022.  The goal of the Institute to maintain this scholarship with Shepherd University and increase it as funding allows.  The scholarship is to encourage and inspire future study of the American Civil War and the Maryland Campaign.   The Institute thanked the groups for their generosity and commitment to the study of history. 

Professor James M. McPherson and Institute Board Member, Miriam Cunningham

If you would like to donate to the Institute’s scholarship fund, click on

Categories
Philanthropy

Antietam Institute Donates Funds for Artillery Marker Refurbishment at Antietam National Battlefield

This past week we were honored to present Superintendent Susan Trail and the Antietam National Battlefield a $1,000.00 donation to support the refurbishment of the sixteen artillery display plaques that mark key artillery positions across the Antietam battlefield. 

(Photo: L-R Keith Snyder, Chris Vincent, Susan Trail, and Miriam Cunningham)

This donation was presented in accordance with our mission to encourage and foster the study of the Battle of Antietam and the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

As part of the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Antietam, the National Park Service in 2012, installed interpretive markers at sixteen locations where artillery batteries played significant roles in the fighting on September 17. The markers have been in place for twelve years and are showing much wear and tear from the elements.

Along with the Institute’s donation to refurbish the markers, Jim Rosebrock, author of The Artillery of Antietam and Institute Vice President, reviewed the narratives on the markers and suggested several updates which have been incorporated into the information that will be displayed on the new markers.  The updated markers are expected to be in place by the battle anniversary in September 2023. 

For more information on the artillery markers on the field: http://npshistory.com/brochures/anti/antietam-artillery.pdf

Categories
Philanthropy

Annual Scholarship with the GTMC

L-R: Institute president, Chris Vincent; Dr. James Broomall, Director of the GTMC; Kierstyn Williams, scholarship recipient; and Monica Lingenfelter, Executive Vice President, Shepherd Foundation. Photo credit – Cecelie Mason, SU.

In support of the Institute’s mission, we are extremely proud to announce the establishment of an annual scholarship to provide financial assistance to a worthy Shepherd University student majoring in American history. This scholarship is to encourage and inspire future study of one of the most important military campaigns of the American Civil War.
To be considered for selection of this $2,000 scholarship award, the undergraduate student has a major in Civil War/ Nineteenth Century America and must be in good standing with at least one year of study at Shepherd (2.0 or higher GPA).

Working through the Shephard Foundation and with Dr. James Broomall, Director of Shepherd University’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, this year’s recipient is Kierstyn Williams. Kierstyn and her family moved to the area from North Carolina specifically to attend Shepherd. She is a student in good-standing in the Civil War Concentration and is working toward a capstone presentation (next year) on field hospitals during the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

We wish Kierstyn all the best in her upcoming studies and are looking forward to her research on the hospitals.

Categories
Philanthropy Programs

Shepherd University Student selected to attend Fall Conference

Jillian Black

A huge thanks goes out to Institute members Jack and Kathy Richer, who are not able to attend this year’s Fall Conference but donated funds to pay for a deserving Shepherd University student to attend. The Institute worked with the university’s George Tyler Moore Center to select one of their outstanding students, Jillian Black.

Jillian Black is a senior Civil War History major at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV. As a lifelong Civil War reenactor with the 142nd PVI Co. F, Jill has garnered a deep interest in all things Civil War related. She has been employed through Eastern National in the Antietam Park Store since 2019 and has recently started working in Monocacy’s Park Store as well. Her dream is to be a Park Ranger in Alaska for a handful of years before returning east to be at a Civil War battlefield. Outside of history, Jill is an avid musician. She plays the oboe and English horn with the Shepherd University Wind Ensemble and is a sister of Sigma Alpha Iota, a professional music fraternity for women. She has held the positions of Treasurer, President, and Vice President Membership. Her favorite battlefields include Petersburg, Cedar Creek, and of course, Antietam.

Categories
Philanthropy

American Battlefield Trust donation for restoration of Antietam

Just before the 160th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam the American Battlefield Trust transferred a 7.6 acre tract to the National Park Service. Many of you know this property as the Katie Poffenberger farm which lies just opposite the Visitor Center and south of the Dunker Church. The Trust had originally purchased this property in 2016. Since that time, many of you have assisted the Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF) in clearing much of the non-historic trees out of the old pasture field.

Katie Poffenberger buildings (Staff photo)

This area is critical to understanding the fighting that took place there on September 17, 1862 around mid-day as men from the Union XII Corps held the ground just west of the Dunker Church. They would be force back by Confederates from Joseph Kershaw’s Brigade and then the 27th North Carolina and 3rd Arkansas regiments attacking across this field.

Map of the Battlefield of Antietam, Sept. 17th – 12:00-12:15PM (LoC)

On July 12, the Antietam Institute sent a $2,500 contribution to the American Battlefield Trust (ABT) specifically targeting removal of non-period structures on the Katie Poffenberger farm on the Antietam battlefield. The ABT had launched a campaign to raise funds for removal of structures from three different battlefields, one of which was this property at Antietam. The Institute’s donation was for 10% of the total cost of building removal and property reclamation for the Antietam Battlefield portion. The Finance Committee worked directly with Mr. Tom Moore, Lead Philanthropic Advisor for the ABT, who was most enthusiastic in receiving our donation. David Duncan, President of the Trust, sent a gracious letter thanking the Antietam Institute for its commitment and for working as a partner with shared preservation goals.

Historic photograph taken by Alexander Gardner following the Battle of Antietam, featuring the land transferred to the National Park Service. Huntington Library (ABT)

Even though this property belongs to the NPS, the ABT has committed to bringing it back to its wartime appearance. The removal of non-historic structures will be made possible through our donation and grants from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.

Categories
Philanthropy Research

The Antietam Institute acquires Jacob Duryee’s manuscript

The Antietam Institute has purchased a set of documents written more than a century ago by Jacob Duryee who led the 2nd Maryland Regiment at the battle, including a 53-page account of his unit’s attempt to take the Burnside Bridge.

Jacob E. Duryee

“One of our members noticed that these were available the day before they went up for auction in New York and our board immediately approved supporting an online bid,” said Chris Vincent, the Institute president. “We were pleased that our bid was successful.”

The typewritten documents — apparently written by Duryee not long before his death in 1918 in hopes of publishing a memoir — describe not only the assault but also conditions in a farm building used as a field hospital for the regiment which suffered 44 percent casualties as it approached the bridge along the road from the south.

Duryee also explains his decision to resign his commission a few days later, incensed that the Maryland Governor Augustus Bradford did not visit the regiment when he came to Antietam a few days after the fighting.

A separate manuscript tells of Duryee’s initial unit, the 7th New York, making its way to Washington via Annapolis just after the riots in Baltimore on April 19, 1861, becoming one of the first units to garrison the capital just after the bombardment of Fort Sumter. There is also a set of letters concerning a reunion of the 7th New York and a Duryee family genealogy.

“There are many interesting aspects to Duryee’s account of the fighting at the Burnside Bridge, including his claim that the 2nd Maryland attacked the bridge at 9 a.m. not 10 as the tablet written by Ezra Carmen states,” Vincent said. “Duryee also tells of being surprised to see a chaplain he knew from the 5th Corps who came to the field hospital to retrieve Duryee’s body, assuming he had been killed.”

After the war, Duryee received a brevet promotion to brigadier general of volunteers. When he died, his body was returned to Antietam, and he is the only general buried in the national cemetery.

“The Institute wants to make sure these important documents are available to students of this battle, both online and in person,” Vincent said. The manuscript will be donated to the Antietam National Battlefield Library later this year.

A special thank you to member – Michael Hill for leading the effort to acquire this unique item.

Categories
Philanthropy

Philanthropic Goals for 2022

The Antietam Institute Board of Directors approved its 2022 operating budget in February, including decisions for philanthropic donations. These donations will support the goals and objectives of the organization as found in our by-laws. The recipients for 2022 are:

  • The Burkittsville Preservation Association – The Antietam Institute presented a one-time $2,500 donation on February 26 toward restoration of the Willard Shafer farmhouse and barn. The Shafer House was the headquarters for Major General William B. Franklin, commander of the Union Sixth Corps on September 14, 1862 during the battle of Crampton’s Gap. Once restored, the circa 1830 farmhouse will house a museum dedicated to the Burkittsville area’s history during the Civil War. A video about the project produced by the Institute can be seen here
  • Town of Sharpsburg Interpretive Plaza – The Institute has committed to a $2,000 annual contribution for three consecutive years for the development of an interpretive plaza in the green space at the corner of Main and Church Streets. Initiated by the Town of Sharpsburg, this project will tell the story of Sharpsburg and the people who have lived there, even prior to the founding of the town in 1763.
  • Civil War Trails – the Institute has approved funding for a one-time $2,600 payment for development of a Civil War Trails – Antietam Campaign marker in a to-be-determined location. Adding to the existing 33 markers associated with the Antietam Campaign, the new interpretive site in or around Sharpsburg would enable visitors to learn something unique to the town or the battlefield.

Also, our goal of creating a scholarship has become a reality. In collaboration with Shepherd University Foundation and the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War (GTMC), we are excited to announce that the first annual Institute scholarship will be awarded this fall. The recipient will be recognized at our Fall Conference in October. Additionally, our internship program will continue into its second year. This year’s GTMC intern will assist our Digital Archive team in adding more digital copies of historical and contemporary material to our Historical Research Center.

Your dues allow the Institute to financially support bona fide historical efforts in education, preservation and research. Keep an eye out for future announcements!