Education Programs

2023 Sharpsburg Days – Lecture Series

The Antietam Institute is sponsoring four lectures as part of the 2023 Sharpsburg Days on Saturday, October 7. Sharpsburg Days is a one-day event to commemorate the history and culture of Sharpsburg, Maryland which was founded in 1763. The four lectures will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church starting at 10am, until 3pm. Four local historians will discuss some of the unknown stories of Sharpsburg’s unique history. Institute publications will be available for purchase during the program. For more information about Sharpsburg Days go to the Sharpsburgh Museum of History.

Keith Snyder

10:00am – Keith Snyder: “The Marines Land in Sharpsburg
The largest event ever to take place in Sharpsburg, after the Battle of Antietam, was in 1924 when the Marine Expeditionary Force marched to Antietam for a twelve-day training encampment. They brought aircraft, tanks, balloons, machine guns plus their band and baseball team. Over 100,000 people visited the event. See numerous historic photos of this dramatic, yet somewhat unknown event in the history of the park.

Keith Snyder has worked for the National Park Service since 1985 at four National Parks. He is currently serving as the Chief of Resource Education and Visitor Services at Antietam National Battlefield. He is a graduate of Shepherd University and received his master’s degree from the U. S. Army War College. He retired from the United States Air Force and Air National Guard in 2016 after 40 years of service.

11:00am – Tim Snyder: “Drums Along the Towpath: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal during the Maryland Campaign of 1862

This presentation will look at how the Maryland Campaign of 1862 impacted the C&O Canal, beginning with the Confederate invasion of Maryland through the oft-overlooked service that the canal provided in resupplying McClellan’s army following the battle. It will also review the canal company’s efforts to recover from damages that the armies inflicted during the campaign.

Tim Snyder has an M.A. degree in history from Shippensburg (PA) University and is the author of the book, Trembling in the Balance: The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal during the Civil War, which was published in 2011 by Blue Mustang Press, as well as other articles published in historical journals, magazines and newsletters. Tim also recently completed a study of Stonewall Jackson’s raids on Dam No. 5, Dam No. 4, Bath, Hancock and Romney. He lives in Hagerstown, MD.

1:00 pm – Tim Ware: “Maryland in the French and Indian War

In 1754, in the dense woodlands of Eastern North America, yet another colonial war ignited over the disputed Ohio Valley in present day western Pennsylvanian. Unknown at the time, the small frontier skirmish will grow into a global war for empire.  Due to its location, the British colony of Maryland was open to frontier raids by Native American tribes aligned with France. Starting in 1755, and continuing for the next 3 years, Washington County, then part of Frederick County, was among the hardest hit areas in Colonial Maryland. Its inhabitants will suffer heavily and be among the first to fight back. Joseph Chapline, founder of Sharpsburg, will command a company of militia patrolling the frontier and colonial Governor Horatio Sharpe will choose the area as the site for Fort Frederick, the backbone of Maryland’s defense.

Tim Ware grew up outside Martinsburg, West Virginia, in a region filled with history spanning from the colonial period to the American Civil War and beyond. His passion for history pushed him to pursue an undergraduate degree in history from Shepherd University and a graduate degree in American history from American Public University. He has worked at several state and national parks in the tri-state region and currently works for Berkeley County Schools as a history teacher. He is the author of Maryland in the French and Indian War published by The History Press in February 2023.

2:00 pm – John Schildt: “Drums along the Antietam”.

This talk will discuss how the community around the Antietam Creek is steeped with history, not just from the bloody battle of September 1862, but for centuries before and after the Civil War. Drums Along the Antietam details the long and diverse history of Antietam from the pre-colonial days of the Catawba and Delaware Indian peoples, through the wars and settlement by Europeans in the 18th century, to the continued strength and relevance of the place after the Civil War. Few areas of the United States have seen as much history as the Valley of the Antietam.

Reverend John Schildt graduated from Shepherd College, Wesley Theological Seminary and has studied at Western Maryland College, Gettysburg Seminary and West Virginia University. John’s first book, September Echoes, published in 1960, was the first on Antietam since Francis Palfrey in 1887. This led to an appointment to the Maryland Centennial Committee. He wrote the account of the battle for the Official Centennial Program and was the guest speaker for the 125h anniversary. John has been a lecturer and guide for several Civil War organizations, Round Tables, and many other groups. John led his first tour of Antietam in 1958. Since then, 2,000 additional tours have followed. John has written over thirty-five books relating the various aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and local history. This list includes Drums along the Antietam, Roads to Antietam, Four Days in October, Islands of Mercy, and Roads to Gettysburg. He and his wife and daughter live in Sharpsburg.

Education Programs

Antietam History on Tap @ Thick-N-Thin Brewery Co.

Join the Antietam Institute for Antietam History on Tap at Thick-N-Thin Brewing Co. in Hagerstown! During the month of January, Institute members Matthew Borders, Gary Rohrer, Laura Marfut, Joseph Stahl, and Dr. Tom Clemens will share surprising insight about the Maryland Campaign and the Civil War. From spies to local lore, from South Mountain to Sharpsburg, these speakers will discuss aspects of the past that they find most compelling and significant. Join them at Thick-N-Thin Brewing Co. in Hagerstown each Tuesday night at 6pm for some good beer and Antietam History on Tap.

Jan. 3 – Matthew Borders The Spy Game in Civil War Maryland

Matt’s presentation will be on the important and influential use of spies in Maryland during the Civil War by both Union and Confederate forces. The presentation focuses primarily on central Maryland as it was the highway of three separate Confederate invasions and looks at some of the major personalities both in and out of uniform that were operating throughout the region. The Spy Game in Maryland during the Civil War was a microcosm of the war itself with people of all backgrounds becoming involved in this risky venture. Neighbor distrusted neighbor, and everyone was suspect. Come hear how these first steps in military intelligence gathering led to a professionalization of the practice as the war continued and why many of the nation’s players in intelligence today trace their origins to the Civil War.

A graduate of Michigan State and Eastern Michigan University, Matthew Borders holds a BA in United States History with a focus in the American Civil War and a MS in Historic Preservation. Following graduation, he taught at Kalamazoo Valley Community College before accepting a position with the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program. He worked as the historian for the ABPP for six years, during which time he became a certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Site.

Currently, Matthew is a Park Ranger at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland, and president of the Frederick County Civil War Round Table. He, along with fellow guide, Joe Stahl, have published the Faces of Union Soldiers series, including their most recent work, Faces of Union Soldiers at Fredericksburg.

Jan. 10. – Gary Rohrer The Union VI Corps at Antietam

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.

Gary Rohrer was born and raised in Washington County, MD where his family has lived for more than 225 years. His interest in the Civil War and passion for the 1862 Maryland Campaign go back more than 60 years to his days as a Boy Scout camping on the battlefields of Antietam and South Mountain. Gary also attended Antietam’s Centennial events as a young Boy Scout passing out brochures for the last re-enactment held on the battlefield. Gary’s professional career spanned 34 years as a registered professional engineer with the last 20 years of his career in the role of Washington County’s first Public Works Director. Upon his retirement, he became a National Park Certified Antietam and South Mountain Battlefield Guide. In 2013, he became one of the first Battlefield Guides certified by the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park for the 1862 Maryland Campaign. Gary has visited many of our country’s Civil War battlefields to further enhance his understanding of the Civil War. He has led hundreds of tours with clients ranging from the very young to the very seasoned students of the battle including retired officers of flag rank, college professors and special interest groups.

He is a Antietam Battlefield Guide, a member of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation (SHAF) and on the Board of Directors for the newly formed Antietam Institute. He resides near Boonsboro, MD with his family and is also a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Jan. 17 – Laura Marfut Prelude to the Battle of Antietam — A Skirmish and a Sleepless Night 

Summary of talk: The stage was set for battle on the eve of the bloodiest single day in American history as ~10,000 Union troops crossed the Antietam Creek to probe for Robert E. Lee’s Confederate position. A clash was inevitable, as a brigade of well-armed Pennsylvanians led the way toward Lee’s left flank and his Confederate artillery belching out a warning. Laura will talk about how both armies got to this point, the importance of the resulting skirmish on September 16, 1862, and personal stories of those who fought there.

Laura Marfut is a retired U.S. Army colonel with master’s degrees in International Relations and Education, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. She is a certified Antietam Battlefield guide and also gives battlefield tours of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry. Laura lives in Hagerstown with her husband, Ed.

Jan. 24 – Joseph Stahl Union Soldiers in the First Corps

Battlefield Guide Joe Stahl will introduce you to a number of Union Soldiers who were members of the 1st Corps on September 17, 1862. This will be done through images (CDVs) of each soldier. His service record will be reviewed and in addition he’ll include maps showing where these soldiers were on the battlefield. Joe will also point out things that can be learned from the images themselves.

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.

Jan. 31 – Dr. Tom Clemens McClellan’s Headquarters- where it really was.

While the Pry House is well ingrained in local lore, the true location of his headquarters was not difficult to find, and upon reflection, makes much more sense. Dr. Thomas Clemens will focus on his search for the real headquarters of the army, and the evidence which disproves the Pry location and proves the actual location.

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.


2022 Fall Conference

Institute Members at the 2022 Fall Conference

Over the whole weekend with the Antietam Institute, I was amazed not only by the hauntingly beautiful landscape, but by the amount of knowledge these people had. The selected leaders for the weekend all held so much information that they were more than willing to share with everyone in attendance. As a history major and (hopefully) future NPS park ranger, I can only dream about knowing as much as these historians. I have been employed by Eastern National, starting in 2019 and breaking for COVID, and have had the honor of working alongside many of these people through our battlefield tour program or in general working in the visitor center. Seeing our guides directly working with their chosen interests was absolutely amazing and I know will help me in the future with scheduling special interest tours. I don’t believe I can pick out one single moment that blew me away more than the other. But I can confidently say that the weekend as a whole will stick with me for the rest of my life.


Tour guide Gary Rohrer took us through Major General William B. Franklin and his contributions on South Mountain throughout the Battle of Antietam; especially at Lee’s left flank. Author Chris Bryan went in depth into why Cedar Mountain was detrimental to the Union XII Corps and how it impacted their performance at Antietam. Sarah Kay Bierle took us down the mysterious path of John Pelham’s life as well as his artillery troops. I can safely say that every person in attendance learned something from each wonderful program.

The night brought unique breakout sessions about topics that fully intrigued me to learn more. I went with Ranger Brian’s program on the Elliot burial map of Antietam, discovered in a NY library two years ago. I’ve been a long term fan of studying the Gettysburg one so to learn from an expert was amazing. Hearing about his efforts to research all aspects of the map was inspiring to say the least.

Brian Baracz


The next two days were filled with hikes around the battlefield with tour guides and Rangers alike. Despite the rough terrain of Nicodemus Heights, I was amazed at the chance to explore this ground.

With every hike, I encountered a new part of the battlefield I had never stepped foot on. Seeing the field this way was beyond comprehensive and I will use what I learned whenever I am able to.

Guest Speaker, Dr. Tom Clemens concluded a long day on the field discussing where Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s HQ was really located.


Going into the weekend, I was expecting to learn a handful of things and call it a day. What actually transpired was way beyond my wildest dreams. I am thankful for the chance to attend a weekend full of learning at a place I hold close to my heart. I hope to use everything I learned at some point in my career; either at the bookstore or in the future. Huge kudos go to
Chris Vincent for arranging this event as well as the other executive members of the Antietam Institute that helped coordinate this for members and non-members alike. I am looking forward to other events hosted by the Institute and look forward to meeting new people along the way.

Jill Black, Shepherd University (Read more about Jill)

Jillian Black is a senior Civil War History major at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV.  Jillian was selected to be our 2022 Fall Conference Scholarship Student.
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.


Brigades of Antietam speaker series

Brigades of Antietam

Come to the Pry House to hear the contributors of the Brigades of Antietam discuss in detail some of the brigades that fought in the 1862 Maryland Campaign. This event 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 4 through October 29.

The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located at 18906 Shepherdstown Pike, Keedysville, MD 21756.

2022 Schedule:

June 4 — Jim Rosebrock discusses Buchanan’s Brigade

June 18 — Gary Rohrer discusses Law’s Brigade

July 2 — Kevin Pawlak discusses Hartsuff’s Brigade

July 16 — Tom Clemens discusses Phelp’s Brigade

August 6 — Joe Stahl discusses Christian’s Brigade

August 20 — Laura Marfut discusses Caldwell’s Brigade

September 3 — Jim Buchanan discusses Gorman’s Brigade

September 17 — Marty Pritchett discusses Gordon’s Brigade

October 1 — Jim Smith discusses Fairchild’s Brigade

October 15 — Matt Borders discusses Ransom’s Brigade

For more information, please contact Rachel Moses at

Pry House and Barn

The 2021 Fall Conference

The weekend of October 15th was an incredible weekend for anyone who was a member of the Antietam Institute and attended their inaugural 2021 Fall conference at the Shepherd’s Spring Retreat Center in Sharpsburg, Maryland.

President Chris Vincent and company pulled off an exceptional round of speakers and complemented it with an invigorating few days of tours at Antietam National Battlefield, encapsulating some of the forgotten moments of the battle. The speakers who provided rich interpretations of the bloodiest day in American history ranged from park rangers of the National Park Service, in keynote speaker Dennis Frye, Dan Vermilya and Bob Gottschalk, to licensed battlefield guides at Antietam, including Dr. Rogers Fred, Jim Buchanan, Laura Marfut, Kevin Pawlak, Jim Rosebrock, Dr. Tom Clemens and Bill Sagle. Words cannot describe the knowledge that these particular individuals have on the battle and the time and effort that they put into the conference. Their love and passion for Antietam National Battlefield and what occurred on September 17th, 1862, was transparent and put on display for those who attended the first Antietam Institute Fall conference.

Day I

Dan Vermilya
  • Dan Vermilya, Eisenhower National Historic Site
  • The presentation was titled, Teetering on Disaster: The Condition of the Army of the Potomac and its Leadership During the Maryland Campaign. Almost immediately, Dan Vermilya denounced the popular narrative of the ineffectiveness of the Army of the Potomac during the Maryland Campaign, and instead, very convincingly, went on the offensive that in fact, the Army of the Potomac was demoralized following the Peninsula and Second Manassas Campaigns and forced McClellan to have to completely rebuild his once Gibraltar of an army to even a fraction of what it once was six months prior. The core that McClellan uses to build the Army of Potomac back for the Maryland Campaign is comprised of remnants of Pope’s army that was defeated at Second Manassas, as well as what was used during the defeat on the Peninsula. The fighting force that he assembled would stand and fight together for the first time in September of 1862, and that was a strong point in Dan’s argument. How can an army overcome an opponent’s momentum if there is no unified cohesion? The new Army of the Potomac consisted of the First, Second, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and the Twelfth Corps. The army faced straggling to an extent that had never been seen yet in the war, the condition of the men was poor at best, they were being led by new and green commanders, and finally, there was the question of leadership. The popular narrative that the Army of the Potomac was this uniformed killing machine is absolutely false and Dan stated his case very articulately, that it was in fact, the Confederates who had the upper hand in terms of leadership and momentum. His final point was that through all of these odds, McClellan, who receives nothing but harsh criticism, warranted or not, devised an immaculate plan on the days of September 16th and 17th, 1862, facing immense challenges against the red-hot Confederates and accomplished his mission of driving them across the Potomac and out of Maryland.
Dr, Rogers Fred
Dr. Rogers Fred
  • Dr. Rogers Fred, Antietam Battlefield Guide
  • Dr. Rogers Fred complimented Vermilya’s talk, describing the other side of the battlefield for September 17th, 1862. His presentation was entitled, The Army of Northern Virginia During the Maryland Campaign: Command + Decisions. Fred, a lifelong Virginian, made it abundantly clear that the aim for the Confederates was to make the Union use their resources and affect their political situation. It was paramount that if the Southern cause could damage the Lincoln administration and threaten the safety of the inhabitants of the North, that the political strength of the Confederacy would feed off of that and become the dominant nation in North America. In addition, on the Maryland Campaign the Confederates wanted to destroy the conduits of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, collect Northern food and supplies, and militarily, they wanted to employ a turning movement. This differs from a lot of popular history that Lee wanted to invade the North. Dr. Fred argued that this was not an invasion, but rather a turning movement. Unlike the relationships within the Army of the Potomac and with President Lincoln, there was a high level of trust in the Army of Northern Virginia, which resulted in more cohesion that carried down to the brigade level. They were collectively, a more experienced fighting group. Dr. Fred pointed out that 61% of infantry regiments had fought in major battles up to this point, which was the complete opposite to what we had been told by Mr. Vermilya just moments prior about the Army of the Potomac soldiers. This perspective really created an interesting dimension, looking at an incredibly tumultuous time for the Union army that had no momentum and was relying on fresh green troops to repel a veteran army and all of the cohesion to push McClellan all the way to DC. As Dr. Fred continued though, this is not what transpired. He quoted the famous E.P Alexander, saying that the condition of the army was ragged, the matter of shoes, clothing and food was worse at this time than anytime even after the battle of Antietam. The commissary lacked supplies and had inadequate methods of transportation, there was a lack of quality ordinance, lack of wagons, and because of the Union blockade of Southern ports, Confederate uniforms couldn’t be replaced with incoming wool, leather acnd shoes that they had been hoping for. As he concluded his presentation, he gave out some numbers that really helped the attendees gain a clearer picture of the loss of life at Antietam. The Army of Northern Virginia entered the campaign with a regimental average size of 360 men and left the battle with an average of 116, which is 32% of what they entered with. Another interesting statistic that Dr. Fred presented was that 30-50% of the brigade commanders were lost; so just like the Peninsula Campaign, there was just as much disorganization and lack of ability to coordinate around the field. With all of this in hand, morale remained high, and although the Army of Northern Virginia was pushed back into Virginia, Dr. Fred refuted popular narratives that perhaps their spirits were broken and argued that they were running on as much of the high on September 18th as they were coming off of Second Manassas. His biggest take-away was that the result would have been a lot different had the straggling been less and had they not sustained as many losses with the fraction of the army that they engaged.
Laura Marfut
  • Laura Marfut, Antietam Battlefield Guide/Antietam Institute Board Member
  • Laura Marfut is on the board for the Antietam Institute, and more importantly is a retired U.S Army colonel of 32-years. Her presentation was on the second in command of the Army of Northern Virginia, General James Longstreet. Laura did an exquisite job of highlighting Longstreet’s military career up to September of 1862, which included graduating 54th out of 56 at West Point, brevetted twice in the Mexican-American War and then finally resigning his commission in the U.S Army in 1861 to become an officer in the Confederate Army. He gained attention at the First Battle of Manassas in July of 1861 and then further distinguished himself at the Battle of Williamsburg ten months later during the Peninsula Campaign, before his first setback in the Civil War at the Battle of Seven Pines a few weeks later. What was so admirable about Laura’s presentation was that she didn’t exclusively focus on Longstreet’s military career, but rather his attempts of salvaging his reputation following the Civil War, which aligned with the theme of the Conference: “New Perspectives on Antietam. Longstreet was largely blamed by Lost Cause participants for supporting Republicans during Reconstruction, as well as suffrage for African Americans. These last two points cannot be undervalued in today’s society and Laura was very articulate in making these points distinctive. Furthermore, she made it known that Longstreet was incredibly respected during the wartime effort and used the example of the relationship between he and Robert E. Lee. Her argument was that Longstreet was seen as reliable and due to his performance at Antietam, he gained the nickname as Lee’s “warhorse”. Lastly, Longstreet in return admired Lee so much that he even named his son after him, which debunks any notion of a tumultuous relationship between the two following the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jim Buchanan
  • Jim Buchanan, Antietam Battlefield Guide/Antietam Institute Board Member
  • Jim Buchanan finished off the first day of speakers by speaking about one of my favorite generals of the entire Civil War, General Edwin Sumner. Jim, like Laura, highlighted Sumner’s life and military career up to September 1862. One of the points that he touched on was that he was not a graduate of West Point, but rather Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He joined the U.S Army as a lieutenant in 1819, rose to become a captain of the First Dragoons in 1833 and then the commandant of the U.S Cavalry School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1838. When he fought in the Mexican-American War, he received two brevets at Cerro Gordo, as well. One of the best points that Jim made during his presentation was noting the closeness of the relationship between Sumner and Abraham Lincoln due to their similar views on enslavement and the fact that Lincoln respected Sumner as a military officer. This relationship between the two would inevitably cause a rift between Sumner and McClellan, as the rivalry between McClellan and Lincoln is well documented and culminates with the 1864 Presidential election. Jim made a point that because of his age Sumner had a hard time getting along with other commanders within the Army of the Potomac, specifically those within McClellan’s “posse”; it also didn’t help that he didn’t attend West Point and was not a member of the heralded Aztec Club. Something that I really appreciate Jim pointing out as Sumner’s legacy was that he had the power to inspire those around him, he was loyal to those around him and demanded respect, he was a “by the book” type of officer and oozed personal integrity. In summary, Jim proved that, unlike McClellan, Sumner was an ultra-aggressive commander, which was shown by the conduct of his men.

Day II

Kevin Pawlak and Jim Rosebrock
  • Kevin Pawlak, Historic Site Manager at the Ben Lomond Site and Bristoe Station Battlefield in Prince William County, Virginia, Antietam Battlefield Guide and Antietam Institute Board Member
  • Jim Rosebrock, Former Chief of the Antietam Battlefield Guides, Antietam Institute Board Member
  • Kevin Pawlak and Jim Rosebrock started day two of the Antietam Institute Fall Conference by taking us out to the battlefield to learn about the events regarding the V Corps of the Army of the Potomac at the Middle Bridge on September 17th, 1862. The two gentlemen tackled the misconception that the Corps, led by General Fitz John Porter, was inactive during the bloodiest day in American history. Instead, they showed the attendees the challenges that these soldiers faced, being incredibly spread out, fragmented across the field. Lastly, they also spoke of McClellan’s game plan and how it was executed better than expected, which is why Lee’s forces were driven back to Virginia. Jim’s commentary on how McClellan repeatedly shifted his men to attack Lee’s left flank really stood out, and helped us appreciate the importance of McClellan’s tactics at Antietam.
Tom Clemens and Steve Stotelmyer
  • Dr. Tom Clemens, Founder and president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc, retired professor at Hagerstown Community College and Antietam Battlefield Guide, Antietam Institute Board Member
  • Steve Stotelmyer, U.S Navy veteran, co-founder of the Central Maryland Heritage League, Antietam Battlefield Guide
  • Through rain and wind, we battled on to the famed Burnside’s Bridge and Final Attack, where the attendees were split into two groups for a more intimate experience. Dr. Tom Clemens led the Burnside Bridge crew and showed us the often overlooked viewpoint of the Confederates on the bluffs above the Bridge. He told us of seldom heard experiences of the Georgians and how they were able to hold off the entire IX Corps for as long as they did – until Union troops led by General Rodman found another crossing point over the Antietam Creek and overwhelmed Toombs’ men. Following the Burnside Bridge tour, we then were escorted to the site of the Union Final Attack, led by Mr. Steve Stotelmyer who gave us a close perspective of the 23rd Ohio Infantry: the regiment of future U.S presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley. One story in particular that I personally had never heard before was one on McKinley, who was said to have been giving out rations to his fellow comrades while under fire. McKinley’s actions caught the attention of his superior, Rutherford B. Hayes; creating a strong relationship between the two. I was immediately reminded of the spot in Winchester, Virginia near my home where a plaque is dedicated to those two men becoming Masons together immediately after the Civil War while Winchester was still occupied by the United States Army. Steve continued to show us the route by which Burnside’s men marched after taking the Bridge before being halted by Confederate General A.P Hill’s Light Division that had just arrived at the field from Harper’s Ferry after paroling the 13,000 men who had just surrendered a few days prior. This was an incredible experience for me and for the rest of the attendees who had never visited this location.
Dennis Frye
  • Dennis Frye, Former Chief Historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • In his keynote presentation, Dennis Frye made a compelling argument that the Battle of Antietam was a distinct Union victory, for the sole reason that McClellan and company drove the Army of Northern Virginia out of Maryland and eliminated the threat of further invasion into the North. While spreading this popular message that was a common narrative throughout the weekend, Dennis stated his reasonings as to why he felt that General McClellan was dealt a bad hand following the end of the Peninsula Campaign and Seven Days Battles. He felt that the blame of failure was warranted on both McClellan and Washington. Inevitably the reason why both sides couldn’t create a holistic relationship was that McClellan did not react well to the Emancipation Proclamation and wanted to use the Army of the Potomac as a vehicle to preserve the Union, rather as one to establish freedom for the enslaved. Where Dennis drove his presentation home was claiming that many supporters of McClellan had wished he used the Army of the Potomac to initiate an insurrection on Washington and overthrow the central authority to assume the executive powers. While the audience audibly gasped, Dennis used primary sources to support his argument and declared that one of the general orders that he wrote immediately following the rumors of him following through with this possible insurrection saved America by dismissing any possibility of him invading his own country for his own selfish reasons. This was an exciting presentation by the always colorful and animated Dennis Frye.


Bill Sagle and Bob Gottschalk
  • Bill Sagle, Antietam Battlefield Guide (ret)
  • Bob Gottschalk, Former Seasonal Park Ranger at Antietam NBP, Gettysburg NMP, Harpers Ferry NHP, Valley Forge NHP and Richmond NBP
  • Bill Sagle and Bob Gottschalk closed out the fabulous weekend on an incredibly windy Sunday morning talking about the earlier stages of the battle, Bill covered the Union perspective, while Bob did so on the Confederate front. We visited popular sites such as the West Woods and the Cornfield and learned about intimate experiences from both sides, particularly from Hookers’ Corps and his opponent in Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Some could say that the Institute saved the best for last by visiting these two specific sites, which could be disputed by the other immaculate spots on the battlefield that we visited previously, but one thing is for certain and that is that Bill and Bob put the cherry on top with some of the stories that they told. Both perspectives were similar in the way that they relayed the casualties due to the ferocity of the two armies. As someone who hasn’t visited the Cornfield since I was a child, this was certainly a treat for me and the end to a perfect weekend.
  • Conclusion
  • This weekend was the result of a lot of hard work and dedication over the course of the last year putting this together. In all of my years studying the Civil War and attending conferences such as this, I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by such kind and passionate individuals as with the Institute. A group with one goal: which is to preserve and spread the history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign. I want to give a very gracious thanks to Chris Vincent, Brad Gottfried, Jim Rosebrock, Laura Marfut, Jim Buchanan, Mac Bryan, Kevin Pawlak, Gary Rohrer and everyone else who is involved in the Antietam Institute for allowing me to be a part of something so special like this. This internship is a dream come true for me, and all of the individuals who thought of me as a good fit for this position have truly given me a place to feel welcome, and for that I cannot thank you all enough. Thank you for a heck of a first Fall Conference and let’s get ready for the Spring Symposium in 2022!
Christian Webb

Education Programs Publications

Christian Webb Starts Internship

The Antietam Institute has awarded an internship to Christian R. Webb of Winchester, Virginia. Christian is a lifelong enthusiast of the American Civil War and currently majoring in U.S. History at Shepherd University. He is looking to expand his experience in digital history and to broaden his research opportunities on the cultural and historical aspect of the 1862 MD Campaign.

Christian will assist the Institute by editing publications and writing articles and press releases. He will also support the institute’s annual Fall Conference and Spring Symposium as chronicler of events and presentations. We are looking forward to working with Christian and welcome him aboard.