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.
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 (bullrunnings.wordpress.com), 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.