Become a Civil War smarty: Here are 28 Tri-State sites to help you brush up on your history

March 18, 2012|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE |

History can be more than just pages in a textbook.

As a way to commemorate the Civil War's 150th anniversary, specifically the Maryland Campaign of 1862, we have put together this map to make learning about history fun.

After taking suggestions from Ted Alexander, author and historian at Antietam National Battlefield; Tom Clemens, author and history professor at Hagerstown Community College; and Jerry Bayer of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with our own research, we were able to whittle it down to just 28 sites in the Tri-State area. Two places on the map are pre-Civil War, but John Brown's early contributions to the events leading up to the war are important enough to mention.

So gather up the family, grab this map and make weekends historical roadtrip time. Don't worry, you have some time to check off all the historical places. The 150th anniversary officially ends 2015.


1. Antietam National Battlefield, off Md. 65, Sharpsburg. What better place to start than one of the most noted Civil War battlefields? By the time Sept. 17, 1862, ended, more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing. This fall, from Sept. 15 through 17, the battlefield will observe its 150th anniversary with children's activities, lectures and more. Be sure to climb the Observation Tower that overlooks Bloody Lane and gives a bird's eye view of the battlefield. Park entrance fee. For more information, go to

2. Pry House Field Hospital, 18906 Shepherds-town Pike, Keedysville. Located at Antietam National Battlefield, the Pry Field Hospital was headquarters for Union commander Gen. George B. McClellan and medical director Dr. Jonathan Letterman during the Battle of Antietam. There's an overlook where McClellan and his staff also once stood during the battle. Opening day is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 5. For hours and information, go to

3. Gathland State Park War Correspondents Arch. Today, a portion of the Battle of South Mountain lies in Gathland State Park, which straddles Washington and Frederick counties, near Burkittsville, Md. The Battle of South Mountain took place in September 1862 just three days before the Battle of Antietam, resulting in 2,900 casualties. The War Correspondents Arch was the idea of George Alfred Townsend, a Civil War journalist, who constructed the site after the war. The names of fallen, modern-day journalists David Bloom, Daniel Pearl, Michael Kelly and Elizabeth Neuffer were added in 2003. For more information, go to lands/western/gathland.

4. Battle of Hagerstown, first and second battles. The first Battle of Hagerstown was July 6, 1863, just days following the Battle of Gettysburg, Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry division galloped up Potomac Street to block the Confederates' retreat from Pennsylvania. Then, just six days later on July 12, 1863, Gen. George Armstrong Custer and his Michigan cavalry brigade seized more than 100 prisoners and set free 40 Federal soldiers missing after July 6. Two markers about this site can be found on the North Potomac Street Parking Garage in downtown Hagerstown.

5. Ransom of Hagerstown. On July 6, 1864, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early sent Brig. Gen. John McCausland into Hagerstown to demand $20,000 and supplies for Virginia lands destroyed by Federal troops. The Confederates threatened to set the town on fire. Several banks, including Hagerstown Bank, along with townspeople raised the funds. Two markers are found in downtown Hagerstown about the ransom, one at the site of the Washington County Courthouse, at the intersection of West Washington Street and Summit Avenue, the second is at 35 W. Washington St., where the Hagerstown Bank once stood before it was demolished in 1935.

6. Rose Hill Cemetery, 600 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown. In a corner of Rose Hill is Washington Confederate Cemetery where Confederate dead from Antietam, Gettysburg, Monocacy and South Mountain battles were interred. In 1871, the Maryland General Assembly purchased the land specifically for reburial of the dead. Fewer than 20 percent of those buried are identified. The Statue of Hope was erected in memory of the Confederate dead of Antietam and South Mountain.

7. Doubleday Hill.  Williamsport saw many comings and goings during the Civil War. In the corner of Review Cemetery is Doubleday Hill, which overlooks the Potomac River. The hill was named after Union Cmdr. Abner Doubleday who protected the C&O Canal from Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in 1861. Cannon can still be found at the site, which gives a wonderful view into both Maryland and West Virginia.

8. Retreat through Williamsport. Following the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the Confederate Army retreated through Williamsport. The town will commemorate this event July 13 through 15, with lectures, re-enactments, music and more. For a complete schedule, go to

9. Battle of Hancock. On Jan. 5, 1862, Confederate Maj. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson demanded that Union commander Brig. Gen. Frederick Lander surrender the town. Lander refused and Jackson answered with two days of bombardment from Orrick's Hill, which is on the West Virginia side of the Potomac River. A marker sits on Church Street in Hancock, with St. Thomas Episcopal Church to the north. On Jan. 7, 1862, the Confederates marched on to Romney, W.Va.

10. National Museum of Civil War Medicine, 48 E. Patrick St., Frederick, Md. Civil War medicine gave us advances in medical treatment, including the concept of triage. The museum contains about 3,000 artifacts and five galleries specifically about Civil War medicine. There is an entrance fee. For hours and more information, go to

11. Monocacy National Battlefield, 5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick. During July of 1864, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early led his troops toward Washington, D.C., in hopes of capturing the city. But on July 9, Union Gen. Lew Wallace and his troops stopped him on the banks of the Monocacy River. Today, the site offers an auto tour, five walking trails and interactive children's exhibits about the battle. For visitor information, call 301-662-3515 or go to Another fun fact: Wallace went on to author the classic novel, "Ben Hur."


12. Battle of Gettysburg. From July 1 through 3, 1863, the town of Gettysburg witnessed what some historians would call the turning point of the Civil War. In the battle's wake, 51,000 were killed, wounded captured or missing and the town itself was badly battered. But it was the last battle the South fought on Northern soil. There are plenty of things to do in Gettysburg, which should include a stop at the Gettysburg Museum & Visitors Center. The center is open 362 days a year, closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. For specific hours and  tickets for special events, go to

13. Gettysburg National Military Park and Visitor Center, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, Pa. Soldiers' National Cemetery is within the park and the site where in November 1863 President Abraham Lincoln delivered a few words following headliner statesman Edward Everett of Massachusetts during the dedication of the cemetery. Lincoln's remarks became known as The Gettysburg Address. For hours, go to

14. Cashtown Inn, 1325 Old Route 30, Cashtown-McKnightstown, Pa. Today, it stands as a bed and breakfast, but this inn has seen its share of history. During October 1862, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart occupied the inn. Then in July 1863, Confederate Gens. A.P. Hill, Henry Heth and John D. Imboden squatted, according to the inn's website. The inn also appears in the movie "Gettysburg." For more information, go to

15. Burning of Chambersburg. A marker stands at U.S. 30 at the west edge of Chambersburg, which recounts the events that happened on July 30, 1864. This was the third time since 1862 that the Confederates had occupied the city. Gen. Jubal Early wanted to retaliate for the looting and burning happening in the Shenandoah Valley and wanted Chambersburg to be an example. The ransom was $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in currency. Unable to meet their demands, the town was set afire. In the end, 550 buildings were burned. For more information about this event, go to

16. Chambersburg Heritage Center, 100 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, Pa. The center offers insight into what role the Civil War played in the town. Find information here about the Civil War as well as the Underground Railroad. Stop in the Heritage Gift Center and pick up historian Ted Alexander's "History and Tour Guide of the Burning of Chambersburg and McCausland's Raid," as well as other driving tour brochures, which will weave you around the area's historical hot spots. The Chambersburg Heritage Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is open on Saturdays April through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Chambersburg Heritage Center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, go to

17. The Diamond. A fountain decorated with cherubs and a Union guard standing post sits in the middle of Chambersburg Square. It is said that here Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and A.P. Hill met in June 1863, prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. No one is sure what the men talked about during that meeting, but witnesses say Lee pointed his horse toward Gettysburg.

18. J.E.B Stuart's Raid on Mercersburg, Pa. By noon on Oct. 10, 1862, Stuart and 1,800 mounted cavalry, along with four cannon, had arrived in Mercersburg, Pa. Confederate soldiers took horses, leather goods and shoes and hostages on their way to Chambersburg. The Steiger House on North Main Street was the temporary headquarters of Stuart.

19. Last bivouac of Confederacy. At the intersection of U.S. 522, and Confederate Lane, about a mile south of McConnellsburg, Pa., stands a marker for the last Confederate camp on Pennsylvania soil. A day after burning Chambersburg, on July 31, 1864, the soldiers, under the direction of Gen. Bradley T. Johnson, camped at the site, which was known as the John B. Patterson Farm. The men were part of Brig. Gen. John McCausland's raiding party.

20. Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church, off Thompson Road, near Warfordsburg, Pa. The church was used during the Civil War as a field hospital for casualties from the Battle of Hancock in 1862. Inside, soldiers' graffiti can be still be seen on the church's walls. The graffiti was discovered in 2004 and is now protected. John Mentzer, president of the Friends of Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church, wrote "Tonoloway: If Its Walls Could Talk" about their discoveries. The church is closed, but will be open for special occasions in October — a special church service at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7, as well as an open house Friday, Oct. 19, and Saturday, Oct. 20, for the Fulton Fall Folk Festival. For special tours, the church can be opened. Contact John Mentzer president of Friends of Tonoloway at 717-328-9279 or

West Virginia

21. Belle Boyd House, 126 E. Race St., Martinsburg, W.Va. The home and attached storefront were built prior to the Civil War, in 1853, by Ben Boyd. His daughter, Marie Isabelle Boyd, is known better as Confederate spy Belle Boyd. The site has revolving exhibits, but houses many artifacts of Belle, who became a famous actress after the war. For hours and more information, go to

22.  Martinsburg Roundhouse, 100 E. Liberty St., Martinsburg, W.Va. Trains were such a vital part of the Civil War for supplies and troops. On May 22, 1861, Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his troops prevented trains going east at Martinsburg and Point of Rocks, Md. He destroyed nearly 37 miles of track and 17 bridges, according to the roundhouse's website, and burned the original roundhouse. Currently, the roundhouse isn't open to tours but it can be seen from North Queen Street. Nearby Martinsburg Station, 229 E. Martin St., saw many of the events during the Civil War in the town. Go to

23.  Battle of Falling Waters. Also known as Hoke's Run, this battle marks the first in the Shenandoah Valley on July 2, 1861, in Falling Waters, then-named Virginia. This battle is often confused with an engagement in 1863. Three weeks following the 1861 battle, the Confederates won at the Battle of Manassas (Bull Run). There is no actual battlefield site in Falling Waters as the area is developed. Nearby, a small waterfall off U.S. 11 marks where Lee's Army crossed on a rebuilt pontoon bridge after their loss at Gettysburg in July 1863. For more information about the Battle of Falling Waters and ongoing preservation plans, go to

24. Coolness under fire. Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was known for his level-headedness, and a marker  that is located at 5000 Williamsport Pike, Martinsburg, W.Va.,  shows this best. According to, in 1861 during the Battle of Falling Waters Jackson kept his cool under fire. While Jackson was writing a message, a Union battery struck a tree near where he sat. The blast sent pieces of the tree onto Jackson who brushed them off and continued to write.

25. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, U.S. 340, Harpers Ferry, W.Va. This is where some argue the first sparks of the Civil War really began with John Brown's Raid Oct. 16 through 18, 1859, and his attempt to take over the Federal Armory. Two and a half years later, on April 18, 1861, a day after Virginia seceded, Federal soldiers set fire to the Armory and Arsenal so they would not fall into the hands of the Confederates. Federal forces returned in 1862 to re-occupy the town. On Sept. 15, 1862, Jackson captured 12,500 Union soldiers. And in 1864, Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan used Harpers Ferry as his operation base. Park entrance fee. For more information, go to

26. John Brown in Charles Town, W.Va. After Brown was captured at Harpers Ferry, he stood trial at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 100 E. Washington St., Charles Town, W.Va. He was hanged Dec. 2, 1859, with six of his men. A sign stands at 512 Samuel St., Charles Town, W.Va. While in Charles Town, stop at the Jefferson County Museum, 200 E. Washington St., where many artifacts are on display. There is an admission fee to the museum. For more information, go to

27. Battle of Shepherdstown. Preservation is ongoing for this little-known battle, which followed the Battle of Antietam on Sept. 19 through 20, 1862, so no actual battlefield site exists. Lee retreated across the Potomac River after Antietam, leaving Brig. Gen. William Pendleton at the river near Shepherdstown, W.Va., on the 19th. Unable to keep the Union at bay, he reported to Lee that all had been lost and the Federal troops had captured the southern bank of the river. Jackson overheard the conversation and ordered three divisions back to the river on the following day. Jackson led Gen. A.P. Hill's division to stop the Union advance on the 20th. They met about a mile and half south of the river. Battle ensued and continued for about six hours. Union troops retreated back over the river,  leaving the 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers, nicknamed "The Corn Exchange Regiment" behind because of a misunderstanding over orders. When the 118th finally received orders to retreat, they had Confederates on three sides. According to Edward Dunleavy, president of the Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association, the 118th lost about 40 percent of its men. This marks the bloodiest Civil War battle in West Virginia (which became a state in 1863) with a total of 677 casualties. There are two markers on the corner of Trough and River roads signifying the battle. For more information about ongoing preservation, go to

28. Bath-Romney Campaign. Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson wanted to secure western Virginia for the Confederacy. Jackson started in early December 1861 from Winchester, Va. By January 1862, he marched to Bath (Berkeley Springs) over to Hancock, then to Romney, W.Va., before retreating back to Winchester in February. Along the way there are several interpretative signs. The Bath-Romney Campaign Historical and Preservation Association hosts an event in January. For more information, go to

Battles of South Mountain and Antietam: The re-enactment

As the nation remembers the Civil War through 2015, here in Washington County the Maryland Campaign in 1862 was of the utmost importance.

Many scholars and historians have long argued that the Battle of Antietam, not the Battle of Gettysburg, was the actual turning point of the Civil War.

As the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Maryland Campaign continues this year, the local area is holding many events in conjunction with this important anniversary.

One of the most significant events is "Maryland, My Maryland," a re-enactment of the Battles of South Mountain and Antietam. The event is Saturday, Sept. 8, and Sunday, Sept. 9, at the Boonsboro Town Farm.

For more information and tickets, go to www.maryland

The site has a calendar of events hroughout the year.

— Map by Chad Trovinger

The Herald-Mail Articles