In September 1862, a majority of Sharpsburg residents fled their homes as Union and Confederate soldiers converged on the town to wage war.
Now, almost 150 years later, Antietam National Battlefield officials are bracing for an influx of another sort.
Susan Trail, a National Park Service ranger and superintendent at the battlefield, said Wednesday during a Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce breakfast that thousands of tourists are expected to attend the sesquicentennial celebration of the battle from Sept. 14-17.
“It’s going to be packed,” she said. “I think we’re going to see a lot of people here throughout September.”
Trail said she didn’t want to predict how many people might attend the anniversary because there’s no way of knowing. But to put things in perspective, she said, Shiloh National Battlefield in Tennessee received about 100,000 visitors at the park during its 150th anniversary in April.
“That was our first indication that something big might happen here,” she said.