Most respondents would identify a historical marker as simply one of those mono-pole (sometimes two pole) metal plates, often erected by the state or local government. Of course there are always the markers erected by the National Park Service, the newer style is a “tilted table” metal frame with a plastic covered insert, most including illustrations, photos, and maps in addition to text. And the Civil War enthusiast would note the old War Department markers at the major battlefields, and the excellently presented (in my marker hunting opinion) Civil War Trails series. I could go on with the ontology of markers, but what I’d like to note here is a particular series.
The Save Historic Antietam Foundation, aside from their work to preserve portions of the battlefield itself, also offers a series of markers indicating locations of hospitals used during the campaign. While often a bit worse for the weather, these greatly aid what I would call the “extreme” tours. In other words something on the level of the Blue and Gray General’s Tours.
A typical S.H.A.F. marker is seen here, at Funkstown (photo is the authors, but also shared with HMDB.org):
I’ve located markers in this set across Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland and Jefferson County in West Virginia. Far from complete, here are links to some of the entries on HMDB.org:
Henry Shoemaker House, Bolivar, MD (Posted by another HMDB.org correspondent)
These simple markers do well to remind us the war was not enclosed in the bounds of the battlefield itself, but spilled over to the cities and towns. Towns such as Keedysville, Burkittsville, Frederick, Middletown, Sharpsburg, Boonsboro, and Shepherdstown became mass field hospitals for the casualties of the 1862 campaign and America’s bloodiest day.