Monthly Archives: February 2008

Antietam Markers Update

For the three people who occasionally browse by my blog, I’ve been tardy with updates, what with the day job getting in the way. What free time I’ve had since the weekend was devoted to uploading Antietam markers. You can see the “march down Cornfield Avenue” with periodic additions to the site, show off the RSS feed to the right.

Right now I can claim progress. About 90 plus markers or monuments are in the system, out of my estimate of 400 (including the National Park Service interpretive markers). There are just over 100 that I either haven’t documented (and happily will venture to Sharpsburg again to complete) or are physically missing.

The later has my thoughts. There’s got to be a story behind some of these. For instance, the War Department posted several tablets outside Shepherdstown, near Pack Horse Ford in the 1890s. A couple remain. References dating to the 1960s annotate the rest as “missing.” So this isn’t a recent occurrence. What happened here? Flood? Removed due to inaccurate content? Motor vehicle crash? Ghost of A.P. Hill? Who knows?

At any rate, the Cornfield Avenue set is going nicely. The base set will be lumped into a geographic relation (as was done with the Sunken Road). Then will be groupings by divisional assignments (Hood’s Division, DH Hill’s Division, Ricketts’ division, etc.). After that, I’ll start looking at state by state groupings for the monuments. Another swipe I’ve thought of is, given the confusing nature of the morning phase of the battle, is a phase by phase grouping. Might not be useful, as the markers are often roadside instead of at the point of action. We’ll see how it breaks out first.

UPDATE: The base collection for Cornfield Avenue is complete. Again a geographic grouping for now. Strictly, what you would see if you were to walk from tour stop four back to tour stop three, down Cornfield Avenue.

The Bridges of Washington County

Sort of keeping with the Antietam theme, or at least staying within Washington County, Maryland…The county has erected several rather plain brown, single pole markers with tan text to designate historical sites not referenced by (or in some cases in addition to) state historical markers. An example is this marker for the Gettysburg Campaign in Smithsburg, referencing action during the retreat through Maryland:


I personally discovered these rather inobtrusive markers last summer while visiting some of the sites related to the Antietam Campaign. While the Civil War interpretation is nice, the county also placed markers at most of the thirty-one odd stone bridge, culverts, and aqueducts standing in the County that date to the 19th century. Recently other correspondents at HMDB have added more of these markers referencing bridge sites. Additionally, Christopher Busta-Peck has posted an excellent writeup on the Antietam Bridges on his National Road blog.

The bridge, culvert and aqueduct sites are (with references to the Marker Database where applicable):

Leitersburg Bridge No.2 over Antietam Creek

Old Forge Bridge over Antietam Creek – Lee considered destroying this bridge during the retreat from Gettysburg, according to the county’s web site.

Hager’s Mill Bridge over Antietam Creek

Funkstown Turnpike Bridge over Antietam Creek – Old National Road bridge, much renovated and expanded. Used during the Gettysburg Campaign.

Funkstown Bridge No. 2 over Antietam Creek – used during the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg.

Roxbury Mills Bridge over Antietam Creek – Another crossing point factoring into the Gettysburg Campaign.

Rose’s Mill Bridge over Antietam Creek

Claggett’s Mill Bridge over Antietam Creek

Claggett’s Mill-Race Bridge over Antietam Creek

Booth’s Bill Bridge over Antietam Creek – Here on July 12, 1863, General Meade gathered his generals to weigh options in the pursuit of Lee’s Confederates in the retreat from Gettysburg.

Hitt Bridge over Antietam Creek – Braddock passed a ford here in 1755. Civil War historians note this as the “Upper” or “Hooker” Bridge upstream from Pry’s Ford.

Pry’s Mill Bridge over Little Antietam Creek – Between the Hitt and Hess Bridges. Also a crossing point during the Antietam Campaign.

Hess’ Mill Bridge over Little Antietam Creek – In the town of Keedysville. Also associated with movements during the Antietam Campaign.

“Felfoot” Bridge over Little Antietam Creek – The east approach to Keedysville.

Middle Bridge over Antietam Creek – No longer standing, but an Antietam battlefield landmark.

Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek – The one everyone knows.

Antietam Iron Works Bridge over Antietam Creek – Near the mouth of the creek.

Antietam Aqueduct over Antietam Creek – Along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Monroe Chapel Culvert over tributary of Antietam Creek

Wilson’s Bridge over Conococheague Creek – among the oldest along the Old National Road.

Price’s Bridge over Conococheaque Creek

Broadfording Bridge over Conococheaque Creek

Conococheaque Bridge over Conococheaque Creek

Conococheaque Aqueduct over Conococheaque Creek – Along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Witness to Confederate crossings of the Potomac during the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns, and several other smaller operations.

Devil’s Backbone Bridge over Little Beaver Creek – Braddock passed through on a ford here en-route to his demise.

Kline’s Mill Bridge over Little Beaver Creek

“Cool Hollow” Culvert over branch of Little Beaver Creek

Marsh Run Bridge over Marsh Run

Marsh Run Culvert over Marsh Run

As a set, I’d argue you can not get a better sampling of American History. There are events dating to the colonial times, Revolutionary War, Civil War, westward expansion, the National Road, and well everything but space travel!

Antietam Sunken Road Markers

After a surge here late in the week, all the markers for the Sunken Road from my “to do” queue are posted to HMDB. There are some gaps that need filling in. First off, the NPS was running maintenance on several of the War Department Tablets at the time of my site visit. So tablets for French’s Division are missing as are those for a couple of brigades from D.H. Hill’s Division. Additionally my documentation and photos for 130th Pennsylvania’s Monument was not to standard. So these are on the list for the next quarterly Antietam visit.

I’ve grouped the markers at this time with two logical relations in mind. First the overall “Trip Down the Sunken Road.” Next I’ve provided relations of the tablets and monuments by divisions – Richardson’s and DH Hill’s are set now. French’s will have to wait until the tablets are collected properly. The map presentations of these markers just doesn’t have as great effect as the Maryland Heights or Balls Bluff Set. Mostly because Antietam is a road bound tour, with most of the interpretation and monumentation close to vehicle paths.

Next on the agenda during these cold days of February…. The Cornfield.