Save Historic Antietam Foundation Lecture Series 9/8/2012

7 08 2012

Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. is pleased to announce a special lecture series in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the battle of Antietam.  The lectures will take place in the Mumma Farm barn at Antietam National Battlefield on Saturday September 8, starting at 9:00.  This event will also feature presentations from the recipients of two special scholarships funded by SHAF.  Daniel Vermilya has received the first Joseph L.  Harsh Scholar Award and will share his research on the Union Army at Antietam.  Susan Rosenwald was awarded the special Sesquicentennial Award and she will share her research about the role and actions of Clara Barton at Sharpsburg.  Other speakers will include Dennis Frye, Chief Historian of Harper’s Ferry National Park, Dr. Mark Snell, director of the George Tyler Moore Center for Study of the Civil War and local columnist and writer Tim Rowland.  The event is free and open to the public, and no reservations will be required.   Donations to SHAF will be accepted and there will be book signing by the authors and other items for sale.

Schedule:

9:00-9:30 – Coffee and Danish

9:30-9:45 – Opening Remarks, Tom Clemens, President, SHAF

9:45-10:30 – Session I, Dr. Mark Snell, “Causes of the Civil War”

10:30-10:45 – Break

10:45-11:30 – Session II, Dan Vermilya, Harsh Scholar recipient, “Perceptions, Not Realities: The Strength, Experience, and Condition of the Army of the Potomac at Antietam”

11:30-12:00 – Awards

12:00-1:00 – Lunch, Box Lunch available, by pre-order only $10.00 each*

1:00-1:45 – Session III, Susan Rosenwald, Sesquicentennial Award recipient, “Clara Barton at Antietam”

1:45-2:00 – Break

2:00-2:45 – Session IV, Dennis Frye, “September Suspense: Lincoln’s Union in Peril”

2:45-3:00 – Break

3:00-3:45 – Session V, Tim Rowland, “Odd Incidents of Maryland Campaign”

3:45 – Closing Remarks

* Preorder on-line at www.SHAF.org, choices will be available on the website.





Sharpsburg and Gettysburg

4 06 2012

Say it like Peter Brady.

This weekend I shot down to Sharpsburg, MD, for a Save Historic Antietam Foundation board meeting. I was so engrossed in thougths about some things I wanted to discuss that I missed my exit on the PA Turnpike. If you’re a SHAF member (and you should be), there are some interesting things in the works for us. First and foremost make sure you’re connected to us via our website and Facebook page. These will be the places to go to keep abreast of happenings in the organization. We are dragging ourselves kicking and screaming into 2008 :-)

After lunch with friends Tom and Angela Clemens and David Langbart, I stopped into the ANB visitor’s center and said a quick hello to ranger Mannie Gentile, whom I was glad to see at work behind the reception desk.

Then in keeping with the theme established that morning, I again missed turns on a trip I’ve made many times from Sharpsburg to Gettysburg. I made a quick stop at the visitor’s center, and equally brief visits with friends Bernadette at Battlefields & Beyond Military History Book Shoppe and Jim at The American History Store. I checked into my room and took a little nap, then drove back into town and made the acquaintance of fellow Monongahela Valley native Ronn Palm at his fine (and free) Museum of Civil War Images on Baltimore Street. It’s really quite a fantastic collection he has there, mostly of Pennsylvania soldiers, many identified, and artifacts related to them and their regiments. Give it a tumble when you’re in town.

Sunday morning I had a nice breakfast with friend and now Gettysburg Resident Chris Army. Then it was back on the road to Pittsburgh – I can’t count how many times I’ve made that trip. This time I made it missing two turns. But at least it was a nice day for it.





Chasing Relatives

18 04 2012

8th PA Reserves Monument Antietam NB

A while back I received a book, Your Affectionate Son: Letters from a Civil War Soldier, from its author, Milann Ruff Daugherty. I wrote about it here. As you read (if you followed the hyperlinked “here”), at about the same time I received some news from my friend Mike regarding some relatives about whom I was unaware. That’s the normal relationship between my ancient relatives and me, by the way, unawareness. Of particular interest was Pvt. James Gates, 8th PA Reserves, mortally wounded at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, died a month later at Smoketown Hospital just north of the battlefield, buried in the national cemetery in Sharpsburg. He served in the same company as the letter writer in Ms. Daugherty’s book. As some of you may be aware, I’m a board member and vice-president of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, so my interest in the battle and battlefield is more than passing.

Antietam National Cemetery, Sharpsburg, MD

Upon learning of this more tangible relationship with the event, I felt compelled to take a drive down to Maryland (by way of Gettysburg, of course) over the President’s Day holiday back in February. I first drove out to the portion of the field where the 8th PA Reserves saw action. Then I met up with friend Craig Swain and his aide-de-camp Cade Swain and visited my great-great-uncle (how come there’s no “grand” for uncles and aunts?) in the cemetery and took in the million-dollar view of the battlefield from the back of that place. After lunch I drove over to chief historian Ted Alexander’s office near the Pry House. Ted graciously came in on his day off and so I could rummage through the park’s file on the 8th PA Reserves. It was pretty thin, but contained a series of newspaper articles from the turn-of-the-20th century, memoirs of a member of the 8th PA Reserves. In several of those articles, my g-g-uncle played a role, and from the perspective of the history of the battle and battlefield, it was a pretty high-profile role. After making copies (though I’m sure I missed some good stuff and will have to go back), Ted drove me out to the site of the Smoketown hospitals where James died. 

The long and short of it is that I took some good photos and got some great info, but I still want to do some more digging before I present my findings to you, dear readers. I hope that when I do post the piece here you all won’t mind the slight diversion from Bull Run.





Preview: “Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory” – and a Preservation Opportunity

26 02 2012

I’ve mentioned before that I serve on the board of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, which does good preservation work down Western Maryland way. The good folks at Savas-Beatie publishing have partnered with us in the ongoing effort to raise funds for the preservation of Civil War sites in the Antietam vicinity. When you order a product from the S/B website (www.savasbeatie.com), simply enter SHAF as the coupon code and 10% of the retail price of your order will go directly to SHAF. This applies to all S/B titles, including current releases like Brian Jordan’s “Unholy Sabbath: The Battle of South Mountain in History and Memory” and SHAF President Dr. Thomas Clemens’s “The Maryland Campaign of September, 1862, Vol. I”, as well as upcoming titles like Vol. II of Tom’s work and Bradley Gottfried’s “The Maps of Antietam.” This is a great way to build your library with quality books and help SHAF achieve its goals in the process. Remember, enter SHAF as the coupon code.

Speaking of “Unholy Sabbath”, I recently received a copy in the mail. Physically, this is the standard, high quality book you’ve come to expect from Savas-Beatie. The author is a very young cat, a 2009 graduate of Gettysburg College who is currently working on his PhD. at some sheepskin factory called Yale. The author’s academic bent is reflected in the use of a colon in the title, and the focus on memory – not that there’s anything wrong with that (the memory thing, I mean). This is an example of the “new” military history, and I’m all for it, as how the fighting is remembered by participants and the public as time passes is fascinating to me, and tells a bigger story. It’s richly illustrated and includes plenty of Brad Gottfried maps – unfortunately, these don’t have topo lines and the lay of the land was vitally important to how the fighting developed at the passes. It’s a minor quibble for me, but then I’m pretty familiar with the area. Also included are full Orders of Battle and an extensive bibliography that confirms the author’s use of a wide array of manuscript and published primary and secondary sources. I say give it a whirl, though I must admit I have BIG problems with his description of Special Orders 191.

You can follow “Unholy Sabbath” on Facebook here.

And here’s the book trailer:





A Scholarship Award in Honor of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh

23 01 2012

The Board of Directors of Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. voted at their November meeting to establish a stipend for scholars willing to research selected aspects of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, especially the battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg. The award is named in honor of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh, longtime professor at George Mason University, and author of the prize-winning trilogy on the Maryland Campaign.  Through the generosity of the family and friends of Dr. Joseph L. Harsh, SHAF is able to provide an annual stipend of up to $2,500 for those who apply to undertake project beneficial to understanding various aspects of the campaign and battle.  The stipend will be offered annually and will be awarded based on a decision by a committee composed of representatives of the SHAF Board of Directors, the Harsh family and Antietam National Battlefield.  It is our hope that this funding will allow research on unresolved issues concerning the campaign.  If a scholar does not have a topic in mind suggestions can be provided by SHAF.

Applicants need not be enrolled in any school, but must provide evidence of their ability to perform the research required for completion of the project. Because this award honors a great scholar it is imperative that the completed project reflect the highest standards of scholarship and research.  Topics must be approved by the stipend committee, and the successful applicant will present his/her finished project at a ceremony in conjunction with the annual anniversary commemoration at Antietam National Battlefield and also produce a written summation in a format suitable for publication.  Applications can be made to SHAF no later than February 15, and the award will be announced by March 1.  Research must be completed by September 1.  The guidelines and more details are available at the SHAF website, www.shaf.org.

We are delighted to make this stipend available to all students of the Maryland Campaign, and eagerly await the results of this project.

Application Procedures & Timeline

  1. Applicants must submit a brief statement of a project, a research methodology and relevance of the topic to furthering understanding of the Maryland Campaign of 1862.  They will also provide a brief resume’ emphasizing their historical and research credentials. 
  2. In the event that the applicant does not have a topic in mind the SHAF Board of Directors will generate a list of possible topics and make it available for potential applicants. 
  3. Applications should be submitted by mail to SHAF, P.O. Box 550 Sharpsburg, MD 21782 or emailed through our website, www.SHAF.org.  All applications must be received by February 15, of each year. 
  4. The stipend committee, made up of three members of the SHAF Board, a representative from the Harsh family, and from the Antietam National Battlefield will choose an awardee annually to receive the stipend, and the committee will also oversee the project.  The criteria used to choose an awardee shall be determined by the stipend committee. 
  5. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply as often as they like. 
  6. Members of the SHAF Board of Directors are prohibited from applying.




Liberia Tour

1 11 2010

Opportunity for a detailed tour of Liberia on November 13.  Check it out here.

I will be at the Manassas National Battlefield this coming Friday doing field work for an upcoming Collateral Damage.  On Saturday I’ll be at Antietam National Battlefield with the Save Historic Antietam Foundation for our work day and board meeting.








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