As I noted here, the October 2010 issue features the third installment of my column which is now titled Collateral Damage. The subject is the Roulette house on the Antietam battlefield. Though I took lots of photos, and also had a few by friends Mike Pellegrini and Mannie Gentile, none were used in the article. So I present them here for your perusal.
Let’s start with some exterior shots. The left side of the front of the house is south, the right north. The second and third photos were taken by my friend Mike.
Here’s the rear of the house. Mr. Roulette kept his beehives in this back yard. Confederate artillery, advancing Union troops, and upset hives combined here for an often repeated story.
The barn sits east of the house. In the orchard to the southeast is a pear tree that survives from the time of the battle.
Here’s the basement door (I call these “Dorothy Doors”) out of which Mr. Roulette burst to encourage the advancing Federals to “Drive ’em”. The interior photo was taken by Mannie. On the day I was there, my NPS guide Keven Walker warned me that the hot day and cool basement meant lots and lots of snakes, so we opted not to go downstairs. I did see two large black snakes that day.
Inside the house Keven, a historian with the Cultural Resources division, pointed out that many of the fixtures dated from before the war, and could have been installed as early as the mid 1700s.
We entered the house via the kitchen, in the north end of the house. One of the cool features in here is the beehive oven. No flame inside – kind of like a pizza oven. The fuel (wood) was put in outside, via this little addition on the north end of the house. Must have been a pain cooking in winter, but was probably state-of-the-art.
Here’s the large dining/entertaining room in the center of the house. You can see by the shot of the window how thick the walls are in this section of the house. The construction is log at the south end, stone in the center, and frame on the north end.
The south end of the dwelling on the first floor is a living room or parlor. There’s a little problem here with falling plaster, but a collection of the debris on the fireplace mantel shows how the plaster was made in those days. It was heavy stuff.
The main stairway leads up to two smaller bedrooms in the south end of the house.
On Sept. 17, 1862, a bullet fired from the vicinity of the sunken Pig Trough Road to the south of the house entered the window of the southwest bedroom, went through the wall above its door, traveled across the hall and exited inside the closet of the middle bedroom. That’s Keven pointing to where the bullet entered the wall in the hallway.
There is a middle bedroom and a large bedroom at the north end of the house over the kitchen. You can see in the sagging ceilings the effect of the heavy plaster over 200+ years.
The tour of the Roulette house was one of the great perks of my “job”. Much thanks to Keven Walker, who has a book coming out soon on the farms of the battlefield. Be sure to check out this and all the Collateral Damage columns in Civil War Times.