My first memorable visit to Antietam was during the 100th Anniversary celebration in 1962 as a young Boy Scout passing out programs near the Dunker Church for the last reenactments that took place right on the battlefield. Those memories grew with Boy Scout camperees at places like Burnside Bridge and Crampton’s Gap where noted historian E. Russell Hicks held the riveted attention of nearly 400 scouts at Saturday night bonfires as he vividly described what occurred at these and other places on the battlefield. My interest in the Civil War was also fanned by the fact that my grandfather owned much of South Mountain, between Fox’s and Turner’s Gaps, including the Mountain House (Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill’s HQ) where I spent many weekends during my youth.
Having been born and raised lived and worked in the heart of the 1862 Maryland Campaign has meant so much to me and forged a deep interest in the Civil War, inspiring much reading and study. Like many of my fellow guides, I have had the opportunity to visit numerous Civil War battlefields and related sites around our country and can assure you that Antietam is among the most pristine battlefields in the U.S. – the surrounding area and view sheds still very much resemble those of September 1862.
Come visit and see why our passion and love for this region go far beyond words. We will walk into The Cornfield at the heart of the “bloodiest square mile” in American history; trod the Sunken Road known as Bloody Lane; gaze from the incredible position overlooking Burnside Bridge where just over 400 Georgians held off the entire Union XII Corps of more than 12,000 troops for nearly 5 hours. Whatever you do, please do not neglect to visit the Antietam Nation Cemetery. A guided tour of this cemetery can be a moving experience often overlooked.
Along with Antietam, I am a National Park Certified Guide for Harpers Ferry and South Mountain Battlefields.
Gary is a lifelong resident of the Washington County area with local ancestry dating back 240 years. He is the former Director of Public Works for Washington County. He and his wife live near Boonsboro; not far from the battlefield. You can book a tour with him by calling the Antietam Museum Bookstore at (301)432-4329 or (866)461-5180. Of course, you can email Gary at: firstname.lastname@example.org.