I have had a lifelong interest in the American Civil War, American history, and world history, particularly in how we came to be the nation we are today. I presently live near Keedysville, Maryland, about six miles south of Antietam Battlefield, on a hilltop that gives me a panoramic view of the whole field. I have been a Civil War reenactor since 1978, shifting from soldier to civilian after helping make the movie Gettysburg in 1990. I have also been a member of the Save Historic Antietam Foundation since 1988.
John Powell is a native Marylander who was born in Baltimore and grew up in Silver Spring. The source of John’s interest in the Civil War, at least in part, is the “dozen summers” spent in Tennessee and Georgia, near Chattanooga, at his grandparents’ farm; there he also learned that he had Civil War ancestors.
After graduating from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in public relations, John spent twenty years at the Washington Star. Subsequently he worked in retail sales for eight years and the three years at the Piper House on Antietam Battlefield as innkeeper. Since 1991, he has been a park ranger at Harpers Ferry. His volunteer activities that have benefitted area Civil War sites include a stint at Manassas National Battlefield (1978-88) and ongoing work as a volunteer and tour guide at Antietam since 1986. John belongs to the Harpers Ferry and Hagerstown Civil War Round Tables and he has been a member of the Antietam Advisory Committee since the late 1980s.