2017 Antietam Battlefield Guides Written Examination Annoucement

July 23, 2017

This announcement is for all individuals interested in becoming a National Park Service certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield. The Antietam Battlefield Guides (ABG) will be offering the written examination at 9AM on Saturday November 4, 2017 at the Sharpsburg Area Rescue Service, 110½ West Chapline Street, Sharpsburg, Maryland.

There is a $50 administrative charge associated with taking this examination.

A prerequisite for becoming a guide is active participation in the Battlefield’s Volunteers in the Parks (VIP) program. Individuals must sign up to be volunteers at Antietam National Battlefield and be active park volunteers during the testing, mentoring and final evaluation processes and thereafter. You DO NOT need to be a volunteer to take the written test. However, to take the final evaluation with a park ranger and senior guide, you must have accumulated 100 volunteer hours at the battlefield. Antietam Ranger Olivia Black is the volunteer coordinator and can be reached at this email address: Olivia_black@nps.gov.

Test Description: This examination evaluates your knowledge of the Maryland Campaign. The test consists of over 200 questions.  They include true false, multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank and short answer questions.  There are no essays. However, throughout the examination there are several short answer questions requiring you to BRIEFLY discuss a certain aspect of the campaign. You are not evaluated on writing style here. Simply communicate the information in short sentences, bullets or in an outline form that gets your point across. You should be able to answer these questions in the space provided in this test booklet. You will have four hours to complete the examination.

You will be tested on your knowledge of the following topics:

  • The Civil War in general
  • The Maryland Campaign and battles at Harpers Ferry, South Mountain, Antietam and Shepherdstown including:
  • Orders of battle down to division level including unit locations and movement on the field.
  • Backgrounds of the principal commanders, division and higher
  • Regiments of the more famous brigades, (Irish, Black Hat, Texas) and their commanders
  • Military objectives of both sides
  • Maryland Campaign timeline
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • History of Antietam National Battlefield and its memorials, monuments and landmarks, artillery positions, mortuary cannons, avenues, auto tour stops, and hospital locations
  • Basic knowledge of Civil War weaponry (musket and artillery) and medical practices
  • Knowledge of the town of Sharpsburg and the farms and families who lived on the battlefield
  • The military aspects of terrain as they apply to the battlefield

The test is organized in three parts. Part One addresses the Maryland Campaign in general. Part Two covers the Battle of Antietam specifically. Part Three covers other required knowledge including the aftermath of the battle, park history, civilians, military aspects of terrain and other information categories not included in the first two parts. There may be photographs of monuments that you will have to identify, photos of officers of both sides, a map section where you will be asked to identify geographic features, buildings, locations of divisions and select artillery positions.

To be accepted as a guide candidate, you must score 90% on the written test.  If you score between 85% and 90%, you will be eligible to retest no earlier than 60 days after you take the initial test. You will have one opportunity to retest and must score 90% or higher. Candidates who score below 85% on the initial test are not eligible to retest and must wait for the written exam to be offered again. You may take the retest at no additional charge.  See our list of recommended readings to prepare for the test at https://antietamguides.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/antietam-reading-list-mar-2017.pdf.

When you pass, you will be assigned a guide-mentor and are then ready to proceed to the next step in the process. If you are not a volunteer at Antietam, you must sign up at this point. You are now considered and designated as a guide-candidate.

If you are ready to begin the process, please email Chief Guide Jim Rosebrock (pointsalines@yahoo.com) to receive a test application and a copy of the guide agreement.   The agreement outlines your obligations and responsibilities as a battlefield guide after you have completed all examinations and training.

Complete the application paying particular attention to the areas where you address your current background and interests in the Civil War and the Maryland Campaign and why you want to become an Antietam Battlefield Guide. Also be sure to include two references. Submit your application no later than October 6, 2017. You may email your application to Chief Guide Jim Rosebrock (pointsalines@yahoo.com) or drop it off at the Museum Bookstore at Antietam National Battlefield.  Instructions for paying the guide test application will be provided directly to those who submit an application.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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