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Prelude to great struggle at Antietam (( and Susan Santman, battle observer.)

Middletown Maryland Valley Register - South Mountain and Mrs. Santman. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Antietam Battle Anniversary Will Close Next Friday

92 - year - old Woman Recalls Struggle
Fete Opened At Hagerstown Saturday
South Mountain Battle Recalled.

A little old lady, Mrs. Susan A. Santman, now in her 92nd year, sat in the stands at Hagerstown Saturday when U. S. Senator Millard E. Tydings, of Maryland, officially opened the grand spectacle showing of “On Wings of Time”, which was the beginning of a two weeks' commemoration and celebration covering 32 historic episodes in the history of Washington county —the first named after George Washington.
The celebration will close next Friday Sept. 17, with the observance of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam at Sharpsburg.

Twenty-one Governors of the 29 of Maryland's sister states whose troops fought the Battle of Antietam will attend the climatic day of celebration, along with President Roosevelt. The "Bloody Lane" phase of America's bloodiest one-day battle will be re-enacted by National Guard troops of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Twenty-three thousand soldiers fell in this battle, which was preceded by the Battle of South Mountain on Sept. 14, 1862.

In opening the celebration Saturday, Senator Tydings said, "A nation's love is due tribute to lovely Mrs. Santman, of Hagerstown, who fed and succored the wounded and dying of both Union and Confederate forces who paid the full measure on Antietam's field of death, at the risk of her own life, her husband having been taken a prisoner a few days before by Stonewall Jackson at Harpers Ferry.

At the time of the Battle of Antietam, Mrs. Santman was only 17 years old, but well remembers the bloody struggle. She recalls the exploding of shells in the village of Sharpsburg, which killed a number of chickens. Speaking of this phase, Mrs. Santman said: "We made chicken broth and gave to the wounded and famished Confederates, with a large quantity of bread, and even before the bread was done, the hungry soldiers ate it in big gulps". She said many of the Confederates were ragged, some barefooted, and evidently had not eaten for several days. Mrs. Santman, accompanied by her cousin, Mrs. Elizabeth Hemphill, made a trip to the camp of the Union soldiers at Williamsport, traveling in a spring wagon. They took food along for the soldiers.

Recalls South Mountain Battle.
The Antietam observance also reminds the nation of the South Mountain struggle, which preceded the Battle of Antietam. In the Battle of South Mountain, which occurred on Sunday, Sept. 14, 1862, the Union losses were 438 killed, 1,821 wounded and 87 captured. The Confederate losses were 318 killed, 1,229 wounded and 1,225 captured.

This battle consisted of short, yet sufficiently bloody engagements around Turner's Gap, Fox's Gap and Crampton's Gap. The roads, crossing South Mountain toward Antietam, passed through these gaps. The three gaps were several miles apart, beginning with Turner's Gap, on the National Highway, west of Middletown; Fox's Gap, better known as Reno, and then Crampton's Gap, near Burkittsville.

At Crampton's Gap stands the "Correspondents' Arch", the only memorial in the world erected and dedicated to newspaper correspondents. It was built of native stone by George Alfred Townsend, "Gath", of war correspondent and news-column fame, who was connected with the New York Herald during the Civil War. The site of the unique memorial is at the South Mountain crestline, recalled as the main avenue of the "Underground Railroad", through which many a fugitive slave passed in haste to Pennsylvania and freedom, large numbers falling prey to "slave hunters", who combed the mountain farther north, and made the captures for rewards offered.

This prelude to the Battle of Antietam was the first clash of McClellan's Army of the Potomac and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and followed McCellan's finding of Lee's "lost order" at Frederick, on Sept. 12.

Approximately 250,000 persons from all sections of the country are expected to visit Washington county during the two weeks' celebration.

Captions for illustrations.

Prelude To Great Struggle At Antietam
Accompanying picture shows Union Troops advancing up South Mountain during the battle on Sunday, Sept. 14, 1862. The Battle of Antietam occurred three days later and the Battle of South Mountain was the prelude to that bloody struggle.

War Correspondents Arch
Erected in Crampton's Gap, near Burkittsville, by George Alfred Townsend, a famous Civil War Correspondent, to the memory of newspaper correspondents. The memorial is the only one of its kind constructed in the United States.


Middletown Valley Register

Carlton and Richard Rhoderick.

Used with permission of Carlton and Richard Rhoderick, heirs of George Carlton Rhoderick, the last owner and publisher of the Middletown Valley Register, which ceased publication in 1991.


Collection Location:
Western Maryland Room, Washington County Free Library.

Antietam, Battle of, Md., 1862: Centennial celebrations, etc

Washington County (Md.), 1937.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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