On occasions when hosting guests at Antietam, if there is extra time, or if weather or circumstances around the visitor’s center preclude an ability for an orientation talk there, I will take guests on a more circuitous route that includes the town of Keedysville. I continue to believe it is best for guests to have the first 30-40 minutes from the vantage point of the visitor’s center, yet it is also nice to be able to show people a few extra sights not generally seen by the public on the battlefield itself.
When I take this more circuitous route, I return guests to the battlefield on back roads that cross the Upper Bridge over the Antietam – a sight worth seeing (HERE is what it looked like during Superstorm Sandy).
On the east bank of the Antietam at this location is the Cost Hospital. It was a very significant hospital location – very close in fact to the Pry Mill.
The following excerpt is from “A History of Washington County, Maryland, from the Earliest Settlements to the Present Time, Including a History of Hagerstown” by Thomas John Chew Williams – published in 1906.
At nine o’clock on the morning of September 17, 1862 while the battle of Antietam was raging around him, Dr. Wilcox, of New York, established an emergency hospital on his premises, in which over 500 wounded soldiers were cared for, occupying his barn and out buildings; 25 of them being accommodated in his parlor. Twenty-two died there and were buried on Mr. Cost’s farm, but were afterward removed to the National Cemetery, Sharpsburg. At the end of seventeen days the hospital was removed from his place to Smoketown. In every way possible Mr. Cost gave his aid to the Union forces. General Meade had his headquarters in his home for some time.
The writing also says about Jacob Cost that He has always been noted among his neighbors and acquaintances for his integrity and uprightness of character. He is a man whose chief aim in life has not been personal aggrandizement, but rather the promotion of the well-being of all the people. He has not sought to become wealthy at the expense of the rights of others, but has steadily amassed a comfortable fortune by honest industry. He has been a staunch adherent of the Republican Party, and a friend to the cause of education and everything tending to promote the general good.