2012 will go down as a great year for visitors to the Antietam Battlefield and Washington County, Maryland.

An article in our local newspaper, the Herald-Mail, gave statistics relative to tourism in our community. And our good friend Tom Riford – the president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau – said that “Antietam National Battlefield had a major spike due to the sesquicentennial, including about 50,000 people visiting the battlefield the weekend leading up to the anniversary in September … During the year, they’ll have about 350,000 that go into the visitor center at Antietam and a total of about 900,000 that’ll go through all the park.”  The entire article may be found HERE.

Our Antietam Battlefield Guides organization tallied over 800 tours this year, the most ever. I personally met with and hosted families or groups a total of 63 times.

We believe this will all continue to grow, as the sesquicentennial of the Civil War moves through several more years until the spring of 1865. But the War is an item of timeless interest – even-numbered celebrations or not.

Of course this new year of 2013 will especially mark the 150th of the Battle of Gettysburg. We anticipate that many folks will come – as they often do – not only to that incredible field in Pennsylvania, but also to the nearby (and dare I say better preserved??) field at Antietam. A number of other local, smaller battles associated with the Gettysburg Campaign will be featured this year as well. Among these will be commemorations surely for Monterrey Pass, Hagerstown, Funkstown, and Williamsport.

The last of these will be especially interesting. The town of Williamsport has been building over several years toward a large celebration this year. This will be the week after Gettysburg, remembering the occasion of the Confederate Army’s retreat and their perilous position in Williamsport – pinned against the swollen Potomac River with the threat of Union attack. I’ll be sure to write a good bit about this event, in that Williamsport has become over the past 18 years essentially my home town.

So if you are an out-of-town reader of Enfilading Lines, I encourage you to visit Antietam and arrange for one of our guides to connect with you and show you this incredible place. To book such a visit, please visit the web page for Antietam Battlefield Guides at www.antietamguides.com.

This winter picture of the turn of the Roulette Farm lane in the Sunken Road is from guide candidate Sharon Murray:

winter bloody lane

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About Randy Buchman

I live in Western Maryland, and among my too many pursuits and hobbies, I regularly feed 3-4 hungry blogs. I played college baseball, coached championship cross country teams at Williamsport (MD) High School, and am the editor of a Baltimore/Maryland sports blog called "The Baltimore Wire." My main profession is as the lead pastor of a church in Hagerstown called Tri-State Fellowship. And I'm active in Civil War history and work/serve at Antietam National Battlefield with a Guides organization. Occasionally I sleep.

4 responses »

  1. Gary Rohrer says:

    It’s been a thrill working with fellow guides like Randy, the WMIA staff & the NPS folks. In my 1st full yr. as a guide, I lead more than 80 tours including 5 free-bees for family friends & non-profits. It’s an honor & privilege to share this magnificent battlefield.

  2. Doug Dobbs says:

    Well said, Randy. It was a thrill to be a part of the 150th commemorations this year.

    I look forward to commemorating the Sixth Corps’ March to Gettysburg in June/July with a few hardy souls. If you know anyone who would like to join us, in kit or in modern gear, we’d be happy to have them along. Leaving Fairfax Courthouse (Chantilly Park) in the wee hours of June 25 and arriving at Gettysburg the afternoon of July 2. Historical route, historical timetable. We’ve done it twice and there have always been amazing adventures along the way.

    Doug Dobbs
    Event Manager “Maryland, My Maryland.”

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