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: