About Me

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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. My perspective comes from a 28-year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Antietam Overlook Farm

When I drive to Antietam National Battlefield from my home in Jefferson, Maryland, I always take Porterstown Road to the Boonsboro Pike. The view of the battlefield from the road high on Red Hill is amazing but I always wished I could get a closer look. All the properties along the road are privately owned and I held little hope of venturing on one of them to see the view. The one exception is Antietam Overlook Farm, a Bed and Breakfast, and a place that I have always meant to visit.

I got that opportunity on Saturday. Fellow volunteer and West Woods student Jim Buchanan and I had just finished John Hoptak’s excellent hike and interpretation of the Fox Gap battlefield on South Mountain. We had some extra time and decided to visit the Antietam Overlook Farm. It is a gated estate but when we identified ourselves at the entrance we were immediately invited to come in by Michelle Krantz, the innkeeper.

We then had the pleasure of meeting owner Mark Svrcek. Mark was kind enough to spend a few minutes with us talking about the history of the property. The inn has six suites with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Michelle told us that people are already inquiring about reservations for the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Antietam in 2012. After seeing the inn and the grounds around it, I can understand why.

Mark generously allowed us to wander around the grounds and take as many pictures as we wished. Some of these photos are here. The Inn is located on Red Hill. It is from a position on this high ground that a Union signal station was located. While it was probably not here, this view gives a good idea of the views that the soldiers from the Signal Corps had of the surrounding terrain. Looking southeast, South Mountain is clearly visible. We could see the Visitor’s Center, Dunker Church, and a number of monuments around the Visitor’s Center to the northwest. Directly west of us was the Burnside Bridge plainly visible in the valley below. The Burnside Bridge photo is striking because you can plainly see from this vantage point, the incredible elevation of the terrain from the creek to the plateau where the town of Sharpsburg is located. Union soldiers of the Ninth Corps spent the afternoon attacking up hill toward the town and were halted just yards from their objective by the arrival of A.P. Hill’s Light Division.

If your travels take you to Western Maryland, consider a stay at the Antietam Overlook Farm. You will enjoy the hospitality, wonderful accommodations, and a truly magnificent view. For more information, look here.


  1. Jim. . .
    An awesome vantage point. One can imagine the view of the gallant Ninth Corps sweeping forward.
    Thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks John,
    We were real pleased to get permission to visit the property. That up hill climb from the bridge is something you can really appreciate from Red Hill.

  3. My husband and I stayed here on our first visit to Sharpsburg and the Antietam battlefield. Needless to say I fell in love with the area, as John well knows!