Saving Antietam (part II): Dan Vermilya

Earlier today, historian Daniel J. Vermilya offered some of his thoughts about the preservation work the Civil War Trust has done at Antietam. This afternoon, he focuses a little more specifically on the Trust’s latest efforts

“While the Cornfield is among the most famous spots on the hallowed ground of Antietam, I have always found the surrounding terrain—the East Woods, North Woods, West Woods, and the new epicenter tract recently acquired by the Civil War Trust—to be just as fascinating and important as the Cornfield itself. When leading tours of Antietam, I try to focus attention on these areas. Together, they saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War on the morning of September 17, 1862. Every soldier who fought in the Cornfield had to pass through these areas that day, making them incredibly important to the story of Antietam.

“The North Woods property, which the Civil War Trust is attempting to secure, is on one of the more important, yet overlooked, parts of the battlefield. This was where the division of Abner Doubleday moved south along the Hagerstown Turnpike in the early morning darkness of September 17, 1862. Within range of the Confederate guns on Nicodemus Heights, this land was a key part of the 1st Corps flank during its attack that morning.”

To seal the deal in the North Woods, the Trust is making its final push to raise $250,000 by tomorrow. For more details, visit the Civil War Trust’s website.


Daniel J. Vermilya is a park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park and a former ranger at Antietam National Battlefield, where is still a licensed battlefield guide. He is the author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (History Press, 2014), and the just-published James Garfield and the Civil War (History Press, 2015). In 2012, he was awarded the first Dr. Joseph L. Harsh Memorial Scholar Award by the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Dan is at work on a book about the battle of Antietam for the Emerging Civil War Series.

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