Battle of Crampton’s Gap September 14, 1862 Burkittsville Tour (starting from the east)
All research performed by Jody Brumage.
Hamilton Willard Shafer Farm was built circa 1840. Is was owned by Dr. J.D. Garrott in 1858 based on the data in the Isaac Bond maps of Frederick County 1858. The property was sold to Martin Shafer, uncle to Hamilton Willard Shafer, prior to the Civil War. Gen Wm. B. Franklin used the property as his headquarters Sept. 14 1862. Gen. Franklin could view the Town of Burkittsville and Crampton’s Gap from this vantage point.
Ortho Harley House Ca. 1845 (Distillery Lane Ciderworks) was used by advancing Union forces entering the Town of Burkittsville. Ortho Harley was the son of one of the founders of Burkittsville, Joshua Harley. Gun emplacements on the farm were used to return fire from confederate cannon on the mountain. Ortho Harley told Union forces to stay off of his front lawn that Sunday morning, apparently not knowing what was about to happen.
Biser House at 305 East Main Street. This house, along with the neighboring white dwelling at 307 East Main Street, was owned by Daniel S. Biser. Born in 1801, Biser served thirteen terms in the Maryland House of Delegates, serving as Speaker of the House in 1841 and 1843. Biser also served on the board of directors for the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. This dwelling, built of brick laid in common bond, beautifully displays the typical Victorian-era embellishments that were made to many houses in Burkittsville in the latter part of the 19th century.
Friend's Goodwill or the Dr. John D. Garrott House at 103 East Main Street. Standing at the center of Burkittsville, Friend's Goodwill Farm served as a main route for Union soldiers to approach the mountain on September 14, 1862. During the battle, the farm belonged to Dr. John D. Garrott, the father of Dr. John E. Garrott, who was noted for having helped with wounded in the hospitals.
Dr. Garrott, the elder, is not recorded as rendering his services to the soldiers, likely due to his advanced age. Dr. John D. Garrott died in 1863.
Before Garrott's ownership, this farm had belonged to the namesake of Burkittsville, Henry Burkett. The 1830 census lists Burkett as owning ten slaves, making him one of the largest slave holders in the village.
Since the battle occurred before the harvest, Garrott's fields likely provided soldiers with much needed nourishment, and tradition recounts that the doctor's cookhouse, standing just to the rear of the house, was employed for use to feed wounded in the hospitals following the battle.
Dr. John E. Garrott's House at 101 East Main Street. As wounded poured into the village of Burkittsville on the evening of September 14, 1862, Dr. John E. Garrott offered his services to the Army Surgeon Alfred Castleman. Together, the men were able to dress the wounds of all soldiers being treated in either hospital "B" or "C." Surgeon Castleman stated that, "having, by the kind assistance of Doctor Garrott, a good and excellent physician of the village, got through my dressings and seen my patients well asleep, I, in company with Doctor G., visited other hospitals to offer our services to the Surgeons there." Castleman later recounted that the other surgeons were asleep. Disgusted by there lack of treatment of the wounded in other hospitals in the village, Dr. Garrott asked to be relieved of duty the following morning. Dr. Garrott's elderly father was also a doctor, but, records do not mention him helping with the treatment of soldiers. No records support Burkittsville physician, Dr. Tilghman Biser, who lived across the street from Dr. Garrott, as assisting with the wounded. Dr. Garrott's house is an example of an early frame house, later updated with elements of Queen Anne style, including the porch, cross gable, and projecting bay, all likely post-Civil War alterations.
Dr. Tilghman Biser's House at 102 East Main Street (Gardens Only). While Dr. Tilghman Biser is not reported to have aided army surgeons during the hospital effort in Burkittsville, his nephew, Lewis Lamar had a close tie to two Confederate ranking officers who died in the Battle at Crampton's Gap, apparently unknown to the young man who was apprenticed to Dr. Biser, learning to become a physician. Two cousins of Lamar, Colonel John B. Lamar and Lieutenant Colonel Jefferson M. Lamar, were both mortally wounded at the Gap. While the story of Colonel John Lamar is not well recorded, a unique artifact from Lt. Col. Lamar has remained in Burkittsville, a book which belonged to him, the "Southern Review," an academic journal of the 19th century. Within the cover of this book is the inscription "This book was given to Col. Lamar previous to his demise from a gunshot wound received at Crampton's Gap, given to C.E. Slifer for favors rendered during the fall of 1862." The Lt. Col.'s story is one like so many who were taken in by local families in hopes of a swift recovery. The house, much like the Dr. John E. Garrott house across the street, is an early frame structure "updated" in the late 18th century with Queen Anne elements, such as the porch, cross gable, and projecting bay.
St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church at 3 East Main Street. The Lutheran congregation in Burkittsville predates the founding of the town itself. Beginning in the 1810s, services were held in the Karn Cabinet Shop until 1829 when the Union Church (SMHS) was built. After sharing the Union Church with the Reformed congregation for 30 years, the Lutherans erected St. Paul's Church in 1859. The church served as a field hospital after the Battle of South Mountain and both its lecture hall and sanctuary housed wounded soldiers. The Romanesque-styled tower and narthex were added to the church in the 1870s. Inside the church's Colonial Revival-styled sanctuary is an 8-rank Moller Pipe Organ, originally installed in 1914.
The Burkittsville School or St. Paul's Parish Hall at 5 East Main Street. Newly constructed at the time of the battle, the village schoolhouse was another structure used as a hospital following the battle. Some traditions state that the schoolhouse served as an operating room. Army Surgeon Alfred Castlemen, who was serving at the Lutheran Church states that the house next door was also being used as a hospital. This could account for either the Reformed Parsonage or the schoolhouse, the two neighboring structures which framed St. Paul's Church in 1862.
According to a claims report, the schoolhouse was used a hospital from September 18, 1862 through January 31, 1863. In 1907, the trustees of the school requested reparations from the Federal Government, asking for $600.00. According to the case, War Department records indicated that a payment of $40.50 was made to the trustees of the school in August of 1863, and thus no money was awarded to the school.
This structure continued to serve Burkittsville as a schoolhouse until a new Elementary School, today the Burkittsville Ruritan Center, was built in 1904. Later, the building was purchased by St. Paul's Church for use as a Parish Hall.
South Mountain Heritage Society at 3 East Main Street. South Mountain Heritage Society, founded in the early-1990s, is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of Burkittsville. The museum is located in the historic Resurrection Reformed Church. The original section of the building was constructed in 1829 as the "Union Church," owned jointly by the Reformed and Lutheran congregations. After the Lutherans built St. Paul's Church next door in 1859, the Reformed congregation rebuilt the old Union building into its present form in 1860. Further renovations took place in the 1890s when the Sunday School wing was built onto the back of the church and the bell tower was added. The building blends elements of Greek and Gothic Revival styles with Italianate and Queen Anne decoration. Resurrection Reformed Church served as "Hospital D" in the wake of the Battle of South Mountain, housing wounded soldiers in its sanctuary until January 31, 1863. After several decades of decline in the size of its congregation, the Reformed Church closed in 1979 and donated the building to the town. In 2000, the building was restored to its 1896 appearance by the South Mountain Heritage Society. The sanctuary maintains the pews from the 1860 renovations, furnishings from the 1896 alterations, and a historic pipe organ, built in Baltimore between 1851 and 1862, one of the oldest organs to survive intact in the state of Maryland.
Union Cemetery at 5 East Main Street. Henry Burkitt deeded land to the Reformed and Lutheran congregations in 1831 for their "Union Church" and to provide a common burial ground for the village. This oldest section of Union Cemetery is located behind the old Reformed Church (now the South Mountain Heritage Society museum). In the months following the Battle of South Mountain, Union Cemetery was the site of temporary burials for U.S. and Confederate soldiers who died while being treated in the field hospitals around Burkittsville. Union Cemetery was expanded to its present size in the 1890s. Among the over 1,000 people interred at Union Cemetery are the Rev. Emmanuel Slifer, a Dunker preacher who represented his pacifist congregants in court when they were drafted into military service during the Civil War; the Hon. Daniel Biser, Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates in 1841 and 1843; Manassas J. Grove, member of the Maryland House of Delegates and founder of the M.J. Grove Lime Company; John D. Ahalt, industrialist who founded the Mountain Spring Distilling Company in Burkittsville in 1879; and Dr. Arlington Grove Horine, physician for the B&O Railroad and a popular, long-serving Mayor of the City of Brunswick.
Cost/Horine House at 6 East Main Street. Displaying the simplicity and refinement of Federal architecture, the Cost/Horine House is one of the best-preserved structures built during Burkittsville’s first period of growth and economic prosperity from the 1830s until the outbreak of the Civil War. The front façade of the house displays Flemish Bond brickwork, a technique for laying brick in which long and short ends of the brick are laid in an alternating pattern. This technique was considered to be the most aesthetically-pleasing method of brick construction and was accordingly quite expensive to build. Closer inspection reveals that the side and rear walls of the house are laid in the more cost-effective Common Bond. This pattern of differing brick construction can be found in many early structures throughout the town.
The Reverand Emmanuel Slifer House and Tailor Shop at 1 East Main Street. This house, built in Federal style stands on one of the oldest lots in town, site of a tavern dating back to the eighteenth century; and was most likely built by John Slifer in 1821.
It was passed to his son, Reverand Emmanuel Slifer, who moved into the house with his wife upon their marriage. Reverand Slifer was a pastor of the Dunker Church, which is located on Route 17 about a mile north of Burkittsville, today known as Pleasant View Church of the Brethren.
During the Civil War, Rev. Slifer served on the Committee for Religious Objectors and Exemption, helping soldiers, whom we now call Conscientious Objectors, who had been drafted.
In 1864, Rev. Slifer served as the petitioner for the Butts family whose son, Joseph, had enlisted in the Maryland Volunteers in 1862 and died in 1864. He succeeded in having a pension granted to the family. At home, Rev. Slifer was a tailor, and his products were much sought after for their quality.
The one story brick structure next to the house was built by Rev. Slifer in 1845 to serve as his tailor shop. On September 9, 1862, Col. Thomas Munford of the C.S.A. Cavalry, used the tailor shop for his headquarters.
Following the battle of South Mountain, the Christian Women's Association, a community based group formed to aid in the hospitals, used the tailor shop for a medical supply. Rev. Slifer's wife was a member of this organization.
Horine's Store at 2 West Main Street. The soldiers making their way up Main Street towards the mountain, found the commerce of the village to be centered at the town square; including this building, which at the time housed a general store, operated by the Horine Family. Store ledgers indicate that goods were purchased by soldiers of both sides during the time Burkittsville was occupied. Stores within the village were extremely important, especially to soldiers, who were often under-supplied. This property had been a commercial establishment since its construction in the early 19th century by Captain Joshua Harley, who owned the first store in Burkittsville. In 1824, this store became the home of the Harley's, and later Burkittsville Post Office. The Horine Family continued to operate their store for over a century after the battle, although the name was changed to Gordon's in its later years. Today, the building houses P.J. Gilligan's Mercantile, making Two West Main Street, Burkittsville's oldest commercial structure
Hightman's Store at 1 West Main Street. Another of Burkittsville's oldest commercial structures, this house was originally built as a tavern around 1815.
At the time of the battle, this building housed John Hightman's Store; as with Horine's across the street, Hightman's Store was crucial to many soldiers and even more so since the Post Office had been relocated to this store just before the battle in 1861.
Following the battle, many letters were sent to families who had lost loved ones through this post office. Soldiers who died in the hospitals were sometimes consulted by nurses or other soldiers to write a last letter home, while others did not have the chance. One such letter mentions a soldier who died in the Reformed Church, written by a fellow soldier who assured his family that their son had spent his last moments as comfortably as possible.
Many poignant letters such as this were the only notice a family received as to the fate of their sons, making the post office a crucial institution. This property remained an active general store until the 1980s, owned for much of the twentieth century by the Guyton family.
The John Hightman House at 5 West Main Street. This historic home, built around 1845, was the center of a small industrial center at the time of the battle in 1862. Owned at the time by the Hightman Family, a blacksmith shop was operated behind the house and served as a "fix-it" shop to the village. The horses of both Confederate and Union soldiers were shod here, and repairs to equipment might also have been made.
Hightman operated a store on the square for much of the mid-to-late nineteenth century. The Hightman House is considered one of the best preserved houses in Burkittsville, and today remains almost entirely identical to its appearance during the Civil War era. The only significant change to the structure is the cross gable, likely added in the late 19th century to "update" the house.
The Home Place at 8 West Main Street. "The Home Place" is one of Burkittsville's earliest documented structures. The rear ell wing of this composite house was built in the late-18th century of half-timbered framing, a construction technique transported from Europe dating back to the medieval period. Few examples of this construction style exist in Frederick County today. The front section of the house was built in the early 19th century of logs. In the 19th century, this was home to the Arnold and Miller families and in the 20th century, Deborah Aughenbaugh, Burkittsville's first female mayor lived here.
7 West Main Street. Georgian-Federal style home built between 1836 and 1840. The lot on which the house was built was one of only two lots bequeathed to friends by Henry Burkitt, the village founder, in his 1836 will. In 1857, just prior to the Civil War, the house was sold to Henry Shafer. Henry Shafer and his family witnessed thousands of Union and Confederate troops passing by from their front windows. On September 13, 1862, Burkittsville was occupied by Confederate troops under the command of Brig General Howell Cobb who had been assigned to guard Crampton’s Gap located to the west of the village. According to local historians, 7 West Main St and the house next door were occupied by Virginia Cavalry under the command of Col. Thomas Munford. Munford had selected these homes because of the blacksmith’s shop in the rear alley they used to reshod their weary horses. The home remained in the Shafer family until 1926.
101 West Main Street. The Easterday Huse/St. John's Chapel: The Easterday House is one of Burkittsville’s most elaborate Victorian-era structures, an example of Queen Anne style completed with two turrets, six gables accented by scalloped wooden shingles, and carved brackets and balustrades on the front porch. Parts of this house pre-date the Civil War. Less than a month before the Battle of South Mountain in 1862, sisters Elizabeth and Julia Ann Easterday purchased this house. Throughout the day on September 14, 1862, the Union Army passed by the front of the house on its way to the mountain and by the evening, wounded soldiers were carried by en route to one of over a dozen field hospitals setup throughout the village. In the twentieth century, this house served as the parsonage for Pleasant View Church of the Brethren.
In the early 1890s, the rector of St. Mark's Episcopal Parish began conducting Evening Prayer services in Burkittsville. From this work, a small congregation was established and in 1896, the Gothic Revival-styled St. John's Chapel was completed. The congregation was short-lived and ceased holding regular services by 1920. The chapel was eventually deconsecrated and has seen use as an antique store and studio. St. John's was established under the leadership of the Rev. Edward Trail Helfenstein, future Bishop of the Diocese of Maryland (1926-1948).
105 West Main Street. Like many houses in Burkittsville, this seemingly Victorian period structure is actually a product of several generations of building and expansion. The original section of the house located at the back of the present structure was possibly built by Daniel Grove Biser in the 1850s. Thomas and Rebecca Karn lived here from 1867 until the 1890s. Thomas was a carpenter and the front section of the house was built during his ownership. Featuring projecting bays and gables clad in wood shingles, this later addition, completed as early as 1873, is an early vernacular expression of Queen Anne style. For a brief period between owners in the 1890s, the house was owned by Outerbridge Horsey, operator of a rye whiskey distillery south of town on the old Needwood Plantation, one of Burkittsville's major industries in the late-19th century.
The Tannery Master's House at 109 West Main Street. This historic home dates to the early 19th century, likely built by Ezra Slifer, who owned the tannery before Michael Wiener, who was living in this Federal styled house with his family during the time of the battle. The Tannery Master's House is one site which is directly involved in a significant legend of Burkittsville's history: the visit of Abraham Lincoln in the fall of 1862. The mystery of Lincoln's return route to Washington D.C. from Antietam gives the setting of Burkittsville as one of his stops. According to Wiener and Arnold family traditions, the President stopped and ate lunch on the rear sleeping porch of the house in the shade of the massive tree which still looms behind the structure. According to General William Franklin's Notes on the Maryland Campaign, "...when Mr. Lincoln visited the army, he came through Crampton's Gap; he told me that he was astonished to see and bear of what we had done there. He thanked me for it, and said that he had not understood it before. He was in a respects very kind and complimentary." The home burned in 1890, but was rebuilt within a year. Today, the house stands newly restored after several years of abandonment.
The Michael Wiener Tannery at 111 West Main Street. The Michael Wiener Tannery was the largest industrial complex within the village of Burkittsville when soldiers passed by on their way to battle in 1862. The Wiener Family purchased the tannery from the Slifer Family in 1846. Michael Wiener, a Bavarian immigrant, was a well-trained tanner. By the time of the war, Wiener had expanded the complex to include a pottery kiln, wheelwright, a blacksmith, and carpenters shops, and even a loom. The center portion of the present hous at 111 West Main Street is all that remains. The structure, built of stone on the first level and brick on the second, served as a manager's and magistrate's office. Widely respected, Wiener had a contract to produce saddles for the Austrian Army. While records have never been located to state how much was stolen from the Wiener's during the war, it can be assumed that they were at a great loss. Local tradition states that the army confiscated all of Wiener's saddles. The tannery continued to operate until the early 20th century. After laying in ruin for several decades, the building was restored and expanded to produce the modern house seen today.
The David Arnold Farm was established in 1789. It was the home of Burkittsville's founder, Revolutionary War veteran Captain Joshua Harley. David Arnold operated the farm in 1862 where much of the fighting of the Federal left wing took place. The house had a smaller footprint at that time and it was expanded to its present size in 1873. Stories exist of the Arnold women baking pies for Confederates staying in the house and later, Union sharpshooters firing from the barn on the Confederates up the hill. The Vermont 4nd and 2th marched on the south side of the road heading up to Crampton’s Gap.
The New Jersey 2nd and 4th Regiments moved on the north side of the road (on the right in the photograph) which was part of the Arnold farm in 1862. Sarah Margaret Arnold was born on the Arnold farm in 1858. Her mother told the 5 year old “Margaret” to sit in the Spring House and eat her bread and ham and wait until the soldiers passed. The white washed stone spring house still sits by the side of the road today. Margaret married Hamilton Willard Shafer and moved to the Shafer farm one mile away.
The Isaac Bond Map of 1858 showing the existing buildings and ownership of the properties. Note that St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which was built in 1859, is not shown.