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Burkittsville in Frederick County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Burkittsville

Houses of Worship Become Houses of Misery

 

—Antietam Campaign 1862 —

 
Burkittsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
1. Burkittsville Marker
Inscription. Union surgeons turned Burkittsville, a quiet rural village of some 200 people, into a hospital complex after the September 14, 1862, Battle of Crampton’s Gap. The building in front of you, the German Reformed Church, was Hospital D.

Twenty-year-old Henrietta Biser gasped when she saw the church pews strewn in the front yard and “a pile of amputated limbs lying just inside the door of the church. Blood was running...over the floor...and things were torn to pieces.” Henry M. Wiener remembered amputations being conducted in the church and “seeing blood on...the walls of the church.” Wounded Union and Confederate soldiers lay on the floor, their seeping blood ruining the carpet, until straw was brought in. When it became soaked, it was pitched outside and replaced with cots.

The red brick St. Paul’s Lutheran Church also served as a hospital, and the Reformed Church parsonage, which stood between the churches, may also have served a medical function. The Henry McDuell farm north of town was Hospital A.

The hospitals operated until January 1863, when the remaining patients were transferred to Frederick. The soldiers who died in Burkittsville were temporarily interred in the town cemetery. The Federals were removed to the Antietam National Cemetery in 1867 and the Confederates to Hagerstown’s Washington
Close up of the Letter image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
2. Close up of the Letter
Mournful Tidings from Hospital D
Burkittsville, Md. Oct. 22d 1862

Mr. B Exner
Dear Sir
I take pen in hand to inform you of the Death of your dear son. It is sad for you to hear this news. He was wounded in the left thigh and had it taken off. He lived longer than I expected he would altho he was very strong. He was well taken care of. I stood by his death bed and he wanted me to write to his Father & Mother....I have here in my care a picture of his Dear...Miss Catherine Snyter, Trenton, N.J. and if she wishes for it I will send it to her.... Your son died Oct. 18th 1862 and died very easy just as if he was going to sleep.... I feel sorry to have you and the young lady hear of his death. He had me promise him to write you and I told him I would.

Yours Truly from

W.H. Aubery
Hospital Steward
Burkittsville Md.
Frederick Co.
Hospital D.

Source: U.S. National Archives
Pension File of Pvt. Charles Exner, Co. C., 1st N.J. Infantry.
Confederate Cemetery in the 1870s.

Hospital D stands as a reminder of the misery and destruction the Antietam Campaign brought into the heart of this quiet town.
 
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 23.621′ N, 77° 37.753′ W. Marker is in Burkittsville, Maryland, in Frederick County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street and Potomac Street (Maryland Route 17), on the right on East Main Street. Click for map. On the grounds of the Resurrection Reform Church. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3 East Main Street, Burkittsville MD 21718, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Forces (approx. 0.4 miles away); Burkittsville: Henry Burkitt’s Town (approx. 0.7 miles away); Chew’s Ashby Artillery (approx. 0.7 miles away); “Sealed With Their Lives” (approx. 0.7 miles away); Gath's Empty Tomb (approx. 0.9 miles away); Mausoleum (approx. 0.9 miles away); GATH: The Man and His Mountain (approx. one mile away); Brownsville Pass: Semmes’ Gamble (approx. one mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Burkittsville.
 
More about this marker.
Location of Marker near the Intersection of Main and Potomac Streets image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
3. Location of Marker near the Intersection of Main and Potomac Streets
Burkittsville features many older structures in addition to the churches mentioned on the marker.
The marker has two photos and the reproduction of a letter from a hospital steward to the family of a soldier. The left most photo shows the McDull Farm, The Henry McDull farm, north of Burkittsville, served as Hospital ‘A’. Union wounded filled the main house and several out buildings, and Confederate injured were kept on the large porch of the main house. Courtesy Melvin J. Berman via Timothy J. Reese.
The second photo is a portrait of the VI Corps Surgeon James D. Robinson who ran Hospital “A”. Photo from National Archives via Timothy J. Reese.
 
Also see . . .
1. Burkittsville Walking Tour. Yes, Burkittsville received attention more recently as the setting for the movie "The Blair Witch Project." (Submitted on July 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Official City Walking Tour. Includes a map PDF for download. (Submitted on July 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Civil War Medicine. Short history of Civil War medical procedures, including the evolution of field hospitals. (Submitted on July 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

4. The Ghosts of Burkittsville. Movies aside, the town does have its share of legends and lore some of which are linked to the hospitals and the battle. (Submitted on July 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Additional comments.
Resurrection Reformed Church image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
4. Resurrection Reformed Church
Formerly the German Reformed Church

1. The Hospitals
As detailed in the marker, Hospital A was the Henry McDull Farm originally standing to the north of town. The St. Paul's Lutheran Church was Hospital B. Hospital C was the parsonage for the German Reformed Church. And Hospital D was the German Reformed Church itself. President Abraham Lincoln visited the hospitals in Burkittsville after the Battle of Antietam.
    — Submitted July 25, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

 
Additional keywords. Antietam Campaign 1862
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
St. Paul Lutheran Church image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
5. St. Paul Lutheran Church
View from Union Cemetery towards Crampton's Gap image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 21, 2007
6. View from Union Cemetery towards Crampton's Gap
Winfield Scott Hancock's Brigade occupied this cemetery during the Battle of Crampton's Gap, Sept. 14, 1862. The opening phases played out as skirmishes across the open fields in the background. Federal forces formed there for their full assault upon the Confederate positions along Mountain Church Road (a field beyond the tree line seen beyond the field).
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,093 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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