Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

War Department Observation Tower

 
 
War Department Observation Tower Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
1. War Department Observation Tower Marker
Inscription. This tower was built by the War Department in 1896 as part of the early development efforts by the U.S. military to create an open-air classroom at Antietam. The War Department also placed cannon, built roads and fences. They interviewed Antietam veterans and created over 200 detailed battle tablets like the ones here at the tower. The War Department established five National Military Parks in the 1890s - Antietam, Gettysburg, Chickamauga-Chattanooga, Shiloh, and Vicksburg. The five parks were transferred to the National Park Service in 1933 in an effort to consolidate public lands.
 
Erected 2009 by Antietam National Battlefield - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 28.16′ N, 77° 44.16′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Richardson Avenue, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Located at the base of the Observation Tower. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Irish Brigade (a few steps from this marker); Major General Israel B. Richardson (a few steps from this marker); Hexamer's (New Jersey) Battery
Tower Views East and South image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
2. Tower Views East and South
(a few steps from this marker); Army of Northern Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Army of Northern Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Army of Northern Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); September 17, 1862 (Continued) (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named September 17, 1862 (Continued) (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. In the upper right are four views of the area around the tower at different times. From left to right:
- Looking east down Bloody Lane before the tower was built.
- The tower as it was originally built without a roof.
- Visitors touring the battlefield early in the 20th century.
- Bloody Lane about 1960, before the park road was moved away from the lane and the historic fencing was restored.

The bottom three-quarters of the marker are panoramic views from the tower looking east, south, west, and north (in order from top to bottom).
Tower Views West and North image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
3. Tower Views West and North

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Marker at the Base of the Tower image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
4. Marker at the Base of the Tower
Looking East From the Tower image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
5. Looking East From the Tower
In the far left distance is South Mountain. The largest ridge line to the right is Elk Ridge.
Looking Southwest From the Tower image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
6. Looking Southwest From the Tower
The Sharpsburg water tower is in the distant left center. The white barn to the right is the Piper Farm.
Looking Northwest from the Tower image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
7. Looking Northwest from the Tower
The Sunken Road runs from the base of the tower on the left. The park visitor center is in the distance beyond that. On the right are the Mumma and Roulette Farms.
Looking North from the Tower image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
8. Looking North from the Tower
To the left are the Mumma and Roulette Farms. Federal forces, including the Irish Brigade, assaulted across the open field in the foreground. To the right is a stand of trees where a cannon represents Battery K, 1st U.S. Artillery, near which General Richardson was mortally wounded.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 793 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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