Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A House Was Burning
This cemetery and the farm buildings to your right were part of Samuel and Elizabeth Mumma's farm in 1862. Warned of the coming battle, the Mummas and their ten children fled to safety. Fearful that Union sharpshooters would use the farm buildings as a strongpoint, Confederates set fire to them. The column of fire and smoke was visible all morning above the battlefield. This fire was the only deliberate destruction of civilian property. One Union soldier remembered, "Just in front of us a house was burning, and the fire and smoke, flashing muskets and whizzing of bullets, yells of men...were perfectly horrible."
The Mummas spent the winter at the Sherrick farm near Burnside Bridge and were able to rebuild in 1863. After the war, the Federal Government compensated residents for damage caused by Union soldiers. However, since this farm was burned by Confederates, the Mummas received no compensation. Starting in 1870 the family deeded interest in this burial ground to local families. Neighbors who suffered from war and came together to rebuild their community, now rest together in this peaceful enclosure.
"...a set of farm
Confederate General Roswell S. Ripley
Years later, Sgt. Maj. James F. Clark, of the 3rd North Carolina Infantry, Ripley's Brigade wrote a letter (left) to the postmaster of Sharpsburg, asking how to contact the family. Clark explained how the men in his regiment burned the house during the battle.
Ironically, the postmaster at the time was Samuel Mumma, Jr. He responded with what he knew of the incident, and added "As to your burning our house, we know that in doing so, you were carrying out orders."
Erected 2009 by Antietam National Battlefield - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites • War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is September 17, 1862.
Location. 39° 28.678′ N, 77° 44.535′ W. Marker is in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Mummas Lane, on the right when traveling south. Located at the start of a path leading to the Mumma Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named "A House Was Burning" (here, next to this marker); Historic Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Woolfolk’s (Ashland) Virginia BatteryBattery F, 5th U.S. Artillery (about 500 feet away); Battery A (about 500 feet away); Battery D, 2d U.S. Artillery (about 500 feet away); Hexamer's (New Jersey) Battery (about 500 feet away); Jackson's Command (about 500 feet away); Batteries A and C 4th U.S. Artillery (about 500 feet away); Smith's Division, Sixth Army Corps (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
More about this marker. On the left is a portrait of the Mummas. In the center is a wartime photo of the house after the battle. Alexander Gardner photographed the burned out farm buildings two or three days after the battle. The photograph was taken from the far side of the farmstead. The white springhouse was the only salvageable structure and it still stands. Above the wartime photo is a picture of a watch. The Mumma family lost almost everything. This watch was the one item that the family was able to save from the destruction of their home. On the upper right is is an Alfred Waud sketch of the burning Mumma farm published in Harpers Weekly. in the lower right are photos of James Clark's letter.
Also see . . .
1. Antietam Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Old Marker at this Location. This marker replaced an older one also titled "A House was Burning." (Submitted on September 21, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 5, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,084 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on October 24, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 8. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 9. submitted on October 24, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 10, 11. submitted on July 11, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 12. submitted on October 18, 2017, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. 13. submitted on March 4, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.