Sunday, May 12, 2013

Antietam panorama: Ruins of John Otto's barn

                                             Click on image for full-screen panorama.

John Otto's farm house, photographed from Burnside Bridge Road.
Seldom seen by battlefield visitors today, the remains of John Otto's Pennsylvania-style bank barn may be found just beyond a strip of woods, about 100 yards behind Otto's large farmhouse at Antietam battlefield.

After the battle, Otto's house and barn, used as makeshift Federal field hospitals, were the scene of horror and anguish. Wounded soldiers from the 16th Connecticut were first treated here before they were moved to other hospitals, such as the German Reformed Church on Main Street in Sharpsburg. Otto, whose buildings were used as hospitals until Nov. 4, 1862, filed a compensation claim with the government in 1873 for $2,350.60 but was eventually awarded only $893.85, according to research by John Nelson on his outstanding "As Grain Falls Before the Reaper" CD.

John Rogers, who blogs about 8th Connecticut Pvt. Oliver Case, and I visited the remains of the barn during a recent overcast afternoon. All of Otto's Civil War-era outbuildings, including a kitchen, spring house and hog pen, are long gone, but ruins of a root cellar may also be found behind the house.

The immediate area around the Otto house looks much different than it did during the Civil War. For example, open ground to the left of the house in the image below is now woods. The Otto house sits high on a hill, overlooking the road that leads to Burnside Bridge, about a quarter-mile away. In Otto's 40-acre cornfield, about a half-mile behind the house, the 16th Connecticut suffered 43 killed and 161 wounded. (See full-screen panoramas of Otto's cornfield here.)

An early 20th-century image of the Otto farm shows five outbuildings, including the
 large Pennsylvania-style bank barn behind the house. The Otto farm house and
 barn were used as Federal field hospitals after Antietam.
Ruins of farmer John Otto's barn, 100 yards behind the Otto farm house.

No comments:

Post a Comment