Saturday, October 05, 2013

Antietam panorama: Sherrick farm a 'sumptuous affair'

                          JOSEPH SHERRICK FARM TODAY: Only the foundation of the
              Sherrick barn remains. (Click on images for full-screen interactive panorama.)
  
                         JOSEPH SHERRICK FARM 1862: Cropped close-up of renowned
                      Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner's image of Sherrick farm 
            made on Sept. 21, 1862. High-res image is available on Library of Congress site.
                         
When Yankees discovered that the prosperous farm of 60-year-old Joseph and 55-year-old Sarah Sherrick was abandoned on Sept. 17, 1862, they quickly took advantage. "Upon visiting the Sherrick's house that morning, we found it quite a sumptuous affair," a 22nd Massachusetts soldier noted. "It had been hastily evacuated, as it was between the lines. The foragers ahead of us had pulled out what edibles it contained, and among them a splendid assortment of jellies, preserves, etc., the pride of every Maryland woman's heart, but now scattered about. The orchard was filled with the choicest fruit. What a feast! Our stomachs, just beginning to become accustomed to 'salt horse' and 'hard tack,' earnestly opened and yearned for this line of good things." (1)

Right half of Alexander Gardner's stereoview of Joseph Sherrick's farm.
(Library of Congress collection)
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.
Soldiers from both armies swept across the property during the Battle of Antietam. Afterward, the Sherrick's house and barn, as well as the Pennsylvania-style bank barn and house of  John Otto, their neighbor across the road, were used as field hospitals. In fact, as noted Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner shot the image of the farm above four days after the battle, Union wounded were being cared for in the house and barn. A Connecticut soldier, 22-year-old Private Henry Adams of East Windsor, was treated there after he was wounded in Otto's cornfield about 3/4 of a mile away. The Sherrick's yard and orchard were littered with bodies and their crops were destroyed, but the $3,000 in gold that Joseph hid in a stone wall on the property before he and Sarah fled the farm remained there when they returned.

Unfortunately, the Sherrick barn was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1982, Only the foundation, shown in the foreground of the interactive panorama above, remains. For all my interactive Antietam panoramas, click here.

(1) Walker, Kevin M and Kirkman, K.C., Antietam Farmsteads: A Guide to the Battlefield Landscapes, Sharpsburg, Md.: Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2010, Page 95

Enlargements of Gardner's Sherrick farm photograph reveal extraordinary detail.
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)

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