Monday, July 31, 2017

Seldom-seen circa-1877 photo of Main Street in Sharpsburg

Left half of William Tipton stereoview of Sharpsburg, Md., shot from national cemetery lodge.
(American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass.)
Google Street View: A comparable present-day view from near ground level.

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A cropped enlargement may show the
belfry of the German Reformed Church
on Main Street. The building was
used as a makeshift hospital after the
Battle of Antietam.
Best known for his battlefield images at Gettysburg, William Tipton also photographed Antietam late in the 19th century. For example, see this image, probably taken in 1894, of the 16th Connecticut monument in The 40-Acre Cornfield. About 1877, Tipton photographed Burnside Bridge and a bullet-riddled Dunker Church as well as Antietam National Cemetery, which had been dedicated in 1867.

The Gettysburg-based photographer also shot an image of Main Street in Sharpsburg from near the top of the national cemetery lodge, probably during the circa-1877 visit. This seldom-seen view, shown at the top of this post in the left half of a stereoview, includes rich detail: an unpaved dirt road; seven recently planted trees outside the national cemetery fence; a field of corn by an old stone wall; and a barely visible church belfry, perhaps of the old German Reformed Church, which had been used a hospital after the battle in the fall of 1862. (Services are still held in the small, brick church on Main Street.) In the far left background, near the tree line, Robert E. Lee made his headquarters during the Battle of Antietam.  An ink inscription below the image, copyrighted in 1877, reads: “View of Sharpsburg, Md., near battle-field of Antietam, looking west.”

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The Tipton stereoview of Sharpsburg is in the vast holdings of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass. The Society's impressive collection of hundreds of Civil War stereoviews, including rare battlefield images, may be viewed online here.

Ink inscription on stereoview notes it is a "View of Sharpsburg, Md., near battle-field of Antietam."
Stone wall and cornfield on Main Street in Sharpsburg.
Recently planted trees near the national cemetery fence.

Have something to add (or correct) in this post? E-mail me here.

1 comment:

  1. I love these old pictures. Thanks for sharing.