Archeology at Antietam
The Effect of Battle on an Agrarian Landscape:
Battlefield and Farmsteads
The Locher/Poffenberger tenant farmstead, located on the western edge of the West Woods, contains a log cabin built during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Today, the abandoned farm is a surviving reminder of the area's history -- the Civil War battle, its aftermath, and the perseverance of those who stayed to rebuild. Through archeological and historical investigation, we are able to see how one tenant farmer and his family, the Alfred Poffenbergers, dealt with the dramatic changes brought by the Civil War. The Poffenbergers appear to have been one of the more fortunate families, for they prospered after the Antietam battle. They were able to purchase the popular ceramics of the day, raised pigs and cows, doubled their land holdings, and possibly even built another room onto the cabin. Despite his good fortune, Alfred Poffenberger moved his family to Iowa by 1870, perhaps as a result of more promising opportunities.
The insight gained from the research at the Locher/Poffenberger tenant site will be combined with data from archeological work at the Mumma Farm, and archival research on other Antietam farms and plantations, to better understand how the battle changed the lives of the people, affected the decisions about their livelihoods, and ultimately how these decisions were reflected in the landscape.