Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam Battlefield - Philip Pry Farm

Modern photo of the Philip Pry House
Philip Pry House
National Park Service

Quick Facts

Location:
Sharpsburg, MD
Significance:
Union headquarters during the Battle of Antietam and hospital aftewards
Designation:
National Park, National Register of Historic Places, HABS/HAER/HALS

The Philip Pry house was built in 1844 by Philip Pry and his brother, Samuel, on high ground west of Keedysville, Maryland. The house is a two-story, L-shaped brick structure on a stone foundation with a steeply pitched roof with two single chimneys. At the time of the battle, the farm grounds included then a barn, smoke house, cave house, a springhouse and a toll house. Because of its panoramic view of almost the entire Antietam Valley around Sharpsburg, Pry's prosperous farm and home was taken over by Union commander George B. McClellan to use as his headquarters during the Battle of Antietam.

After the battle, the Pry House served as a Union hospital, as well as the headquarters for Maj. Jonathan Letterman, Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac. It was here that Letterman reorganized the army's medical department, including codifying field hospital administration and developing medical logistical operations of the Army of the Potomac, procedures that are still used in one form or another in the modern military, 150 years later.

Today the Pry House is home to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. Exhibits include a re-creation of an operating theater, interpretive panels and objects relating to the care of wounded and the effects on the civilian population in the area. Take the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln who visited the house two weeks after the battle to visit the mortally wounded Israel Richardson, Union general who died in the Pry House on November 3, 1862.