Stop 3 - Crossing the Hagerstown TurnpikePlease be careful as you cross the road. At the time of the battle, the Hagerstown Turnpike was an important transportation route and the road played a key role during the battle. However, in 1862 it was not paved nor as wide as it is today Before you cross, take a moment to look around you. In addition to the cannons on the field which represent artillery positions, there are many objects, some obvious, some not, that have been added to the battlefield landscape in an effort to educate, preserve, restore, or commemorate the battle. Here is a key to these items that you can see here and throughout the park.
Primarily built by veterans of the battle and states to commemorate their sacrifices here, the monuments are typically located where the troops fought during the battle. There are ninety-six monuments at Antietam, the majority of which are Union. After the war, the former Confederacy was so devastated it was difficult for the veterans to raise the needed money to build monuments.
National Park Waysides
These informational signs are located at each of the numbered auto tour stops and provide maps, photographs, and quotes. They tell the basic story of the battle and are designed for use by the general public.
War Department Tablets
Over 300 tablets provide more detailed information than the waysides and are scattered throughout the battlefield. They were created by the War Department in the 1890s to mark the location of different parts of each army during the battle. The tablets are best used to find individual regiments and follow detailed troop movements. It is often difficult to use the tablets without a good working knowledge of the battle.
The park maintains miles of historic fences that existed at the time of the battle. Using historic maps and photographs, park staff and volunteers have built two main types of fences—five rail vertical and snake or zig-zag. If you see one of these two types of fences in the park, they represent where a fence was located during the battle.
Another excellent example of the park’s preservation efforts can be seen across the street and north of the Dunker Church—the reforestation of the historic West Woods. The park staff and more than 10,000 volunteers have planted over 20,000 trees to restore this woodlot and other woodlots on the battlefield.
Safely cross over the Hagerstown Turnpike to the Dunker Church
Last updated: February 16, 2021