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Civil War: The Battles of South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam

Program Number: 1509RJ
Start and End Dates:
5/19/2013 - 5/24/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Sharpsburg, Maryland
Price starting at: $595.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

State vs. state, brother vs. brother — experience the tranquil fields of what was the scene of some of the Civil War’s most devastating but pivotal battles. Explore the cultural components and differing ideologies that led to the outbreak of war through on-site lectures, living-history demonstrations and glimpses into the war songs of the era. Journey just south of the Mason-Dixon Line through tranquil rural fields and quaint towns that belie the region’s turbulent past.


• Meet with Civil War reenactors and learn more about the uniforms, weapons and stories of both sides of the battle.
• Walk through the site of several famous battles as an expert repaints the picture of what happened at each key battle site.
• Explore the historic waterways, the C&O Canal and views of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah at Jefferson Rock, and admire the postbellum architecture of Harpers Ferry.

Activity Particulars

Walking 3-5 miles a day over varied terrain; some hills.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center.


Sharpsburg lies east of the Potomac River near one of its tributaries, Antietam Creek, made famous by the pivotal Battle of Antietam during the American Civil War. Sharpsburg is part of Maryland’s Washington County, which attracts history fans with its numerous Civil War sites and nature buffs with its many national, state and local parks.

Modern lodge with natural spring, pavilion, fireplace, campfire circles. Classes, lodging, meals under one roof. Alcohol prohibited.
Meals and Lodgings
   Shepherd's Spring
  Sharpsburg, MD 5 nights
 Shepherd's Spring
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Located along the Potomac River and C &O Canal, Shepherd's Spring has 220 acres of woodlands and rolling meadows. The natural spring and remote setting provide an opportunity to relax and enjoy the sounds of nature. A Heifer Global Village and educational gardens make this an unique learning environment. Eco-friendly environment.
  Contact info: 16869 Taylors Landing Road
Sharpsburg, MD 21782 USA
phone: 301-223-8193
  Room amenities: Each room comes with a luggage rack, dresser, desk, and chair. Most rooms also have a futon. Alarm clocks are available upon request. Telephone and Television are available in the common areas.
  Facility amenities: Nature and meditation trails and a natural spring are on site. Limited wireless internet access is available. A computer is available for guest use. A half olympic size outdoor pool is available seasonally.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $45. Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $45. Call ahead for availability. 301-223-8193
  Check out time: 12:30 PM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3 p.m., at the Conference Center. You will be staying at Shepherd's Spring that night.
  End of Program:
12:30 p.m., at the Conference Center. You will be staying at Shepherd's Spring the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Only those forms which we send out to you in advance (health information form, rooming confirmation form...)
  Parking availability:
Free parking at Shepherd's Spring.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sharpsburg, MD
  Nearest city or town:  Sharpsburg, Hagerstown
  Nearest highway: I-70, I-81
  Nearest airport:  Baltimore Washington International
  From End of Program
  Location: Sharpsburg, MD
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Shepherd's Spring
phone: 301-223-8193
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$75 per person, one way. Discount for additional riders
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 1/2 




75 miles


Airport transportation provided to and from BWI, IAD, and Washington Reagan. Regional airport at Hagerstown, MD transportation available for $25 per person. Please call ahead to schedule pick-up service. 301-223-8193




From Train Station




Hotel Shuttle
Shepherd's Spring
phone: 301-223-8193


Per Person/One Way:


$45 per person, one way. Discount for additional riders
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


40 minutes 




30 miles


AMTRAK service to Martinsburg, WV. OR from Washington, DC take the METRO light rail Red Line to Shady Grove for pickup. Please call ahead to schedule pick-up. 301-223-8193


Baltimore MD, Frederick MD,


From Bus Terminal




Hotel Shuttle
Shepherd's Spring
phone: 301-223-8193
Advanced Reservations Required


Please call ahead to schedule pick-up . 301-223-8193

Driving Directions
  From Baltimore/Washington Area Virginia, West Virginia or Pennsylvania Take I-70 West to the Route 65 interchange in Hagerstown (Exit 29.) Travel South on Route 65 for 7.1 miles to Taylors Landing Road - turn right onto Taylors Landing Rd. and drive 2.2 miles. You will cross a railroad track, pass houses, and then veer to the right. Stay on Taylors Landing Road. Drive along side a dry canal bed, and eventually cross a small creek. Pass 2 houses on the left, continue to the top of the hill. Look for a big sign on the left that says "Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministries Center Church of the Brethren." Turn left into the paved driveway. The lodge is 7/10th of a mile from the end of the driveway. From Virginia-West: Go North on I-81 to I-70 east, to Rt. 65, and then follow above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..." From Virginia-East: Take I-495 to 270N to Frederick. Take I-70 W to Route 65, and then follow above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..." From Pennsylvania: Travel South on I-81 to I-70 East, to Rt. 65 South. Then follow the above directions from where it says "Travel South on Rt. 65 for 7.1 miles..."
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration and Orientation Meet your fellow learners!
(Sunday, May 19)
 Afternoon: 3 - 5 pm: Registration, and Check-in - Lobby of the Conference Center Lodge.
 Dinner: 5:30 pm Buffet style Dinner in the Dining Room with salad bar and tempting dessert
 Evening: Orientation and overview of the week's schedule in the Gathering Room. Join our historian for a look at the issue of slavery and state's rights - one of the causes of the Civil War.
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Lectures, Film and exploration of the Shepherd's Spring site
(Monday, May 20)

Note: From John Brown's Raid to the first invasion of the North - setting the scene for battle.

 Breakfast: Hot buffet style Breakfast in the Dining Room with fresh fruit and cereal, too
 Morning: Documentary Film: John Brown's Holy War - John Brown's Raid served as a catalyst for those who saw slavery as a great injustice. The impact of his "raid" is explored in a PBS documentary. Known as the shot heard round the world, this pre-cursor to the Civil War sets the stage for Lincoln to issue an emancipation proclamation. Explore other underlying causes that led the Nation to Civil War with our expert Civil War Historian. Then journey with the experts as the stage is set for the Maryland Campaign - a bold invasion of the North by the Confederacy - what did they hope to accomplish and where were they going will be answered in this lecture.
 Lunch: Terrific buffet style Lunch in the Dining Room with soup and salad bar
 Afternoon: Harpers Ferry plays a key role in the decisions made in the Maryland Campaign. The afternoon lecture will explore how the events at Harpers Ferry and South Mountain that led to the Battle of Antietam. Explore portions of the Shepherd's Spring property that provided Civil War era artifacts with an afternoon walk on the trails.
 Dinner: Buffet style Dinner in the Dining Room with salad bar and tempting dessert
 Evening: Living History re-enactors present the Civil War Soldier: Arms, Equipment and Uniforms featuring both Union and Confederate troop accoutrements.
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Manassas Battlefield
(Tuesday, May 21)

Note: 2nd Battle of Manassas sets the stage for the Maryland Campaign

 Breakfast: Buffet style Breakfast served in the Dining Room with fresh fruit, pastries and cereal selections
 Morning: Travel to nearby Manassas, Virginia to explore the 2nd Battle of Manassas and how it led to the invasion plan of the Confederacy. Historians will share the strategy of this Confederate victory as we walk the battlefield.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant near the Battlefield.
 Afternoon: Continue our exploration of the South Mountain Battlefield Gaps with a stop in historic Burkittsville and a stop at the first monument erected to honor the Nation's first President
 Dinner: Buffet style dinner in the dining room, including salad bar and dessert
 Evening: Relax for the evening with free time OR a viewing of the film " Antietam"
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: South Mountain and Harpers Ferry Battlefield explorations
(Wednesday, May 22)

Note: From Lost Orders to Jefferson's Rock viewpoint at Harpers Ferry, the Maryand Campain invades the North.

 Breakfast: A morning walk on the Shepherd's Spring property followed by a hearty buffet style breakfast in the Dining Room
 Morning: Join our Battlefield historians as we trace the route of the Confederate army from crossing the Potomac at Frederick, the lost orders that gave away their strategy and the pursuit of the Federal army through the Middletown valley. This pursuit culminated in battles along the ridgetop of South Mountain. Our historian and guide will bring the struggle to control the gaps or roadways across this rugged terrain into focus.
 Lunch: Enjoy a Gourmet Picnic lunch at Harpers Ferry , providing energy for an optional climb up to Jefferson's Rock
 Afternoon: Complete the day's battlefield exploration with the journey into Harpers Ferry. From the mountaintops surrounding the town, put yourself in the position of the 12,000 green recruits as they become surrounded by Confederate troops. Conclude our history lesson in time to do some exploring on your own. Jefferson's Rock, up the hill from the main town area provides a wonderful view of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers - one Jefferson thought worthy of a trip across an ocean!
 Dinner: Buffet style dinner with salad bar and dessert served in the Shepherd's Spring dining room
 Evening: Take a break from Civil War history to visit another piece of local history - the C & O Canal. The town of Williamsport was one of the three main ports along this important water transportation route. Within a half mile stroll, a lock, aqueduct, loading basin and railroad lift bridge highlight the engineering success of the canal.
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Antietam National Battlefield field trip
(Thursday, May 23)

Note: The single bloodiest day in American history happened in the fields of peace loving farmers.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a hot buffet style Breakfast including fresh fruit and cereal selections
 Morning: Follow the troop movements at the battle of Antietam, beginning with the early morning skirmish in the Miller's cornfield. As we traverse the battlefield the challenges of terrain and communications help to define the outcomes of the day. Our expert historian shares perspectives from common soldiers to generals as we trace the events of the day.
 Lunch: Enjoy a Picnic lunch in the village of Keedysville
 Afternoon: Continue following the troop movements and strategy of the generals as we pass the Mumma homestead, the Dunker Church and Bloody Lane. Storm the lower bridge crossing Antietam Creek with General Burnside as we study the afternoon and evening phase of the Battle.
 Dinner: Enjoy a Banquet style dinner in the Lodge dining room
 Evening: Travel the years of the Civil War through song with a local soloist and historian
Accommodations: Shepherd's Spring
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Review the events around the battle of Antietam and their lasting effects on the Nation
(Friday, May 24)
 Breakfast: Hot buffet style Breakfast in the Dining Room with fresh fruit and pastries
 Morning: Review the events surrounding the Battle of Antietam and their lasting effects on the region and the Nation with our expert historian. Test your knowledge with a fun game show format.
 Lunch: 11:30 Buffet style Lunch in the Dining Room Check-out immediately following lunch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Sharpsburg, MD Antietam National Battlefield
The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) on Sept. 17, 1862 greatly altered the course of the American Civil War. It remains as the bloodiest day in American History - there were some 23,110 casualties. Visitors can walk or drive by the Dunker Church, the North and East Woods, The Cornfield, the Mumma Farmstead, Bloody Lane (Sunken Road) Burnside Bridge, and Antietam National Cemetery. Antietam National Battlefield lies north and east of Sharpsburg, along Md. 35 and 65. Both routes intersect either U.S. 40 or 40A and I-70. The Visitor's Center is opening daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. All visitor center facilities and most tour route exhibits are wheelchair accessible. Antietam National Battlefield and Cemetery are adminstered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. P.O. Box 158 Sharpsburg, MD 21782 301-432-5124 For additional information, visit
  Chesapeake and Ohio Canal
The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal began as a dream of passage to western wealth, It operated as a conduit of eastern coal, suffered extensive and finally fatal flooding, and then resisted being paved as a highway. Today it endures as a national historical park - a pathway into history, nature, and recreation. The canal runs along the Potomac River from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown, Washington DC (184.5 miles) The canal abuts the property line of Shepherd's Spring at Mile Marker 83. It is popular with hikers and bicyclists. For general information about the canal, write: C&O National Historical Park, 1850 Dual Highway, Hagerstown, MD 21740 or call 301-739-4200. For additional information, visit\choh
  Foxcross Pottery
Del Martin, potter, lives and works at Foxcross with his wife, Carol. Their secluded rural home, overlooking the Potomac River, and pottery is both self-constructed and self-sustaining. They invite visitors to come glimpse their work and lifestyle. Foxcross pottery is just 5 minutes from Shepherd's Spring, and is open Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday 1 - 5 pm or by appointment. The pottery is lead-free and uses stony reduction glazes. Address: 6640 Remsburg Road Sharpsburg, Md 21782 301-432-6692
  Washington County Museum of Fine Arts
The holdings contain over 6,000 works of art, and the museum is nationally recognized for its collection of 19th and early 20th century American Art. In addition, visitors can view 18th century to contemporary paintings, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts. There are also holding of Old Masters, European, Asian, African, and Native American Art. Hours: Tues - Sat. 10 am - 5 pm, Sun. 1 - 5 pm. Located at 91 Key Street, City Park, Hagerstown, MD email: phone: 301-739-5727 the galleries are fully accessible to those with disabilities and wheelchairs are available. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Gleam of Bayonets

Author: J Murfin

Crossroads of War; Washington County, Maryland in the Civil War

Author: Roger Keller

Description: "Crossroads of War" brings into sharp focus a cross-section of little known happenings of both civilians and the military. "Lutie" Kealhofer, of Hagerstown, glories in meeting Lee, Longstreet and Pickett near her home in 1863 only days before Gettysburg; Young Leighton Parks visits General Lee and is given a ride on his horse, Traveller, and Mrs. Howard Kennedy nurses young Oliver Wendell Holmes back to health after Antietam. These are eye witness accounts of moments in Washington County history, a piece of the fabric that is altogether American History.

Glorious Contentment: the Grand Army of the Republic, 1865-1900

Author: Stuart Charles McConnell

Description: The Grand Army of the Republic was the most powerful single-issue political lobby of the late nineteenth century. Stuart McConnell examines this influential association during its years of greatest strength.

Landscape Turned Red

Author: Stephen Sears

Description: The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, MD was one of the bloodiest in the nation's history: On this single day, the battle claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers. Combining brilliant military analysis with narrative history of enormous power.

Roads to Antietam

Author: John Schildt

Description: The story of the armies marching to battle in September 1862 and what that experience was like for the men in the ranks and the civilians along the routes. Clouds of dust, marching men, the rumble of wagons, and the late summer heat and haze added to the noise and confusion of hundreds of units snaking their way up from Virginia and the camps around Washington, DC. Soldiers from the North and South wondered where they were going as they marched along the roads of Maryland. None of them could anticipate their bloody meeting in the fields around Sharpsburg, MD on the banks of Antietam Creek. This book depicts the feelings and actions of those who participated in those stirring events of the Maryland Campaign

Taken at the Flood

Author: J Harsh

Description: Taken at the Flood is a detailed account of the Maryland military campaign itself. This volume focuses on military policy and strategy and the circumstances under which the two commanders, Lee and McClellan, labored. Joseph Harsh advocates rethinking the Maryland campaign and promotes the argument that Antietam was one of the most interesting, critical, and potentially enlightening episodes in U.S. history

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