Mar 8


The National Park Service is planning on “redoing” the Rostrum in the Gettysburg National Cemetery to its original 1879 appearance. Antietam National Battlefield has refurbished its rostrum and it will be a model for the Gettysburg Rostrum. So we went to Antietam this weekend to take pictures of the rostrum in their National Cemetery. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.

The Rostrum in Gettysburg’s National Cemetery is to be refurbished to its original appearance when it was constructed in 1879. The goal is to have it ready for a possible visit by the President of the United States on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 2013. The rostrum in the Antietam National Cemetery has been refurbished to its original appearance, and Gettysburg has been looking at the Antietam Rostrum as a model. We went to Antietam to take photographs of their rostrum.


The Rostrum is located near the main entrance to the Antietam National Cemetery. The building known as the Lodge, on the left, was the first superintendent’s home, museum, and visitor center all at the same time. Paul J. Petry, who also designed lighthouses, provided plans for the lodge in 1867. The original section of the Lodge was built for $5955.78. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


The iron gates at the entrance to the cemetery were erected in 1866 by Robert Wood and Company of Philadelphia for a cost of $880. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Antietam National Cemetery is one of the 130 cemeteries of the National Cemetery System, a system that began during the Civil War. The rostrum is in the left background. This view was taken facing east at approximately 11:15 AM on Sunday, February 21 2011.


This rostrum, like the one in the Gettysburg National Cemetery, was constructed in 1879. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Originally it like the Gettysburg Rostrum was covered with vines. On Memorial Day, 1885, Major General George B. McClellan addressed from this rostrum a large assembly of members of the “Grand Army of the Republic.” This view from Century Magazine was taken facing southeast circa 1886.


In the years just before the restoration of the rostrum, the vines were gone from the trellis, but bushes surrounded the bottom of the rostrum. This view, courtesy of the Library of Congress, was taken facing northeast by Jack E. Boucher for the Historic American Buildings Survey on Saturday, February 23, 1991.


Notice that although the vines are still not in place on the trellis, the bushes around the bottom of the rostrum have been removed. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011..


The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862. Land for the Antietam National Cemetery was contracted to be purchased on April 25, 1864 at $100 per acre. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Before the restoration, the floor of the rostrum was made of bricks. This view, courtesy of the Library of Congress, was taken facing northeast by Jack E. Boucher for the Historic American Buildings Survey on Saturday, February 23, 1991.


An 11 1/2 acre tract for the cemetery was finally acquired in August, 1865. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:15 AM on Sunday, February 21 2011.


The cemetery was dedicated on the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, Septebmer 17, 1867. In attendance was President Andrew Johnson, Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, Major General William T. Sherman, and Major General George B. McClellan. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


There are 4,776 Union remains (1,836 or 38% are unknown) buried here from the Battle of Antietam, South Mountain, Monocacy, and other action in Maryland. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


The cemetery was under jurisdiction of the Antietam Board of Trustees until it was transferred to the War Department on March 2, 1877. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


The cemetery was built for $70,000 from the contributions of 18 states. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


More than 200 non-Civil War dead are also buried in the Antietam National Cemetery. Veterans and their wives from the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, and Korea were buried here until the cemetery closed in 1953. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


An exception to the closure was made for the burial of Keedysville, Maryland resident Patrick Howard Roy, United States Navy. Fireman Roy was killed during the attack on the USS COLE and was buried in the cemetery on October 29, 2000. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


The National Park Service began administering the cemetery in 1933. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


As we take a closer look at the rostrum, we can see the recent efforts to repoint the bricks. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Instead of bushes around the bottom of the rostrum, there are decorative pots at the foot of the stairs. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


But the big difference between its appearance before and after the restoration is the appearance of a grass lawn on the floor of the rostrum. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Even on a late winter’s day, the grass floor is impressive, compared the the brick floor at the Gettysburg Rostrum. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


We know the Gettysburg National Cemetery has a little more visitation than the Antietam National Cemetery (although the visitation to the Gettysburg National Cemetery has greatly dropped since the National Park Service Visitors Center was removed from across the street of the Taneytown Road entrance gate). We hope the increased visitation at Gettysburg wouldn’t trample the grass and soon make it into a platform of hard packed dirt. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Imagine the scene here at Antietam in 1908 when when veterans came to dedicate monuments to the Pennsylvania Reserves. The speakers were on the rostrum, facing the way the camera now is at the crowd standing where the graves are. There was a wild rabbit in the grass on the rostrum. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


One of the speakers, Governor Samuel W. Pennypacker of Pennsylvania, noted that there had been a lot of talk of war during the ceremonies. However, “the times have changed and we have changed with them. This is a period of peace and plenty. The ivy which clings around these columns covers with green, the graves they made. The timid rabbit crouches in safety at our feet, upon this rostrum itself, and no man fises to disturb him.” (Second Brigade of the Pennsylvania Reserves at Antietam, Reports of the Antietam Battlefield Memorial Commission of Pennsylvania page 21) This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Of course the vines still haven’t been placed on the trellis on top of the rostrum. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Work began on the rostrum restoration in October, 2007 when members of the Antietam National Battlefield Cultural Resources Division began dismantling portions of the rostrum. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Volunteers also contributed manpower, and the rostrum was completed by May of 2009, or approximately 21 months after the project began. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


So let’s say they begin dismantling the Gettysburg Rostrum in April 2011, and it takes 21 months to complete the project. They will be finished by December, 2012, in time for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 2013. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


The restoration of the Gettysburg Rostrum and is estimated to cost between $125,000 and $150,000. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Funds for the Gettysburg Rostrum are being provided by an anonymous donor. This view was taken facing west at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


In case you were wondering, the road bordering the Antietam Cemetery is Maryland State Route 34/Main Street/Boonsboro Pike. The cemetery on the other side of the Boonsboro Pike is the Mountain View Cemetery, a civilian cemetery established in 1883. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


Before we leave the Antietam Rostrum, we would like to thank former Gettysburg National Park Ranger Eric Campbell for alerting us to the restoration of this rostrum. He is now at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 2:45 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2011.


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