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This farm, owned by Henry and Elizabeth Piper, was home to the Piper family, several slaves, and a free black. Henry was known by the residents of Sharpsburg as “Old Stovepipe,” for the tall hat he wore. The center of the Confederate line stood in the area around the house. Generals James Longstreet and D. H. Hill established their headquarters there. After serving the Confederate officers dinner the night before the battle, the Pipers chose to leave the area, not knowing what to expect from the anticipated battle.

For several hours during the intense fighting, Hill’s outnumbered troops stubbornly held off General Israel Richardson’s Union advance across the Piper Farm, until they were eventually pushed back beyond the Piper cornfield. Later in the afternoon, Anderson’s brigade stopped another advance. During the fighting, many wounded Confederates found their way into the farmhouse, where they received rudimentary treatment.

PiperBarn02.jpg
Piper barn​

After the battle, three dead Confederate soldiers were found in the house, including one who succumbed while lying under a piano in the parlor, according to records held by the 130th Pennsylvania Infantry. The Pennsylvanians reported that every stitch of muslin, linen, and calico in the house appeared to have been used to treat the wounds of the Confederates.

The family had mixed emotions upon returning home. Dead soldiers lay throughout the property. Henry Piper reported only minimal destruction from the actual fighting but claimed more than two thousand dollars in damages during the days after the battle, when the farm was occupied by Federal forces. Piper blamed the Third and Fourth Pennsylvania cavalries and the Eighth New York Cavalry for the losses. The barn, used as a hospital, is much larger today than it was at the time of the fighting. An addition was constructed in 1898.

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger “So You Think You Know Antietam? The Stories Behind America’s Bloodiest Day”

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