2024 Spring Symposium

April 12-13, 2024

After Antietam: The Final Acts

Join us for the third annual Antietam Institute’s Symposium on April 12, 2024. The program will focus on the aftermath of the Maryland Campaign and is entitled: “After Antietam: The Final Acts.”

As in the past, the Institute has gathered a distinguished group of experts who will share their expertise with those in attendance. The program will cover the military events on the day after the battle, the political landscape, including the Emancipation Proclamation, and the impact of the campaign on both armies and how they quickly regained their fighting abilities. 

The Symposium will also include an optional field trip the afternoon before the Symposium that features the Battle of Shepherdstown that will be led by Kevin Pawlak.

Symposium Itinerary

Friday, April 12, 2024 (optional)

Join us for an optional battlefield walk the afternoon before the Symposium. Guide Kevin Pawlak will lead a hike of the Battle of Shepherdstown that occurred on September 19-20, 1862.

1:00p – 4:00p “Up the Bluffs: The Battle of Shepherdstown, September 19-20, 1862” Kevin Pawlak

This caravan and walking tour will cover the final event of the Maryland Campaign, the two-day Battle of Shepherdstown. Fought following the Confederate withdrawal from Sharpsburg, this battle along the Potomac River helped prevent a Confederate reentry into Maryland and officially brought Lee’s campaign north of the Potomac River to an end.

This walk will include traversing some difficult terrain.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

8:15a – Registration at Homewood Suites, Hagerstown

9:00a – “Watching Each Other Like Two Bulldogs”: The Maryland Campaign’s Forgotten Day, September 18, 1862 Kevin Pawlak

The fighting at Antietam on September 17, 1862, did not immediately decide the outcome of the Maryland Campaign. Both armies remained on the field following the bloodiest single day in American history. Soldiers remained on alert for another day of fighting as both Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan sought to renew the battle to achieve their campaign objectives. This talk will explore the soldier’s experience in the immediate aftermath of Antietam as well as the leadership decisions that shaped the next phase of the campaign.

10:00a – “A Momentous Turn: The Fall Elections of 1862 and the Fate of the Union” Dr. James Broomall: 

The fall of 1862 proved politically momentous.

Democrats, campaigning on a platform of “the Constitution as it is and the Union as it was,” successfully swayed voters to rebuke the Lincoln administration. Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives prompting them, in turn, to run a “coalition government” for the remainder of the war. Democrats assumed key governorships in New York and New Jersey, and controlled vital state legislatures in New Jersey, Indiana, and Illinois.

The myriad reasons for this reversal included President Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the issuance of the preliminary emancipation proclamation, and military defeats and stalemates for United States forces. This talk will examine the political landscape of 1862 to argue that the Union was truly imperiled in the fall of 1862. 

11:00a – “Struggle for Freedom” Jess Rowley

The Battle of Antietam, fought amongst the hills surrounding Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862, provided President Abraham Lincoln with the victory he needed to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. What had led Lincoln to that moment? Perhaps more important – what did the issuing of the Proclamation achieve? 

This talk will look at the events leading up to the Emancipation, the short and long-term effects of the document, and place the Emancipation into the greater American story – the long struggle for freedom.

12:00p – Lunch

1:00p – “For Want of Supplies: Logistics, Politics and Strategy in the Army of the Potomac, Sept.-Oct. 1862” Dr. Tom Clemens

The Union army faced many challenges after the Maryland Campaign. Tom will examine the post-battle logistics and physical condition of the army, including their supplies and rations, the struggle of maintaining the army so far from a supply depot, and the loss of men and leaders in the army.

The political situation involving President Lincoln, his cabinet members and the relations between them and Gen. McClellan will also be examined, as well as who was responsible for the formation and execution strategy in these two critical months.

2:00p – “Damage and Recovery: How the Army of Northern Virginia Recovered after Sharpsburg” Scott Hartwig

The Army of Northern Virginia entered the Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg in terrible physical condition, poorly supplied and the men worn down by severe marches on short to non-existent rations.  They fought with great courage and determination on September 17 but suffered dreadful losses and during the battle many brigades simply came apart. 

Compounding the damage of the battle, thousands of men had left the ranks, sick, exhausted, worn out, or discouraged and were scattered broadcast across the lower end of the Shenandoah Valley.  For a period of several weeks after the battle Lee’s army was quite vulnerable.   But by November 1862 the Army of Northern Virginia was a renewed and formidable army again.  In this program we will explore how Lee restored the morale, strength, and confidence of the army.

3:00p – Panel Discussion

4:00p – Wrap up session

4:30p – End of Day


Dr. James J. Broomall is an associate professor of history at Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, and the director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, which promotes a dialogue among popular and academic audiences by integrating scholarship, education, and engagement. He is a cultural historian of the Civil War era and has published articles or essays in Common Place: The Journal of Early American Life, Gettysburg MagazineOhio Valley HistoryCivil War TimesCivil War History, and The Journal of the Civil War Era. He co-edited with William A. Link, Rethinking American Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom (Cambridge University Press) in 2016. The University of North Carolina Press published his book, Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers, as part of the Civil War America series in 2019. He is currently working on a book project titled Battle Pieces: The Art and Artifacts of the American Civil War Era, which explores how historical imagery and military artifacts were used to create representations of violence, war, and death.

Tom Clemens is Professor Emeritus from Hagerstown Community College. He received his BA and MA from Salisbury University, and DA from George Mason University, and studied under Dr. Joseph Harsh. He is the Co- founder and current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation. He is the editor of Ezra Carman’s Maryland Campaign of September 1862 and soon to be published Ezra Carman Papers.

D. Scott Hartwig was the supervisory park historian at Gettysburg National Military Park and retired in 2014 after a 34-year career in the National Park Service, nearly all of it spent at Gettysburg.  He won the regional Freeman Tilden Award for excellence in interpretation in 1993, and was a key player for the design of all aspects of the current Gettysburg museum/visitor center.  He is the author of To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign from September 3 to September 16, published in September 2012 by Johns Hopkins University Press, and of I Dread the Thought of the Place: The Battle of Antietam and End of the Maryland Campaign, also published by Johns Hopkins in August 2023.

Kevin Pawlak is a Historic Site Manager for the Prince William County Office of Historic Preservation. He is also a licensed battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and serves on the board of the Antietam Institute and Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Kevin is the author of six books, including Such a Clash of Arms: The Maryland Campaign, September 1862.

Jess Rowley was born and raised in Arizona. After serving in the Marine Corps Reserves from 2003 to 2009, he graduated from the University of Northern Colorado with a B.A. in History in 2011. He began his NPS career in 2012 at Zion National Park, in southern Utah, before moving to Antietam with his wife and three children in 2015. Jess has now worked at Antietam for over eight years in the Interpretive Division.


The Symposium will be held at the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Hagerstown: 1650 Pullman Lane, Hagerstown, MD 21740

Rooms and Suites are available at:

Homewood Suites

The Inn at Antietam

The Jacob Rohrbach Inn