SHAF acquires historic signal station site

The Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc. (SHAF) announced today that it will acquire eight (8) acres south of Sharpsburg that includes the site of a famous Union signal station in an area adjacent to Union General George B. McClellan’s headquarters.

The property is significant because photographer Alexander Gardner produced some of his most famous photographs at these two locations. Gardner accompanied President Abraham Lincoln’s entourage to Sharpsburg during the first week of October, 1862, and he made these photographs while Lincoln visited with McClellan and his staff at his headquarters.

“The most famous Lincoln-McClellan photograph occurred at the Grove Farm,” SHAF president and co-founder Tom Clemens commented. “But most of the ‘Lincoln visit’ photographs, which include the signal station, were taken adjacent to McClellan’s headquarters. That’s why we purchased the property.”

Clemens credits SHAF co-founder and first president Dennis E. Frye with making the discovery. “Dennis solved the mystery,” reported Clemens. “No one knew where McClellan moved his headquarters after the battle, but Dennis pinpointed the location.” Frye explained the discovery was purely coincidental. “I was in the National Archives searching for war claims on my property, which was General Burnside’s headquarters. Amazingly, in the same claim, McClellan’s headquarters and the signal station location were identified.”

SHAF acquired the eight acres for $60,000. The site had been subdivided for a building lot.

Frye and Clemens, both professional historians, are proud of SHAF’s continuing preservation accomplishments. Established in 1986, the organization has either acquired itself or helped the State of Maryland protect over 4,000 acres surrounding the Antietam Battlefield. ”

No other local Civil War organization has achieved such success,” noted Clemens. SHAF will immediately launch a fund-raising campaign to pay for the property. Donations may be sent to SHAF, P.O. Box 550, Sharpsburg, MD 21782. For further information, visit the SHAF web site at

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