Green Hill Farm is located just a stone's throw from the Antietam Battlefield and is available to host weddings, family reunions and small concerts. It is extremely private with no view of other houses or the road. Though seemingly isolated, a quick stroll will put you downtown Sharpsburg in just minutes.
The land was originally owned by the Michael family and the house was constructed in 1854. The Michael's ran a wagon making business. Adam and Nancy and four of their children operated this once 85 acre homestead during the battle of Antietam.
Four days after the smoke settled from the "bloodiest day of the war" their once quiet home was taken over by the Union infantry and used as a hospital for wounded and dying soldiers. This event later cost the lives of Elizabeth and her mother as typhoid fever spread through the house and through the town.
"The hospital was in our parlor for several weeks. I do not know how many died in it. They have left now. It looks like a hog pen. Your house that you lived in was also a hospital by the Yankees. They had as high as 90 in there. They burned all of the fence around it. It is smart riddled from the Yankee shells. Such thundering and roaring you never heard since you were born. You would have thought the day of judgement had finally come if you would have been there." -except from Adam's letter to his brother in Indiana
Confederate artillery was stationed on the ridge east of Green Hill, shelling the Henry Piper Farm after the Union broke through at Bloody Lane. This Southern battery drew fire from long-range Federal artillery there -- one reason that "Yankee shells" struck David Michael's house and others. Another account refers to Michael's farmhouse, where "a cannon ball plowed its way through the roof and broke a rafter and was permitted to remain in its broken condition as a relic of war times."
The letter to Indiana also gives a picture of the carnage at Green Hill and the other Sharpsburg farms, which were left with the challenge of surviving the remainder of a harsh winter: "The Yankees took all of our corn about seven hundred bushels, about three hundred bus. of potatoes, 27 loads of hay destroyed, several hundred bushel of wheat in the ricks, it was hauled away. They stole all the horses. Killed nearly all of our hogs and sheep. Stole all our beef and took all of the apples -- hardly left the trees stand. Our loss is upwards of two thousand dollars. They have refused to pay us anything yet."
The last records of Samuel Michael show he married Mary Hickman of Loudoun County, Va. after his wife, Nancy passed from Typhoid fever immediately after the war, and moved to Jefferson County, W.Va., where he lived the remainder of his years. The Indiana brother, David, did not return to Maryland, but in 1989, his descendants returned Sam's original letters to Green Hill Farm. The father, Adam Michael, or "the Old Man," as Sam called him, died May 18, 1873, leaving Green Hill Farm to Caleb and his new bride. Accustomed to hard work and hard times, and a respected citizen of the Sharpsburg area, Caleb tilled the soil until his death on May 22, 1907. He was buried next to his wife, who had died in 1904, in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery on the east side of Sharpsburg, within view of the battlefield of Antietam and his Green Hill home place.
Much of the home's history may be dark but, times have changed in Sharpsburg and the peaceful surroundings are hardly an echo of this distant past. The farm is in the view shed of the Antietam Battlefield and is forever protected from development as is most of this serene area. The antietam creek runs cold and clean and the once trampled and torn fields are alive and fruitful.
My mother and father purchased the farmhouse in 1985 and we found out quickly that Sharpsburg is still very much that close knit small town where there is a fine line between friends and family. After 25 years, nothing much has changed. The corner gas station is where you hear the local news and the ice cream shop hosts the town's social commons each evening.
Portions of these letters were used in this article and.. likewise, portions of this article were used in this narrative. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2004/jan/02/20040102-091328-1739r/print/