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Pry House: Headquarters for Union General George McClellan
Headquarters for Union General George McClellan
The Pry House was built in 1844 by Philip Pry Jr., who inherited the farmland on which it sits in 1828 from his father, Philip Pry Sr. The younger Pry lived there with his wife Elizabeth and their seven children.
The two-story brick home was built from bricks fired on the property and is on 25 acres off Md. 34.
The Pry House served as the headquarters for Union General George McClellan during the Battle of Antietam in September 1862.
General McClellan chose the house because of its location on a hill, providing a good view of the battle. The Pry family didn't have much of a choice as to whether they wanted to provide their home for use in the war.
General McClellan and most of his officers lived in the house. It is said that the officers moved the home's parlor furniture into the front lawn so they'd be more comfortable watching the battle. General McClellan is also rumored to have climbed through the home's attic and a trap door on the roof to see the battlefield.
The Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862, just 18 days after the Confederate victory at Second Manassas, 40 miles to the southeast in Virginia, according to the National Park Service web site.
It was the first major Civil War engagement on Northern soil, and was the bloodiest single day battle in American history. Roughly 23,000 Americans were killed or wounded that day and the battle halted General Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North.
The Pry House and its barn were used by the Army Medical Department for treating and performing surgery on officers. Officers treated there included Union generals Joseph Hooker and Israel Richardson.
President Lincoln visited the Pry House in October 1862 to visit General Richardson, who died that November. According to anecdotal evidence, Elizabeth Pry cooked the president breakfast.
By the time General McClellan left the Pry House on September 20, 1862, and the Pry family returned, the corn in the fields had been eaten by the Army's horses, several of the family's possessions were missing or damaged and livestock had been killed.
Terry Reimer, the museum's research director said many members of the community died after the battle due to diseases spread by the Union soldiers.
Philip and Elizabeth Pry sold the house in 1874. The Pry House fell into disrepair by 1945, but new owners restored it by 1960.
The National Park Service purchased the property in 1976, but had to restore it a second time, when an electrical fire that year caused extensive damage.
The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg.
Exhibits include an introduction to civil war medicine, the Pry family, the impact of the Battle of Antietam on the surrounding community, amputations and field hospitals.
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