Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preparing for a Sesquicentennial – part 2

     The temporary exhibit for the month of September at the Pry House Field Hospital Museum is a display of Civil War artifacts recovered from the Roulette Farm on the Antietam Battlefield.  William and Margaret Roulette and their five children lived on the farm during the battle.  Their property saw heavy fighting during the battle as thousands of Union troops marched on their property on their way to attack the Confederates at Bloody Lane.  The house was damaged, the property was looted, and the crops were destroyed.  In the aftermath of the battle, the house and the barn were used as field hospitals.  Over 700 soldiers were buried in the fields of their farm.
 Here is the display set up in the room that was cleared last week. It was created by Mr. George Rees, who collected the artifacts while the property was private property, with permission from the farm’s owners. We are happy to be able to assist him in sharing them with the public!

     There are a couple of interesting stories about the Roulette farm during the battle.  One involves the bee hives that Mr. Roulette kept.  Reportedly, the hives were knocked over by an artillery shell just as the 132nd Pennsylvania Infantry was marching past.  The soldiers were swarmed by bees, which prompted them to advance toward the Confederates more quickly!
Also on display are some photographs of the Roulette farm.

     Another story told is that William Roulette was cheering on the Union soldiers from his property, shouting, “Give it to ‘em!  Drive ‘em!  Take anything from my place; only drive ‘em!”  They certainly took him at his word, since they took nearly everything the family owned.  Following the war, Mr. Roulette submitted a claim to the Federal Government for $2,400, for the property which had been damaged, stolen, and confiscated.  Though he was not able to collect the full amount, his family did manage to rebuild their farm.
Here are some of the artifacts recovered from the Roulette Farm.

     The Roulette Farm was used for veterans’ reunions in the decades after the Civil War. Though the farm was privately owned for many years, today it is part of Antietam National Battlefield.
Also on display are some mementos from the reunions held at the farm.


     For additional information and some great photos of the Roulette Farm, see this blog post from “My Year of Living Rangerously”:  click here

Photos courtesy of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

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