The Tunker Church/German Baptist-Sharpsburg
The Dunker or Tunker (the German word for same) German Baptist church is situated one mile north of the town of Sharpsburg, on the turnpike leading to Hagerstown, and on the ground occupied by the left wing of the Confederates at the battle of Antietam. During the battle the church was used as a make-shift fort by the Confederates, and was shelled by the Northern forces. Union Troops battled to take the church for their use and by the end of the week’s battle on September 19, 1862, after the withdrawal of the Confederates, it is estimated that 12,000 casualties would occur within a ½ mile of the church. The people surrounding the church (congregants) were left with no crops, livestock, etc. Their homes were destroyed, barns looted and burned. The church seemed to be the center of the battle and showed its scars. After the battle, the church was repaired and services were again held here.
The church was built in 1850 and 1851. The ground was given by Samuel Mumma, a member of the church. The building committee members were Daniel Miller and Joseph Sherrick.
The dimensions of the church are thirty-five by forty feet, and it is a plain brick building. The church was simple having two entrances, wooden pews and a wooden alter. The two entrances served both the male and female congregants. There was no steeple. The ministers serving Elders Daniel Reichard, Jacob Highbarger, Michael Emmert, David Long, and Daniel Wolf. The Tunkers had four churches within a scope of eight miles, having a membership of three hundred.
About 1916, a new church was built closer to town. This church was eventually destroyed by a windstorm.
In 1951, the property was acquired by the Government and a new church was reconstructed in 1961 out of furnishings and building materials that had been saved from the original structure.
We visited the church in June 2015 and it is now the beginning of the Antietam tour, located directly across from the visitors center.
We also visited the ‘Mumma’ cemetery, the family that donated the church land. It is located about half mile from the church. Photos from the cemetery are below.