Several farmsteads were the site of heavy fighting during the battle of Antietam. This farm was burnt down by the Confederates so Federal soldiers could not use the house to shelter would-be sharpshooters. The farm was rebuilt - rather successfully as you see - passing into the hands of the National Park Service eventually. The NPS uses the Mumma Farm as its site for educational programs for groups visiting. School groups enjoy the opportunities allowed here to learn about the Battle and its significance to us today.
Ever since the Civil War, it has become an Army tradition to wander the old battlefields in an effort to better interpret what happened and to learn what lessons they can for application on future grounds. Many things have changed in the making of war in the last 150 years, but some basics never change - the leading of small, or large, groups under extreme circumstances. The Army use to ride over the field on horseback, also making use of the tall Battlefield Tower to gain an overall look at the terrain. Today, they walk and drive the fields like the rest of us. The Staff Ride is still an active part of an officer’s education and is used both here at Antietam and at Gettysburg. The officers can come from anywhere - the Park Service has special programs for military groups who gather here - but a lot of them come from the War College in nearby Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The “Guide to Antietam” by Jay Luvaas/Harold Nelson was written by writers who taught at the War College and is developed with the Staff Ride as its main aim.