The Rev. H. Austin Cooper Collection, BHLA, and the Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

The Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) recently acquired the papers of The Rev. H. Austin Cooper (1911-1999) from his son, Larry C. Cooper, of Landenberg, PA.  The Rev. Cooper was a well-known Church of the Brethren minister who served congregations in Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  A fine historian, he authored four books and various other publications.  In 1970 Cooper began the annual commemorative worship service at the historic Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD.  Below are some images from the Cooper Collection of the Dunker Church at Antietam, scene of not only the bloodiest single day of the Civil War (September 17, 1862), but also of what most historians agree was the single bloodiest day in American history.

Stan Noffsinger, Church of the Brethren General Secretary, will preach at the 41st Annual Dunker Church Service on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

This is a rare Alexander Gardner image of the Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield showing a wider view of the carnage of S. D. Lee’s Confederate battery in the foreground. Photo by Massachusetts Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion, and the US Army Military History Institute, Carlisle, PA.
Ever wonder where the Dunker Church (actually, the Mumma Church) held their baptisms? Here is a 1980 view taken by me of the site above the Middle Bridge over Antietam Creek (the main highway through Sharpsburg, MD). I was then assisting The Rev. Cooper with a book on the Dunker Church he was writing (never published). Photo by Terrell Barkley
Though the badly damaged Dunker Church survived the Civil War, a windstorm blew it down in 1921. A local man saved the bricks, wood, or other debris in his garage for many years until the National Park Service took over the battlefield. These materials were later used in restoring the Dunker Church on its original foundations in the early 1960s.
This image by an unknown photographer shows the September 7, 1958, commemorative worship service at the original foundations of the Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield.
The restored Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield as it appears today (from a postcard). Photo by Kelly’s Studio, Hagerstown, MD
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