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Sharpsburg, Maryland
A street clock in downtown Sharpsburg in October 2007
A street clock in downtown Sharpsburg in October 2007
Location of Sharpsburg, Maryland
Location of Sharpsburg, Maryland
Country United States
State Maryland
County Washington
Settled 1740
Founded 1763
Incorporated 1832
 • Total 0.22 sq mi (0.56 km2)
 • Land 0.22 sq mi (0.56 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
420 ft (128 m)
 • Total 560
 • Density 2,592.59/sq mi (1,001.67/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 301, 240
FIPS code 24-71600
GNIS feature ID 0587310

Sharpsburg is a town in Washington County, Maryland, United States, located approximately 13 miles (21 km) south of Hagerstown. The population was 705 at the 2010 census.

During the American Civil War, the Battle of Antietam (or Battle of Sharpsburg) was fought on what is now Antietam National Battlefield, in the vicinity of Antietam Creek.


A visitor's sign at the Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg, in June 2005

Joseph Chapline was the first to settle in the area, circa 1740. At the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, Chapline founded a town, naming it in honor of his friend Horatio Sharpe, the Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Its original settlers were mostly of German or Swiss origin, leading to an increase in wheat production.

Located east of the Potomac River, Sharpsburg attracted industry in the early 19th century, especially after the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was extended to Sharpsburg in 1836. The town was incorporated in 1832.

Sharpsburg gained national recognition during the American Civil War, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee invaded Maryland with his Army of Northern Virginia in the summer of 1862 and was intercepted near the city by Union General George B. McClellan with the Army of the Potomac. The rival armies met on September 17, in the Battle of Antietam (also called the Battle of Sharpsburg). It would be the bloodiest single day of the Civil War, and in American military annals, with a total of nearly 23,000 casualties to both sides. A few days earlier, the multi-sited Battle of South Mountain occurred at the three low-lying passes in South MountainCrampton's Gap, Turner's Gap, and Fox's Gap—where Lee's forces attempted to hold back the advancing Union regiments moving westward especially along the important National Road (now U.S. Route 40 Alternate) which is now a part of South Mountain State Battlefield Park.

The drawn battle is considered a turning point of the war, since it kept the Confederacy from winning a needed victory on Northern soil, which might have gained it European recognition. Lee's retreat gave Abraham Lincoln the opportunity he needed to issue his Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in Confederate territory to be free. This act made it even more unlikely that Europe would grant diplomatic recognition to the South.

Sharpsburg claims its Memorial Day commemoration as one of the first in the U.S., having their 147th consecutive celebration in 2014. The city also celebrates an annual Heritage Festival in mid-September.

The town core was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 as the Sharpsburg Historic District. Also listed are the Antietam National Battlefield, William Chapline House, Good-Reilly House, William Hagerman Farmstead, Joseph C. Hays House, Jacob Highbarger House, Mount Airy, Piper House, Tolson's Chapel, Wilson-Miller Farm, and Woburn Manor.

The Antietam National Battlefield is an important source of local tourism and activities.


2016-07-29 09 32 04 View west along Maryland State Route 34 (Main Street) between Mechanic Street and Hall Street in Sharpsburg, Washington County, Maryland
Main Street in Sharpsburg

Sharpsburg is located at 39°27′28″N 77°44′58″W / 39.45778°N 77.74944°W / 39.45778; -77.74944 (39.457666, -77.749513).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.23 square miles (0.60 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,001
1880 1,260 25.9%
1890 1,163 −7.7%
1900 1,080 −7.1%
1910 960 −11.1%
1920 832 −13.3%
1930 818 −1.7%
1940 834 2.0%
1950 866 3.8%
1960 861 −0.6%
1970 833 −3.3%
1980 721 −13.4%
1990 659 −8.6%
2000 691 4.9%
2010 705 2.0%
2020 560 −20.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 705 people, 285 households, and 192 families living in the town. The population density was 3,065.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,183.5/km2). There were 325 housing units at an average density of 1,413.0 per square mile (545.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.7% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.1% of the population.

There were 285 households, of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 32.6% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.92.

The median age in the town was 42.8 years. 20.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.4% were from 25 to 44; 33.2% were from 45 to 64; and 12.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 50.9% male and 49.1% female.


2019-05-18 17 43 49 View east along Maryland State Route 34 (Main Street) at Maryland State Route 65 (Church Street) in Sharpsburg, Washington County, Maryland
MD 34 eastbound along Main Street in Sharpsburg

The primary means of travel to and from Sharpsburg is by road. The two main highways serving the town are Maryland Route 34, which follows Main Street, and Maryland Route 65, which ends at the intersection of Main Street and Church Street. MD 34 extends eastward to Boonsboro and continues westward to the Potomac River, where it crosses into Shepherdstown, West Virginia as West Virginia Route 480. MD 65 proceeds northward to a junction with Interstate 70 and then continues to its terminus in Hagerstown.

Notable native

  • Howell G. Crim, civil servant (White House Chief Usher, 1938-57)
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