E. Russell Hicks was a historian of Washington County, Maryland, and a member of the Church of the Brethren. A century after the battle he wrote:
“I am the Church of the bloodiest battlefield in all American history. I had my conception in the minds of a group of pious, zealous folks, who were among the first settlers to make their homes on the banks of the Antietam.
“They called themselves Brethren because brotherhood was the main objective of their devotion. Their associates in the neighborhood called them Dunkers or Dunkards, a corruption of the German word tunker which means plunger or the word tunken, to dip. Immersion was their form of baptism.
“early before daylight, on the 17th of September 1862, the bloodiest single day battle of all American history began. I was the objective of the Federal forces.
“I was pierced with cannon balls and bullets, my rafters studded with metal. I was used first as a bulwark for both armies. Then I became a hospital. I heard shrieks, moans, groans, and cries that stayed with me all my life. My furniture was all spattered with blood.
“I still exist as the little white church of the Antietam Battlefield. I live in the hearts of all who ever knew me. I am still a symbol of peace and brotherhood. Antietam was the battle that emancipated the slaves; I am a symbol of spiritual emancipation. I represent unitiy, the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a loving, kind god.”