Paul Gilligan is standing inside a West Main Street storefront that predates the Civil War, waving a cigar and talking about a battle he says is too often overlooked.
Days before Antietam, the single deadliest day in American military history, the Battle of South Mountain unfolded around this tiny town in Western Maryland, which has a modern-day population of 160.
“Everything was a battlefield,” Gilligan explains, gesturing to a reproduction of Burkittsville, which sits in his antique shop along with a collection of lamps, cannonballs and furniture. “The whole damn thing.”
Preservationists and residents have worked with the state government in recent years to improve...