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Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield    

 

 

Location: Sharpsburg, MD  Map

 

 

 

History of Antietam National Battlefield

Antietam National Battlefield is situated in Sharpsburg, Maryland in the USA. This site became known as a single worst loss of life in a single day in a confrontation between the Union forces of the North and Confederate forces of the South. It was fought on September 17, 1862, and resulted in 3617 killed on both sides and over 18,000 wounded.
 
Army of Northern Virginia under command of Robert E Lee took Sharpsburg, Maryland along the Potomac River on September 16th, 1862. Here they faced a Union Army under command of Major General George B. McClellan. It is hard to guess why Confederate chose this location. Potomac River at the back of Lee was technically a death trap if the ranks broke and soldiers tried to retreat. First attacks of the battle started on September 16th. Minor skirmishes were initiated by the Union forces along Antietam Creek under command of Major General Joseph Hooker. With the sunset shots went silent.
 
Early in the morning, Major General Joseph Hooker troops of the I Corps started an assault on the left flank of the Confederate army. West Woods and Miller's cornfields saw several attacks and counterattacks for hours. Despite numerous advantage on the Union side, Stonewall Jackson's defenses did not break. They merely retreated at a small distance. Meanwhile, troops of Brigadier General J.K.F. Mansfield marched his XII Corps across East Woods against Dunker Church. Mansfield was the oldest officer in the Union Army. Here he was mortally wounded during the attack and later replaced by Brigadier General A.S. Williams. Mansfield died the next day after a battle was finished. Union attacks on this portion of the front were more successful as it outflanked Texas troops under the leadership of Brigadier General John Bell Hood. They penetrated as far as Dunker Church, but lack of reinforcements did not allow Union advance to secure their achievements.
 
Union forces attempted another breakthrough. This time their target was aimed near the Sunken Road at the center of the Confederate army. After the battle, this road became known as a Bloody Road after a high number of casualties that buried the road. The success was a brief one and no forces were sent to secure gains.

In the late part of the day, Major General Ambrose Burnside attempted to attack Rebel's army in the South, on the right flank of their army. Union forces crossed Antietam Creek across a Rohrbach's bridge that became known later as a Burnside Bridge. Initially, the attack was successful, but it all changed when Confederate reserve came to the rescue in the late afternoon under command of A.P. Hill. He counterattacked and drove back Union forces.
 
By the end of the day, the battle was not won by either side. Confederate armies managed to defend their grounds and the Union army was not defeated.

 

 

 

Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center, 5831 Dunker Church Road, ☎ +1 301 432-5124. 26 Oct-8 May 8:30AM-5PM daily, 9 May-29 May 8:30AM-6PM daily, 30 May-20 Sept 8AM-7PM daily, 21 Sept-25 Oct 8:30AM-6PM. $4/person, $6/family, valid for three days.
The battlefield is maintained by the National Park Service, and you can experience it in a number of ways:

Explore the museum exhibits in the visitor center
View the 26-minute introductory film "Antietam Visit" which is shown on the hour and the half- hour, except from noon to 1:00PM
Join a Park Ranger for a battlefield talk
Browse the Museum Store
Take the self-guided 8 1/2 mile auto tour through the battlefield. The tour has 11 stops and begins at the Dunker Church
Take a self-guided hike on the Cornfield, Final Attack, Union Advance, Antietam Remembered, Sherrick Farm or Snavely Ford Trails
Visit the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, +1 301 416-2395, summers: noon-5PM daily.

 

 

 

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