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.
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.