Battle of Antietam

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The Confederate States knew this battle as the Battle of Sharpsburg
September 16 – 18, 1862

The Army of the Potomac, under the command of Maj. Gen. George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against Gen. Robert E. Lee’s forces along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. The morning attacks by the Union I and XII Corps on the Confederate left flank, and vicious Confederate counterattacks by Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigades swept back and forth through Miller’s Cornfield, across the Hagerstown Turnpike and into the West Woods. Towards the center of the battlefield, Union II Corps assaults against the Sunken Road pierced the Confederate center after a terrible struggle but failed to capitalize on their breakthrough. A third and final assault by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s IX Corps pushed over a stone bridge at Antietam Creek. Just as Burnside’s forces began to collapse the Confederate right, the timely arrival of Gen. A.P. Hill’s division from Harpers Ferry helped to drive the Army of the Potomac back once more. On the 18th, both sides remained in place, too bloodied to advance. Late that evening and on the 19th, Lee withdrew from the battlefield and slipped back across the Potomac into Virginia. The bloodiest single day in American military history ended in a draw, but the Confederate retreat gave President Abraham Lincoln the “victory” he desired before issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days later.

WATCH AN ANIMATED MAP OF THE BATTLE
Battle Stats
RESULT OF THE BATTLE
Union Victory
COMMANDERS

UNION

George B. McClellan

CONFEDERATE

Robert E. Lee

NUMBER OF SOLDIERS PARTICIPATING
132,000
TOTAL ESTIMATED DEATHS
22,717
Union
12,401
2,108 killed
9,540 wounded
753 missing and captured
Confederate
10,316
1,546 killed
7,752 wounded
1,018 missing and captured
  • President Abraham Lincoln visiting with General George McClellan after the Battle of Antietam.

  • The Burnside Bridge over Antietam Creek.

  • Dead Confederate soldier-notice the small grave behind his body.

  • Confederate dead lined up for burial on Antietam battlefield.

  • Dead Confederate soldiers along the Hagerstown Pike-that connected Hagerstown, PA and Sharpsburg, MD.

  • A Union burial detail with dead Union soldiers awaiting burial.

  • Confederate dead on Antietam battlefield-the white building in the background is the Dunker Baptist Church.

Same place, but what it looks like today.
Confederate dead on a field east of the Dunker Baptist Church.

Resource Used:

Battle of antietam facts & summary. (2020, December 15). Retrieved March 11, 2021, from https://www.battlefields.org/learn/civil-war/battles/antietam?ms=googlepaid

Photograph Resource Used:

Civil war – about this collection. (2000, January 1). https://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/civwar/.