The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History
23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
The Maryland State Monument is the only monument at Antietam dedicated to both sides. Marylanders fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. 20,000 people attended the dedication on May 30, 1900. President William McKinley, a veteran of the Battle of Antietam, was the keynote speaker.
Dawn approached slowly through the fog on September 17, 1862. As soldiers tried to wipe away the dampness, cannons began to roar and sheets of flame burst forth from hundreds of rifles, opening a twelve hour tempest that swept across the rolling farm fields in western Maryland. A clash between North and South that changed the course of the Civil War, helped free over four million Americans, devastated Sharpsburg, and still ranks as the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.
If you have 1 to 2 hours:
- Explore the museum exhibits in the visitor center.
- View the 26-minute introductory film "Antietam Visit".
- 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.
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