Antietam

On the way to our next campground in Pennsylvania, we took a slight detour to a place near a town in Maryland called Sharpsburg. The bloodiest battle in U.S. History took place in this vicinity. In the south, it was called the Battle of Sharpsburg, but it is more commonly known as the Battle of Antietam. On September 17, 1862, near Antietam Creek, almost 23,000 American soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing. General Lee had his army along a ridge west of the creek, along with Generals “Stonewall” Jackson and James Longstreet.

Picture-perfect old-fashioned gas station in a small town we drove our rig through.

When stopping for lunch, we always have to be creative about finding a place to park. (I can only eat at Cracker Barrel every so often.)

A park ranger gives an overview of the Battle of Antietam with battlefields behind.

The 12-hour battle began at dawn when Union troops under the command of George. B. McClellan attacked the Confederate’s left flank. After all the killing, maiming, and bloodshed, the lines of battle were almost exactly as they were when the day began. The next day, Lee slipped back across the Potomac in retreat with his men. Although, tactically the battle’s conclusion was a draw, the Union claimed victory, which allowed Lincoln enough confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation, which discouraged the French and the English from recognizing the legitimacy of the Confederacy.

The Dunker Church, built in 1852. This pacifist German church was a focal point of the fighting at Antietam as the day began.

The Poffenberger farm, at which Union General Joseph Hooker’s men spent the night before the battle in the North Woods. At first light, the skirmishes began when “the stars were still shining.”

Standing in front of the 24-acre Cornfield which saw some of the most horrific fighting in U.S. history. Stonewall Jackson’s Confederates battled Union forces under the command of Hooker and Mansfield.

The sunken road running through the battlefield saw fierce fighting during the battle. It was nicknamed “Bloody Lane” because it was said that blood flowed like a river inside it.

A look up one end of the sunken road with Cindy above.

Five hundred Confederate soldiers held the area overlooking this bridge over Antietam Creek. After three hours of bloody battle, Burside’s troops finally captured the bridge, forcing the Confederates to fall back toward Sharpsburg. The bridge is now known as Burnside Bridge.

Cindy has taken the bridge with only slight effort.

After touring the battlefield, we continued across the Mason-Dixon Line to another significant Civil War town, Gettysburg. We pulled into the Gettysburg Campground where we had a very nice site for the next two nights.

At the entrance to Antietam National Cemetery.

4,776 Union soldiers rest at Antietam Cemetery, along with the dead from four other wars. The Confederate dead were buried in Frederick, MD and Shepherdstown, VA (now WV).

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