Antietam, Battle of2019-01-08T16:18:55+00:00
portrait-of-robert-e.-lee

The Battle of Antietam ended Lee’s first invasion of the North.

Battle of Antietam External Links

September 17, 1862 — or The Battle of Sharpsburg

External Links for Battle of Antietam

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Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam has been called the bloodiest single day in American History. By the end of the evening, 17 September 1862, an estimated 4,000 American soldiers had been killed and over 18,000 wounded in and around the small farming community of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Emory Upton, then a captain with the Union artillery battery, later wrote, "I have heard of 'the dead lying in heaps,' but never saw it till this battle. Whole ranks fell together." The battle had been a day of confusion, tactical blunders, individual heroics, and the effects of just plain luck. It brought to an end a Confederate campaign to "liberate" the border state of Maryland and possibly take the war into Pennsylvania. A little more than one hundred and forty years later, the Antietam battlefield is one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields in the National Park System.

The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) on September 17, 1862, climaxed the first of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's two attempts to carry the war into the North. About 40,000 Southerners were pitted against the 87,000-man Federal Army of the Potomac under Gen. George B. McClellan. And when the fighting ended, the course of the American Civil War had been greatly altered.

The Battle of Antietam

Links to numerous in-depth essays about the Battle of Antietam

Carnage At Antietam, 1862

General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was a huge gamble that held the potential of very great rewards. Lee's campaign could win Maryland for the Confederacy, earn diplomatic recognition from Britain and France, and perhaps even force the Union to sue for peace. It would also take his troops out of war-ravaged Virginia during harvest time, and enable his troops to live off the enemy's country for a while. Following his victory at the Second Battle of Bull Run Lee led his ragtag army northward across the Potomac River and into Union territory.

Antietam

On September 16, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker's corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee's left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller's cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center, but the Federal advantage was not followed up.

Robert E. Lee's Decision to Invade the North in September

General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia entered the final stage of a protracted season of campaigning as it marched toward Maryland during the first week of September 1862. General Joseph E. Johnston's disabling wound at the battle of Fair Oaks had brought Lee to command of the army on June 1, 1862, and within a month he had seized the initiative from Major General George B. McClellan, driving the Union's Army of the Potomac away from Richmond in the Seven Days Battles. With his capital safe, Lee marched northward in late August and won a stunning victory over Major General John Pope's Army of Virginia at the Second Battle of Manassas or Bull Run. These two Confederate victories had cleared Virginia of any major Union military presence, and Lee sought to build on his success by taking the war across the Potomac River into the United States.

The Maryland Campaign of 1862

September 1862 was a momentous month, a period of crisis for the United States and exciting opportunity for the Confederate States of America. The bright hopes of Northerners that the rebellion could be crushed that summer had wilted like the leaves of fall. In July, the grand campaign of Major General George B. McClellan's magnificent Army of the Potomac to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond ended in defeat. Then, at the end of August, Major General John Pope's Army of Virginia, with heavy reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac, was soundly thrashed in the Second Battle of Manassas. The Union armies stumbled back to Washington seeking shelter within the capital's fortifications.

Military Intelligence During the Maryland Campaign: McClellan, Lee, and the ";Lost Order";

The Lost Order of which McClellan said "Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobbie Lee, I will be willing to go home"1 will be discussed in detail to show why this extraordinarily valuable piece of intelligence which could have led to the destruction of the widely separated parts of Lee's divided army did not do so.

Battle of Antietam

An animated account of the Battle of Antietam. Requires Adobe Flash player.

Antietam

Lee knew McClellan was massing to attack. Lee needed time to assemble the army he had so confidently scattered across western Maryland, and picked Sharpsburg as the assembly point. If worst came to worst, he would have a ridge to defend, and a road along that ridge to move reserves. He told his staff 'We will make our stand on these hills'.

The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, was the first major battle in the Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was also the bloodiest single-day battle, as far as casualties, in American history. This was the first of Gen. Robert E. Lee's two seperate attempts to carry the war into the North. His initial objective was to advance his army to Hagerstown, from where he could either advace towards Baltimore, Washington, D. C., or any other place as dictated by the Union army movements.

Antietam

On September 16, US Major General George B. McClellan confronted Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker's corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee's left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller's cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church.

The Battle of Antietam

Antietam, BATTLE OF. After the surrender of Harper's Ferry, Sept. 15, 1862, Robert E. Lee felt himself in a perilous position, for General Franklin had entered Pleasant Valley that very morning and threatened the severance of his army. Lee at once took measures to concentrate his forces. He withdrew his troops from South Mountain and took position in the Antietam valley, near Sharpsburg, Md. Jackson, by swift marches, had recrossed the Potomac and joined Lee on Antietam Creek. When the Confederates left South Mountain, McClellan's troops followed them. Lee's plans were thwarted, and he found himself compelled to fight.

Antietam

On September 16, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker's corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee's left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller's cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center, but the Federal advantage was not followed up. Late in the day, Burnside's corps finally got into action, crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up the Confederate right. At a crucial moment, A.P. Hill's division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day.

Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South), fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties.

Battle of Antietam

After the loss at the second Bull Run Pope was running back to Washington with Lee hot on his tail. However, McClellan heard of his advance and was going to attempt to head him off before Lee got a chance to touch Washington. Not only were there large strategic and political purposes of this campaign, but on the way there Lee and his soldiers hoped to capture supplies for both soldiers, weapons, and animals. After Lee had crossed the Potomac, McClellan finally cut him off at Frederick, Maryland, on the twelfth. The next day one of McClellan's men found a box of cigars which contained the notes for all of Lee's plans. Now McClellan new every move that Lee was going to make but could this general really beat Lee?

Battle of Antietam

On September 16, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan confronted Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland. At dawn September 17, Hooker's corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee's left flank that began the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller's cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church. Union assaults against the Sunken Road eventually pierced the Confederate center, but the Federal advantage was not followed up. Late in the day, Burnside's corps finally got into action, crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up the Confederate right. At a crucial moment, A.P. Hill's division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and saving the day. Although outnumbered two-to-one, Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill.

Antietam National Battlefield Park

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.

Antietam on the Web

Your online reference to the battle at Sharpsburg, turning point in the War Between the States

Battle of Antietam

Following the Battle of Second Bull Run, General Robert E. Lee, the Army of Northern Virginia's commander, took his force into the North. He hoped to win a decisive victory and Confederate independence.

On this Day: Battle of Antietam

On Wednesday morning, Sept. 17, the sun rose in a cloudless sky, and all nature seemed to smile as if the world were filled with the elect of God. But its splendors were soon dimmed with the smoke rising from the battle-field.

The Significance of the Battle of Antietam

So what's the big deal about the Battle of Antietam, anyway? What makes it so fascinating? How did it effect the participants? The course of the War? The future of the Nation?

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Antietam External Links
  • Coverage September 17, 1862
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Antietam, Battle of Sharpsburg
  • Website Name American History Central
  • URL
  • Access Date April 20, 2019
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update January 8, 2019

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