The south side of the historic Dunkard Church at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
General Robert E Lee gathered his Confederate Army of approximately 40,000 soldiers here and decided to “make a stand.” Spread out roughly in a three-mile line. It was primarily Stonewall Jackson’s men situated at this end of the battlefield with Dunkard Church near its center who would bear the brunt of McClellan’s initial assaults.
On the eve of the battle, 15,000 Union soldiers crossed Antietam Creek. They positioned themselves at the north end of the field. As dawn broke, the battle ensued, as the Union attacked southward toward Dunker Church and Jackson’s Confederate troops. This wave of the Civil War battle raged for four hours as the land around the church changed hands numerous times.
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single-day conflict of the American Civil War and the first battle to take place in Union territory. It began at dawn on September 17, 1862, raging for 12 hours; when it ended at around 6 p.m., nearly 23,000 of the 100,000 soldiers were either dead, wounded, or missing. It remains the deadliest day in American history.
Copyright 2023 Susan Rissi Tregoning
October 30th, 2023
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