Bloodiest One-Day Battle
in American History
As the thundering of artillery and rifle gave way to darkness of night, 23,000 killed and wounded Union and Confederate soldiers covered the fields around Sharpsburg. This inconceivable total gives Antietam the tragic distinction of having the highest number of casualties for any one-day battle.
"The corn and the trees, so fresh and green in the morning, were reddened with blood and torn by bullet and shell, and the very earth was furrowed by the incessant impact of lead and iron."Lt. Col. Francis Palfrey, 20th Massachusetts Infantry
First Northern Invasion
The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia entered Maryland on September 4, 1862. The two armies fought at South Mountain on the 14, at Antietam on the 17, and along the Potomac near Shepherdstown on September 19 and 20. The Battle of Shepherdstown was the final action in Lee's Maryland Campaign as the Confederates returned to Virginia.
"I hope by a few days rest, if it is possible to give it, and the regular issue of rations, to restore the efficiency of the army for the work before it."Gen. Robert E. Lee, Army of Northern Virginia
Led to Lincoln's
The Confederate retreat provided President Abraham Lincoln the opportunity to announce the Emancipation Proclamation. This was the first major step by the Federal Government to provide freedom to enslaved Americans.
"I made a solemn vow before God, that if General Lee was driven back . . . I would crown the result by the declaration of freedom to the slaves."President Abraham Lincoln