Antietam National Battlefield

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Antietam campaign

Antietam campaign (ăntēˈtəm), Sept., 1862, of the Civil War. After the second battle of Bull Run, Gen. Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland and Pennsylvania. At Frederick, Md., he divided (Sept. 10) his army, sending Stonewall Jackson to capture the large Union garrison at Harpers Ferry and thus clear his communications through the Shenandoah valley. With the remainder, Lee marched NW toward Hagerstown. Gen. George B. McClellan learned of this division of forces and moved to attack. In the battle on South Mt. (the Blue Ridge N of the Potomac, 12 mi/19 km W of Frederick) on Sept. 14, 1862, McClellan defeated Lee's rear guard and took the passes of that range. Lee then fell back to Sharpsburg (c.9 mi/14.5 km W of South Mt.), where his position lay behind Antietam Creek. On Sept. 15 the Harpers Ferry garrison capitulated to Jackson, who, with part of his command, joined Lee before McClellan attacked. The battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) opened on the morning of Sept. 17. Early assaults on Lee's left were bloody but indecisive, and McClellan failed to press the slight Union advantage with his available reserves. In the afternoon Burnside's corps crossed the Antietam over the bridge on Lee's right and drove the Confederates back, but A. P. Hill's division arrived from Harpers Ferry and repulsed the attack. The battle was not renewed. On Sept. 18–19, Lee recrossed the Potomac into Virginia unhindered. The fighting at Antietam was so fierce that Sept. 17, 1862, is said to have been the bloodiest single day of the war with some 23,000 dead and wounded, evenly divided between the sides. It was a Union victory only in the sense that Lee's invasion was stopped. McClellan has been blamed for not pursuing Lee with his superior forces. The scene of the battle of Antietam has been set aside as a national battlefield (est. 1890; see National Parks and Monuments, table). The battle influenced Lincoln's decisions to remove McClellan and to deliver a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.


See K. P. Williams, Lincoln Finds a General (Vol. II, 1950); J. V. Murfin, The Gleam of Bayonets (1965); W. A. Frassunito, Antietam: The Photographic Legacy of America's Bloodiest Day (1978); S. W. Sears, Landscape Turned Red (1988).

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Antietam National Battlefield

Address:PO Box 158
Sharpsburg, MD 21782

Size: 3,255 acres.
Established: Established as a national battlefield site on August 30, 1890; transferred from War Department on August 10, 1933. Entrance fee required.
Location:North and east of Sharpsburg, Maryland, along MD 34 and 65. Both routes intersect either US 40 or 40A and I-70. Visitor center is north of Sharpsburg on MD 65.
Facilities:Campground (10 sites; @di), rest rooms (é), bicycle trail, visitor center (é), museum/exhibit, self-guided tour/trail.
Activities:Auto touring (8.5 miles), camping, hiking, bicycling, fishing, interpretive programs (during the summer season).
Special Features:General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was ended on this battlefield on September 17, 1862. The battle claimed more than 23,000 men killed, wounded, and missing in a single day -- more than on any other day of the Civil War -- and led to Lincoln's issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located in the historic Pry House, which served as Union Commander General George B. McClellan's headquarters during the battle. Antietam (Sharpsburg) National Cemetery (5,032 interments; 1,836 unidentified) adjoins the park.

See other parks in Maryland.
Parks Directory of the United States, 5th Edition. © 2007 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
At the site of an earlier war, Maryland's Antietam National Battlefield Park historian Ted Alexander tells visitors, "For the most part, our government doesn't put up monuments, veterans and private organizations do." Still, the process is seldom an easy one.
Still, visitors like the father and his children continue to make the side trip from nearby Antietam National Battlefield to see the 50-foot-high, four-arched structure of purple and gray stone.
But when the National Park Service started what she says were secret maneuvers to incorporate her home and land into Antietam National Battlefield, she saw the side of regulation that has divided America.
["Back to the Land," Fall] Farming practices that benefit communities and the Chesapeake also benefit our national parks, including Antietam National Battlefield, the site of the September 17, 1862 Civil War battle.
When I entered the business of interpreting history to the public, I brought with me an intellectual sophistication not far evolved from my childhood sentiments as a nine-year-old in Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland: History is cool.
As a result, more than 39 national parks are currently at risk, including several Civil War battlefields, such as Gettysburg National Military Park, Antietam National Battlefield, and Monocacy National Battlefield.
NPCA does not support the construction of cell towers in national parks and has directly opposed them in parks such as Antietam National Battlefield, Grand Teton National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (where a recent proposal for three towers along a main road was scrapped in June).
Farther out, at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, managers have worked to protect the historical landscapes from sprawl, expanding their parks with key land acquisitions.

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