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Before Gettysburg Was Antietam: It's Now Managed Through the NPS

While the Battle of Gettysburg was the biggest, bloodiest, and one of the very most decisive battles of the American Civil War, it wasn't the only real great engagement. The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) was also one of the massive and devasting battles of the war.

Gettysburg was the most deadly battle in American history, but it happened during the period of three days. The Battle of Antietam however was the bloodiest day in American history with 22,717 counted as dead, missing, or wounded. It's one of the many powerful sites in the united states that beckons soul searching and remembrance from the country's often blood-stain past.

Options to consider About The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam was fought between Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Union Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac in Maryland.

  • Date: September 17, 1862
  • Location: Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek
  • Total Combined Casualties: 22,717 Dead, Wounded, and Missing
  • Outcome: Tactical Stalemate, Strategic Union Victory

The battle was area of the wider Maryland Campaign called the first battle within the Eastern Theater of the war to happen on the territory of the Union.

The battle was a Union victory that ended the Confederate invasion of Maryland although the Union suffered heavier losses compared to South. The battle was tactically inconclusive and the battered Confederates were able to withdraw in good order to battle another day.

After the battle, Lincoln felt emboldened enough to announce his Emancipation Proclamation that freed over 3.5 million slaves in the Confederate South (that didn't affect Union slave states like Delaware and Maryland).

It also had the effect of discouraging the British and French from interfering in the war.

Sites To determine At Antietam National Battlefield

The main places to go in the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center would be the visitor center (a minimum of when it re-opens), Dunker Church, and the National Cemetery. In the summer months as well as on the weekends in the spring and fall also pop into the Pry House Field Hospital.

Pry House Field Hospital Museum:

The new Pry House Field Hospital Museum is really a new museum that served as the headquarters of Union Gen. George B. McClellan's Army from the Potomac during the battle.

The exhibits include a re-creation of the operating theater, interpretive panels and objects concerning the care of wounded and also the effects around the civilian population in the area, and knowledge on the Pry House.

  • Call: All of the Museum To Confirm Hours (301) 416-2395
  • Admission Fee: $5.00 per person

Dunker Church:

One from the main attractions from the battlefield is Dunker Church. The church stands as a stark contrast towards the fire and bleed-letting of battle. The church began as a humble country house of worship built by local Dunker farmers.

During the battle, the church was the focal point of a quantity of Union attacks against the Confederate left flank. The memoirs of each side reference the church. After the battle, the Confederates controlled the church and used it as a temporary medical aid station.

A sketch depicting a truce between the two warring sides to switch wounded depicts the church. The church emerged heavily battle-scarred with hundreds of bullet marks and damaged from artillery, it was repaired in 1864.

Antietam National Cemetery:

There are 130 cemeteries within the National Cemetery System. The Antietam National Cemetery may be the resting host to some 4,776 Union remains (1,836 or 38% are unknown).

The stones are coded to mark if the remains are known or unknown and just how many soldiers are buried within the grave.

  • Union Remains: 4,776 Union Remains Are Buried At Antietam National Cemetery

Visit The Antietam National Battlefield

Today the website of the battle is managed by the National Park Service. To begin, you will find the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center that has been open to the public since 1963. By the time of writing (April 2022) visitors center is closed for a major renovation and it is expected to reopen later in the year. However, there's a temporary visitor center open.

  • Open: Year-Round
  • Temporary Visitor Center: Open 7 Days a Week from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Pets are permitted in the park but must be on the leash at all times.

  • Tip: Look into the NPS's Calendar for his or her Special Programs Held Throughout The Year

Special Programs:

  • Memorial Day Commemoration (Monday of Memorial Day Weekend at the National Cemetery)
  • Independence Day Commemoration (First Saturday in July)
  • Anniversary from the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), September 17
  • Memorial Illumination (First Saturday in December)

Another place to begin to see the good reputation for the Civil War is incorporated in the Confederate capital of Richmond. Richmond has what one functioned because the “White House” from the South.

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