September 18, 1862
Battle Of Antietam Kills Thousands!
Yesterday, Generals McClellan and Lee met in Maryland near Sharpsburg, each with large armies. Lee, wanting to take the war out of Virginia led his army into Maryland and took up a good defensive position along Hagerstown Pike down to the town of Sharpsburg. McClellan's Northern Army met the Southerners around six in the morning.
Shown is a picture taken by Alexander Gardner of Confederate dead along the Hagerstown Road. A fence of wood runs along the road. It seems that these men were under command of General "Stonewall" Jackson or maybe General D. H. Hill.
Hagerstown Road is on the Northwest/West section of the battlefield. At one point, it is about 4,000 feet from the Potomac River. The worst of the fighting near this road took place in a farmer's cornfield. This was the first fighting in the battle.
Early in September of 1862, Robert E. Lee led his army of Southern soldiers from northern "war-torn" Virginia into Maryland. He planned to force the Northern army into a showdown battle that would be decisive for Southern independence. Some of Lee's documents were lost by a messenger and later found by the Union. The Northern Army intercepted the Southerners near Antietam Creek, MD.
The large battle that occurred lasted all day long. In the end, the Southerners retreated to Virginia. McClellan refused to pursue the enemy. He remarked that his men were too tired and hurt to give chase.
The Union claimed victory in this battle, even though it was mainly a draw. So far, yesterday was the bloodiest day of the war.
"Antietam." Encarta 98. CD-ROM. 1998.
Kennedy, Frances, ed. The Civil War Battle Guide. Boston: The Conservation Fund, 1990.