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The New York Gazette

September 23, 1862

Battle of Antietam: Over 22,000 Casualties in Single Day
By Jeff

Antietam Battlefield

Just six days ago on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single day so far in the Civil War was fought in Antietam, Maryland, where Confederate troops under the command of General Robert E. Lee clashed with Union soldiers led by General McClellan. The violent battle raged on for only one day as the Union men pushed the Rebels out of United States territory back into Virginia.

The photo shown was taken about two days after the Battle of Antietam, and shows the disgruntled body of a Confederate soldier lying limp in a ditch used as a rifle pit. The gruesome body shown was a result of lethal artillery shells firing down upon the infantrymen. The men in the background are Union soldiers probably burying the bodies of dead Confederates, and even a few of their own.

In the early morning of the battle, Confederate and Union soldiers met in D. R. Miller's cornfield where hidden Rebels overwhelmed many surprised Union troops. Only after a couple of hours was the Union able to push back the Confederates.

The second major part of the battle took place at Sunken Road. Here, Confederate soldiers held their ground at a crucial point with a fence to cover them. After a while though, they could not handle the heavy fire from the Union. After the battle, this area was nicknamed "Bloody Lane."

In the final major dash, the Union attacked a Confederate stronghold right near a bridge. The first few waves of Union men were completely unsuccessful, but then they swarmed the bridge and drove the Rebels back into Confederate territory. The military skills of the Southerners were no match for the sheer number of Union men.

Although there was no real victor of the Battle of Antietam, the Union claimed a win because even though they lost more men than the Confederates, they did fulfill their purpose which was to drive the Army of Northern Virginia back into their own land.

Sources:

Biel, Timothy Levi. The Civil War. San Diego: Lucent Books, Incorporated, 1991.

Kent, Zachary. The Battle of Antietam. Chicago: Children's Press, 1992.