On September 17, 1862, Confederate General Lee launched an offensive into
Maryland in an attempt to take the Civil War to Northern soil. He
hoped to win Southern independence through victory in the North.
Union General McClellan, dispatched to stop the Confederate advance,
crossed Antietam creek with his forces to begin the attack that
morning. After twelve terrible hours of battle, both sides had
suffered tremendous losses. Sharpsburg, Maryland would be known as
the site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. The
Battle of Antietam claimed 23,000 dead, wounded, or missing — a
stunning quarter of the 100,000 troops in the engagement. Despite
this, the outcome of the battle was essentially a stalemate.
However, Lee's withdrawal across the Potomac into Virginia the next day
proved to be pivotal, prompting Lincoln to issue the Emancipation
Proclamation which would shift the focus of the war.
Antietam Battlefield, Maryland
• Maryland - Find travel information, maps, tourist resources, and more photos of Maryland.
• Antietam National Battlefield - Learn about Maryland's Battle of Antietam at the National Park Service website.