Antietam National Battlefield
Antietam National Battlefield is the site of the bloodiest single day battle during the American Civil War. Antietam is located right outside of Sharpsburg, Maryland along Antietam Creek near the great Potomac River that divided the South states safe ground of Virginia from the Northern State of Maryland.
Maryland had troops fight on both sides of the Antietam Battlefield with the Baltimore Brigade fighting for the South. The Maryland Monument that stands in the fields of Antietam recognizes both sides of the fighting.
Many states that lost soldiers during the fighting erected monuments in the fields. New York and Maryland were both impressive, both close to the Visitor’s Center. Many of the monuments were located in different spots around the area where specific state brigades fought during the Battle of Antietam.
If you are a military history buff there is much information on the advances, retreats, defeats, soldiers, officers, and bystanders. A good place to start your tour would be at the Visitor’s Center to watch the 25 minute movie. The rangers will give you a map of a driving or walking tour totaling around 8 miles if you do the whole thing. My Bed and Breakfast had a CD tour to use in your car as you drive. There are many spots to pull off the road for pictures, to read signs, view monuments, and reflect.
Clara Barton aided the wounded at Antietam. Here is her monument:
Sunken Road was the site of many Confederate soldiers deaths. They at first had good positioning but then became stuck between the fences on the lowered road. From the Observation Tower here you can see the entire Antietam Battlefield.
The tour ends at Antietam National Cemetery in Sharpsburg. The dead are buried according to their states. It is absolutely heart wrenching to see the rows and rows of young men who did not get to chance to grow old.
In a lonely back corner of the cemetery were two stones side by side- the only Iowa deaths at Antietam. It was a heart-wrenching sight to see- two boys far from home, alone in Maryland with no one surrounding them.
Antietam National Battlefield is a must-see historical place to learn about the American Civil War. A beautiful sight now, you will remember the horrors of the war and learn from the events that occurred here 150 years ago.
I spent two afternoons touring Antietam because the wind and the rain brought Day 1 to a screeching halt. I was very glad to be able to return on Day 2 and walk a lot more of the area. The entrance fee is $5 per person or $10 per car paid at the Visitor’s Center. My plans for the year include a lot of National Park visits so I purchased an $80 annual pass for all US National Parks. No matter the weather or time of year, you will learn a lot about American Civil War history at Antietam National Battlefield. If you are driving through Western Maryland or live in the mid-Atlantic, put Antietam on your to-do list.