Battle of Antietam Begins – HISTORY
Beginning in the early morning of September 17, 1862, Civil War Confederate and Union troops clash near Antietam Creek, Md., On the bloodiest day in US military history.
The Battle of Antietam marked the culmination of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the Northern States. Guiding his Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River in early September 1862, the Grand General boldly divided his men, sending half of them, under the command of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, to capture the garrison of the ‘Union at Harper’s Ferry.
President Abraham Lincoln has entrusted Major General George B. McClellan with responsibility for Union troops to defend Washington, DC against Lee’s invasion. During September 15 and 16, Confederate and Union armies rallied on opposite sides of Antietam Creek.
The fighting began at the hazy dawn of September 17. As the savage and bloody fighting continued for eight hours across the region, the Confederates were pushed back but not beaten, despite falling victim to some 15,000 casualties.
As the sun went down, the two armies were still holding their ground, despite staggering combined losses – nearly 23,000 of the 100,000 troops engaged, including over 3,600 dead. McClellan’s center never advanced, leaving a large number of Union soldiers who did not participate in the battle.
On the morning of September 18, the two camps gathered their wounded and buried their dead. That night, Lee returned his forces to Virginia.