10 Interesting Facts about the Battle of Antietam

Those who love to read history might consider one of these following facts about the Battle of Antietam really worth to read. The Battle of Antietam was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. Also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South, this battle was fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek as part of the Maryland Campaign. It is also known as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with a combined tally of dead, wounded, and missing at 22,717. For further information, to get you to know more about this battle, here are some other facts about the Battle of Antietam you might like.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 1: Powerful Assault

After pursuing Confeferate General Robert E. Lee into Maryland, Union Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan launched attacks against Lee’s army, in defensive positions behind Antietam Creek. At dawn on September 17, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank. Attacks and counterattacks swept across Miller’s cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 2: McClellan’s Attack

Despite having superiority of numbers, McClellan’s attacks failed to achieve force concentration, allowing Lee to counter by shifting forces and moving interior lines to meet each challenge. Despite ample reserve forces that could have been deployed to exploit localized successes,  McClellan failed to destroy Lee’s army. McClellan had halted Lee’s invasion of Maryland, but Lee was able to withdraw his army back to Virginia without interference from the cautious McClellan.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam - Battle of Antietam

Facts about the Battle of Antietam – Battle of Antietam

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 3: The Battle

Near the town of Sharpsburg, Lee deployed his available forces behind Antietam Creek along a low ridge, starting on September 15. While it was an effective defensive position, it was not an impregnable one. The terrain provided excellent cover for infantrymen, with rail and stone fences, outcroppings of limestone, and little hollows and swales.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 4: Attack

The first two Union divisions arrived on the afternoon of September 15 and the bulk of the remainder of the army late that evening. Although an immediate Union attack on the morning of September 16 would have had an overwhelming advantage in numbers, McClellan’s trademark caution and his belief that Lee had as many as 100,000 men at Sharpsburg caused him to delay his attack for a day.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam - Antietam National Battlefield Memorial

Facts about the Battle of Antietam – Antietam National Battlefield Memorial

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 5: September 16’s Evenening

On the evening of September 16, McClellan ordered Hooker’s I Corps to cross Antietam Creek and probe the enemy positions. Meade’s division cautiously attacked Hood’s troops near the East Woods. After darkness fell, artillery fire continued as McClellan positioned his troops for the next day’s fighting. McClellan’s plan was to overwhelm the enemy’s left flank.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 6: Morning

The battle opened at dawn (about 5:30 a.m.) on September 17 with an attack down the Hagerstown Turnpike by the Union I Corps under Joseph Hooker. Hooker’s objective was the plateau on which sat the Dunker Church, a modest whitewashed building belonging to a local sect of German Baptists. Hooker had approximately 8,600 men, little more than the 7,700 defenders under Stonewall Jackson, and this slight disparity was more than offset by the Confederates’ strong defensive positions.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam - Bloodylane

Facts about the Battle of Antietam – Bloodylane

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 7: Midday

By midday, the action had shifted to the center of the Confederate line. Sumner had accompanied the morning attack of Sedgwick’s division, but another of his divisions, under French, lost contact with Sumner and Sedgwick and inexplicably headed south. Eager for an opportunity to see combat, French found skirmishers in his path and ordered his men forward. By this time, Sumner’s aide (and son) located French, described the terrible fighting in the West Woods and relayed an order for him to divert Confederate attention by attacking their center.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 8: Afternoon’s Battle

The action moved to the southern end of the battlefield. McClellan’s plan called for Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and the IX Corps to conduct a diversionary attack in support of Hooker’s I Corps, hoping to draw Confederate attention away from the intended main attack in the north.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam - Dead soldiers

Facts about the Battle of Antietam – Dead soldiers

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 9: Aftermath

The battle was over by 5:30 p.m. Losses for the day were heavy on both sides. The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead. This represented 25% of the Federal force and 31% of the Confederate

Facts about the Battle of Antietam 10: Battlefield Preservation

Conservation work undertaken by Antietam National Battlefield and private groups, has earned Antietam a reputation as one of the nation’s best preserved Civil War battlefields. Few visual intrusions mar the landscape, letting visitors experience the site nearly as it was in 1862.

Facts about the Battle of Antietam - Dunker Church Antietam

Facts about the Battle of Antietam – Dunker Church Antietam

Hope you would find those Battle of Antietam facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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