Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Maryland Campaign of 1862
"...we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy who pursues us with a relentless and apparently aimless hostility."
President Jefferson Davis
September 7, 1862
"The present seems to be the most propitious time since the commencement of the war for the Confederate army to enter Maryland."
General R.E. Lee
September 2, 1862
"God bless you and all with you. Destroy the rebel army if possible."
President Abraham Lincoln
September 15, 1862
"...if we defeat the army arrayed before us, the rebellion is crushed, for I do not believe they can organize another army. But if we should be so unfortunate as to meet with defeat, our country is at their mercy."
Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan
September 11, 1862
"...exposed to the fire of slavery and freedom"
That is how Pvt. Julius Rabardy described the chaos at Antietam as he lay on the battlefield, caught between the lines, his leg shattered by the musketry of both armies.
The Battle of Antietam was the culmination of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the first invasion of the North by Confederate
After splashing across the Potomac River and arriving in Frederick, Maryland, Lee boldly divided his army to capture the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). The 12,000 Union soldiers there threatened Lee's vital link south. Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and about half of the army were sent to capture the Union garrison. The rest of the Confederates moved north and west toward South Mountain and Hagerstown, Maryland.
In Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln turned to Major General George B. McClellan to protect the capital and respond to the invasion. McClellan quickly reorganized the demoralized Army of the Potomac and advanced toward Lee. The armies first clashed on South Mountain where
The twelve hour battle began at dawn on September 17. Savage, incomparable combat raged across the Cornfield, East Woods, West Woods, the Sunken Road, and Burnside Bridge as Lee shifted his men to withstand each of the Union thrusts. Despite more than 23,000 casualties of the nearly 100,000 engaged, both armies stubbornly held their ground as the sun set on the devastated landscape. The next day, September 18, the opposing armies gathered their wounded and buried their dead. That night Lee's army withdrew back across the Potomac to Virginia, ending Lee's first invasion of the North. Lee's retreat provided President Lincoln the opportunity he had been waiting for to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Now the war had a dual purpose of preserving the Union and ending slavery.
Erected 2009 by Antietam National Battlefield - National Park Service - Department of the Interior.
Location. 39° 28.452′ N, 77° 44.717′ Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Battlefield Namesake (a few steps from this marker); Twentieth Regiment (within shouting distance of this marker); 3rd Maryland Volunteer Infantry (within shouting distance of this marker); Twelfth Army Corps (within shouting distance of this marker); A Converging Storm of Iron (within shouting distance of this marker); A Savage Continual Thunder (within shouting distance of this marker); Model 1841 6-Pounder Gun (within shouting distance of this marker); Model 1857 12-Pounder Gun-Howitzer (within shouting distance of this marker); Lees Artillery Battalion (within shouting distance of this marker); 3-Inch Ordnance Rifle (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
More about this marker. At the top of the marker are portraits of President Davis, General Lee, President Lincoln, and General McClellan.
At the bottom are three illustrations. On the left is one titled Bloodiest one-day battle in American history captioned - Photographer Alexander Gardner and his assistant James Gibson captured about ninety images of the carnage at Antietam. This image is titled "Bodies of Confederate dead gathered for burial."
In the center is a drawing titled Ended Lee's first Northern invasion captioned - Sketch of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia retreating from Sharpsburg, from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Lee's army crossed back over the Potomac River into Virginia on September 18 and 19.
On the right is a photo titled Led to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation captioned - President Abraham Lincoln signed the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, just five days after Antietam. The final Proclamation, pictured here, was signed on January 1, 1863.
Also see . . . Antietam Battlefield Park. NPS site. (Submitted on September 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
More. Search the internet for The Maryland Campaign of 1862.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,257 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on September 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 14, 2015, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. 7, 8. submitted on September 27, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.