Scenic USA - Maryland
Antietm National Battlefield
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
During the American Civil War General Lee moved his army out of war-torn Virginia, northward toward Pennsylvania in September, 1862. Unfortunately Lee's Special Order 191, laying out his plan of attack, fell into northern hands. The lost order was taken to Union General McClellan. Seeing a divided Confederate army, McClellan chose the opportunity to strike. Instead of returning to Virginia, Lee made a decision to make his stand at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Lee planted his forces west of Antietam Creek, as McClellan moved in from the east. The miscommunication of McClellan's battle plan led to uncoordinated attacks. The day long battle along Antietam Creek proved to be the bloodiest of the American Civil War.
Seen as a northern victory, President Lincoln followed with a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Here on the battlefield Clara Barton offered her help with the bloody aftermath and was christened by Surgeon Charles Dunn as the Angel of the Battlefield. Her efforts not only provided aid to soldiers, but also helped the displaced residents of Sharpsburg. After the war, Barton carried on with her involvement of the American Red Cross, providing aid to civilians after a natural disaster.
Pictured here, at the Antietam National Battlefield, is the lower bridge (Burnside Bridge) over Antietam Creek, where the fighting took place. Confederates held the bridge for hours until General Burnside's troops drove the Georgian rebels back to Sharpsburg. In the aftermath, the upper wooden cap of the Burnside Bridge was turned into grave markers when the horrendous task of burying 4000 dead began. There were 23,000 casualties out of the 100,000 troops at Antietam that day. But with no clear winner, the Civil War wore on for three more years.
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