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Antietam National Battlefield
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Location Washington County, Maryland, USA
Nearest city Sharpsburg, MD
Coordinates 39°28′N 77°44′W / 39.47°N 77.74°W / 39.47; -77.74Coordinates: 39°28′N 77°44′W / 39.47°N 77.74°W / 39.47; -77.74
Area 3,255.89 acres (13.18 km2)
2,725.01 acres (11.03 km2) federal
Established August 30, 1890
Visitors 337,569 (in 2007)
Governing body National Park Service

Antietam National Battlefield is a National Park Service protected area along Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland which commemorates the American Civil War Battle of Antietam that occurred on September 17, 1862. The area, situated on fields among the Appalachian foothills near the Potomac River, features the battlefield site and visitor center, a national military cemetery and a field hospital museum. Today, over 330,000 people visit the park each year.

Contents

Battlefield

In the Battle of Antietam, General Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North ended on this battlefield in 1862.[1]

Established as Antietam National Battlefield Site August 30, 1890,[2] the park was transferred from the War Department August 10, 1933,[3] and redesignated November 10, 1978.[2] Along with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, the battlefield was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.[4] Additional documentation on the site was recorded by the National Park Service on February 27, 2009.[5]

Cemetery

Monument in the Antietam National Cemetery

Antietam National Cemetery, whose 11.36 acres (46,000 m2) contain 5,032 interments (1,836 unidentified), adjoins the park. Civil War interments occurred in 1866. The cemetery contains only Union soldiers from the Civil War period. Confederate dead were interred in the Washington Confederate Cemetery within Rosehill Cemetery, Hagerstown, Maryland; Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland; and Elmwood Cemetery in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.[6] The cemetery also contains the graves of veterans and their wives from the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, and the Korean War. The cemetery was closed to additional interments in 1953. An exception was made in 2000 for the remains of USN Fireman Patrick Howard Roy who was killed in the attack on the USS Cole.[7] The Antietam National Cemetery was placed under the War Department on July 14, 1870;[8] it was transferred to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933.[9]

Visitor Center

The Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center contains museum exhibits about the battle and the Civil War. The movie "Antietam Visit" depicts the battle and President Abraham Lincoln's visit to Union Commander General George B. McClellan. A documentary about the battle is also shown. Park rangers offer interpretive talks. An audio tour is available for purchase to accompany the self-guided 8.5-mile (13.7 km) driving tour of the battlefield with eleven stops.

The Visitor Center was constructed in 1962 as part of the Mission 66 plan. It is being considered for replacement with a visitor center that is more keeping with the historic nature of the Battlefield.[10]

Pry House Field Hospital Museum

The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located in the house that served as Union Commander General George B. McClellan's headquarters during the battle. Exhibits focus on period medical care of the wounded, as well as information about the Pry House. The museum is sponsored by the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

The battle

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Morning phase

Dunker Church

The Battle began at dawn on September 17, 1862, when Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker began the Union artillery bombardment off the Confederate positions of Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson positions in the Miller cornfield. Hooker's troops advanced behind the falling shells and drove the Confederates from their positions. Around 7 a.m. Jackson reinforced his troops and pushed the Union troops back. Union Maj. Gen. Joseph K. Mansfield sent his men into the fray and regained some of the ground lost to the Confederates.[11]

Mid-day phase

Sunken Road.

As the fighting in the cornfield was coming to a close, Maj. Gen. William H. French was moving his Federals forward to support Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick and veered into Confederate Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill's troops posted in the Sunken Road. Fierce fighting continued here for four hours before exhaustion overwhelmed both sides.[11]

Afternoon phase

Union positions below the Confederates at Burnside Bridge

On the southeast side of town, Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's troops had been trying to cross Antietam Creek since mid-morning. Around 1 p.m., they finally cross the bridge and took the heights. After a 2 hour lull to reform the Union lines, they advanced up the hill, driving the Confederates back towards Sharpsburg. But for the timely arrival of Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill's division from Harpers Ferry, Burnside would have entered Sharpsburg. Instead, the Union troops were driven back to the heights above the bridge.[11]

Conclusion

The battle was over with the Union sitting on three sides, waiting for the next day. During the night, General Lee pulled his troops back across the Potomac River, leaving the battle and the town to General McClellan.

References

Notes

  1. ^ Tilberg, Frederick (1960). "Across the Potomac". Antietam National Battlefield Site Maryland Historical Handbook. National Park Service. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/hh/31/hh31a.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  2. ^ a b "National Park System Birthdays". National Park Service History. National Park Service. April 13, 2006. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/hisnps/NPSHistory/birthdays.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  3. ^ Tilberg, Frederick (1960). "Antietam National Battlefield Site and Cemetery". Antietam National Battlefield Site Maryland Historical Handbook. National Park Service. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/hh/31/hh31t.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  4. ^ "Antietam National Battlefield Query". National Register Information System. National Register of Historic Places. http://www.nr.nps.gov/iwisapi/explorer.dll?IWS_SCHEMA=NRIS1&IWS_LOGIN=1&IWS_REPORT=100000044. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  5. ^ "WEEKLY LIST OF ACTIONS TAKEN ON PROPERTIES: 2/23/09 THROUGH 2/27/09". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-06. http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/listings/20090306.HTM.  
  6. ^ "Antietam National Cemetery". National Park Service. July 25, 2006. http://www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/antietam-national-cemetery.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  7. ^ "Antietam National Cemetery, part 2". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/antietam-national-cemetery-part-2.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  8. ^ Lee, Ronald F. (1973). "III. The First Battlefield Parks,1890-1899". The Origin and Evolution of the National Military Park Idea. National Park Service. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/history_military/nmpidea5d.htm. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  9. ^ "1930 through 1939". NPS Chronological Timeline. National Park Service. May 19, 2006. http://home.nps.gov/applications/budget2/NPS1930.html. Retrieved February 2, 2007.  
  10. ^ French, C. Madrid. "Visitor Centers at the National Parks". Mission66.com. http://www.mission66.com/centers.html. Retrieved 2009-03-11.  
  11. ^ a b c Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland Brochure; National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; Harpers Ferry Design Center, Harpers Ferry, WV

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Sharpsburg article)

From Wikitravel

Bloody Lane at Antietam Battlefield
Bloody Lane at Antietam Battlefield

Sharpsburg is a small historic American village in Washington County in Western Maryland, home to Antietam National Battlefield [1].

Antietam area map
Antietam area map

Sharpsburg and Antietam National Battlefield are accessible only by car, although once you're there, the village itself is very easy to cover by foot. Sharpsburg is on MD-34, which connects with US Interstate 70 via MD-64 and US-40.

Understand

Sharpsburg is a small town, founded by a settler in 1763 after the French and Indian War, who named the settlement after then Maryland governor Sharpe. With less than 1,000 residents, it would be an overlooked quaint village if not for hosting one momentous and terribly bloody day in American history.

The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest day in American Military History. 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on 17 September 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the first Confederate invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

The Battle of Antietam was the culmination of the Maryland Campaign of 1862, the first invasion of the North by Confederate General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. Following a defeat at South Mountain, General Lee considered ending his campaign in the North and withdrawing to Virginia, but upon hearing of General Stonewall Jackson's victory at Harpers Ferry, he decided to make a stand at Sharpsburg.

The Confederate commander gathered his forces on the high ground west of Antietam Creek with Gen. James Longstreet's command holding the center and the right while Stonewall Jackson's men filled in on the left. Union General George McLellan focused the Union forces upon the left flank of the Confederate Army along the Sunken Road, and hammered away in brutal stalemate. Union General Ambrose Pierce led the planned assault upon the Confederate right flank seven hours into the battle, after General Lee had already transferred many troops to the left flank, but was held up in capturing the bridge that bears his name by a small Confederate force from a higher defensive position. After taking the bridge, General Pierce paused for two hours to reorganize his forces, delaying his assaults upon the Confederate right flank. By the end of the day, General McLellan's assault had failed to break either flank, leaving a large portion of his central forces out of play, leaving the brave efforts of his men in the fight nullified by his overly cautious assault. General McLellan left the battle embarrassed and in poor standing with the President. The tactical stalemate remained, both armies were decimated (nearly 1/4 of the men fighting), and Sharpsburg was nearly destroyed. General Lee, seeking to avoid a drawn-out battle of attrition with the larger Union forces, withdrew across the Potomac, ending his strategic campaign in the North.

This bloody battle, despite the underwhelming tactical performance by Union generals, marked a strategic turning point for the North, as General Lee would from this point be forced to fight on Confederate soil. Perhaps even more importantly, the "victory" here gave President Lincoln the opportunity to make his Emancipation Proclamation, thereby making the war no longer just an attempt to restore Union sovereignty over the South, but a greater cause of ridding the United States of the evil practice of slavery. This gave the Union an important boost in morale, and helped keep foreign powers leery of supporting the cause of slavery from aligning with the South.

  • Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center, 5831 Dunker Church Road, +1 301 432-5124. 26 Oct-8 May 8:30AM-5PM daily, 9 May-29 May 8:30AM-6PM daily, 30 May-20 Sept 8AM-7PM daily, 21 Sept-25 Oct 8:30AM-6PM. $4/person, $6/family, valid for three days.   edit

The battlefield is maintained by the National Park Service, and you can experience it in a number of ways:

  • Explore the museum exhibits in the visitor center
  • View the 26-minute introductory film "Antietam Visit" which is shown on the hour and the half- hour, except from noon to 1:00PM
  • Join a Park Ranger for a battlefield talk
  • Browse the Museum Store
  • Take the self-guided 8 1/2 mile auto tour through the battlefield. The tour has 11 stops and begins at the Dunker Church
  • Take a self-guided hike on the Cornfield, Final Attack, Union Advance, Antietam Remembered, Sherrick Farm or Snavely Ford Trails
  • Visit the Pry House Field Hospital Museum, +1 301 416-2395, summers: noon-5PM daily.

Do

Sharpsburg is not a town full of activities for travelers beyond visiting the battlefield, but it is right by the C&O Canal, which is a great place for biking, walks, camping, canoeing, and kayaking.

  • Antietam Battle Anniverary. 12-14 September. The most busy weekend in Sharpsburg every year hosts musical performances, including Civil War field music, vendors, a full-day guided hike of the battlefield, special lectures, and a whole host of other activities.  edit
  • Clara B Gifts, 6508 Sharpsburg Pike, +1 301 432-2691. A small gift shop right on the edge of the Battlefield, where you can buy souvenirs and greeting cards.  edit
  • Antietam Cafe & Wine Bar, 111 W Main St, +1 301 432-0711, [2]. The place to eat in Sharpsburg, with a full bar and crab cakes that attract favorable reviews.  edit
  • Battleview Market - Diner, 5331 Sharpsburg Pike (1/2 mile south of Antietam Battlefield), 301=432-2676, [3]. 6am-10pm. Homecooking at its best! Homemade soups, Subs, Sandwiches Wraps, Fresh Fried Chicken. Burgers fresh from the local meat market daily. Serving Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Eat in or Carry Out. Box Lunches available for large groups touring the Battlefield.  edit
  • Captain Benders, 111 E Main St, +1 301 432-5813, [4]. M 4PM-midnight, Tu-Sa 11:30AM-1AM, Su noon-midnight. Pretty much the only bar in town is actually one of the best in the region. It's no tourist trap, has some really good cocktails, and a full pub menu.  edit
  • Jacob Rohrbach Inn, 138 W Main Street, +1 301 432-5079, +1 877 839-4242 (, fax: +1 877 839-4242), [5]. An exceptionally charming, historic Bed & Breakfast (1804), offering a multi-course daily breakfast, free WiFi, and antique furnishings. Double: $130-185.  edit
  • The natural "next stops" for visitors interested in Civil War sites are the incredible national battlefield at Gettysburg (one hour away) Monocacy (half hour) and Harpers Ferry (half hour).
  • Next door is the original Washington Monument at Boonsboro.
  • Crystal Grottoes offers underground cave tours, minutes from Sharpsburg.
  • The closest cities of any real size are Hagerstown and Frederick.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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