The next stop on my family’s historic travels was Antietam, site of the single bloodiest day of battle in the Civil War. The loss here, on both sides, was devastating, and I could feel that weight as we toured the grounds. Since visiting Gettysburg years ago, this was the next battlefield that I most wanted to visit.
Here is the site of the Confederate cannon near Dunker Church:
A memorial to Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross. Two bricks from her childhood home were used to create the red cross on her memorial. She was a dedicated, fearless nurse on the Civil War battlefields.
Here is a portion of Antietam known as “The Bloody Cornfield”. It was strange to reflect on all the horror, violence, and death that took occurred in a place that is now so beautiful.
A majestic memorial to the Union soldiers of my home state, Indiana, rises on the far side of “The Bloody Cornfield”.
“The Bloody Lane” (you’ll find the adjective “bloody” is used quite frequently in descriptions of Civil War sites) leads to the Sunken Road. Here, Confederate soldiers created a great trench that allowed them to remain hidden from the Union army. When the Union soldiers neared the edge of the trench, the Confederates stunned them by popping up and shooting. In the photo below, my dad demonstrates how the Confederate soldiers would not have been seen well by the view from the cornfields above:
Here is where General Burnside’s troops attempted multiple times to cross Antietam Creek and flank the Confederates. During the failed attempts, the Confederates strengthened their flank, and the result was disaster for Burnside’s soldiers. After heavy casualties, Burnside’s troops finally managed to capture the bridge. The bridge then became known as “Burnside’s Bridge”.
Here is the site of the last portion of the Battle of Antietam:
The hauntingly beautiful Antietam cemetery. Only Union soldiers could be buried here. Confederate soldiers were placed in a different cemetery.