Did You Know?
The Battle of Antietam ranks as the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. It 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. The 12-hour battle began on Sept. 17, 1862, and ended in a draw with several thousand dead and both the Confederate and the Union armies “stubbornly” holding their ground. “The next day, Sept. 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 into the North. Lee’s retreat to Virginia provided President [Abraham] 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.”
Source: The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, which operates the Antietam National Battlefield.