September 17, 1862 Entire Casualties:23,000 Union Casualties:10,000 Confederate Casualties:13,000
Robert E. Lee
Special Order 191
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle in American History and it only lasted one day. This battle is also known as The Battle of Sharpsburg. There were, in total 23,000 casualties. There were 10,000 union casualties and 13,000 confederate casualties. This was a Union victory.
The military leaders at the time were George McClellan and Robert E. Lee. Both of these men graduated from West point. George McClellan had a God complex and lacked killer instinct, he was very unsure of his plans using "if" in a lot of his writings. Robert E. Lee was a great defense strategist, even though he didn't believe in slavery he was loyal to the south.
The confederates needed military supplies in Maryland. Robert E. Lee wanted Europe on his side so he wanted to win more battles to gain their trust. He thought he could win the war if he won a battle on Northern grounds. McClellan knew the exact plans for this battle after union soldiers recovered Lee's battle plan (Special Order 191), wrapped around 3 cigars. This made for an easy win for the Union.
This battle began early in the morning and turned out to be the bloodiest single day battle in American history. Robert E. Lee divided his men, one half under the supervision of Stonewall Jackson. On September 15 and 16 the armies gathered on both sides of Antietam creek. The battle lasted for 8 hours, but when the sun went down both armies had kept their ground, though later it was decided to be a Union Victory. Many Union troops didn't even participate because McClellan never told them to move forward.
The battle of Antietam took place in a open field. Another half of the soldiers had gathered on opposite sides of the Antietam creek. Near the open field there was church called Dunker church and it is still standing today. It is said that there were so many dead bodies and blood you couldn't walk from one end of the field to the other without stepping on a dead body.
At the end of the day when the war was over both Union and Confederate troops held their ground. It was declared a draw at the moment. Then it was later decided to be a Union victory. This war kept Europe out of the war. This also allowed Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.