Also referred to as the battle of Sharpsburg, the battle of Antietam was Robert E. Lee's plan to invade the North. It was the bloodiest one day battle in all of the Civil War. This battle happened after Order 191 was found by the Union. The South believed that if they could win a war on Northern soil, they could win the war.
The general for the North was General George Mcclellan. He graduated from West Point and was a great organizer, though he lacked killer instinct. The general for the South was General Robert E. Lee. He was loved by his soldiers and thought he was too old to lead. He didn't believe in the southern cause but was loyal to his hometown of Virginia so he lead the South.
Antietam Creek and Rohrback Bridge
Before the battle of Antietam, all of the major battle had been fought on Southern soil. Robert E. Lee decided that he wanted to take the fight to the North so he marched his soldiers to Maryland. He wanted to take his soldiers all the way to Pennsylvania, but the Union army attacked before they got there. The Union knew of the South's plans because of Special Order 191.
The battle of Antietam is considered the bloodiest day in American history. It started in the morning when the Union attacked the Confederacy in Sharpsburg, Maryland near Antietam Creek. During the morning, the fighting was done in a cornfield where a group of Union Soldiers called the Iron Brigade attacked Confederate soldiers. So many men died that you couldn't walk from one end of the cornfield to the other without stepping on a dead body. During mid-day, the fighting was done on Sunken Church road where there was so much fighting that the soldiers were left standing in ankle deep blood which gave the road the nickname of Bloody Lane. In the afternoon, the Union crossed Rohrback Bridge where they were picked off by the Confederacy.
The morning of the battle was fought in Miller Cornfield where 8,000 men died. There were 15 combined charges between the two sides. The fighting then went to Sunken church road where fighting didn't last very long because the soldiers couldn't advance over all the dead bodies. Finally, the Union decided to cross Rohrback Bridge. The Confederacy positioned themselves and picked off the Union soldiers one by one.
Sunken Church Road (Bloody Lane)
There is no "winner" of the battle of Antietam but since Lee retreated, the Union claimed it as a victory. Because of Antietam, the South didn't attack the North again until the battle of Gettysburg. It gave the North a new hope of winning. Because of this battle, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Emancipation Proclamation all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free.