The Battle of Antietam lasted 2 days, spanning over the 16th and 17th of September 1862. There was a total of around 23,000 casualties, the Union suffering more than the Confederacy. The Union had around 12,500 total casualties while the Confederacy had about 10,500 casualties. One part of Antietam was the Bloody Lane, where more men died than in any other battle.
The generals for this battle were Robert E. Lee and George McClellan. Lee led the Confederacy and McClellan led the Union. Both men were educated at West Point where McClellan graduated in 1846, while Lee graduated in 1829. They both fought in the Mexican-American War and went on to serve in the Civil War.
Sharpsburg, Maryland Near Antietam Creek
The Battle of Antietam happened because the Union stopped the Confederacy's advance on Maryland. Though, another reason for why it happened is because Lee wanted to show the countries in Europe that he could bring the fight to the Union, so they would help the Confederacy with their cause. Lee's plan was to gain a vast amount of miltary supplies. This advance was considered the greatest Confederate threat to Washington D.C.
The battle started when the Union discovered Lee's battle plan, Special Order 191, and found out that Lee's army was divided. McClellan knew that if he acted fast he could take out both portions of Lee's army, but decided to wait 18 hours. Joseph Hooker led the first Union charge, which Lee's left flank barely held up to, while Lee's center troops fought at Bloody Lane and ultimately were successful. Antietam was a wasted chance for the Union, but it gave Lincoln the confidence to issue the E.P.
The Battle of Antietam took place in Sharpsburg, Maryland near Antietam Creek. It was called the Battle of Sharpsburg by Confederates and the Battle of Antietam by the Union. Lee decided that instead of retreating to Virginia, he would send his army to Sharpsburg and fight a defensive battle. The first attack on Lee was right behind Antietam Creek.
This battle was a Union victory due to Lee's retreat. McClellan decided not to pursue him which was Lincoln's last straw and he quickly relieved McClellan of his duty. Ambrose Burnside was chosen as the new commander of the army of the Potomac and led to a long line of new commanders. Many believe it was a wasted opportunity on the Union's part, but in the end, it helped Lincoln get reelected, issue the E.P., and kept Britain and France from interfering.