|← Previous Item||
|Next Item →|
Having gained a victory at Second Bull Run, Lee struck north toward Maryland. This would enable him to keep the initiative, supply his army from the rich farmlands, and keep the campaign out of Confederate territory. McClellan had over 70,000 troops in the farmland around Sharpsburg. They would greatly outnumber Lee’s army of 35,000. McClellan deployed three corps on his right, another was to engage the Confederates on his left, while two others covered the center and formed the reserve. Lee deployed Jackson on his left flank, with Longstreet covering the center and right flank. Lee hoped to be supported by A. P. Hill’s division marching up from Harper’s Ferry.
The attacks against the Confederate left flank were poorly coordinated. The fighting in the woods and cornfields around Dunker Church was particularly bloody. Casualties had also been heavy along the line of the sunken road, dubbed “Bloody Lane” by those who fought there. On the Confederate right flank, Burnside finally moved forward. At the height of this crisis, Hill’s division arrived and crashed into Burnside’s formation and forced him to retreat.
With Lee’s left and center sorely punished, McClellan had an opportunity to destroy Lee’s army. McClellan, despite having two fresh corps, chose not to attack further. The following day, Lee’s army remained in place, but McClellan was not inclined to renew the fighting, and Lee was able to withdraw his army across the Potomac. While seen as a Union victory, McClellan had failed to destroy Lee’s army.
The stage is set, the battle lines are drawn, and you are in command. The rest is history.
September 17, 1862
Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the Southern United States, was a battle of the American Civil War, fought on September 17, 1862, between Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and Union General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac, near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek. Part of the Maryland Campaign, it was the first field army–level engagement in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. It was the bloodiest day in United States history, with a combined tally of 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.
Introduction to Wikipedia Article
Wikipedia: Battle of Antietam