Haunted Sharpsburg Maryland: The Battle of Antietam September 17 1862
The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862 near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek.
It was the first major battle in the American Civil War on Union soil and the most tragic single-day battle in American history entailing 23,110 casualties (dead, wounded and missing) and had transformed the small town into a burial ground.
The battle matched Confederate forces commanded by General Robert E Lee against the Union forces led by General George B McClellan.
In the early morning hours heavy fighting occurred in the cornfields and woods in the vicinity of Dunker’s Church
By mid-day the heaviest fighting was centered in the area of Sunken Road and resulted in over 5000 casualties, giving it the name “Bloody Lane”
In the late afternoon and evening General Ambrose P Burnside captured the stone bridge over Antietam creek pushing battered Confederate forces into Sharpsburg
The following morning saw skirmishes however most Confederate forces had retreated to Virginia
Although the battle was a tactical stalemate, President Lincoln used the Confederate withdrawal from the battlefield to announce the Emancipation Proclamation on September 23 1862.
President Lincoln would later visit the battlefield on October 3 1862 and heavily criticized General McClellan for not pursuing and finishing Confederate forces. President Lincoln removed General McClellan from command of the Army of the Potomac the following month.
Reported haunted locations in connection with the battle include: Burnside Bridge; Sunken Road (Bloody Lane); Philip Pry Farm House which served as General McClellan’s headquarters; Piper House and Grove Farm House, which were used as makeshift Confederate hospitals.
Antietam National Cemetery was dedicated in 1867, five years after the battle. The cemetery, located at the eastern edge of Sharpsburg on the Boonsboro Road, has the remains of 4,776 Federal soldiers.
[Antietam, Maryland. Dead Soldiers in Ditch on the Right Wing where Kimball’s Brigade Fought so Desperately], Sharpsburg MD (Sep 1862), Library of Congress. Photo: Alexander Gardner
[Antietam, Maryland. Bodies in Front of the Dunker Church], Sharpsburg MD (Sep 1862), Library of Congress. Photo: Alexander Gardner
[Battle of Antietam, Maryland - Burnside’s Division Carrying the Bridge over the Antietam Creek and Storming the Rebel Position, After a Desperate Conflict of Four Hours, Wednesday, September 17], Sharpsburg MD (Sep 1862), Library of Congress, Wood Engraving. Artist: Edwin Forbes
[The Charge Across the Burnside Bridge - Antietam], Sharpsburg MD (Sep 1862), Library of Congress, Pencil Drawing. Artist: Edwin Forbes
Overview of the Battle of Antietam: Map of the Battle of Antietam of the American Civil War. Created on Oct 25 2010. Illustrator: by Hal Jespersen.
[Antietam, Maryland. President Lincoln with Gen. George B. McClellan and Group of Officers], Sharpsburg MD (Oct 3 1862) at Grove Farm House, Library of Congress. Photo: Alexander Gardner
Piper House, W Elevation (1999), Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD. Maryland Historic Trust. Photo: Merry Stinson
Philip Pry Farm House, Boonsboro Pike (SR 34), Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD. Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey
Grove Farm House, NW Elevation, Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD. Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey