Antietam National Battlefield

Overview

Antietam National Battlefield is a National Park Service protected area along Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland which commemorates the American Civil War Battle of Antietam that occurred on September 17, 1862. The area, situated on fields among the Appalachian foothills near the Potomac River, features the battlefield site and visitor center, a national military cemetery and a field hospital museum. Today, over 330,000 people visit the park each year.

The Battle began at dawn on September 17, 1862, when Major General Joseph Hooker began the Union artillery bombardment off the Confederate positions of Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson positions in the Miller cornfield. Hooker's troops advanced behind the falling shells and drove the Confederates from their positions. Around 7 a.m. Jackson reinforced his troops and pushed the Union troops back. Union Major General Joseph K. Mansfield sent his men into the fray and regained some of the ground lost to the Confederates.

As the fighting in the cornfield was coming to a close, Major General William H. French was moving his Federals forward to support Major General John Sedgwick and veered into Confederate Major General D.H. Hill's troops posted in the Sunken Road. Fierce fighting continued here for four hours before exhaustion overwhelmed both sides.

On the southeast side of town, Union Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's troops had been trying to cross Antietam Creek since mid-morning. Around 1 p.m., they finally cross the bridge and took the heights. After a 2 hour lull to reform the Union lines, they advanced up the hill, driving the Confederates back towards Sharpsburg. But for the timely arrival of Major General A.P. Hill's division from Harpers Ferry, Burnside would have entered Sharpsburg. Instead, the Union troops were driven back to the heights above the bridge.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day

Directions

Driving: 

The Visitor Center address is 5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, MD 21782

Traveling east on Interstate 70:
* Exit 29A onto Route 65 south.
* 10 miles south on the left is the Visitor Center.

Traveling west on Interstate 70 from the Baltimore/Washington area:
* Exit 29 onto Route 65 South towards Sharpsburg.
* Travel about 10 miles south to the Park Visitor Center entrance which will be on your left side.

Traveling north-south on Interstate 81:
* Exit 1, Route 68, six miles east to Route 65.
* Turn right at light on Route 65.
* Five miles south on the left is the Visitor Center.