Antietam + 150 Years

Today I’m reflecting on the Battle of Antietam which took place 150 years ago today.  Also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, it remains the deadliest day of combat in American history.  Approximately 23,000 Americans, North and South died that day .

The armies of Confederate general Robert E. Lee and Union general George McClellan engaged more than 38,000 troops that day in a battle that could only be regarded as a strategic victory for the Union.

Calling it a victory, President Lincoln used the occasion to issue the momentous Emancipation Proclamation.

Confederate dead at Antietam


Such a terrible battle, but only a part of a much more terrible war.  As a student of history it bothers me that our nation takes so little notice of these important days of our history.   Those who fought there deserve to be remembered.

As our nation seems to be fraying again, I wonder if we are headed toward creating new terrible memories amongst our own people.  What a shame if the lessons learned from those who battled at places like Antietam are lost on the current and future generations.

Here are a link to one report on the observances taking place at the Antietam Battlefield today.


My friend William Newton told me about this NPR piece about modern day photos of the Antietam Battlefield, using the same type of equipment that Civil War photographer Alexander Gardner used.   It’s pretty fascinating …