Battle of Antietam

Drake Weidman

Part 1: Union Surprise Atttack

On September 17th, 1862, Union forces under the command of Commander George McClellan mounted a surprise attack on Confederate forces in Washington County, Maryland. The powerful attack came from the Confederacy's left, starting the battle. The attack was led directly by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, and conducted by his Union Corps.

Confederate Counter

All throughout the morning, Confederate counter-attacks were conducted in an effort to push back the Union. The battle swept back and forth across Miller's Cornfield, and the West Woods. After each Confederate push-back, Hooker mounted assault after assault of equally devastating retaliation. Despite the Union's clear numerical advantage, Stonewall Jackson's forces near Dunker Church would hold their position throughout the morning.

Part 2: Union Road Assaults

Meanwhile, near the center of the battlefield, Union assaults on the sunken road pierced Confederate forces. This was a battle for a key defensive position. Eventually, the Union took the road. Unfortunately for the Union, this position was not used for further advances for the remainder of the battle.
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Confederate Final Push & Retreat

During the final battle of the day, Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's corps managed to push across the stone bridge over Antietam creek, putting the Confederate forces at risk from the right. At the last second, Confederate reenforcements arrived from Harper's Ferry, pushing Union forces back across the bridge.

The Outcome

After the Confederate Army managed to push back the Union for a short time, Robert E. Lee ordered a full retreat. Technically, the battle was a draw, but the Confederacy's retreat gave President Lincoln the victory he needed before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. And thus, the bloodiest single day battle in U.S. history was brought to a close in favor of the Union.
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Total Death Toll: 22, 717