On September 17, 1862, the forces of General McClelland for the Federals and the forces of General Lee for the confederates, met at Antietam Creek in Maryland. The Rebels called this meeting, The Battle of Sharpsburg, the Federals called it Antietam. History will remember it as the single bloodiest day in the history of the U.S. Military.
On this day, 23,000 Federal and Confederate soldiers would breathe their last breaths. Some in the cornfields, some crossing the Antietam and some behind stone walls, to say it was a horrific day would not be putting too fine a point on it. Indeed, more Americans were killed in one hour at Antietam, than in the entire days fighting of the first day of fighting on D-Day in June of 1944.
The Antietam Battlefield Park is not a place where war is glorified. It is a place to visit and reflect on the brave young men from the North and the South and the sacrifice both made. When one considers the 620,000 souls lost in the four long years of bitter fighting that was the Civil War. It is truly amazing that we as a nation survived.
I hope to return to Antietam and capture more images from around the park. Some might ask: “Why tour a place of such destruction?” My answer: Because if we do not remember the loss, the pain, the mistakes… We will learn those same bitter lessons again.
God rest them all.