Antietam Essay, Research Paper

The Battle of Antietam Union Losses – 12,410

Confederate Losses – 10,700 On September 4, 1862

General Robert E. Lee crossed the Potomac into Maryland

with 40,000 picked troops. He was confident of victory.

The outcome would surprise everyone. Due to the lost

orders of General Lee, the Union Army was aware of his

plans. Word got back to Lee and he knew he had to move

quickly. On September 16 General George B. McClellan

confronted Lee’s army of northern Virginia at Sharpsburg,

Maryland. At dawn on September 17 General Hooker’s

Corps mounted a powerful assault on Lee’s left flank. The

confederate army was still greatly outnumbered. This began

the single bloodiest day in American military history. Attacks

and counterattacks swept across Millers cornfield and

fighting swirled around Dunker Church. The Union assaults

against the sunken road (later known as Bloody Lane)

eventually pierced through the Confederate center. The

Federal advantage was not followed up. Later in the day,

General Burnside’s corps got in to action, crossing the stone

bridge over Antietam Creek (later known as Burnside

Bridge) and rolling up the Confederate right. Nobody knows

exactly what happened at the bridge yet it is known that at a

crucial moment General A. P. Hill’s division arrived from

Harpers Ferry and counter attacked, driving Burnside back.

Although outnumbered two-to-one, Lee committed his entire

force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his

army. In spite of crippling casualties Lee continued to

skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th. After dark,

Lee ordered his battered army to withdraw across the

Potomac into the Shenandoah Valley. The result of the

battle: Well, that’s any ones call. Yet when it comes to

strategy, it’s definitely the North’s win.

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