The Bloodiest Day in American History — The Battle of Sharpsburg (1862)


The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek. For the locals in the Southern United States, the bloodiest day in the history of American warfare is also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg.

The infamous battle was the first field army–level engagement in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, taking place on Union soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with a combined tally of 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.

Below is a haunting collection of rare photos from the battle of Antietam in 1862.

Lonely Grave, Antietam, Maryland


Lt. Col. Charles B. Norton at headquarters of Gen. Fitz-John Porter, Antietam, Maryland


Lt. Rufus King, Lt. Alonzo Cushing, Lt. Evan Thomas and three other artillery officers in front of tent


Main Street in Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 1862, after the Battle of Antietam


Maj. Allan Pinkerton, Secret Service Department and friends, Antietam, Maryland


Newcomer’s mill


President Lincoln with Gen. George B. McClellan and group of officers


Signal tower overlooking Antietam battlefield, Elk Mountain, Maryland


Straw huts erected on Smith’s farm used as a hospital after the battle of Antietam


U.S. President A. Lincoln, between his bodyguard Major A. Pinkerton (left) and General J. A. McClernand, visiting the Union camp at Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 3, 1862


93rd New York Infantry, headquarters Army of the Potomac


A Calvary orderly


Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan in the general’s tent at Antietam, Maryland, October 3, 1862


Allan Pinkerton (“E. J. Allen”) of the Secret Service on horseback


Seated: R. William Moore and Allan Pinkerton. Standing: George H. Bangs, John C. Babcock, and Augustus K. Littlefield, Antietam, Maryland


Battlefield on the day of battle


Blacksmith shoeing horses at headquarters, Army of the Potomac


Bodies in front of the Dunker church


Bodies of Confederate dead gathered for burial


Bridge on the Sharpsburg-Boonsboro turnpike


Burying the dead Confederate soldiers


Captain J.M. Knap’s Penn of Independent Battery ‘E’ Light Artillery


Col. John S. Crocker, Lt. Col. Benjamin C. Butler, and adjutant of 93d New York Volunteers


Col. Turner G. Morehead, 106th Pennsylvania Volunteers


Confederate dead along Hagerstown Pike


Confederate soldiers as they fell near the Burnside bridge, Antietam, Maryland


Dead of Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade by rail fence on the Hagerstown pike


Dead soldiers on battlefield


Ditch with bodies of soldiers on right wing used as a rifle pit by Confederates


Federal buried, Confederate unburied, where they fell


Forge scene at General McClellan’s headquarters



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