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Antietam, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Antietam, Battle of

Civil War Battle Summary

Antietam, Battle of | Wisconsin Historical Society
EnlargeColor lithograph of Union lines in the midst of battle.

Antietam, 1862.

This color lithograph shows Union lines in the midst of the Battle of Antietam. View the original source document: WHI 69490

Date(s): September 17, 1862

Location: Antietam Creek, Maryland (Google Map)

Other name(s): Battle of Sharpsburg

Campaign: Maryland Campaign (September 1862)

Outcome: Inconclusive

Summary

After fierce fighting, Union forces halted the Confederate Army’s first invasion of the North.

On September 17, 1862, Union and Confederate Armies engaged in 12 hours of savage combat at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, about 40 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. More than 125,000 troops faced off and over 24,000 were killed, wounded or missing. This was the single bloodiest day in American military history. When the fighting was over, Union forces had stopped the Confederate advance, but at great cost.

Wisconsin's Role

Wisconsin's Iron Brigade troops (the 2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments) were in the thickest of fighting. The 6th Wisconsin Infantry led a charge through the woods and into a cornfield leaving 150 of its 280 men killed or wounded. Of the 800 officers and men of the Iron Brigade who marched out that morning, 343 were wounded or killed.

Links to Learn More

[Source: Report on the Nation's Civil War Battlefields (Washington, 1993); Estabrook, C. Records and Sketches of Military Organizations (Madison, 1914); Love, W. Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Madison, 1866).]