During Memorial Day weekend, my family joined Boy Scout Troop 424 for a 10 mile hike through Antietam National Battlefield in Northwest Maryland. From its website (link),
The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History
23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
The battle raged between the Army of the Potomac versus the Army of Northern Virginia.
"There are no better teachers for those who come after us than the silent monuments on the battlefields, marking the places where men died for a principle they believed right, whether they wore the blue or the gray uniform."
Major Wells Sponable, 34th New York Monument dedication
"In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield."
Dr. James Dunn, Surgeon at the Battle of Antietam
“…we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy who pursues us with a relentless and apparently aimless hostility.”
Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate State
September 7, 1862
“God bless you and all with you. Destroy the rebel army if possible.”
Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America
15 September 1862
Over 500 cannons participated in the Battle of Antietam, firing over 50,000 rounds of ammunition. The cannonade was so severe that Confederate artillery commander Colonel S.D. Lee described the battle as "artillery hell."
Private Johnny Cook, a bugler with Battery B, 4th U.S., was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Antietam when he was only 15 years.
Union General John Gibbon who served at Antietam and fought in the infamous Cornfield had three brothers who served in the Confederate army.
President Abraham Lincoln visited Antietam Battlefield two weeks after the battle and spent four days visiting General George McClellan, touring the battlefield and visiting the wounded of both sides.
Robert Gould Shaw served as a Captain in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry and was wounded in the Cornfield at Antietam before taking command of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry made famous in the movie Glory.