“Battle of Antietam,” by Thure de Thulstrup
The Battle of Antietam (also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg) was fought on September 17, 1862. The battle was a decisive engagement in the American Civil War and the bloodiest one-day battle in American history.
The battle came at the end of the Maryland Campaign, an offensive led by Confederate General Robert E. Lee that pushed troops northward and into Maryland in early September 1862.
Union troops, under the command of General George B. McClellan, were demoralized following a series of defeats, including at the Second Battle of Bull Run. The tides turned on September 13th, when Union soldiers discovered a copy of Special Order 191. The order, issued by General Lee four days previous, outlined movement plans for Confederate troops. General McClellan immediately planned a counter-offensive.
Battle of Antietam
Four days later, on September 17, the two armies met at the Battle of Antietam. During that day, Union soldiers would participate in three major attacks against the Confederates. The first charge started that morning against Lee’s left flank in a cornfield.
In the center, a farm lane called Sunken Road (later known as Bloody Lane) became the scene of death and carnage during a fierce battle that resulted in 5,500 casualties. That afternoon, Union Major General Ambrose Burnside led a battle for control of a stone bridge that spanned Antietam Creek. By the time Burnside took control of the bridge, more than 600 soldiers had been killed or wounded.
Aftermath & Effects
On September 18th, General Lee withdrew his troops from the battlefield. The battle had resulted in 3,650 dead and more than 19,000 wounded, missing, or captured.
Lee’s retreat emboldened the North and paved the way for President Abraham Lincoln to issue his Emancipation Proclamation five days later.
Learn more about the Battle of Antietam through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Battle of Antietam
New York newspaper reports early details about the Battle of Antietam on the day after the battle Thu, Sep 18, 1862 – Page 1 · The New York Times (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comNew York newspaper reprints a Pennsylvania paper's summary of the Battle of Antietam Thu, Sep 18, 1862 – Page 3 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.comMaryland newspaper reports on the Battle of Antietam, which occurred near Sharpsburg, Maryland Sat, Sep 20, 1862 – 1 · The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) · Newspapers.comNorth Carolina newspaper prints pro-Union report on the Battle of Antietam Mon, Sep 22, 1862 – Page 2 · Newbern Daily Progress (New Bern, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comMap of the Antietam battlefield published less than a week after the battle Mon, Sep 22, 1862 – Page 1 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comList of some of the Massachusetts and Connecticut casualties from Battle of Antietam Mon, Sep 22, 1862 – Page 1 · The New York Times (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comFuneral notices for 4 Pennsylvania soldiers killed at the Battle of Antietam Sat, Sep 27, 1862 – Page 2 · Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comSouthern report on the Battle of Antietam from a Virginia newspaper (reprinted in North Carolina) Sat, Sep 27, 1862 – Page 2 · Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comDescription of Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) from an officer of the 46th North Carolina Infantry Mon, Sep 29, 1862 – Page 3 · Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer (Fayetteville, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comPro-Confederate editorial about battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) from North Carolina newspaper Wed, Oct 1, 1862 – Page 1 · Weekly State Journal (Raleigh, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comLetter from a soldier in the 11th Ohio Infantry with a firsthand account of the Battle of Antietam Wed, Oct 1, 1862 – Page 3 · Urbana Union (Urbana, Ohio) · Newspapers.comAccount of a "Visit to the Antietam Battle-Field & Hospitals" printed about 2 weeks after battle Thu, Oct 2, 1862 – 2 · Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comLondon newspaper reports on Battle of Antietam and other news of the Civil War Sat, Oct 4, 1862 – Page 25 · The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comPartial list of Georgia casualties from the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) Fri, Oct 17, 1862 – 2 · Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, Virginia) · Newspapers.comBrief account from Maryland newspaper about how Battle of Antietam affected local civilians Thu, Sep 25, 1862 – 2 · Civilian and Telegraph (Cumberland, Maryland) · Newspapers.comMaryland newspaper reports on aftermath of the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) for Union troops Thu, Sep 25, 1862 – 2 · Civilian and Telegraph (Cumberland, Maryland) · Newspapers.comLetter describes correspondent's trip to Antietam battlefield more than a month after the battle Mon, Oct 27, 1862 – Page 1 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comLetter describes "scenes of the most distressing character" at Sharpsburg hospital Tue, Nov 4, 1862 – Page 2 · Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comAd in Virginia newspaper seeks information on man reported wounded at Sharpsburg Wed, Nov 19, 1862 – Page 2 · Richmond Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia) · Newspapers.comNewspaper publishes anecdote of Maryland soldier blinded in Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) Thu, Nov 27, 1862 – Page 1 · Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comObituary for a North Carolina soldier who died from wounds after Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) Fri, Nov 28, 1862 – Page 3 · Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh, North Carolina) · Newspapers.comPhoto of Confederate and Union veterans meeting at the "National Antietam Celebration" in 1937 Sun, Sep 19, 1937 – Page 32 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com