Favorite thing: Sharpsburg does not have many places to spend the night or variety in places to eat. You'll have to go down the road another 7 miles (11.2 km) to Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Please check the appropriate VT pages using the links in this text. My Sharpsburg page.
Favorite thing: This was another area of intense battle. In 1862, so many people were in the field fighting and so many bullets were fired between the two armies, that it was written "not a stalk of corn" was left standing.
In order to access Antietam, we flew in to Washington D.C. and drove into Maryland towards Frederick. As you go towards the West Virginia border, signs will direct you to the battlefield.
There is a visitor center that features a film and lots of information about the battlefield and the Civil War. There is a recommended driving route to take in order to see the key sites that contain information markers. It is good to get out of the car and walk around a little bit at the stops. Get the brochure when you enter the park and it will have a map where to turn. The battlefield is well marked and the markers are very informative about what happened here.
Favorite thing: Today, this bridge can be found in a very tranquil setting. It appears as it did the day of battle. Union forces had to cross it under fire of a few hundred Confederate sharpshooters. Finally, the bridge was taken, however that occured at a great cost.
Favorite thing: Today, this sunken road follows the edge of a peaceful pasture and leads to an observation tower where one can see much of the battlefield. There are some significant monuments in this region. The fighting became so fierce in this region that the sunken road almost appeared to be some type of burial pit.
"I was pierced with cannonballs and bullets-my rafters studded with metal. I was used first as a bulwark for both armies. Then I became a hospital. I heard shrieks, moans, groans, and cries that stayed with me all my life. My furniture was all splattered with blood."
"I exist as the little white church of the Antietam Battlefield. I live in the hearts of all who ever knew me. I am still a symbol of peace and brotherhood. Antietam was the battle that emancipated the slaves. I am a symbol of spiritual emancipation. I represent unity, the Brotherhood of Man under the fatherhood of a kind, loving God."
---E. Russell Hicks
Favorite thing: The name of the church is derived from the form of baptism that was practiced there. One day, this peaceful little church found itself in the middle of some impossible carnage this area switched between the occupation of both armies. At the conclusion of battle, this church served as a hospital and a morgue. The original building was later destroyed by a storm, however the exisiting building does contain some materials from the original and it sits on the same site. This is very close to the visitor center and is an easy walk from there.
Antietam National Battlefield follows an easy series of arrows throughout its course, but for all this the park is relatively spread out and sparing of ornamentation. The Dunker church and the faint outlines of former structures are virtually the only thing above ground here, except for rows of cannon and timber-rail fences added long after the battle. The sunken lane and the "corn field" are hallowed ground, but lost on those without a history of what happened here. Monuments and other memorials are infrequent.
Fondest memory: For Civil War buffs, the Sunken Lane is by far the most soul-rending section of the battlefield.
Favorite thing: Though Antietam sports its share of monuments and memorials, certain areas are not as well known for their significance unless you are a Civil War buff. For instance, the so-called "Corn Field" (where unfortunately the park service is growing a field of wheat) was during the height of battle a terrible pocket of war, whereupon both armies moved back and forth so steadily that the stalks were entirely worn down to ground level.
Favorite thing: At one time, the sunken road looked like this. The Civil War was one of the first struggles to be photographed. It really hit home the horrors of war.