There a couple of interesting monuments of note in the Antietam National Cemetery. One is another monument to the 20th New York - the Turner Regiment. This monument is inscribed in both German and English reflected the two World's these men lived between. The unit suffered grievious losses near the Dunker Church - suffering 145 casualties - where another unit memorial stands. The symbols on this monument include, the owl - wisdom; the wreath - athletic glory; the sword - military prowess and the torch - learning -- all symbols of the Turner Movement, a movement that German immigrants had brought with them from Germany when they came to the United States. The movement had originally arose in Prussia after Napoleon had vanquished the country in the very early part of the 19th Century. Turnervereins served as clubs and bases of familiarity for the new immigrants in their new homeland.
Another prominent monument is erected for Jacob Duryee who led the 2nd Maryland in their attempt at Burnside Bridge.
The soldiers are buried in plots that are clustered by the State the soldier was from, though the largest State - for a good third of the men here - is Unknown. There are more than 200 post-Civil war veterans - and their wives - also buried here. These graves are located at the northwestern section of the cemetery, except for several WWI African-American veterans, segregated in death - at the southwestern end - as they were in life. The cemetery was closed to new burials in 1953 but an exception was made for the burial of a nearby resident who was killed while serving in the US Navy in Aden, Yemen in the al-Qaida attack on the USS Cole - Fireman Patrick Roy.
On top of a hill on the east end of Sharpsburg sits the Antietam National Cemetery. There were some 23000 casualties as a result of the one day battle here in 1862 - slightly more from the Union side. Some of those Federals have been gathered here to be interred in the grounds here - some 4776 Federals of whom 1836 are unknown. The setting is graced by solemn evergreens. At the center of the cemetery stands a tall statue - Old Simon - emblematic of all who fought to preserve the Union. Notice the statue is facing North towards the homes for most of the men who lie here. Dedication for the cemetery took place on September 17, 1867 and featured President Andrew Johnson as the keynote speaker. The idea of a National Cemetery system arose from the Civil War and today, there are 130 cemeteries ranging from the smallest at Ball's Bluff, Virginia - 54 men buried there and only one whose identity is known - to Calverton (New York) and Arlington (Virginia) where over 300, 000 are buried at each. Most National Cemeteries are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs - except for Arlington and the Soldiers Home National Cemeteries which are still run by the Army - but 14 other cemeteries, including the one here at Antietam, are administered by the National Park Service.
Bridge today.The impact of Sharpsburg. The union army finally was able to win a major battle and especially a battle waged in their own territory. Although the confederates ere not destroyed and woul be allowed to fight yet another day.
This photograph of a quiet countryside now was hell at that time. On September 17, Confederate forces under General Lee were caught by General McClellan near Sharpsburg, Maryland, This battle proved to be the bloodiest day of the war; 2,108 Union soldiers were killed and 9,549 wounded -- 2,700 Confederates were killed and 9,029 wounded. The battle had no clear winner, but because General Lee withdrew to Virginia, McClellan was considered the victor. The battle convinced the British and French -- who were contemplating official recognition of the confederacy-- to reserve action, and gave President Lincoln the opportunity to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862) which would free all slaves in areas rebelling against the United States, effective January 1, 1863.
Burnside Bridge.Heavy fighting took place around and on this bridge. General A.E. Burnsides sent his men to cross,take and hold the bridge. With heavy lossess the bridge was finally taken and Burnside's men were able to attack General Longstreet's troops and push them back toward Shapesburg.
For the south they would gain a cunning and brilliant commander in Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870). President Abraham Lincoln had offered Robert E. Lee tthe command of the Union forces on April 18, 1861, for at this time Lee was still in the United States Army. Lee home was in Virginia near Washington, D.C. and was called Arlington. This home land of his was seized by the federal government and turned into a cemetery after Lee chose to go with the southern army. Lee took an army of stragglers who were under clothed, under armed and under manned and turned the tables of the war when he launched his Maryland Campaign of 1862. The paths of many many thousands of Americans both northern and southern were headed on a collision course for a small town in the Maryland countryside with the greatest of consequences for the men who fought and country that was divided. The weight of a divided nation fell on Sharpsburg, Marland on September 17, 1862.
Observation tower. This was built so that the visitors to the battlefield could see the entire area.