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Featured Review
Antietam National Battlefield
the famous Burnside Bridge. 8.33 Maryland ratingStar
Antietam National Battlefield guyonthego

One of the most important battles of the US Civil War, Antietam had the greatest number of casualties of any one day battle. The battlefield today is well preserved. A short 1.5 hour drive from Washington, DC, makes visiting easy when in the DC area.

This battle marked General Lee’s first invasion of the North. By luck Union forces found a copy of his battle plans and took the initiative to attack. The fight took place in generally flat farming country. Casualties were great on both sides, however the Confederates fared worse. Had the Union army committed its reserves, a partial victory might have been total. Recognizing the partial victory of stopping Lee’s invasion, President Lincoln used the opportunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

At over 3,000 acres, Antietam is one of the larger battlefield parks and due to a number of recent conservation land purchases has been kept free of most development. After stopping at the visitor center, one can take the self-directed auto drive around the park. There are approximately 10 stops and some optional short walks. With a half day, you can see it all at a relaxed pace. Highlights include the Bloody Lane section, which was pivotal to the battle, and the Burnside Bridge, named after the Union general. Both the bridge and a nearby hill provide a very good perspective on that part of the battle.

Antietam is one of the top five Civil War sites in the country. It is worth a visit for both history buffs and others just looking to expand their horizons. The park also offers a nice setting for an enjoyable walk in the Maryland countryside.
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May 2021
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