Antietam National Battlefield Park
Antietam National Battlefield
History: The bloodiest single-day battle in American history took place in Sharpsburg on September l7, 1862. Casualties numbered about 23,000 after the two armies clashed for 12 hours at sites immortalized as Bloody Lane, the Cornfield, Burnside Bridge and elsewhere. There was no clear victor, but a few days later, President Abraham Lincoln capitalized on the occasion of the Confederates' retreat by issuing his Emancipation Proclamation - a major step toward prohibiting slavery.
More to Explore: A tour of this destination represents the exciting conclusion of the Antietam Campaign scenic byway. Start at the Antietam National Battlefield visitor's center, which features museum exhibits, a 26-minute introductory film and a daily showing of a one-hour documentary. A self-guided auto tour or hike takes you around the battlefield, and rangers offer talks and walks. Nearby are attractions such as Barron's C&O Canal Museum, the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and the Kennedy Farmhouse used by John Brown as he prepared for his pre-Civil War raid of Harpers Ferry. If you like to kayak or canoe, plan a trip beneath Burnside Bridge on Antietam Creek; local outfitters are available. Inns and bed and breakfasts can put visitors right next to the battlefield and Antietam National Cemetery. Side trips to Keedysville, Antietam Station, Boonsboro and Harpers Ferry are recommended.