Tomorrow marks the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, infamously known as the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. The battle took place near Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek. Southerners refer to the battle by the town,whereas Northerners refer to it by the creek. The battle claimed 23,000 casualties. General McClellan confronted General Lee after the Confederates gained control of Harper's Ferry, Virginia two days prior (the anniversary of this event happened yesterday).
Among several remarkable landmarks that still exist at this battlefield site are the "Sunken Road," "Dunker Church," and "Burnside Bridge," where the fighting was so heavy that dying soldiers on the bridge bloodied the creek beneath until the water ran red. The battle was ultimately declared a draw, but President Lincoln saw it as an opportunity to publicly announce his Emancipation Proclamation, which became law the following January in 1863. Regardless, the battle also led to McClellan's dismissal as Major General of the Army of the Potomac.
The National Park Service has announced several free admission dates, which include the Antietam National Military Park. Upcoming dates are next Saturday, September 25, and November 11, which is Veterans' Day. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this opportunity. Antietam is a national treasure, and once you see it, you will forever be impressed.