• Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties.
  • This was a two to one battle with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia having approximately 45,00 troops to Union Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s 90,000 troops.
  • General Lee’s battle plans were known in advance. Two Union soldiers (Corporal Barton W. Mitchell and First Sergeant John M. Bloss of the 27th Indiana Volunteer Infantry) discovered a mislaid copy of Lee’s detailed battle plans-Special Order 191-wrapped around three cigars. McClellan delayed acting on this knowledge 18 hours, thus losing the opportunity laid at his feet.
  • McClellen was a poor leader during this battle, issuing isolated commands to each unit, causing chaos during the execution of said plans.
  • The battle began at 5:30 AM (Dawn) on September 17, 1862 and lasted until 5:30 PM that day.
  • The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead.
  • President Lincoln was disappointed in McClellan’s performance. He believed that McClellan’s cautious and poorly coordinated actions in the field had forced the battle to a draw rather than a crippling Confederate defeat. Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command of the Army of the Potomac on November 7 after repeated demands that he do his job effectively and bravely, effectively ending the general’s military career.

Be sure to check out the Battle of Antietam Civil War Map, Photo and Ballad Collection CD for more fascinating information about the Battle of Antietam.

And for even more Civil War books, Civil War regimental histories and more, visit our Civil War collection.

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