News / USA

Marylanders Recall Bloodiest Day in US History

A Union flag-bearer’s statue and split-rail fence stand next to the sunken road that’s remembered as “Bloody Lane” at the Antietam Battlefield. (Carol M. Highsmith)
A Union flag-bearer’s statue and split-rail fence stand next to the sunken road that’s remembered as “Bloody Lane” at the Antietam Battlefield. (Carol M. Highsmith)
Ted Landphair
Last week on September 11th, people around the world vividly recalled the day 11 years earlier when foreign terrorists piloting hijacked airplanes killed nearly 3,000 Americans and others.

Today, it’s mostly forgotten that 4,000 Americans died, and another 15,000 were wounded, in a single day on U.S. soil - 150 years ago.

That was, and remains, the bloodiest day in U.S. history, and it is being remembered in the Maryland countryside west of Washington, D.C., near a sleepy little town called Sharpsburg.  
Only in America-Bloody Antietam
Only in America-Bloody Antietami
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X


There, on September 17, 1862, as many as 100,000 Yankee northerners and Rebel southerners, fighting a great civil war, collided on pastureland next to a tiny stream called Antietam Creek in an epic 12-hour battle.
Even though Union commander George McClellan was victorious, President Abraham Lincoln wasn't happy that surviving Confederates escaped back into Virginia, to fight another day. Lincoln traveled to Antietam to tell McClellan so days later. (Library of Congress photo)Even though Union commander George McClellan was victorious, President Abraham Lincoln wasn't happy that surviving Confederates escaped back into Virginia, to fight another day. Lincoln traveled to Antietam to tell McClellan so days later. (Library of Congress photo)
x
Even though Union commander George McClellan was victorious, President Abraham Lincoln wasn't happy that surviving Confederates escaped back into Virginia, to fight another day. Lincoln traveled to Antietam to tell McClellan so days later. (Library of Congress photo)
Even though Union commander George McClellan was victorious, President Abraham Lincoln wasn't happy that surviving Confederates escaped back into Virginia, to fight another day. Lincoln traveled to Antietam to tell McClellan so days later. (Library of Congress photo)

Confederate General Robert E. Lee had won victory after victory - but on his own soil in Virginia.  He needed a triumph in northern territory that would persuade France and England to endorse the breakaway Confederacy and provide it with arms to win the war.

Support for President Abraham Lincoln’s war was shaky at the time, and Lee knew that if he won at Antietam Creek and menaced the capital city of Washington, the border state of Maryland might join the Rebel cause, and the North lose its appetite for war.  

In those fields today, you can almost feel and hear the fierce battle that decided it all, especially when you walk down a sunken lane that the locals called “Hog Trough Road” because pigs had worn a depression in the earth going to and from a barn.

But the soldiers who lived to tell about the battle there would soon call the place “Bloody Lane.”

Lee lost one-fourth of his army in and around that trough and was forced to pull his forces back into Virginia.  

But Bloody Antietam had lasting significance because it convinced President Lincoln to transform the war into a crusade against slavery that hastened the day when the nation would no longer be half-slaveholding, half-free.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dee from: Ocala, FL
September 18, 2012 11:35 AM
He is right the one below who said chickamaunga was much more bloody and had far more casualties. However this is the bloddiest DAY all of these men died on the same day where as that was 2 days. It is important I think that we remember all of the days of the civil war. It is further important that we honor their deaths because they all deserve to be remembered. The civil war is the only war where everyone killed was an american where the enemy was friends and family. There is no war like it in our history. It is sad that the rebel flag cannot wave in their memory without someone calling it a symbol of hate. Considering the numbers of soldiers if it had been a fair fight I believe the confederacy would've won and I wonder would they have turned our flag into a symbol of hate as we have done to thiers?

by: ShawnG from: MA
September 17, 2012 12:49 PM
I hate when my gun gets up by itself and tries to kill me.

by: Dan from: NJ
September 17, 2012 12:00 PM
OK Jeff. See you later. Have fun.

by: Vince Inman from: Tampa FL
September 17, 2012 11:58 AM
Chickamauga was the deadliest battle of the Civil War. 34,000+ casualties in two days of battle.

by: Gerald Allen from: Oklahoma City
September 17, 2012 11:45 AM
With this President we wound not do anything. It is sad that we do forget.

by: Michael from: United States of America
September 17, 2012 11:35 AM
Is it true that more United States citizens have been killed in auto accidents than all US soldiers killed in all of the wars and military actions that the United States has ever fought?

by: Roy Patterson from: Lakeide Arizona
September 17, 2012 10:50 AM
Is it true that more people are killed by guns in the USA each year than died on Sept 11?

by: Mr Jeff Nedelman from: United states of america
September 17, 2012 10:39 AM
Americans have short memories and no sense of history. Can you imagine the outrage today if 4,000 aUS troops were killed in a single day overseas? The Pentagon would be renting every plane possible of carrying people out of the country in a hearbeat.

It is time to go. Not later, but now. And, it is time for the political sniping to end at the water's edge when our troops are in harm's way.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs