Antietam Battlefield Driving Tour

map of the driving tour
  1. Dunker Church Built in 1852, this modest house of worship for pacifist German Baptist Brethren became a focal point for Union attacks the morning of the battle.
  2. North Woods Union Gen. Joseph Hooker's men spent the night before the battle on the Poffenberger farm. At first light the Union attack advanced south from here toward Jackson's lines. "The stars were still shining when [Hooker's] skirmishers became engaged," a soldier would later recall.
  3. East Woods A small engagement took place in this area the night before the battle. The fighting also opened here early on September 17 as Union and Confederate soldiers exchanged deadly musket volleys, vying to control these woods.
  4. Cornfield This 24-acre cornfield saw some of U.S. history's most horrific fighting. For nearly three hours Hooker and Mansfield's Union forces battled Jackson's Confederates. Many regiments on both sides were cut to pieces. Hays' Louisiana Brigade suffered over 60 percent casualties in 30 minutes.
  5. West Woods Around 9:30 am Gen. Edwin Sumner's Union soldiers advanced into the West Woods. The combined firepower of Confederate artillery and attacking infantry drove them back. In 20 minutes over 2,200 Union soldiers were killed or wounded.
  6. Mumma Farm and Cemetery The only deliberate destruction of property during the battle was the burning of this farm. Confederate soldiers were ordered to burn these structures to prevent their use by Union sharpshooters. Fortunately, Samuel Mumma and his family had fled to safety before the battle. The Mumma family rebuilt the home in 1863.
  7. Union Advance During midmorning nearly 10,000 Union soldiers moved across the Mumma and Roulette farms toward the Confederate center at Sunken Road. Two Union soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for bravery in these attacks.
  8. Sunken Road (Bloody Lane) This farm lane served as a breastwork for the Confederate center. For about three hours 2,200 Confederates, later reinforced by additional troops, held off the attacks of a combined Union force numbering nearly 10,000. Finally, just after noon, this thin gray line collapsed and fell back several hundred yards to the Piper Farm. The Union attackers had suffered too many casualties to pursue their advantage. Seeing the dead in the road an observer wrote, "They were lying in rows like the ties of a railroad, in heaps like cordwood mingled with the splintered and shattered fence rails. Words are inadequate to portray the scene."
  9. Lower Bridge (Burnside Bridge) About 500 Confederate soldiers held the area overlooking the Lower Bridge for three hours. Burnside's command finally captured the bridge and crossed Antietam Creek, which forced the Confederates back toward Sharpsburg.
  10. Final Attack After taking the Lower Bridge, Burnside moved across these fields from east to west, pushing back the Confederate right flank. Just as it appeared that Lee's line was breaking, Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill's Light Division arrived from Harpers Ferry to drive Burnside back to Antietam Creek.
  11. Antietam National Cemetery This hill was occupied by Confederate artillery neither this nor the town cemetery across the road were here in 1862. At first the dead were buried where they fell on the battlefield. Later they were reinterred here, along with Union soldiers who died in combat or in hospitals throughout the region. A total of 4,776 Union soldiers rest here along with dead from four other wars. Separate even in death, Confederate soldiers were buried in Hagerstown and Frederick, Md. and Shepherdstown, Va., now West Virginia.

Last updated: April 28, 2023

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