The bloodiest day in the history of the United States took place on the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. On September 17, 1862, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia fought George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac outside Sharpsburg along Antietam Creek. That day, nearly 25,000 would become casualties, and Lee’s army barely survived fighting the much bigger Northern army.
Although the battle was tactically a draw, it resulted in forcing Lee’s army out of Maryland and back into Virginia, making it a strategic victory for the North and an opportune time for President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing all slaves in the rebellious states. For those reasons, Antietam is one of the major turning points of the Civil War.
Before all of the generals relived Antietam in their memoirs, they wrote official accounts of the battle and the Maryland Campaign to their superiors, and these accounts were preserved in the Official Records. This collection of Union generals’ accounts of the Battle of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign include the accounts of Commander George B. McClellan, Corps commander Ambrose Burnside, and other generals including George Meade, Fitz John Porter and Winfield Scott Hancock. It is specially formatted with a Table of Contents for each general’s account, and pictures of the generals who fought in it.