Our next stop was Antietam National Battlefield. Though much smaller than Gettysburg, Antietam was no less powerful.

Our visit started with a movie about the battle. We then went up to the viewing room where we got an amazing view of the battlefield. We also visited the small museum in the visitor center.

This is what we learned:

The battle at Antietam is known as the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. According to the National Park Service, “23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.”

“23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.”

Before embarking on our auto tour of the battlefield, we collected our Junior Ranger activity books. As stated before, the kids love working on earning their Junior Ranger badges at the National Parks that we have visited.

Dunker Church, Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

Dunker Church, Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

It’s easy to see why this could have been a very bloody battle. The terrain here is very hilly and sightlines are extremely poor. A soldier could not have seen the enemy until he was almost right on top of him.

Our family did an experiment. Dad walked ahead off the trail of Sunken Alley (otherwise known as Bloody Lane). The kids and I stayed behind. It was not too long until he disappeared from view into one of the shallow valleys. Just like that, we had zero visibility of him even though he was relatively close.

The hills and dales of Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

The hills and dales of Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

 

Sunken Alley (Bloody Lane), Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

Sunken Alley (Bloody Lane), Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

 

Burnsides Bridge, Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

Burnside’s Bridge, Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, MD

Nothing stimulates the appetite of little ones more than a little learning about the Civil War and a little hiking on a beautiful day. The same holds true for Mom and Dad. We, luckily, met up with a cyber friend who recommended going to Sheperdstown, WV to find some food.

Maria's Taqueria, Shepherdstown, WV

Maria’s Taqueria, Shepherdstown, WV

We had a delicious lunch at Maria’s Taqueria. We recommend this quaint little restaurant highly.

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