Battle of Antietam, 150 Years Later
The battle of Antietam took place 150 years ago in September 17th, 1862. It’s known as the bloodiest day in US history, 24,000 casualties. The Union defeated the outnumbered Confederates by late afternoon. Every year thousands gather to re-enact the battle.
The Confederate army came to Sharpsburg, Maryland to try to defeat the Union. They were outnumbered two to one.
Re-enactors used authentic weapons, accessories and attire to participate in the 150th anniversary of the battle.
Mobile trucks were brought on-site to provide additional information about soldiers that came from Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Dresses and other attire were available for purchase on the event grounds.
Re-enactors arrived prepared to sleep, live and eat as the soldiers did a century and a half ago.
Re-enactors are also collectors of authentic artifacts of the period and bring along their antiques for show and tell.
Woman and children also participate as supporters and caretakers for the soldiers.
A re-enactor smokes his tobacco in a period pipe.
Soldiers fought at a close distance to each other in front of the Dunker Church. Smoke from the gunfire made visibility minimal and bloodshed was rampant. Bodies were later found piled two and three bodies high.
Re-enactors on the battleground camp.
Authentic attire was worn by participants.
A Confederate messenger came across the field as the “Bloody Lane” battle was re-enacted to taunt onlookers as “sitting Yankees”.
After the Union victory at Antietam President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
Cannons, weighing about a ton, are pulled onto the battlefield by horses. First a sac of gun powder, which weighs about three pounds, is placed in the barrel followed by a ten pound cannonball and compressed with a pressure stick. The whole reload process takes a couple of minutes.
Burnside bridge is the location of the third and final battle that took place on September 17th, 1862.
The re-enactment took place off-site of the actual historical battleground. Federal and Confederate troops re-enacted a portion of the battle, known as “Bloody Lane”.
General Burnside’s men stormed across the bridge and secured the grounds from the Confederates.
A flute player performs with the Federal French River Fife Drum Corp. their presence encourages spirit and pride during the re-enactments as they once did during battle.
Confederate re-enactors fire a cannonball across the field at Federal soldiers.
The Union army greatly outnumbered the Confederates and were able to claim victory on that day.
Throughout the camps many tents intended for the wounded and fallen held brief discussions about the tools and procedures that were used in the period.
Soldiers had the option to purchase their embalming procedure and be returned to their families. They were given tokens to keep in their pockets in oder to provide evidence that payment was received for the process.
A Confederate re-enactor defects from the battlescene.
Union re-enactors march near Burnside Bridge.
A flute player with the Federal French River Fife Drum Corp.
ALL PHOTOS COPYRIGHT SANDRA C. ROA
Great thanks to Tom and Mariana Taglianti for taking me on this adventure!