On this day in the Civil War, the Battle of Antietam or the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South becomes the bloodiest day in American history. In one day of fighting, there is over 23,000 casualties; over 12,000 for the North and over 11,000 for the South. Of the total Confederate force of 45,000, their casualties are 24% of their army. The Union army totals 87,000 men, with a casualty rate of 14%. The total combined dead are over 3,600 soldiers.

The battle is summed up by a Federal Captain, who states, “I have heard of the ‘dead lying in heaps,’ but never saw it till at this battle. Whole ranks fell together.”

General Hooker later wrote of the fighting in the cornfield, “Every stock of corn in the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows, precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before.”

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