The Battle of Antietam is remembered as the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War and US history. This battle, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, was fought on September 17, 1862; and it was named by the Union because it took place near Antietam Creek. The Union army led by General George McClellan and the Confederate army led by General Robert E. Lee encountered each other near Antietam Creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The Battle of Antietam was the first battle of the American Civil War to be fought on the northern soil. Although the battle was not a clear victory for either side, for the North, the battle near Antietam Creek "saved" the nation. The victory furthered President Lincoln's ability to issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (September 22, 1862) announcing that unless the Confederates put down their arms by January 1, 1863, he would free all slaves not residing in Union controlled territory.
Up until the Battle of Antietam, all of the major battles had been fought on southern soil. After the Union defeated the South at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Confederate General Robert E. Lee decided that it was time to go on the offensive, so he and his army marched into Maryland. On September 17, 1862, General Robert E. Lee’s army crossed to the Union territory for the first time hoping that a victory on their land would end the war. Both General Lee and the Confederate’s President Jefferson Davis, thought that a successful invasion would convince France and Great Britain to officially recognize the Confederacy as a nation.
Union soldiers led by General McClellan were desperate to get the enemy back to their land. The cannon fire had become so intense that Confederate Colonel Stephen D. Lee, who commanded the major artillery position, referred to Antietam Battlefield as "artillery hell." A combined total of 500 guns fired. During this battle, the types of ammunition that were used were: shot, shell, spherical Case, and canisters. The shot was made out of cast iron and had no explosive. This type of ammunition was used against cavalry, troops in a column, buildings and other solid objects. It was more accurate than a shell or spherical case. The shell was a round, hollow projectile with a powder-filled cavity. When fired, it would explode into pieces, and would create a loud air burst terrorizing troops and horses. The spherical case was a hollow shell with powder and 40-80 musket balls that exploded in all directions; although it was more effective than shell, it was more difficult to manufacture. The tin can containing a large amount of iron balls packed was packed in sawdust and could shoot the enemy at close range 50-300 yards.
The Battle of Antietam started on a cornfield, just outside the town of Sharpsburg. The cornfields were said to be as tall as ten feet. When the Union soldiers were walking through the cornfields, all that could be seen was their bayonets. The Confederates, being just 100 yards south were...