The site of the bloodiest day in American history is now, ironically, supremely peaceful, quiet and haunting – and uncluttered, save for plaques and statues. On September 17, 1862, General Robert E Lee's first invasion of the north was stalled here in a tactical stalemate that left more than 23,000 dead, wounded or missing – more casualties than America had suffered in all its previous wars combined. Check out the exhibits in the visitor center then walk or drive the grounds.
Poignantly, many of the battlefield graves are inscribed with German and Irish names, a roll call of immigrants who died fighting for their new homeland.
The visitor center shows a short film (playing on the hour and half-hour) about the events that transpired here. It also sells books and materials, including self-guided driving and walking tours of the battlefield.
Antietam is 25 miles west of Frederick and just 5 miles northeast of Shepherdstown, WV.