Academy News Program

Antietam National Battlefield

Hi, my name is Christian Rodriguez and today is my fourth official day with the National History Academy. Today we visited a remarkable historical site which is the Antietam National Battlefield. The well-preserved historical site has been kept to its high standards in part because of the American Battlefield Trust. The American Battlefield Trust truly makes this National Battlefield a site worth viewing. 

The Antietam National Battlefield is known for having one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War. The most pressing issues that prompted the Civil War were slavery, the election of Abraham Lincoln, and state’s rights. When the south disapproved of these critical issues, they seceded from the Union. The south then called themselves the Confederate States of America.

On September 17, 1862 tensions escalated and the battle had begun. The Confederacy invaded the Union, and in an estimated 12 hours around 23,000 casualties had occurred. The North claimed victory in this battle and Abraham Lincoln established the Emancipation Proclamation which gave slaves freedom in the south. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had freed slaves, slavery still continued in the Confederacy. What the Emancipation Proclamation did succeed in was that it established a precedent for slavery later to be abolished which laid the foundation for the 13th Amendment. The Battle of Antietam also helped in lowering the confidence of the Confederacy and no foreign nations such as Britain or France intervened in the Civil War.

When touring the Antietam National Battlefield, getting to see the perspectives of the troops in the Civil War really helped me visualize the outcome in the Battle at Antietam.  The Antietam National Battlefield had an array of landscapes and vegetation that played a significant role in being advantageous to the Confederacy in the Battle of Antietam. The highly elevated areas gave the Confederacy an advantage because they had a clear sight and could see anything in sight from all sides. I did not expect the Union to be victorious in this battle because of the elevated landscapes that benefited the Confederacy. Also standing from shoulder to shoulder in the Antietam National Battlefield really gave me a feel of what these soldiers experienced. The tour guide explained that if these troops turned back they were usually killed. The patience these troops had was also really essential in this battle because it took approximately 2 hours for the Union Soldiers to cross the bridge. The Antietam National Battlefield was really a spectacular historical site to tour. The tour helped me visualize what these troops experienced and what they were feeling.