Is the Battle of Antietam Still the Bloodiest Day in American History?

The Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, was a pivotal moment in the American Civil War. It was a bloody battle that lasted for twelve hours and resulted in over 23,000 casualties.

For many years, the Battle of Antietam was considered the bloodiest day in American history. However, with the passage of time and new research, some historians now question whether it still holds that title.

The Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam took place near Sharpsburg, Maryland. It was fought between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, led by General Robert E. Lee, and the Union Army of the Potomac, led by General George B. McClellan.

Both sides suffered heavy losses during the battle. The Union had approximately 12,400 casualties while the Confederates had around 10,300 casualties. The total number of casualties was over 23,000.

Why is it Significant?

The significance of the Battle of Antietam lies in its aftermath. It was a turning point in the Civil War as it prevented Lee’s invasion of Maryland and gave President Abraham Lincoln an opportunity to issue his Emancipation Proclamation.

New Research

In recent years, some historians have questioned whether the Battle of Antietam is still the bloodiest day in American history. The reason for this is that new research has uncovered other battles with higher casualty rates.

One such battle is the Battle of Gettysburg which took place from July 1-3, 1863. It had over 51,000 casualties which makes it one of the deadliest battles not just in American history but also in world history.


In conclusion, while there may be other battles with higher casualty rates than the Battle of Antietam, its significance cannot be denied. It was a pivotal moment in the American Civil War and had far-reaching consequences.

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