Early in the morning on September 17th, 1862 the bloodiest single day in American history started. Union forces met the Confederates outside the town of Sharpsburg, MD along Antietam creek to stop their advance into Maryland and the north.
Starting around dawn, about 5:30am, Union forces marched over a slight rise and into the cornfield just north of the Dunker Church. The battle began and confederate artillery from the church opened fire.
The battle of the cornfield, and northern end of the battle, lasted until mid morning when the Union pushed the South back. In that short time both sides amassed roughly 13,000 casualties.
While the battle on the north side began to wind down the Confederates fell back to the Sunken Road. They took up defensive positions and were dug in as the Union marched toward them. As the Northern troops crested the small ridge they were instantly attacked. The Sunken Road was renamed "bloody lane" due to the amount of dead an wounded. The battle raged here from around 10am until after noon.
The Sunken Rd known as Bloody Lane
The carnage lasted a few hours, in the end 5,000 men were killed or wounded.
The final Union push was at the southern end of the battlefield where they were fighting to cross the Antietam Creek. The bridge there, Rohrbach's Bridge, was the target of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside's attack. Multiple attempts were made to cross the stone bridge from mid morning until mid afternoon. It wasn't until the Confederate forces, that had the high ground started running low on ammunition and worried about their flank, pulled back did the assault succeed. Today the bridge is known as Burnside Bridge.
In the end, the battle was basically a draw although the union did succeed in driving the South back across the Potomac River. Roughly 23,000 men were dead or wounded in this single day of fighting including many Generals from both sides.