Visiting Antietam National Battlefield

I mentioned earlier this month, in celebration of our Independence Day, each Tuesday I am dedicating a Travel Tuesday post, to a place in American History, that I really think are must see's in your lifetime.
This week, I'd like to take you to Antietam.

Antietam National Battlefield Park in Maryland is one of those places that if you love history, enjoy learning about the Civil War and American History, you'll want to add this as a travel destination place.

Antietam in a single one day, this was the bloodiest battlefield in America's entire history.  September 17, 1862 over 23,000 soldiers were killed wounded or went missing in action.  These now beautiful pictures you see, back on that day of war looked much much different.

This battle was a major milestone in the Civil War.  This bloody one day battle let to Abraham Lincoln's famous Emancipation Proclamation.  Because of this battle, and then the Proclamation the slaves were freed.

Make your first stop at the visitor center.  Here you can view not only the weapons and uniforms and learn the history you will want to know before venturing out on the auto tour.  But there are also pictures, that will give you an incredibly vivid account of how dangerous and bloody that war was for Americans.

Then take the self guided auto tour (8.5 miles long) and learn at each of the 11 different stops along the tour.

If you have more than an hour, I highly recommend taking a few short hikes in the park.  Mainly the hike down Bloody Lane.  (More men died on this lane than anywhere else in the entire civil war.)  As you walk through it, you can reflect on how it may have looked and how scary it would have been to be a soldier on either side on that fateful day.

I remember one of the Forest Rangers telling me that the shots began during the early dawn hours.  Soldiers were fighting in a corn field, which at the time they wouldn't have really been able to see well, no only could they not see where their shots were going, but they could not see the enemy's shots coming at them.  Because the area was also rocky, bullet ricochet off them, it was apparently slaughter in some areas. Shooting blind I believe is what he called it.  I can't even imagine, and hope I never do have to witness mortal combat like this.

If you are a runner, you may like this.  The Freedom's Run Marathon, which was the reason I visited this site.  During that marathon you will have the opportunity to run through history and 4 different National Parks: Antietam, Harper's Ferry, C&O Canal, Potomac Heritage trail.  Let me tell you it is an absolutely beautiful run.  If you'd like to read about my marathon experience and more details on what you will actually get to see and travel through during the race, you can catch it HERE.

The photo's alone don't really tell the story, this is one of those places you really do need to spend a little time and enjoy the act of learning.  Using your imaginary skills as you walk the trails and paths and read about the different markers and what they mean.
I took my time in Antietam and spent several hours.  This is easily one of those destinations you can spend an hour or a half a day or more just depending on what you like to do.

Do you enjoy learning about American history?  Have you ever been to Antietam before?

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