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The Maryland campaign—or Antietam campaign—occurred September 4–20, 1862, during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North was repulsed by the Army of the Potomac under Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, who moved to intercept Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia and eventually attacked it near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The resulting Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history.

Following his victory in the northern Virginia campaign, Lee moved north with 55,000 men through the Shenandoah Valley starting on September 4, 1862. His objective was to resupply his army outside of the war-torn Virginia theater and to damage Northern morale in anticipation of the November elections. He undertook the risky maneuver of splitting his army so that he could continue north into Maryland while simultaneously capturing the Federal garrison and arsenal at Harpers Ferry. McClellan accidentally found a copy of Lee's orders to his subordinate commanders and planned to isolate and defeat the separated portions of Lee's army.

While Confederate Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson surrounded, bombarded, and captured Harpers Ferry (September 12–15), McClellan's army of 102,000 men attempted to move quickly through the South Mountain passes that separated him from Lee. The Battle of South Mountain on September 14 delayed McClellan's advance and allowed Lee sufficient time to concentrate most of his army at Sharpsburg. The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg) on September 17 was the bloodiest day in American military history with over 22,000 casualties. Lee, outnumbered two to one, moved his defensive forces to parry each offensive blow, but McClellan never deployed all of the reserves of his army to capitalize on localized successes and destroy the Confederates. On September 18, Lee ordered a withdrawal across the Potomac and on September 19–20, fights by Lee's rear guard at Shepherdstown ended the campaign.

Although Antietam was a tactical draw, it meant the strategy behind Lee's Maryland campaign had failed. President Abraham Lincoln used this Union victory as the justification for announcing his Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively ended any threat of European support for the Confederacy.

Maryland campaign Media

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Plan of "Cantonment Sprague" near Washington D.C. : occupied by 1st Regiment R.I. Detached Militia

Plan of "Cantonment Sprague" near Washington D.C. : occupied by 1st Re...

Shows temporary military encampment grounds and internal facilities near Bladensburg (Prince George's County, Md.) during the American Civil War. Also shows individual trees pictorially, building locations, and... More

The Battle of Crampton's Gap 5 miles south of Turner's Gap, South Mountain, Md. September 14th 1862

The Battle of Crampton's Gap 5 miles south of Turner's Gap, South Moun...

A regional view of South Mountain in Frederick County, Md., showing the location of Crampton's Gap in relation to Sharpsburg, Middletown, Burkittsville, and Brownsville, Md. Illustrates the position of Confeder... More

Battle of Antietam, Md

Battle of Antietam, Md

In this extremely detailed map, Sneden indicates the locations of roads, bridges, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, houses, barns, ploughed fields, and the Antietam Iron Works. The Union and Confederate signal sta... More

The Battle of Crampton's Gap 5 miles south of Turner's Gap, South Mountain, Md. September 14th 1862.

The Battle of Crampton's Gap 5 miles south of Turner's Gap, South Moun...

A regional view of South Mountain in Frederick County, Md., showing the location of Crampton's Gap in relation to Sharpsburg, Middletown, Burkittsville, and Brownsville, Md. Illustrates the position of Confeder... More

Battle of Antietam, Md.

Battle of Antietam, Md.

In this extremely detailed map, Sneden indicates the locations of roads, bridges, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, houses, barns, ploughed fields, and the Antietam Iron Works. The Union and Confederate signal sta... More

The attack on Harper's Ferry Va., by Jackson, September 14th and 15th, 1862

The attack on Harper's Ferry Va., by Jackson, September 14th and 15th,...

Shows the area of convergence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers that marks the border of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Details include the location of Union forces in the town of Harper's Ferry and ... More

The Battle of South Mountain Md. showing positions at Fox's and Turner's Gaps, Sept. 14th 1862.

The Battle of South Mountain Md. showing positions at Fox's and Turner...

This very detailed map shows South Mountain, Turner's and Fox's gaps, and their relationships to Boonsboro and Frost town, Md. The locations of roads and buildings, many identified by owner, are included. Color... More

The Battle of Antietam, Septr. 16th-17th, 1862.

The Battle of Antietam, Septr. 16th-17th, 1862.

In this detail from a printed map, Sneden shows the movement of the Lee's Confederate line at the battle of Antietam. On September 16 the Confederates are shown east of Sharpsburg. On September 17, after a day ... More

Reminiscences of the Maryland campaign - Rebel wounded coming in as prisoners on the field of battle

Reminiscences of the Maryland campaign - Rebel wounded coming in as pr...

Three wounded men approaching Union picket under a white flag. Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, (1863 Aug. 15), p. 521. Ref. copy may be in LOT 4420S This record contains unverified data from caption card. Caption c... More

Map of the Maryland Campaign, Sept. 3rd to 29th 1862

Map of the Maryland Campaign, Sept. 3rd to 29th 1862

Scale ca. 1:193,000. LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 244 Annotated in different colors to show the routes between Sept. 4th and 14th of the "9th Corps, Reno,"1st Corps, Hooker," "12th Corps, Williams," "2nd Corps,... More

Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864.

Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864...

As a diversionary measure to take some of the pressure off of besieged Petersburg, Confederate forces under Jubal Early launched a northern offensive beginning in late June 1864. After stops near Harper's Ferry... More

Map of Monocacy, Md., and vicinity.

Map of Monocacy, Md., and vicinity.

In this section of an unidentified printed map, Sneden shows just how close Early's men got to the Federal capitol. Several skirmishes are indicated, including Early and McCausland's cavalry battle on July 8th... More

Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864

Plan of the Rebel attack on Washington, D.C., July 11th and 12th, 1864

As a diversionary measure to take some of the pressure off of besieged Petersburg, Confederate forces under Jubal Early launched a northern offensive beginning in late June 1864. After stops near Harper's Ferry... More