The Bloody Cornfield - Sharpsburg, MD
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 28.856 W 077° 44.856
18S E 263681 N 4373752
Quick Description: A locational tablet marks the western side of the Bloody Cornfield, site of the most vicious, bloody & deadliest fighting in all of the Civil War. Today it is the site of numerous monuments, markers & cannons displayed on both sides of the road.
Location: Maryland, United States
Date Posted: 1/14/2012 9:38:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMDGX9
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 3

Long Description:

The Bloody Cornfield is one of the most notorious battlefields of Antietam and definitely the most bloodiest. The posted coordinates for the Bloody Cornfield, a sizable tract of land, is a locational tablet located along the Cornfield Avenue, at the western end of the road, 145 feet from Dunker Church Road and 28 feet From the Cornfield Avenue. The Second Vermont Sharpshooters monument is just in back of it and to the left (west). This identification tablet marks the site where the the First and Twelfth Corps clashed with Lee’s men. The Cornfield changed hands again and again as both sides attacked and counterattacked. The single bloodiest day in American History occurred here on September 17, 1862. More than 25,000 soldiers fought in and around the Cornfield. By 9:30 a.m. thousands of them lay dead and dying. The battlefield has been slowly transformed to make it more authentic as to how it appeared on that day in September 17, 1862.

At Tour Stop No. 4, the site of the coordinates, is a parking lot, in front of which is a stone wall and an interpretive which tells about the Bloody Cornfield Battlefield. That marker reads:

As Union soldiers stepped out of the Cornfield (in front of you) at dawn, September 17, 1862, Confederate troops, aligned in the fields just behind you, unleashed a horrific volley. The single bloodiest day in American History had begun in earnest.

For the next four hours the Cornfield was the center of a storm of lead, iron, and flame as Federal soldiers from the First and Twelfth Corps clashed with Lee’s men. The Cornfield changed hands again and again as both sides attacked and counterattacked. One soldier remembered, “The air seems full of leaden missiles. Rifles are shot to pieces in the hands of soldiers, canteens and haversacks are riddled with bullets, the dead and wounded go down in scores.”<br
More than 25,000 soldiers fought in and around the Cornfield. By 9:30 a.m. thousands of them lay dead and dying. Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood wrote, “It was here that I witnessed the most terrible clash of arms, by far, that has occurred during the war.” Union Gen. Joseph Hooker remembered that “every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal battlefield

The two armies met in the Maryland farm fields bordering the trickling Antietam Creek near the town of Sharpsburg. The Union named the conflict the Battle of Antietam in honor of the creek while the South called it the Battle of Sharpsburg in honor of the town. From dawn till dark on the 17th the two armies threw frontal attacks at each other, littering the fields with their dead and wounded. "The whole landscape for an instant turned red," one northern soldier later wrote. Another veteran recalled, "[The cornfield] was so full of bodies that a man could have walked through it without stepping on the ground." No clear victor emerged and the fighting stopped out of shear exhaustion. Lee withdrew during the night of September 18, and re-crossed the Potomac. Tactically, the battle ended in a draw. Strategically, it was a victory for the Union. SOURCE

Wikipedia has the best account of the battle which can be found HERE


The Bloody Cornfield was the center of the first phase of the Battle of Antietam. The battle began by 6 a.m. when the Union assaulted and Confederate countered in the Cornfield, East and West Woods, and around the Dunker Church. The battle opened at dawn on the 17th when Union General Joseph Hooker's artillery began a murderous fire on Jackson's men in the Miller cornfield. "In the time I am writing," Hooker reported, "every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the [Confederate soldiers] slain lay in rows precicely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before." Hooker's troops advanced, driving the Confederates before them, and General Stonewall Jackson reported that his men were "exposed for near an hour to a terrific storm of shell, canister, and musketry." About 7 am Jackson was reinforced and succeeded in driving the Federals back. An hour later Union troops under General Joseph Mansfield counterattacked and by 9 o'clock had regained some of the lost ground. Then, in an effort to extricate some of Mansfield's men from their isolated position near the Dunker Church, General John Sedgwick's division of Edwin V. Sumner's corps advanced into the West Woods. There Confederate troops struck Sedgwick's men on both flanks inflicting appaling casualties. The battle raged back and forth over the three hour period. General Hood's Texas Confederates drove the Union troops back through the Bloody Cornfield to the northern edge but where brutally assaulted there, ultimately suffering more than 60% casualties. The Bloody Cornfield, an area about 250 yards deep and 400 yards wide, was a scene of indescribable destruction. It was estimated that the Cornfield changed hands no fewer than 15 times in the course of the morning. The morning phase ended with casualties on both sides of almost 13,000. As many as 5,000 died in the Bloody Cornfield.

Citation below.

Name of Battle:
Battle of Antietam


Name of War: American Civil War

Entrance Fee: 0.00 (listed in local currency)

Date(s) of Battle (Beginning): 9/17/1862

Date of Battle (End): 9/17/1862

Parking: Not Listed

Visit Instructions:
Post a photo of you and/or your GPS in front of a sign or marker posted at the site of the battle.

In addition it is encouraged to take a few photos two of the surrounding area and interesting features at the site.
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