Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - 24


Fast
Lane ParK it here

National parks under the microscope

AntietAm
NATIoNAL
bATTLeFIeLD

Stalwart: Victory
gave Lincoln the
political boost he
needed to issue the
Emancipation
Proclamation.

Established: 1890, as the Antietam
National Battlefield Site; in 1933
this and all other national battlerelated park sites came under the
National Park Service's jurisdiction.
In 1978, the park was redesignated
as Antietam National Battlefield.
Located: In rural northwestern
Maryland's rolling hills close to the
Potomac River near Sharpsburg
off Highway 65.
Open: Daylight hours, year-round.
Visitor Center: Open 9 to 5 daily,
closed Thanksgiving, Christmas,
and New Year's Day. An orientation film is shown on the hour and
half hour.
Admission: $100 for a full-sized
motorcoach; valid for three days.
Reservations: Unnecessary,
except for step-on guides.
Contact: (301) 432-5124;
www.nps.gov/anti

Antietam's peaceful pastures belie the
brutality of this 1862 battle

W

hy is Antietam
a "must see"
park unit? This
is the site of
the bloodiest
one-day battle
in American history. Here, some 23,000
soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after an incredibly fierce struggle on
Sept. 17, 1862. The battle of Antietam
ended robert e. Lee's first invasion of
the North and served as an impetus for
President Abraham Lincoln's decision to
issue the emancipation Proclamation.
If you ask civil War "buffs" to name
their favorite battlefields, Antietam is
likely to be at or near the top of the list,
simply because it remains today much as it

24

destinations

/ November-December 2015

was during the civil War, except for the 96
monuments that have been erected here.
Situated in a remote corner of rural
maryland, it has happily been spared
the advance of encroaching civilization.
Here there are no motels, strip malls, or
fast-food places, just a beautiful pastoral
setting that belies the slaughter that
happened more than a century ago. The
nearby sleepy village of Sharpsburg is
equally undisturbed.
What happened here? After Lee's vic-

tory at the Second battle of manassas and
Stonewall Jackson's capture of the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Lee made a
stand. At dawn, the 12-hour battle began
with the first of several major Union ad-

vances on the confederates. Lee shifted
his forces to withstand each assault.
The result of the day's fighting, despite
the extreme number of casualties, was
that neither confederate flank was
broken. each side held its ground despite
being surrounded by unbelievable
devastation. The next day the armies
tended to their wounded and dead. That
night, Lee retreated across the Potomac
to virginia. Six generals (three on each
side) were killed or mortally wounded
during the fight.
How should we visit? First, stop at the
visitor center to get site maps, view
exhibits explaining the battle, and watch
the 26-minute orientation film narrated
by James earl Jones. Then embark on
the eight-and-a-half-mile driving tour of
the battlefield, which features 11 stops,
including Dunker church, the cornfield,
mumma Farm, burnside bridge, and the
Antietam National cemetery.

BOB HOelSCHeR.

Where heroes Fell


http://www.nps.gov/anti

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015

Contents
Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - BB1
Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - BB2
Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - Cover1
Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - Cover2
Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - 1
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Destinations Magazine - November/December 2015 - Contents
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