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The Battle of Antietam has been called the bloodiest single day in American History. By the end of the evening, 17 September 1862, an estimated 4,000 American soldiers had been killed and over 18,000 wounded in and around the small farming community of Sharpsburg, Maryland. Emory Upton, then a captain with the Union artillery battery, later wrote, "I have heard of 'the dead lying in heaps,' but never saw it till this battle. Whole ranks fell together." The battle had been a day of confusion, tactical blunders, individual heroics, and the effects of just plain luck. It brought to an end a Confederate campaign to "liberate" the border state of Maryland and possibly take the war into Pennsylvania.
--The Battle of Antietam, Ted Ballard, 2008.
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Setting the Scene
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