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History of Antietam National Cemetery (Bradford - page 31)

Union soldiers, Battle of Antietam. Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


authorizing the purchase of a part of the battle field for the reception of its dead, and an appropriation of five thousand dollars placed at the command of the Governor for that purpose. Directly thereafter he visited the ground, examined it, and after consultation with prominent citizens, selected this spot, embracing in its view the most interesting points to the field of battle, as the proper site for the proposed cemetery. Subsequent legislation increased the State's appropriation to fifteen thousand dollars. Trustees were appointed to superintend the work. Other States came generously forward to participate in the undertaking, and by their united efforts it is hoped that the Cemetery will become in time a place worthy the noble purpose to which we to-day devote it, and of the nation to whom the charge of it should properly belong.

In recurring to the events which, in connection with this day's proceedings, seem to require a brief notice at our hands, it is a subject of congratulation that we can survey them at present from a stand-point which ought to secure for them a calm and dispassionate consideration. Those influences of passion or policy which to some extent are almost inseparable from all accounts of military operations, prepared whilst the war itself was raging, are rapidly, it is to be hoped, at an end, or if any still linger, they should find no place on such an occasion as this. Yet in reviewing the details of the sanguinary conflict to which we are about to refer, we find some difficulty, with all the assistance that established peace and the lapse of time have furnished, to fix with proper historical accuracy some of the facts immediately connected with it, more especially the precise force of the Confederate army in that action. The number of the Union army engaged therein, computed as it has been, not only from official records, but those records made up after ample time had elapsed for the correction of errors, may be considered as authentically established. It comprised 87,164 men of all arms.

In regard to the Confederate force, the accounts are more conflicting. The Union commander, in estimating it at upwards of 97,000 men, basing his estimate on all the information received from prisoners, deserters and refugees, has probably overstated the number; whilst, on the other hand, our knowledge of the size of that army shortly before it crossed into Maryland would warrant us in saying that the straggling, to which its commanders chiefly ascribe its subsequent reduction, must have exceeded all straggling ever known in the history of armies, if, when it reached the Antietam, it numbered only 40,000 men.

General Lee, I believe, in a report prepared by him a few days after the action closed, says that he went into it with only that number, but in that reckoning he must undoubtedly have excluded the three divisions which, under A. P. Hill, McLaws and Walker, he had several days before detached to different points to aid in the investment of Harper's Ferry,


Page #:

Maryland. Board of Trustees of the Antietam National Cemetery.


Collection Location:
Washington County Free Library.

Original Size:
23 x 14 cms

J.W. Woods, printer, Baltimore

Antietam National Cemetery; United States History, Civil War, 1861-1865, Registers of dead.

Washington County, Md; 1862-1869.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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