The Battle of Antietam lasted just one day, but armies there suffered the most severe losses ever in a day-long battle on U.S. soil. In all, 23,000 soldiers were killed or wounded, which is more than the number injured in D-day of World War II, and more than all Americans killed in the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Spanish-American War combined. This battle was important because it stopped the Southern invasion of the North.
As the wounded were carried from the battle lines of Antietam, many encountered a caring nurse, Clara Barton. When she came to Antietam, Barton brought with her a wagonload of desperately needed medical supplies. Surgeons had been forced to dress wounds with cornhusks, but Clara provided bandages and other medical equipment she had collected herself in a year's time. She also met a critical need by bringing lanterns to the physicians, who otherwise would have been unable to perform surgery after nightfall. She won great respect from the surgeons there. Dr. James Dunn, who treated the wounded at Antietam, said, "In my feeble estimation, General McClellan, with all his laurels, sinks into insignificance beside the true heroine of the age, the angel of the battlefield."
Clara Barton’s efforts in the Civil War shaped the rest of her life's work. When the war was over, she orchestrated a national effort to locate missing soldiers. She also performed relief work in Europe. Impressed with the International Red Cross there, she became the driving force behind the foundation of the American Red Cross. Barton has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
In 1864, Confederate forces were moving 15,000 soldiers toward Washington, D.C., hoping to capture it. A fraction of that number—5,800 Union soldiers—hoped to stop, or at least delay, the Confederate advancement at Monocacy, Maryland. The Northern soldiers were successful; the day it took for Confederate troops to finally defeat Union soldiers in Monocacy was enough time to reinforce the capital. The Battle of Monocacy is now known as the "battle that saved Washington."
Five other Civil War battles, in addition to Antietam and Monocacy, were fought in Maryland. Read summaries of each one, and find out who won the battles (although the results for some battles are inconclusive) with the help of this interactive map from Heritage Preservation Services.