Antietam Battlefield: Bloody Lane
Image: Bloody Lane at Antietam Battlefield
During the Battle Of Antietam, Union and Confederate soldiers fought in many different areas of Antietam at many different times. One of these particular battles was fought at a place called Sunken Road or "Bloody Lane". The way this road got the name Bloody Lane is very gruesome yet very interesting. Sunken Road (Bloody Lane) was a clay road that had been worn down through the years by rain and wagons. Farmers used it primarily to bypass Sharpsburg. Major General D.H. Hill was the commander of the Confederate division. He positioned all of his soldiers (about 2600 men) along this road waiting for Major General William French and his division of Union soldiers (about 5000 men) to come over the hill so they could attack. The Union soldiers did not realize that Sunken Road had six angles but was all one road. Hill knew this and hid all his men throughout these angles. When French's men came over the rise, Hill's men staggered them with a powerful volley delivered at a range on less than one hundred yards.

Soon, the troops which include famous Irish Brigade, clashed in a raging fight that lasted more than three hours. The farm road was soaked with blood as the Confederates were struck and knocked out of line, forming what seemed to be perfect rows of dead men in the road behind them. The surviving Confederate soldiers fled as the Union surged forward, stepping over the dead Confederates along the way. Determined to stop the advancing Union troops, Confederate Major Generals Hill and James Longstreet helped line up cannons along a ridge. Lee's army could have been split in half and doomed by a successful thrust against the Confederate center. The Confederates even tried a counterattack, but it was halted. The fighting along Sunken Road (Bloody Lane) finally ceased from confusion and exhaustion on both sides. Casualties, in the end, totaled to about five thousand. For nearly four hours (about 9:30 am to 1:00 pm), Union and Confederate soldiers fought a harsh, bloody battle on Sunken Road. Because of the horrific amount of blood on this road after this particular battle was over, it was nicknamed Bloody Lane. It was told that the Blood was literally "flowing like a river". This battle was one of the bloodiest battles fought at Antietam.

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