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“An "illuminating" experience”

Antietam National Battlefield
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Private Customized Tour of Washington DC with US Veteran
Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Sharpsburg
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History: 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln's issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Antietam National Battlefield is located in western Maryland, 10 miles south of Hagerstown in Washington County. The best place to start your visit is at the park visitor center. The GPS address for the visitor center is 5831 Dunker Church Road, Sharpsburg, Maryland, 21782. We have brochures, museum exhibits, a film, a museum store, and park rangers and volunteers on duty to help you get oriented. The battlefield is approximately 3,000 acres that you can explore in your car or by walking. Operating Hours & Seasons: Open All Year, The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Park Grounds are open daylight hours. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day The park has an entrance fee of $5.00 Per Person (age 16 or older; 15 and under FREE) or $10.00 Per Vehicle.
Useful Information: Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“An "illuminating" experience”
Reviewed December 7, 2012

Although I've visited the Antietam National Battlefield numerous times, this was the first time there to experience the annual battlefield illumination, which is held annually the first Saturday in December.

Antietam is a, sort of, Mecca for my wife and I, as we both had ancestors who served in the same regiment in the Kanawha Division. We've been wanting to get there for a number of years to remember them at this event.

We arrived at the battlefield the morning of the event to watch the hundreds of volunteers setting the luminaries out. It was an interesting process to watch. The groups we observed had, obviously, done the task numerous times, because they had it down to a science. We travelled to the tower at the end of Bloody Lane and watched several groups working. It was a great vantage point.

The park closes at 3:00 pm the day of the event. Only the area of the battlefield north of Maryland State Route 34 is open for the tour. This is a driving tour, and the line forms along the berm of the state route.

The gate on the north side of Route 34 is the entrance. You are traveling in the opposite direction of the normal tour route. I knew that the illumination was a popular event, but didn't fully realize just how "big" it was. Our group arrived at the gate approximately 7:15 pm and started down 34 to take our place at the end of the line. We found it........5.2 miles later. It took about 3 1/2 hours to get back to the gate and actually start the tour.

Once we were in, the whole drive took approximately 45 minutes to an hour. It was truly a sight to see. 23,110 luminaries, representing the casualties of America's single bloodiest day, were out on the field. It was a daunting feeling equating each luminary with someone who was killed, wounded, or missing. Most of the luminaries are seen in the area from the visitor's center to the northern end of the Cornfield. There are also a couple of locations where you will see uniformed reenactors, who get the privilege of camping for the night.

Despite the long wait we experienced, I am in no way trying to dissuade anyone from making this trip. Rather, the opposite. Be advised, there is no stopping on the route. Also, try to take care of any calls of nature before leaving for the park. It may be a while before you see another rest room. My main piece of advice? Get there MUCH earlier than we did. This simple, yet moving display is something everyone should experience.

Visited December 2012
Thank Greg F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Lewistown Pa.
Level 5 Contributor
65 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Very informative and interesting”
Reviewed December 7, 2012

We spent an afternoon here in early December 2012. We first spent some time at the visitor center, which is great. Alot of useful information and a very helpful and knowledgable staff. We then spent some time walking the grounds reading the the many monuments then took the self guided car tour thru the entire battlefield. There are some really impressive, yet sobering things that took place here in a very short peroid of time. We would encourage everyone to go any see this for themselves. The sacrifices made by so many, not only the soilders on both sides, but the surrounding community as well are almost to overwhelming to think about.

Visited December 2012
Thank clangonly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Easton, Pennsylvania
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2012

Wow what a site. I watch the movie about the battle first and then toured the battlefield and it was great. At night they had the 24th annual luminary. 23,110 luminaries set out by volunteer boy and girl scouts along with some others lined up all through the park. It was breath taking. They do it the first Saturday in December every year everyone should go. The candles are one for every casualty and this puts into prospective how many 23,110 really is.

Visited December 2012
Thank davetref
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“A very inspirational place”
Reviewed December 3, 2012

Antietam National Battlefield is truly a must see for anyone in the Virginia/Maryland/Pennsylvania area. One can only imagine all that went on in this place during the deadliest battle of he Civil War. The visitor center film is so very informative, as was the museum area of the center. The monuments, the hills, the fences, and buildings make this one of the best of such places that we the privilege of visiting. Don't miss the observation tower near the end of the tour. Although a little hike up the stairs, the views of the batlefield are certainly worth it.

Visited November 2012
Thank blazer729
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
3,134 reviews
1,222 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,039 helpful votes
“It hasn't changed much since 1862!”
Reviewed December 2, 2012

Manassas is small enough to walk in a couple of hours. Gettysburg and Vicksburg are too big to cover without a car. Antietam is too big to walk but it isn't as big as Gettysburg or Vicksburg. Like Gettysburg, there are certain stops--cornfield, west woods, Dunker church, bloody lane, Burnside's bridge. It is almost as it was in 1862. You can almost hear Hill's Light Division coming up the road from Harper's Ferry. You can see the Confederate sharpshooters on the hill overlooking Burnside's bridge, firing at the Union troops as they try to cross the bridge. There is so much history, you can feel it. And you can hear it. The visitor's center offers a wonderful film and a lecture on the battle. It comes to life before your eyes.

Visited July 2012
Thank Taylor B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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