Sunken Road / Bloody Lane at Antietam
Battle map from the Civil War Trust
The Sunken Road was often traversed by farmers and passersby, causing the landscape to be worn down. Its topography contributed to its role in the Battle of Antietam.
Marker identifying the location of the Bloody Lane.
Backstory and Context
Confederate Gen. Hill placed his division of approximately 2,600 men along the road and piles fence rails to strengthen their position. Gen, French and his 5,500 men veered south towards Hill along Sunken Road. As French's men approached, Confederate troops staggered with powerful volley from at less than 100 yards. The fighting continued for 4 hours from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Later in the day, Gen. Burnside's troops pushed across a bullet strewn stone bridge over Antietam Creek. A.P. Hill's division arrived from Harper's Ferry and counter attacked driving back Burnside and saving the day for the army of Northern Virginia. Outnumbered 2-1, Lee committed his force at the battle, while McClellan sent in less than 3 quarters of his forces.
During the night, both armies tended to their wounded in spite of crippling casualties, Lee continued with McClellan on the 18th and the Union army claimed the victory.
National Park Service. "Bloody Lane." Antietam National Battlefield. Accessed November 2017. https://www.nps.gov/resources/place.htm%3Fid%3D61