The Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg, on September 17, 1862, was the tragic culmination of Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. That one fateful day more than 23,110 men were killed, wounded, or listed as missing. Approximately 4,000 were killed, and in the days that followed, many more died of wounds or disease. The peaceful village of Sharpsburg turned into a huge hospital and burial ground extending for miles in all directions.
Burial details performed their grisly task with speed, but not great care. Graves ranged from single burials to long, shallow trenches accommodating hundreds. For example, William Roulette, whose farm still stands behind the Visitor Center today, had over 700 soldiers buried on his property. Grave markings were somewhat haphazard, from stone piles to rough-hewn crosses and wooden headboards. A few ended up in area church cemeteries. In other cases, friends or relatives removed bodies from the area for transport home. By March of 1864, no effort had been made to find a suitable final resting place for those buried in the fields surrounding Sharpsburg. Many graves had become exposed; something had to be done.
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.
Memorial Day Commemoration, Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend
Independence Day Commemoration (First Saturday in July)
Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), September 17
The Memorial Illumination (First Saturday in December)
(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)
Three Day Pass
$5.00 Per Person (age 16 or older; 15 and under FREE)
$10.00 Per Vehicle
Annual Pass to Antietam Battlefield
Valid for one year from month of purchase for Antietam National Battlefield only. Admits pass holder and passengers in a single private vehicle.
America The Beautiful Pass
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass – This pass is available to the general public and provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee for a year, beginning from the date of sale. The pass admits the pass holder/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas.
This is a free pass to active duty military personal and their dependents. In order to qualify for the pass, the military member must present a valid Department of Defense, CAC Card. Dependents must present a valid Department of Defense ID (DD Form 1173) that identifies the dependent and his or her sponsor. Some members of the Military Reserve might not be eligible.
We issue and honor the Interagency Senior and Interagency Access Passes.
Audiovisual Program: A 26-minute orientation film narrated by James Earl Jones is shown on the hour and the half hour. Every day at 12:00 noon a longer, one hour version of this documentary about the battle of Antietam is shown in the visitor center theater.
Tours: The best way to view the battlefield is to take the self-guided driving tour. The tour road is 8½ miles long with 11 stops. Most visitors drive the route, but walking and biking are encouraged. Audiotape or CD programs, which enhance the self-guided tour, may be purchased from the bookstore.
Interpretive Programs: Talks are conducted daily by park rangers. During the summer season Ranger programs are expanded and scheduled more often. Check at the Visitor Center for a daily schedule.
Other activities include: biking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating.
The Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center contains museum exhibits about the battle and the Civil War. The movie "Antietam Visit" depicts the battle and President Abraham Lincoln's visit to Union Commander General George B. McClellan. A documentary about the battle is also shown. Park rangers offer interpretive talks. An audio tour is available for purchase to accompany the self-guided 8.5-mile driving tour of the battlefield with eleven stops.
The Pry House Field Hospital Museum is located in the house that served as Union Commander General George B. McClellan's headquarters during the battle. Exhibits focus on period medical care of the wounded, as well as information about the Pry House.
The park visitor center has a theater, exhibits, observation room, and museum store.
The park store is operated by Eastern National, nonprofit cooperating association for Antietam National Battlefield. Here you can find publications, maps, multi-media and theme-related merchandise, please call them with any questions at (301) 432-4329.
Parking - Accessible (Note, sidewalk leading to the visitor center inclines 5° for 50 feet)
Visitor Center - Accessible:
Tour Roads - Accessible (Use your own vehicle, 8½ miles in length with 11 stops, Burnside Bridge, stop 9 requires short sidewalk &a few ½ size steps. Wheelchair access use designated parking. Audio tour and private guides available (301.432.4329)
Interpretive Programs - Ranger talks are stationary or short walks. Sign Interpreters are provided with a 72 hour advance notice