2012 45¢ Battle of Antietam
The Civil War: 1862
Issue Date: April 24, 2012
City: New Orleans, LA
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
Perforations: Die cut 11
The Civil War Series stamps were issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.
Daylight on the morning of September 17, 1862 revealed 113,500 Union and Confederate troops assembled at Antietam Creek. By dusk, one in five would be a casualty of the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil.
Robert E. Lee was determined to take the war out of Confederate soil and strike an offensive blow to the Union. Crossing the Potomac with a force of 38,000 men, Lee took up a defensive position at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Union General George McClellan pursued with a force that outnumbered Lee by 2-to-1.
As the sun rose, Union troops began an assault on Confederates positioned in cornfields to the north of the town. By midday, the fiercest fighting took place near the “Sunken Road.” Battle raged for four hours before each side was overwhelmed by exhaustion. To the south, Ambrose Burnside’s troops struggled to take a bridge and prevent Confederate troops from entering Sharpsburg.
Over 22,717 men lay dead or wounded when night fell. Although the battle was inconclusive, Northerners were relieved by the outcome. Encouraged by the atmosphere of victory, President Lincoln seized the opportunity to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation – the first formal announcement to name slavery as the cause of the American Civil War.