Antietam National Battlefield | EAST WOODS

Troop position at the start of the Battle of Antietam

Troop position at the start of the Battle of Antietam

ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD TOUR

STOP 3:  EAST WOODS

Allow 5 minutes for a visit

The third stop on the Antietam National Battlefield Tour is at the East Woods. While the Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862, a small group of Confederate and Union pickets (soldiers forward of the main body of troops acting as lookouts) exchanged shots all night long on the 16th and into the morning of the 17th. Therefore, technically, the first shots of the battle took place in the East Woods.

At dawn on the 17th, when Union general Joseph Hooker launched his attack to the south from the North Woods / Poffenberger Farm, men under the command of General James Ricketts came through the East Woods and met the right flank of Confederate general Alexander Lawton’s division. The woods exchanged hands numerous times until around 8 AM when the Union 12th Corps under the command of General Joseph Mansfield came onto the battlefield through the East Woods, driving the Confederates out of the area for good.

At the time of the battle, the East Woods was a 35-acre lot of large trees. Today’s battlefield park only preserves nine acres, and the trees don’t look very tall. That’s because most of them were cut down and the land was used for agriculture since the end of the Civil War all the way up until 2015 when the National Park Service acquired this small section of the original forest. The trees you see today were recently planted in an effort to restore the historical East Woods.

All there is at the East Woods stop on the tour is a wayside exhibit that tells about the events that took place here and a trailhead for the Cornfield Trail (a little west of the parking lot).

Trailhead for the Cornfield Trail at the East Woods stop on the Antietam National Battlefield Tour

Trailhead for the Cornfield Trail at the East Woods stop on the Antietam National Battlefield Tour


Stop 4: The Cornfield | Stop 2: North Woods | Battlefield Tour Home Page


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Last updated on May 21, 2023
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