Antietam National Battlefield | THE CORNFIELD

The Cornfield at Antietam National Battlefield

The Cornfield at Antietam National Battlefield

ANTIETAM NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD TOUR

STOP 4:  THE CORNFIELD

Allow 10 minutes for a visit
Add 1 hour to hike the Cornfield Trail

The fourth stop on the tour of Antietam National Battlefield is at The Cornfield. This is where the fiercest fighting took place on the morning of September 17, 1862. The Cornfield, and later Bloody Lane, were the two areas were the majority of the carnage occurred during the Battle of Antietam.

As Union general Joseph Hooker’s 8,000-man 1st Corps marched south from the Poffenberger Farm towards its ultimate goal, Dunker Church, the soldiers had to pass through a 24-acre cornfield owned by David R. Miller. The corn had grown tall, so the men were basically marching blindly through it. When the first of them emerged from the corn on the south end, 1,300 Confederate infantrymen opened fire. Soon the corn was no longer blocking the view, as thousands of bullets cut the stalks to pieces just as they did the soldiers who walked through them.

Hooker’s men were initially pushed back, but they regrouped and were soon driving General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s troops back towards the church. However, a 7 AM counterattack by 2,000 men under the command of Confederate general John Bell Hood, who came up from the Dunker Church area, soon had the Union infantrymen back into the cornfield where the fighting began. Jackson also pulled men positioned along the Sunken Road into the battle.

Around 8 AM, 7,000 more Union soldiers of General Joseph Mansfield’s 12th Corps moved in from the northeast through the East Woods and pushed the Confederates out of the area for the duration of the battle. The Confederates retreated into the West Woods area, and around 9 AM there was a lull in the fighting. By then, approximately 8,000 men had been killed or wounded.

Cornfield Battle Map

Cornfield Battle Map

Two wayside exhibits about the events that took place at The Cornfield and numerous monuments, both at the tour stop parking lot and along Cornfield Avenue (which didn’t exist in 1862) are the attractions at this stop.

Wayside exhibits at The Cornfield stop on the Antietam National Battlefield Tour

Wayside exhibits at The Cornfield stop on the Antietam National Battlefield Tour

The largest monuments are at the corner of Cornfield Avenue and Dunker Church Road. These are all state monuments. The smaller Georgia and Texas monuments are also at this stop on the tour.

Indiana State Monument (1910) at Antietam National Battlefield

Indiana State Monument (1910) at Antietam National Battlefield

New Jersey State Monument (1903) at Antietam National Battlefield

New Jersey State Monument (1903) at Antietam National Battlefield

Massachusetts State Monument (1920) at Antietam National Battlefield

Massachusetts State Monument (1920) at Antietam National Battlefield

Texas State Monument (1964) at Antietam National Battlefield

Texas State Monument (1964) at Antietam National Battlefield

Georgia State Monument (1961) at Antietam National Battlefield

Georgia State Monument (1961) at Antietam National Battlefield

For those wanting to hike around the battlefield, the official start of the Cornfield Trail is also at this tour stop. See the Cornfield Trail report here on National Park Planner for complete details.


Stop 5: West Woods | Stop 3: East Woods | Battlefield Tour Home Page


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Last updated on May 22, 2023
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