Antietam National Battlefield | BLOODY LANE TRAIL

Bloody Lane Trail Map (click to enlarge)

Bloody Lane Trail Map (click to enlarge)

Length:  1.7-mile loop (to and from the Visitor Center)
Time: 1.5 hours gives you time to explore the historical sites along the trail
Difficulty: Moderate

The Bloody Lane Trail begins at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center. Be sure to pick up the free brochure that goes along with it. Information on the brochure corresponds to numbered posts along the route.

The trail is almost entirely out in the open, so if avoiding the sun is important to you, be sure to wear a hat and apply sunscreen. I did the hike in late August on a sunny day, and it was miserable.

From the Visitor Center, take the paved path out to the New York State Monument. The path is actually the Antietam Remembered Trail, a short loop that also leads to the Maryland State Monument and the Dunker Church, which are all within sight of the New York monument.

New York State Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

New York State Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

The Bloody Lane Trail continues along a mowed grass path that heads slightly downhill to the east towards a wooden fence that borders Mumma Lane. The mowed path is hard to see until you get right up on it. For a landmark, look for a large, bushy tree about a hundred yards to the northeast of the monument. The path runs just to the right of it.

Tree near the New York State Monument at the start of the Bloody Lane Trail, Antietam National Battlefield

Tree near the New York State Monument at the start of the Bloody Lane Trail, Antietam National Battlefield

Grass path at the start of the Bloody Lane Trail, Antietam National Battlefield

Grass path at the start of the Bloody Lane Trail, Antietam National Battlefield

As you walk the grounds of Antietam National Battlefield, notice that crops are being grown on the property. During the battle, most of the area was farmland. Today, to keep the landscape similar to what it was like in the 1860s, the National Park Service leases the historical farmlands to modern-day farmers. Typical crops now grown are feed corn and soybeans. Some land is also used for dairy farming.

Soybean field near the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Soybean field near the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Once at Mumma Lane, turn left and follow the mowed path along the fence (you can’t get to the road without climbing the fence). It is .2 mile from the Visitor Center to this point.

Path of the Bloody Lane Trail along Mumma Lane at Antietam National Battlefield

Path of the Bloody Lane Trail along Mumma Lane at Antietam National Battlefield

Walk along the road for a little over a tenth of a mile until the fence ends, allowing you to get out to the road. The farm buildings directly ahead are the Mumma Farm, which is the first stop on the hike per the brochure.

Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

All of the buildings on the Mumma Farm except for the brick springhouse were burned down by Confederate soldiers positioned on the high ground to the south and west of the buildings at the start of the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862. Because they feared Union soldiers moving into the area would use the buildings to conceal sharpshooters, General Roswell Ripley ordered the farmhouse burned. Many of the other wooden buildings soon caught fire as well, and supposedly a Union cannonball hit the barn and caused it to catch fire. The Mumma buildings are the only ones known to have been intentionally destroyed during the battle.

The Mummas began rebuilding the following year. After the war, the United States government established a program for reimbursing citizens of states that remained with the Union for property damage due to Union soldiers, but because his farm was burned by the Confederates, Mumma’s multiple claims were all denied.

The buildings now on the Mumma Farm consist of the farmhouse, smoke house, springhouse, barn, and two other outbuildings. None of them are open to the public. The farmhouse was restored to its 1863 appearance in 2001 and is now used as an education center for school groups. If you need to use the restroom, there are portable toilets by the barn.

Mumma Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Mumma Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Springhouse on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Springhouse on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Smoke House on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Smoke House on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Barn on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Barn on the Mumma Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

To continue the hike, find the Stop 1 wayside exhibit located behind the cluster of three outbuildings (one being the smoke house) across from the farmhouse. Follow the grass path that runs between a fenced-off field and a narrow stand of trees. The next point of interest, the Roulette Farm, is two tenths of a mile away.

Stop 1 on the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield is located behind three outbuildings on the Mumma Farm

Stop 1 on the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Stop 1 on the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Posts along the way with EDU TR carved into them mark stops on the Roulette Farm Education Trail and do not correspond to the stops mentioned on the Bloody Lane Trail brochure. A portion of the route is shared by both trails. The Education Trail is for school groups that visit Antietam National Battlefield.

Post marks the Roulette Farm Education Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Post marks the Roulette Farm Education Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

The Roulette Farm that is now part of Antietam National Battlefield is exactly the same farm that existed during the Civil War. It was never sold off in parcels over the years, so the National Park Service was able to obtain all of it in 1998.

Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Union soldiers passed through the Roulette property on their way to the fighting at the Sunken Road. The farm was also used as a hospital during the battle, and afterwards over 700 men were buried on its fields. The unsanitary conditions caused sickness and death well beyond September 17th. The daughter of William Roulette, the owner of the farm, died of a disease five weeks after the battle.

Standing today on the Roulette Farm are the farmhouse, ice house, bank barn, and a few other outbuildings. The farmhouse is closed to the public, but hikers can look inside the ice house.

Roulette Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Front porch of the Roulette Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Front porch of the Roulette Farmhouse at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Farm ice house at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Farm ice house at Antietam National Battlefield

Outbuilding on the Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Outbuilding on the Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Bank barn on the Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Bank barn on the Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

To continue the hike, take the gravel road—Roulette Lane—that runs past the barn.

The Bloody Lane Trail continues on the gravel Roulette Lane, Antietam National Battlefield

The Bloody Lane Trail continues on the gravel Roulette Lane, Antietam National Battlefield

When the gravel road makes a sharp curve to the right, continue straight on the mowed path into the fields until coming to the third stop on the hike, Uphill to the Sunken Road. Just before the stop is a very steep-but-short hill of about 125 feet in length. This is one of the steepest hills on the Bloody Lane Trail. At this point you will have hiked approximately one mile.

Stop 3 on the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Stop 3 on the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Union troops under the command of generals William French and Israel Richardson came through here on their way to the Sunken Road. From here, they were out of range (and sight) of the Confederate rifles, but at the top of the steep hill ahead, they came under very heavy fire from General Daniel H. Hill’s 2,600 infantrymen who were concealed along the banks of the Sunken Road waiting for them.

Steep hill just to the northeast of the Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

Steep hill just to the northeast of the Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

As you hike up the hill towards the Sunken Road, off to the right is a nice view of the Roulette Farm.

Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Farm at Antietam National Battlefield

Stop 4 on the Bloody Lane Trail is at the top of the hill. Around 9:30 AM, French’s 5,000 infantrymen reached the top and began taking fire. Richardson’s 4,000 men arrived an hour later.

Stop 4 on the Bloody Lane Trail is at the crest of the hill just before the Sunken Road, Antietam National Battlefield

Stop 4 on the Bloody Lane Trail is at the crest of the hill just before the Sunken Road, Antietam National Battlefield

Continue on the path through the soybean field, slightly downhill to a fence that runs along the Sunken Road, which after the battle became known as Bloody Lane. A gap in the fence allows you to get right down to the former road. It appears to be some sort of gully, but it was just a typical farm road that had been worn into the ground over the years by farmers, horses, carriages, and wagons. It was in fact referred to as the Sunken Road by local residents at the time of the Civil War.

Sunken Road intersection with the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Sunken Road intersection with the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

Union forces heavily outnumbered the Confederates, but due to their superior defensive position along the banks of the Sunken Road, the Confederates were able to hold out for many hours. A division of reinforcements (approximately 3,400 men) commanded by Confederate general Richard Anderson arrived about the same time as General Israel Richardson’s division. The Union troops eventually overwhelmed the Confederates, and by 1 PM they had broken through the Confederate line, forcing Hill and Anderson to retreat from the Sunken Road.

Confederate soldier viewpoint from the Sunken Road towards Union troops coming towards them, Antietam National Battlefield

Confederate soldier viewpoint from the Sunken Road towards Union troops coming towards them, Antietam National Battlefield

Approximately 5,500 men were killed or wounded at Bloody Lane. General Israel Richardson died from a wound he received late in the battle. The non-life threatening wound became infected, and he died later that year in November. A Confederate general, George B. Anderson, also died from a wound that became infected.

Once on the Sunken Road, take a right to continue on the Bloody Lane Trail. Just up ahead is the 132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Monument. It was dedicated on September 17, 1904.

The Bloody Lane Trail continues on the Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

The Bloody Lane Trail continues on the Sunken Road at Antietam National Battlefield

132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

132nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

A little less than 100 yards past the 132nd monument, the trail merges with Roulette Lane, the gravel road the trail forked off from earlier in the hike. Stay straight (a right leads back to the farm) for another 125 yards until you reach the 130th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Monument, which was dedicated on the same day as the 132nd monument.

Roulette Lane section of the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

Roulette Lane section of the Bloody Lane Trail at Antietam National Battlefield

130th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

130th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

Just past the 130th monument, the Bloody Lane Trail turns right through a gap in the fence onto another mowed grass path. The turn comes about 1.25 miles from the start of the hike.

Bloody Lane Trail near Stop 6 on the hike, Antietam National Battlefield

Bloody Lane Trail near Stop 6 on the hike, Antietam National Battlefield

Not far from the turn are two more monuments, one dedicated to the 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry (erected in 1894) and the other to the 5th Maryland Volunteer Infantry (erected in 1890). The two monuments are on opposites sides of the trail.

14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

5th Maryland Volunteer Infantry Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

5th Maryland Volunteer Infantry Monument at Antietam National Battlefield

Just 80 yards past the monuments, the Bloody Lane Trail curves to the left, and from here it is a straight shot back to the Visitor Center. There is a fairly steep climb up to Mumma Lane, and once there you can see the Visitor Center 150 yards away.

Bloody Lane Trail as it approaches Mumma Lane east of the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Bloody Lane Trail as it approaches Mumma Lane east of the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Bloody Lane Trail intersects Mumma Lane within eyesight of the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

Bloody Lane Trail intersects Mumma Lane within eyesight of the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center

When I am hiking in a place like Yellowstone National Park, I want to see beautiful scenery. When I am hiking in a historical park, such as Antietam National Battlefield, I want my hikes to enhance the historical experience. The Bloody Lane Trail does just that. Not only do you get to climb the same hills the Union soldiers climbed before beginning the assault on Confederate troops at the Sunken Road, you get to see two farms, plenty of monuments, and make a trip down the actual Sunken Road. It is a great hike—weather permitting—and not to be missed if you are capable of walking the 1.7 miles.

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Last updated on May 20, 2023
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