Main Street in Sharpsburg
Original Author: Alexander Gardner
Created: September 21 or 22, 1862
Medium: Wet collodion glass-plate negative; stereograph
Publisher: Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division

Main Street in Sharpsburg, Maryland

Main Street in Sharpsburg, Maryland, appears largely deserted in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam, which had taken place on September 17, 1862, on the ourtskirts of town. The battle remains the bloodiest single day in the history of American warfare, with some 23,700 killed, wounded, or missing. This glass-plate stereograph was made by Alexander Gardner, who was then working as a staff photographer under Union general George B. McClellan. Looking northwest along Main Street, a few horse-drawn wagons can be seen in the middle distance. Saint Paul's Episcopal Church, a large white building with a tower, can be seen in the far distance, and beyond it, the woods where Confederate general Robert E. Lee was headquartered during the battle. Many residents fled the town before the fighting started, and those who remained took refuge in basements. Intense Union artillery fire damaged most of the buildings in Sharpsburg, and at least one civilian, an unidentified girl, was killed.