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When Hell Came to Sharpsburg (Paperback)

The Battle of Antietam and its Impact on the Civilians Who Called it Home

Military > Pre-WWI > American History > American Civil War

Imprint: Savas Beatie
Pages: 552
Illustrations: 37 images, 8 maps
ISBN: 9781611216882
Published: 15th July 2023



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The Battle of Antietam, fought in and around Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest day in American history. Despite the large number of books and articles on the subject, the horrendous effect that the battle had on area civilians is rarely discussed. When Hell Came to Sharpsburg: The Battle of Antietam and its Impact on the Civilians Who Called it Home by Steven Cowie now in paperback for the first time rectifies this oversight.


By the time the battle ended about dusk that day, more than 23,000 men had been killed, wounded, or captured in just a dozen hours of combat—a grim statistic that tells only part of the story. The epicenter of that deadly day was the small community of Sharpsburg. Families lived, worked, and worshipped there. It was their home. And the horrific fighting turned their lives upside down.


When Hell Came to Sharpsburg investigates how the battle and its armies wreaked emotional, physical, and financial havoc on the people of Sharpsburg. For proper context, the author explores the savage struggle and its gory aftermath and explains how soldiers stripped the community of resources and spread diseases. Cowie carefully and meticulously follows fortunes of individual families like the Mummas, Roulettes, Millers, and many others - ordinary folk thrust into harrowing circumstances - and their struggle to recover from their unexpected and often devastating losses.


Cowie’s comprehensive study is grounded in years of careful research. He unearthed a trove of previously unused archival accounts and examined scores of primary sources such as letters, diaries, regimental histories, and official reports. Packed with explanatory footnotes, original maps, and photographs, Cowie’s richly detailed book is a must-read for those seeking new information on the battle and the perspective of the citizens who suffered because of it. Antietam’s impact on the local community was an American tragedy, and it is told here completely for the first time.

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