Burnside's Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Md.

Burnside's Bridge at Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Md.

Jen Goellnitz

Antietam Battlefield Field Trip Lesson Plan

The Battle of Antietam—fought on September 17, 1862—became the bloodiest day in U.S. history. From dawn until dusk, the Union's Army of the Potomac attacked the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, immortalizing places like The Cornfield, The Sunken Road, and Burnside's Bridge with accounts of ferocious fighting. More than 22,700 casualties fell dead, wounded, or missing in that single day. When the inconclusive fighting ended, newspapers spread the word of the Confederate retreat, and photographers arrived at the battlefield to capture images of the aftermath. The battle gave President Lincoln a claim for Union victory and the military grounds to issue a promise of freedom, the Emancipation Proclamation.

The field trip lesson plan highlights Dunker Church, J. Poffenberger's Farm, The Cornfield, Sunken Road, Burnside's Bridge, and Antietam National Cemetery. 

This lesson plan is designed for Middle and High School classes to be used during a visit to Antietam National Battlefield. 

Complete Lesson Plan File

If you want just one file, this PDF is for you. It includes all modules (lesson plans and activities), touring tips, and extra resources in one easy download.

Download Individual Modules

If you're looking for a lesson plan for just a specific location and would prefer to not download the entire lesson plan, these PDFs are for you! Exactly the same information for the module as included in the Complete Lesson Plan File above, just divided for easier reference or printing. 

We recommend consulting the Complete Lesson Plan File for touring tips and extra resources.


Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is known for leading the nation during the Civil War, enacting the Emancipation Proclamation...

Bleeding Kansas

Between roughly 1855 and 1859, Kansans engaged in a violent guerrilla war between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces in an event known as Bleeding...

Lincoln-Douglas Debates

In the summer and the fall of 1858 two of the most influential statesmen of the late antebellum era, Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln faced off in...