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Bullets from "Bloody Lane", Antietam in 1954


Product Description

This is another great item being offered which I had in my collection for many years – it is two bullets which were found at Antietam. One is a 3-ring Minie ball and the other is a lead ball or case shot. They were picked up by a local Sharpsburg resident 65 years ago in August of 1954 in the “Bloody Lane” (see period photograph).

The Sunken Road, as it was known to area residents prior to the Battle of Antietam, was a dirt farm lane which was used primarily by farmers to bypass Sharpsburg and been worn down over the years by rain and wagon traffic. On September 17, 1862, Confederate General Daniel Harvey Hill placed his division of approximately 2,600 men along the road, piled fence rails on the embankment to further strengthen the position and waited for the advance of the Union army. As Federal troops moved to reinforce the fighting in the West Woods, Union General William H. French and his 5,500 men veered south, towards Hill's position along the Sunken Road. As French's men approached the Sunken Road, the Confederate troops staggered them with a powerful volley delivered at a range of less than one hundred yards.

Union and Confederate troops dug in. For nearly four hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., bitter fighting raged along this road as French, supported by Gen. Israel B. Richardson`s division, sought to drive the Southerners back. Outnumbered but with a well-defended position, the Confederates in the road stood their ground for most of the morning. Finally, the Federals were able to overwhelm Hill's men, successfully driving them from this strong position and piercing the center of the Confederacy's line. However, the Federals did not follow up this success with additional attacks, and confusion and sheer exhaustion ended the fighting in this part of the battlefield. In three hours of combat, 5,500 soldiers were killed or wounded and neither side gained a decisive advantage. The Sunken Road was now Bloody Lane.

Back in the 1950s, it was not that uncommon to find Civil War artifacts on the surface, especially after a heavy rain. These bullets have great provenance and come from one of the most important sites on the battlefield. They come in the glass top display case pictured.

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