The Cornfield

Antietam’s Bloody Turning Point

David A. Welker

A new and comprehensive history of the action in the Cornfield during the battle of Antietam, 1862.
Publication date:
April 2020
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Illustration :
20 maps, 20 illustrations
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612008325

Dimensions : 229 X 152 mm
In Stock
ISBN : 9781636242163

Dimensions : 228 X 152 mm
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• This title fills a void in Civil War history, providing the first clear, accurate and engaging narrative of the events of the fighting for the Cornfield at Antietam
• The narrative is based chiefly on first-hand accounts, many of them unpublished manuscripts, letters, memoirs and published works
• The narrative of the action is supported by 20 original, detailed maps

Antietam. For generations of Americans this word - the name of a bucolic stream in western Maryland - held the same sense of horror and carnage that the simple date 9/11 does for modern America. Even today, Antietam eclipses only this modern tragedy as America's single bloodiest day, on which 22,000 Americans became casualties in a war to determine our nation's future. Antietam is forever burned into the American psyche, a battle bathed in blood alone that served no military purpose, brought no decisive victory. This much Americans know. What they didn't know is why this is so—until now.

The Cornfield: Antietam's Bloody Turning Point for the first time tells the full story of the exciting struggle to control "the Cornfield,” the action on which the costly battle of Antietam turned, in a thorough yet readable narrative. It explains what happened in Antietam's Cornfield and why. Because Federal and Confederate forces repeatedly traded control of the spot, the fight for the Cornfield is a story of human struggle against fearful odds, of men seeking to do their duty, of simply trying to survive. Many of the included first-hand accounts have never been revealed to modern readers and never have they been assembled in such a comprehensive, readable form.

At the same time, The Cornfield offers fresh perspectives about the battle of Antietam, arguing that the battle turned on events in the Cornfield because of two central facts - that Union General George McClellan's linear thinking demanded that the Cornfield must be taken and that because of this, the repeated failure by the generals McClellan charged with fulfilling this task created a self-reinforcing cycle of disaster that doomed the Union's prospects for success - at the cost of thousands of lives.

The Cornfield offers new perspectives that may be controversial - particularly to those who accept unchallenged the views of the battle's first historians and its generals, who too often sought to shape our understanding for their own purposes - but which certain to change modern understanding of how the battle of Antietam was fought and its role in American history.


The morning action is described through a combination of gripping personal accounts, many of which are published for the first time...a tantalizing narrative that sheds new light on the famous battle that became known as the single bloodiest day in the American Civil War.
Military Heritage