By the end of the day on September 17th, 1865, more than 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers had been killed or wounded. The Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, was the bloodiest single day of the American Civil War - and in American history.
Neither side could truly claim a win - though it represented a slight Union victory in the sense that it stopped a Confederate advance into the North. The battle's savage legacy still resonates even today, but for the veterans who fought there, Antietam meant something much more personal. About 20 years after the War Between the States ended, veterans began returning to the battlefields where they fought, bringing with them a new technological advancement - the camera.
Battlefield guide and Civil War enthusiast Stephen Recker has been collecting the photos these veterans took for years. He recently displayed several never-before-seen late 19th-century and early 20th-century images of the battlefield at the fifth annual Great Lakes Civil War forum, hosted by the Kenosha Civil War Museum.
He sat down with Lake Effect's Stephanie Lecci while he was at the forum and explains how he got started collecting Civil War photography.
Recker is the creator of Virtual Antietam, and recently published his new book, Rare Images of Antietam.