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By the time sunset closed the Battle of Antietam September 17, 1862, nearly 23,000 men were dead, wounded, captured, or missing, making the fight the bloodiest day in American military history. This grim statistic, nonetheless, tells only part of the story, for the small community of Sharpsburg, Md., was the epicenter of that deadly day. Families lived, worked, and worshipped there. It was their home—and the savage combat turned their lives upside down.

Hear author Steven Cowie discuss his book When Hell Came to Sharpsburg, and learn more about the Union Army’s post-Antietam occupation.