This 1862 photo made available by the Library of Congress shows dead Confederate soldiers in a ditch on the after the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Md. When dawn broke along Antietam Creek on ... more 
This 1862 photo made available by the Library of Congress shows dead Confederate soldiers in a ditch on the after the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Md. When dawn broke along Antietam Creek on Sept. 17, 1862, cannon volleys launched a Civil War battle that would leave 23,000 casualties on the single bloodiest day in U.S. history and mark a crucial pivot point in the war. And yet it might never have occurred - if not for what a historian calls a "freakish" twist of fate. Days earlier, a copy of Gen. Robert E. Lee's detailed invasion orders, wrapped around a few cigars, accidentally fell in a farm field and were discovered by Union infantrymen who passed their stunning find up the chain of command, spurring action. (AP Photo/Library of Congress, Alexander Gardner) less 
1 / 29
Associated Press | Photo By Library of Congress, Alexander Gardner
Sat, Sep 15, 2012 12:20 PM EDT