What Is the Battle of Antietam in 1883? Is Dunker Church a Real Place?

Image Credit: Emerson Miller/Paramount+

‘1883’ details the origin story of the Duttons and follows James Dutton and his family, who join a caravan bound for Montana in a bid to make a new home in the promised land. Created by Taylor Sheridan, the series set in the 19th century provides a riveting take on life during the Westward Expansion, which began in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

These real-world events are used to add depth to the struggles of the Duttons and create a mesmerizing portrayal of the era. The second episode of the show features a flashback to the Battle of Antietam, and we are sure viewers must be looking for information about the historical event. Here’s everything you need to know about the battle and its location!

What Is the Battle of Antietam in 1883?

The second episode of ‘1883’ titled ‘Behind Us, a Cliff’ opens with a flashback set in the aftermath of the Battle of Antietam. In the series, protagonist James Dutton served in the battle and was comforted by General George Meade after failing to save his comrades. In real life, the battle, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, took place on September 17, 1862 (as depicted in the series) and was fought during the American Civil War. In the battle, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia faced the Army of the Potomac led by Union General George B. McClellan.

In the build-up to the battle, after the defeat of Union General John Pope’s army at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Lee’s forces entered and occupied Maryland. The Confederate invasion of Maryland was perceived as a major threat to Washington, D.C. McClellan’s forces were successful in thwarting the advancements of the Confederates but at the cost of many lives. As a result, the battle is considered one of the bloodiest in American history, with over 22,000 lives lost, wounded, or reported missing.

Is Dunker Church a Real Place?

In the series, the flashback set after the Battle of Antietam takes place in the vicinity of the Dunker Church. The church exists in real-life and is located in Keedysville near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The members of the church were a part of the Schwarzenau Brethren (aka the German Baptist Brethren). The German Baptist Brethren in Maryland were dubbed the “Dunkers,” resulting in the name of the church.

On September 17, 1862, much like most of Sharpsburg, the Dunker Church also became a battlefield for the forces of Lee and McClellan. Since the weather on the day was extremely foggy, the white-walled church became a landmark for the troops. Moreover, the church offered the troops a high ground, and the trees surrounding it made for excellent cover. As a result, much of the fighting was concentrated in the area outside the church. Major General Joseph Hooker’s corps engaged with the left flank of Lee’s army near the Dunker Church. The church was rebuilt in the years after the battle and is a renowned battle landmark from the American Civil War.

Read More: Is 1883’s Jim Courtright Based on a Real Person? Who Plays Him?