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Coin Of the Month

Plinky's Coin of the Month
September 1999

What famous battle ended in a draw but was still considered a victory for the North and a turning point in the Civil War?

Hint: The Burnside Bridge, shown on the back of this commemorative half dollar, was an important site in the battle.

It was the Battle of Antietam, the first invasion of the North by the South.  After a long day of fighting, though, General Robert E. Lee withdrew his Confederate troops.  Union General George B. McClellan had kept the South from advancing into the North.  Five days later, President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the South.

The losses to both sides in this one-day battle were enormous, though.  The total number of killed, wounded, and missing soldiers was over 23,000—more than in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, and Spanish-American War combined!

Minted in 1937, the Battle of Antietam Half Dollar marked the 75th anniversary of this Civil War battle.  A total of 18,028 silver commemorative coins were issued.

The Battle of Antietam Commemorative Half Dollar Obverse
Obverse:  Battle of Antietam generals McClellan (Union) and Lee (Confederate) are shown on the coin's obverse.

The Battle of Antietam Commemorative Half Dollar Reverse
Reverse:  The Burnside Bridge on the coin's reverse is only 125-feet long. Yet, it took Union soldiers more than three hours to fight their way across.

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