Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET FOUR, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

21 Readings About the Great Battles of the Civil War #7-- The Battle of Antietam

Part of the American Civil War

 

 

       For weeks the tide of the Civil War ran in favor of the Confederacy. The morale of the North had been lowered by Gen. George B. McClellan's disastrous Peninsular Campaign in Virginia in 1862. As a result President Lincoln was forced to postpone issuing his Emancipation Proclamation for fear of seeming to appeal to blacks for aid in a losing cause. When he laid aside the proclamation, he vowed he would give it to the world after the first Union victory.

        Instead of victory came more setbacks. General Lee crossed the Potomac, carrying the war into the North and striking terror into the hearts of the people of Maryland and Pennsylvania. Finally, on Sept. 17, 1862, his troops met the numerically superior forces of McClellan at the little creek of Antietam in Maryland. All day long the battle raged. The loss of men on each side was about 11,000.

        No decisive results were obtained from the fierce conflict of that day. On the next day, however, Lee felt that it was wiser to withdraw from the field. Thus the victory seemed to be left with McClellan. Lee had not obtained the aid from the people of Maryland that he had expected, and so he re-crossed the Potomac into Virginia. McClellan made no attempt for a while to follow him, and so little military advantage was gained. Nevertheless the people of the North were encouraged, and Lincoln had the opportunity to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. For these two reasons the battle of Antietam was one of the important battles of the Civil War.

From Wikepedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Antietam
 
Battle of Antietam.png


The Battle of Antietam, by Kurz & Allison, depicting the scene of action at Burnside's Bridge

Date September 17, 1862
Location Washington County,
near Sharpsburg, Maryland

 
Result Tactically inconclusive; strategic Union victory
Belligerents
 United States  CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
George B. McClellan Robert E. Lee
Strength
75,500 "present for duty" 38,000 "engaged"
Casualties and losses

12,401

(2,108 killed
 9,540 wounded
 753 captured/missing)

10,316

(1,546 killed
 7,752 wounded
 1,018 captured/missing)

10,316

(1,546 killed
 7,752 wounded
 1,018 captured/missing)


A Letter from Antietam

4th N.C. Volunteers

September 30th, 1862 Camp near Bunker Hill

Dear Father, Mother and Sisters,

It has been some time since I wrote to you all. I have heard from you two or three times. I have been in Maryland since I wrote to you and have been in two very hard battles in Maryland and came out unhurt. I see a great deal and could tell you more than I write if I could see you.

Our regiment did not have many wounded nor killed but a good many taken prisoners. Frank Shepherd and John Fennster we suppose are taken. We have not heard from them since the fight. They were not in the fight; were left at the camp. The Yankees took them. On their escape they took a good many of our negroes. That was a great victory at Harper's Ferry. I would like to have been in that. Our men did not fire a gun. They burn the Yankees to death and they give up everything and raised a white flag and attack their army. The men say that they saw it and was the best thing they ever saw. The seventh regiment N.C. was there and saw it all. E. Morrison Scroggs was telling me about how they done. He saw it all. I would like to have been there.

Our regiment used everything we had. I have no blanket nor any clothes but what I have got. I have got the suit on that you sent me. They came in a good time. I like them very well. If I had a good pair of shoes I would be the best clothed man in the regiment.

Pa, I want you to have me a pair of boots made. Those shoes you had made for me ripped all to pieces. Our regiment used everything we had. I have no blanket nor any clothes but what I have got. I have got the suit on that you sent me. They came in a good time. I like them very well. If I had a good pair of shoes I would be the best clothed man in the regiment.

Cousin Dr. Hill is wounded in the knee very bad. I have nothing more for my paper is scarce. Write soon to your only son.

W. Adams

 


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