Legendary Military Battles: The Battle Of Antietam – Bloodiest Single Day In American History

The Battle Of Antietam

While the Battle of Antietam was certainly not the longest battle of the Civil War, it was the bloodiest. The battle also signified a crucial turning point in the purpose of the war, making it one of the most important days as well.

Moving Northward

Robert E. Lee was the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia and began pushing northward in June 1862. The first win was at Cedar Mountain, then at Second Manassas. After that, he decided to move into the north, starting with crossing the Potomac River into Maryland.

George McClellan was in charge of the Union host and followed Lee. He wound up in Frederick, Maryland, and discovered a lost order. Order 191 said that Lee’s army was split up into pieces.

McClellan acted on the information and moved quickly to take out Lee. He took South Mountain, Crompton’s Gap, Fox’s Gap, and Turner’s Gap. In response, Lee brought his army together along Antietam Creek.

In the Battle of Antietam, the Union brought 80,000 soldiers while Lee only had 40,000. Lee is also positioned against the Potomac River.

The entire battle took place in a single day, with the battle playing out in four separate locations. They battled in a cornfield, in the western woods, down Bloody Lane, and by the Burnside Bridge.

The Battle Of Antietam

In the morning, the battle began with the Union moving into the cornfield with 20,000 soldiers and facing off against Stonewall Jackson’s infantry and artillery. He held the line until the Union’s 2nd Corp came and fought them there and on Bloody Lane.

The Union soldiers in the West Woods met a strong Confederate force. However, the ones fighting on Bloody Lane noticed that the fighting wasn’t nearly as good as the Confederate’s position.

The Union overtook the Confederates at Bloody Lane, but the battle at the bridge was not going well. Finally, at 1:00 pm, they pushed the Confederates back, crossing the bridge. When the Union flank was attacked, they could no longer move forward. In the bloody battle, 23,000 soldiers were either killed, wounded, or captured.

After this battle, Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation shifting the war’s focus to a bigger topic. It was not about keeping the Union intact anymore. It was about freeing the slaves. Antietam also prevented European facets from becoming involved, making it an important day in the war.




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