Bloody Antietam’s Importance 


Today in History, September 17: 1862 – The Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee made the first of several attempts at taking Washington, DC. The Army of the Potomac met Lee’s army at Antietam Creek to defend the city. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and James Longstreet lead the Southern forces, While George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker lead the Union forces. In 13 hours of fierce fighting, 23,000 of 100,000 combatants are killed or wounded, more in one day than all of America’s wars to that point, and the most American’s ever killed in a single day in our history. Typically, while Hooker’s and Burnside’s commands moved on their enemy, McClellan stayed in place, not engaging. The end of the battle found both armies where they were when it began. But Lee soon retreated back to Virginia. Two important consequences of the battle…it gave President Lincoln a victory that gave him the confidence to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and European powers decided against recognizing the Confederacy.

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