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Battle Of Antietam

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The Battle of Antietam began on the 17th of September. Longstreet’s and Hill’s units did form the center flanks and Confederate right to the west of Antietam Creek. On the other hand, Jackson’s and Brigadier General John G. Walker’s units laid the foundation of the Confederate left flank. There were so many people hungry such as all of Lee's troops. In addition, many of them were sick as well. Despite all these, they waited long until McClellan’s army gathered around the east side of the creek. Confederates were outnumbered by Union forces despite a fat they had far fewer people as compared to the rival. The face-off between two sides happened across a 30-acre cornfield as owned by David Miller. Union troops did begin the proceeding by firing on at the Confederate’s left flank. This also started the carnage. Confederate troops fought ferociously. They were highly offensive, as they thought that to be helpful in preventing from being overrun. The battlefield soon turned into a massive killing field. The casualties were not less than 15,000. This is truly a very gigantic figure.

After the French’s troop had arrived, fighting started to near the closing range. Three hours after the arrival of the French troop, Union troops succeeded in pushing back the Confederates back. Notably, over 5,000 people were either injured or dead. The fighting was so ruthless that the lane across which the battle was fought, was renamed later as Bloody Lane.

By the nighttime, the battlefield turned into a place having bodies littered. Both sides who fought the battle regrouped, and claimed their wounded and dead people. Unbelievably, such a massive and ruthless fight that lasted for twelve hours caused 23,000 casualties. Of these casualties, 3,650 were dead. It was such intense and close-range fighting with the help of cannons and muskets. The next day of the battle, Lee began taking care of the painstaking job of moving his ravaged troop back to Virginia. It was nothing but surprising that McClellan did nothing. Despite having the advantage, Lee was allowed to have retreated without any resistance. From the point of view of McClellan, he had nothing but an interest in accomplishing the mission that intended to force Lee’s troops from Maryland. Moreover, the intent was to prevent a Confederate win on the Union soil.

President Lincoln, however, was not pleased from the move. As per Lincoln’s point of view, McClellan just missed an opportunity to kick the Army of Northern Virginia. What is more worrying is a fact that the Army of Northern Virginia was down. McClellan continuously refused Lincoln’s viewpoint on the consequence. As a result, Lincoln removed McClellan from the command on November 5, 1862.

Significance:

The battle of Antietam enabled the Union to repel the first Confederate invasion or conquer of the North. The battle allowed Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. For the first two months, Lincoln allowed freeing the slaves in the rebel territories. It was indeed good news for the slaves. The President officially announced it on September 1863 five days just after the battle. The President admitted that though he is not pleased with the effort of the Army; however, it is good that they have been able to drive out the Army of Northern Virginia from Maryland and Pennsylvania. Moreover, these regions are no longer in the danger of invasion.

Just two days after the battle, photographer Alexander Gardner arrived at the location of the battlefield. He was the first person to shoot the images of the dead on the American battlefield. The photos thus shot were kept in Matthew Brady's New York City Gallery. The stereographs of Gardner's images were literally being included into American living rooms. Those images conveyed the reality of wars in a way, which is unexplainable.

The battle can be considered to have saved Lincoln from an evident defeat during the midterm elections. The battle provided Lincoln and his fellow Republicans with not just a military boost, but also a much-needed political boost. However, in the 1862 election, Republicans gained seats in the Senate. They were also able to maintain and attain a majority in the house.

The battle of Antietam marked the end for General George McClellan. Lincoln had ordered the risk-averse commander of the Army of the Potomac to destroy the rebel army to a feasible extent. McClellan with twice the Army strength had numerous opportunities to do so; however, he preferred to hold back. In the views of McClellan, the battle was splendidly fought and was a masterpiece as he explained to his wife. After McClellan continuously hesitated at pursuing the enemy, a frustrated Lincoln finally relived him. According to a Union officer, McClellan met with no remarkable success being a politician than as a general.

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