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7. battle of antietam

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7. battle of antietam

  1. 1. Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) September 17, 1862 Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac clashed in the bloodiest single day of the entire Civil War
  2. 2. Antietam • In desperation, Lincoln restored McClellan to command • As Lee marched into Maryland he expected the Federals to abandon their 12,000-man garrison at Harper’s Ferry • When they didn’t, Lee was forced to divide his army in order to deal with this threat to his rear Harper’s Ferry sits at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers
  3. 3. Antietam • Lee divided his army into four parts – Three of them under Jackson headed toward Harper’s Ferry – A fourth under Longstreet headed for Boonsboro
  4. 4. Antietam • Lee’s army was now scattered and McClellan had time to organize his forces – He was aided by finding a copy of Lee’s plan • Still McClellan lacked the killer instinct necessary to take full advantage of the situation The “Lost Order”
  5. 5. Antietam • In the actual battle, McClellan moved slowly and committed his forces piecemeal which allowed Lee to shift his outnumbered forces from one threatened point to another – Neither the Federal V or VI Corps, some 22,000 men, would play a significant role in the battle
  6. 6. Antietam • At “Burnside’s Bridge,” Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps of some 12,000 was held in check from 9:30 to 1:00 by only 450 Confederates after Burnside launched several attacks • When he finally crossed the creek, Burnside spent two hours resting and reorganizing on the other side before continuing toward Sharpsburg Burnside’s Bridge
  7. 7. Antietam • Once Burnside got moving and started to push the Confederates back, A. P. Hill arrived with his division from Harper’s Ferry and counterattacked into Burnside’s unprotected left flank • Burnside was driven back to the heights near Burnside’s Bridge • Longstreet later wrote, “We were so badly crushed that at the close of the day ten thousand fresh troops could have come in and taken Lee's army and everything in it.” – Still McClellan held the V Corps and VI Corps in reserve
  8. 8. Antietam • Antietam was the bloodiest single day of the war – The Confederates suffered 13,700 casualties out of 40,000 engaged – The Federals lost 12,350 out of 87,000 • The battle ended as a tactical draw, but a strategic victory for the Federals because Lee was forced to withdraw back to Virginia • It was enough of a victory for Lincoln to issue his Emancipation Proclamation Confederate dead in the Bloody Lane
  9. 9. The End of Conciliation • Many Federal generals had sought to wage war consistent with Winfield Scott’s limited approach in Mexico • The idea was to practice a conciliatory policy that held that mild treatment of Southerners, their property, and their institutions would ultimately result in their returning their allegiance to the US • McClellan argued for this practice in a letter he gave Lincoln on July 8 stating “A declaration of radical views, especially upon slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present armies.”
  10. 10. Moves toward Emancipation • A few generals such as Ben Butler, John Fremont, and David Hunter however were pushing for emancipation • Lincoln too was beginning to move in that direction and on July 22, 1862 he showed his cabinet a preliminary draft of the Emancipation Proclamation – But Lincoln needed a battlefield victory to give him an opportunity to make the Proclamation public – Antietam accomplished that
  11. 11. Emancipation Proclamation • Issued September 22, 1862 • “That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free…”
  12. 12. Emancipation Proclamation • The Emancipation Proclamation changed the very nature of the war, giving it a completely new objective • Conciliation was no longer an option • Represented a move toward total war – The North was now not merely fighting to restore a union it thought was never legitimately separated. It was fighting for freedom of a race. – The South was no longer fighting merely for independence. It was fighting for survival of its way of life.
  13. 13. Impact of Emancipation Proclamation • Jefferson Davis – labeled REBELLION on chain. • Defeated – seated figure with small hammer labeled COMPROMISE. • Henry W. Halleck – wields mallet labeled SKILL. • George McClellan – wields mallet labeled STRATEGY. • Edwin M. Stanton – holds mallet labeled DRAFT. • Lincoln – shoulders an axe labeled EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. Stanton: Halleck may use his skill and Mac his strategy, but this draft will do the business. Lincoln: You can try him with that, but I'm afraid this axe of mine is the only thing that will fetch him.
  14. 14. Diplomatic Impact • The South had longed hoped for European recognition and intervention • The Emancipation Proclamation made that virtually impossible because England had abolished slavery in 1833 and France in 1848 John Slidell represented the Confederacy in France
  15. 15. Impact of Emancipation Proclamation on Confederate Diplomatic Efforts • “… the feeling against slavery in England is so strong that no public man there dares extend a hand to help us… There is no government in Europe that dares help us in a struggle which can be suspected of having for its result, directly or indirectly, the fortification or perpetuation of slavery. Of that I am certain” – William Yancey, Confederate politician