And when Lee heard a copy of Special Order was missing, he knew his scattered army was vulnerable and rushed to reunite its units. The Battle of Antietam began at dawn on September 17 as the fog lifted. Troops from both sides faced-off across a acre cornfield owned by David Miller. Confederate troops ferociously fought off offensive after offensive to prevent being overrun, turning the cornfield into a massive killing field.
Just eight hours in, there were over 15, casualties. Three hours later, Union troops had pushed the Confederates back and over 5, men were either dead or injured.
The fighting was so gory Sunken Road earned a new name: Bloody Lane. As night fell, thousands of bodies littered the sprawling Antietam battlefield and both sides regrouped and claimed their dead and wounded. Just twelve hours of intense and often close-range fighting with muskets and cannons had resulted in around 23, casualties, including an estimated 3, dead.
The next day, as Lee began the painstaking job of moving his ravaged troops back to Virginia, McClellan, surprisingly, did nothing. Despite having the advantage, he allowed Lee to retreat without resistance. He thought McClellan missed a great opportunity to kick the Army of Northern Virginia while they were down and potentially end the war.
The Significance of the Battle of Antietam
Military historians consider the Battle of Antietam a stalemate. Even so, the Union claimed victory.
And keeping Confederates in their southern box enabled President Lincoln to finally release his Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, They also ended any hope of France and Great Britain acknowledging the Confederacy and coming to their aid. This further isolated the Confederacy and made it harder for them to re-supply their troops and citizens.
There has never been a bloodier day in American military history than September 17, Sources Lost Order, Lost Cause.
Prime Video: Lincoln and Lee at Antietam - The Cost of Freedom
Central Intelligence Agency. The Battle of Antietam. National Park Service. The Maryland Campaign of Civil War Trust. The Peninsula Campaign. Encyclopedia Virginia. The Significance of the Battle of Antietam.
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Antietam on the Web. Special Orders No. Why did Lee Enter Maryland? They don't look realistic. If men were being shot at, they wouldn't look so casual or silly as do the amateurs seen throughout this film. Still, you get a decent recounting of the Civil War's bloodiest battle. The real thing was most surely vastly worse than what you see here.
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George McClellan,. McClellan, who was content to entrench and drill the much larger Army of the Potomac, which was times larger than the Confederate Army at Antietam.
The experienced Civil War historian will find this tape to be very basic, although it does recount the carnage accurately and the fact that the Army of the Potomac won--if, indeed they did-- at a horrific cost that might be seen as a loss today. The Lincoln vs Lee approach is not really a story or a subtext to the Battle of Antietam, nor is it a proper subtext for a documentary.
At this point Lincoln was trying to hold Maryland and Louisiana in the Union and praying literally for a General that could crush the Confederacy as quickly as possible. The real contrast was between one of Lee's uncharacteristic tactical mistakes and McClellan's characteristic indecision in engaging the enemy. Burn's masterpiece is still the best-written and most sweeping documentary on the Civil War or on any subject ever made.
Good sets get the re-mastered version--much sharper and aspect for HD Televisions go for half that if you shop carefully and really care about this pivotal battle. Sister Sites PaperBackSwap.
Lincoln and Lee at Antietam: The Cost of Freedom
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