Battle of Antietam .. Sept.17,1862
Battle of Antietam
Defense: General George McClellan must defend Washington as CSA General Robert E. Lee has invaded the border state of Maryland to “bring the war north”. The Confederates are savoring their victories in Virginia during the Seven Days Battles in June and the Second Battle of Bull Run in late August 1862. Just 1 month later the well liked but slow to give battle McClellan will face Lee in the Battle of Antietam.
Northern war sentiment is low and CSA General Robert E.Lee is confident. Union General McClellan is pressed to stop the Confederate invasion with his Army of the Potomac and destroy the CSA Army of Northern Virginia. The armies will clash in Sharpsburg, Maryland..by Antietam Creek in the bloodiest day of the war..the Battle of Antietam.
Union Commander: General George B. McClellan has in fact organized and trained an Army that President Lincoln wishes to have confidence in. McClellan, although a great organizer has not been taking the field willingly. So much so that Lincoln once remarked “if you are not using the army, I would like to borrow it for awhile”. “Little Mac” has been taking a beating down on the Virginia Peninsula during the “Seven Day’s Battles” and Lee now brings his invading army north to Maryland to show the northerners “what war looks like” and destroy northern war support as well as finish off the Union Army of the Potomac.
Union attacks under Union Major General Joseph Hooker on the left flank ( cornfield and Dunker church) in the morning , and General Ambrose Burnside attempting to “take” the now famous Burnside Bridge on the confederate right flank in the afternoon were costly but generally successful, but lacked the follow up that would have resulted in a clearer Union victory.
Attack: CSA Commander General Robert E. Lee gets the fight he wanted on Northern soil at Sharpsburg, Maryland. He will commit all his forces while “Little Mac” will hold one quarter of his Union troops in reserve, balancing the battle equation back to Lee. And Lee will see the opportunities, inflicting heavy casualties on the Union at the cornfield, the Sunken Road (Before they themselves are flanked), and Burnsides Bridge due to the well planned defensive postions of the Confederate Army. CSA General A.P. Hill will run his men in from Harpers Ferry to reinforce Lee at a critical time in the battle for the CSA Army, pushing Union General Burnsides division back across that famous bridge.
The Confederate losses are greater when averaged however, and in fact Lee is stopped by the Union Army, and now draws his battered CSA Army back across the Potomac.
Notes: Although the Union Army is “defending” Northern soil as the CSA Army invades north, keep in mind the Union actually must go on the attack as the Southerners have reached the battlefield at Antietam first. The Union Army has been south in the upper Blue Ridge Mountains pursuing Lee and Jackson since early September. The “Battle of South Mountain” just days before has stalled the Union Army and given Lee time that he has used well. The summary engagement at Shepardstown,Va. ( Sept. 19-20,1862 ) after The Battle at Antietam is a two day rear guard action as Lee retires back across the Potomac, and the end of the Maryland Campaign ( Antietam Campaign).
President Abraham Lincoln and the Northern press will applaud the Battle of Antietam as a major Union victory, driving the invaders from northern soil, and giving him the political platform to issue the preliminary “Emancipation Proclamation”.
Lincoln however, will enquire to Little Mac why he did not pursue the Confederate army and finish it off..Mac will state the Union army was battered which was true..but Mac is being too cautious possibly.
Battle outcome: A Union victory as Lee withdraws, but a tactical draw.
Soldiers: Union-75,000 / CSA-40,000 approx.
Casualties: Union-12,400(2,100 killed) / CSA-10,300 approx.(1,500 killed approx.)
Clara Barton December 25, 1821 – April 12, 1912
Not enough can be said about this teacher, clerk, battlefield nurse and humantarian. Founder and first president of the American Red Cross.
Clarissa Harlowe (“Clara”) Barton..nurse.. will wagon the 80 miles to the battlefield before the battle and actually be there from the dawn..attending the thousands of Union wounded. The wagon load of medical supplies she brings..as well as equipment such as lanterns (when the doctors ran out of candles) will save countless lives.
An item such as bandages was in such short supply that the medics were tying the wounds with corn husks. Chloroform and liquor was gone within hours..Clara continuing to assist the doctors into the night with battlefield surgeries.
She will continue her work with the wounded throughout the war..her metal having now being tested at Sharpsburg..during the bloodiest day in the Civil War. That work will expand exponentially..into the American Red Cross..we know today.
The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Ezra A. Carman’s Definitive Study of the Union and Confederate Armies at Antietam
Robert E. Lee takes his Army of Northern Virginia into the North for the first time, to bring the war to the northern countryside and to Maryland..a state divided. Washington has been waiting too patiently for McClellen to bring his Army of the Potomac to the field to defeat Lee. Here will be the test of the armies,the officers and the men as they fight the bloodiest day in our nations history.
150th Anniversary Special Kindle release detailing CSA General Robert E. Lee’s bold advance north into Maryland. Union General George McClellen and the Army of the Potomac will clash with Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia near Sharpsburg, Maryland, by a small river known as “Antietam Creek”. The result will be losses of life that were never experienced before and later deemed unreasonable. The first of many lost chances that the Union had to destroy Lee’s smaller Army of Northern Virginia, but “Little Mac” being overly cautious might have held too many available Union regiments in reserve. A question that is a point of debate to this day.
A fine write by the gifted author James Osterhaus as he tells of the bloodiest day in our nations’ Civil War from the perspectives of the officers, detailing their fears, anger and frustrations while attempting to destroy each others army and future. A younger Union General McClellen already beaten before by the more experienced and skilled CSA General Robert. E. Lee knows he is all that stands between the hard fighting Confederate Army and the capital at Washington D.C.
Lee’s confidence had been unsettling to the Union officers as he even defied tactical common sense by dividing his small army, to take the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, while marching the remainder of his army north to gain much needed supplies from the well stocked Maryland countryside. Here is what finally happens when the Union Army catches up with them as the Confederates “dig in” at Antietam Creek, and the late summer sun rises on the mist covered fields of Sharpsburg, Maryland that beautiful but anxious morning of Sept. 17, 1862.