Thursday, 06 September, 2007
September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest day in U.S. history. Over 23,000 soldiers died, were wounded or went missing. The Union suffered 2,010 dead with 10,000 wounded or missing. The Confederates suffered 2,700 dead with 11,000 wounded or missing. All the available buildings in the Sharpsburg area were turned into hospitals. One observer said all of Sharpsburg and surrouding lands was one big hospital.
It was a crucial victory for the Union. President Lincoln had been waiting for the Federal Army to start to turn the military tide against the rebels. A victory at Antietam gave him just the edge he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
After the founding documents, the Emancipation Proclamation is probably the most important document in American history. It was a military order and strategy that proclamed the freedom of all slaves in states in rebellion and prohibited Federal troops from returning any freeing slaves to their masters.
The Emancipation Proclamation changed the course of U.S. history. It was extremely controversial, even among the supporters of the Union. Many Republicans in Congress lost their seats in the following election as voters rebelled.
Yet, it was the first step towards ending a horrible injustice -- slavery -- a living contradiction to what Americans had proclaimed that they stood for: freedom and equality. Today, it is hard to imagine any other outcome of the Civil War.
I wonder how many men who died at Antietam could have foreseen the significance of that one battle.
(Sony A100, iso 100, Tamron 18-200 lens at 50mm, f/8, 1/4 sec, neutral graduated density filter, tripod), Sharpsburg, Maryland, August 18, 2007
Posted By: donnamhughes | Comment (3)