Abdulla 19519224pper thesis statement

The Battle of Antietam
The Battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862, in Sharpsburg, Maryland, between the Union
and the Army of Northern Virginia, under the command of George McClellan and Robert E. Lee,
respectively. The Civil War’s bloodiest conflict, the Battle of Antietam, claimed the lives of more than
23,000 soldiers in all. It was primarily Robert E. Lee’s desire to invade the north that precipitated the
conflict, as he wanted to show the Europeans that the Confederacy possessed the political and economic
might necessary to overthrow the Union. It was initially about the Emancipation Proclamation, which
Abraham Lincoln did not want Europe to join the war, so the fight of Antietam became about the
Emancipation Proclamation’s goal of ending the Civil War. The Battle of Antietam was a pivotal moment
in American history, allowing Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and bringing him a major
triumph. This paper, therefore, will focus on the Battle of Antietam and its role in American history.
There were numerous reasons why the Battle of Antietam was important to the United States. In
1864, Abraham Lincoln was running for reelection as president, making the battle even more
significant. While Lincoln was aware that he would not lose his presidency in the event of a battle,
he was also afraid of what might happen if he fought. William Seward, Abraham Lincoln’s
Secretary of State, suggested at a cabinet meeting that Lincoln wait for a Union victory in the battle
before acting. Seward proposed this strategy in order to give the impression that Abraham Lincoln
was not in a hurry to win the war in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation Act.
Another reason for the battle’s importance was that it allowed the Union to oppose the North’s first
Confederate invasion, following a successful summer campaign and victory at the Second Battle of
Bull Run, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia entered Union territory for the first time on
September 3, 1862. “We cannot afford to remain idle,” Lee told Confederate President Jefferson
Davis. “We must try to harass them if we can’t beat them, even though our soldiers and military
equipment aren’t as good as theirs.” The Confederates were sure that a successful campaign on
Union land would lead to victory, so Lee’s men sang “Maryland, My Maryland” with confidence as
they crossed the Potomac River. Even though Lee’s army lost a quarter of its troops at Antietam, on
September 18, 1862, the band played “Carry Me Back to Ole Virginian” as the army crossed the
Britain and France were able to stay out of it because of the fight itself. The roar of
Antietam’s cannons echoed around the world . Due to cotton shortages, France and the
United Kingdom were on the point of recognizing the Confederate States of America
and intervening to mediate the war’s end. Lord Palmerston’s grandson -in-law advised
Confederate envoys that the “event you so greatly desire” —diplomatic recognition—
was “very close at hand” before word reached London. The Euro pean powers
withdrew and remained neutral after hearing about Antietam and the Emancipation
Additionally, the battle boosted Union morale. Antietam ended the war -weary North’s
despair at the invasion of Maryland. On September 21, 1862, the Ne w York Sunday
Mercury declared, “At no time since the war began has the cause of the Union
appeared more dark and despairing than one week ago,” but after Antietam, “at no
time since the first gun was fired have the hopes of the nation seemed in such a fai r
way of realization as they do today.” The Confederacy, on the other side, was
dejected, and Davis was “extremely low down after the battle of Sharpsburg,”
according to the Confederate secretary of war.
Photographs from Antietam showed Americans for the first time how terrible war could be. A
photographer named Alexander Gardner went to Antietam two days after the battle. He was the
first person in the United States to photograph a battlefield littered with bodies. People who saw
Gardner’s photos of twisted bodies strewn across a destroyed landscape and piled up like
slaughtered animals were shocked. These 3-D visuals were brought into American homes by
Gardner’s stereographs of his photography. It was impossible to portray the horrors of battle in
words, but photos did. It was no longer fascinating or faraway to see what was going to happen
in the next several days.
Lincoln might have avoided a crushing defeat in the midterm elections if he had won
the battle. Antietam gave Lincoln and his fellow Republican s a military and a political
boost just weeks before the pivotal midterm elections. It appeared that Democrats
campaigning on the war’s failure were about to take over Congress, a rebuke to
Lincoln that may increase pressure on him to end the war. Democrat s campaigning on
the failure. While Democrats retained control of the House and Senate, Republicans
gained seats in both chambers.
At Antietam, General George McClellan’s career came to an end. “Kill the rebel army if
possible,” Lincoln told the Army of the Potomac’s risk-averse commander at Antietam. Despite
having twice the men and the enemy pressed against the Potomac, McClellan had many
opportunities to do so. Rather of pursuing the struggle against Lee’s heavily battered army,
McClellan wrote to his wife on September 18: “Those in whose judgement I rely assure me that I
fought the battle magnificently & that it was a work of art.” An irritated Lincoln, whom
McClellan reportedly referred to as a “well-meaning baboon,” did not soothe the general’s ego.
After McClellan continually declined to pursue the enemy, a furious Lincoln relieved him of
command in early November 1862. During the war, McClellan only ran for the Democratic
presidential candidacy in 1864, which he lost. After his defeat, one Union commander noted
sarcastically that McClellan “had no better luck as a politician than as a general.”
The Battle of Antietam was crucial to the Civil War and the nation. Antietam was Union-won. The
Union lost 12,400 troops to the Confederates’ 10,700, but ended the Confederate invasion. This
was George McClellan’s biggest Civil War victory. McClellan was fired for failing to pursue the
Confederates quickly enough. This Union victory boosted the military effort. To save the Union,
President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. It abolished
slavery on January 1, 1863 in rebellious states. Lincoln and his cabinet worried about the
Proclamation’s timing. If the president tried to abolish slavery before the Union won, Europeans,
Confederates, and some Unionists may view it as a desperate attempt to gain war support. With the
Union’s victory at Antietam, the president tied abolition to the Union. The Battle of Antietam and
Emancipation Proclamation terrified and inspired Ohioans. Many Ohioans feared that Lee’s
invasion would delay Union victory. Other Ohioans cheered the Emancipation Proclamation and
were glad slavery’s abolition was a military priority. Others in Ohio thought the Emancipation
Proclamation would bring black immigrants.

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