Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history. On that single day more American casualties were sustained than in all of America’s prior wars, except for the American Revolution, combined. As for the American Revolution, the 23,000 killed and wounded at Antietam on a single day were more than one-third of the total of 58,000 Americans killed and wounded in the eight years of the Revolution.
Antietam was the culmination of Lee’s Maryland campaign. Lee had decided to enter Maryland in early September 1862 to take the pressure off war-torn Virginia, to gain supplies in Maryland and possibly recruits from sympathetic Marylanders and to inflict, if he could, punishing defeats on Union forces and, with luck, help opponents of the Lincoln administration do well in the fall elections as a result of those defeats. Go here to read a post detailing Lee’s motivation for the Maryland Campaign.
All went superbly for Lee initially in the…
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