Today marks the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in US history.
The Army of the Potomac, under the command of Maj. Gen. George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against General Robert E. Lee’s forces along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17th, 1862. The morning attacks by the Union First and Twelfth Corps on the Confederate left flank, and vicious Confederate counterattacks by Gen. “Stonewall” Jackson’s brigades swept back and forth through Miller’s Cornfield, across the Hagerstown Turnpike and into the West Woods. Later, towards the center of the battlefield, Union Second Corps assaults against the Sunken Road pierced the Confederate center after a terrible struggle but failed to capitalize on their breakthrough there. In the afternoon, the third and final major assault by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s Ninth Corps pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge at Antietam Creek that now bears his name. Just as Burnside’s forces began to collapse the Confederate right, the timely arrival of Gen. A.P. Hill’s division from Harpers Ferry helped to drive the Army of the Potomac back once more. On the 18th, both sides remained in place, too bloodied to advance. Late that evening and on the 19th, Lee withdrew from the battlefield and slipped back across the Potomac into Virginia. The bloodiest single day in American military history ended in a draw, but the Confederate retreat gave President Abraham Lincoln the “victory” he desired before issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days later.
Monument At Antietam National Battlefield, Dedicated In 1997
The lineage of the Irish Brigade has been officially assigned to “Fighting 69th” of the New York National Guard, which is the only currently active military unit that formed part of it.
On September 17, 1862, the Union and Confederate armies met at Sharpsburg Maryland, in the Battle of Antietam. Command confusion led to the disjointed use of the II Corps, and instead of supporting renewed assaults on the Confederate left at the West Woods, the Irish Brigade found itself facing the center of the Confederate line, entrenched in an old sunken farm road.
The brigade again acted conspicuously, assaulting the road, referred to after the battle as “Bloody Lane”. Although unsuccessful, the brigade’s attack gave supporting troops enough time to flank and break the Confederate position, at the cost of 60% casualties for the Irish Brigade.
A Compilation Of Sayings Of Shelby Foote (1916 – 2005)
Foote was relatively unknown to the general public for most of his life until his appearance in Ken Burns’s PBS documentary The Civil War in 1990, where he introduced a generation of Americans to a war that he believed was “central to all our lives.”
“It is very necessary if you’re going to understand the American character in the 20th Century, to learn about this enormous catastrophe in the mid-19th Century. It was the crossroads of our being and it was a hell of a crossroads”.
Shelby Dade Foote, Jr. was an American historian and novelist who wrote The Civil War: A Narrative, a massive, three-volume history of the war.
Antietam, near the Battle of Sharpsburg, Maryland. 8:00'ish the light clears the trees. If you’re lucky the low-lying mist is still in the trees. Summer camping. Hasselblad, 60mm. Kodak Plus X. NIK Silver Effects Pro.