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Antietam Essay

796 words - 3 pages

Antietam: America's Bloodiest Day When you think of the greatest and most tragic events in American history, what do you think of? Probably the Titanic or Pearl Harbor. This, although being a matter of opinion, is not true. The battle of Antietam is the bloodiest day in American history. September 16, 1862, we can only imagine the thoughts that were running through the heads of soldiers. This is a journal entry written by Thomas Livermore the night before the battle. "Whether we were to attack or to repel, whether the fight was to be in the woods on our right in the ravine, or in the hills in our front, or on the crest amid the hostile batteries, I knew not, and then, when was the fight to begin? How long would it last? Who would win? Was I to be killed, to be torn by a shell, or pierced with a bullet? What was death? How quickly should I be in the other world if I were killed? I am not aware that I once wished we should not fight. I know that to stay out or shrink from the battle in any way never entered my head; yet I can venture to say that while we waited in the twilight, time flew by on slow wings, and the quicker I was in it and through it, alive or dead, the better I thought I would be. This contemplating for a long time the black-muzzled cannon, and conjuring up the host who are to blaze at you with death-dealing musketry, is not pleasant." September 17, 1862, Union and Confederate soldiers woke and met each other about four miles from Sharpsburg Maryland. General Robert E. Lee positioned his army in a semicircle along the Potomac River. The Union army under command of General McClellan lined on the hills above them. The first advance was made shortly after dawn, 5:00 am, by the Union who attacked the Confederates left flank and center. The odds were 35,000 against 87,000 in the north's favor. The Union army pushed the Confederate army back into a sunken road that is now known as Bloody Lane. Here the most violent fighting of the battle took place. With the Southern army defending, anyone moving toward or away from Bloody Lane was a good target. Yet...

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