Antitam (The Bloodiest Day) Essay

3822 words - 15 pages

The Battle of Antietam The Battle of Antietam just outside of Sharpsburg Maryland, was a one-day battle between 41,000 Confederate soldiers under the command of General Robert E. Lee and 87,000 Union soldiers commanded by General George B. McClellan. The stage was set when Lee undertook an invasion of the North in the late summer of 1862. (A Soldiers View by Col G. F. R. Henderson c1958) The Battle of Antietam was one of the bloodiest battle in history. In such an important battle men stick out for their heroic actions--one man inparticular, General Robert E. Lee. Robert E. Lee had a tremendous effect on the battle of Antietam.General Robert E. Lee was born January 19, 1807, at Stratford Hall, at a place called "Big House" (Virginia's General by Albert Marrin pg 7 c1994) of his family's plantation located on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, Virginia. (Virginia's General by Albert Marrin pg 7 c1994). Robert E. Lee's fater was known as "Light Horse Harry" he was a cavalry officer, a friend of George Washington, and a hero in the War of Independence. His mother, Ann Carter, was a third generation daughter of Carters, perhaps one of the wealthiest of all plantation dynasties of Virginia. (Robert E. Lee by Peter Earle pg 20 c1973).In 1809 when Robert E. Lee was two, his father, got in debt and was sent to prison. Three years later he was freed from jail and got involved in a political brawl in Baltimore and was beaten up. In 1813 he left for Barbados, still in debt. ( Robert E. Lee by Peter Earle pg 21 c1973) Robert E. Lee's mother did not have enough money to allow Robert to attend college so he chose the best career available to him. ( Robert E. Lee by Peter Earle pg 24 c1973). He successfully enrolled at West Point at the age of eighteen in June of 1825. ( R E LEE V1 pg 48 by Douglas Freeman c1934). Lee did extremely well at West Point decided to enter the engineers program ( which was the most popular program for successful cadets.) As an engineer he was not only employed to build and maintain specifically military installations, but also to assist the Federal government in providing internal improvements as the vast flood of native Americans and immigrants took up the empty lands across the Appalachians and pushed to the Mississippi and beyond. Lee worked many jobs but the greatest of these jobs was clearing snags and altering the course of the Mississippi to help save St. Louis as a river port. Promotion opportunity was slow and money was tight especially after his marriage in 1831. (Robert E. Lee by Albert Earle pg 23-24 c1973).His wife was Mary Anne Randolph Custis, the daughter of George Washington's adopted son. Lee then became an heir to the tradition of Washington. The double heritage of Washingtons and Lees that would insure a path that he would take thirty years later when the outbreak of the Civil War would force him to make the greatest decision of his life. Being married to Mary did not bring Lee wealth until her father died...

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