Battle of Antietam

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Marx Bacungan
Battle of Antietam Notes

On September 17, 1862, Generals Robert E. Lee and George McClellan faced off near Antietam creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in the the first battle of the American Civil War to be fought on northern soil. [1]

Though the result of the battle was inconclusive, it remains the bloodiest single day in American history, with more than 22,000 casualties. [1]

General Robert E. Lee advanced into Maryland, believing that the potential strategic and political gains justified his defiance of the avowed Confederate defensive policy. [1]

Major General George B. McClellan. Slow, cautious, and defensive-minded, however, McClellan wasted all the advantages of his lucky discovery and his
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This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No restraint upon your free-will is intended; no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free will.R. E. LEE, General, Commanding [2]

Lincoln had selected Major General John Pope to command the Army of Virginia. Pope possessed an abrasive personality – which was exacerbated when he was operating under pressure – combined with a well-deserved reputation as a shameless self-promoter and braggart that extended back to well before the war. Acting in characteristic harmony Pope, on July 14, 1862, issued a proclamation to the Army that was hardy calculated to improve morale. Pope unfavorably compared his men with the troops he had commanded in the West where "we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an
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