The Battle Of Antietam : The Bloodiest Battle

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The Battle of Antietam is the bloodiest battle in American history. On September 17, 1862, approximately 22,720 soldiers were either killed, wounded, or missing after the gruesome fight. This battle halted the Confederate general’s drive through Maryland and caused General Lee to withdraw into Virginia. Although contributed as a Union victory, since the Confederates withdrew south of the Potomac River, McClellan loss his chance at dismantling Lee’s Army. General McClellan’s usual hesitation allowed General Lee to withdraw uninterrupted. In the three months before the Battle of Antietam, the Confederate Army had gained momentum throughout the war in the East. With excellent moral throughout his unit, Lee crossed the Potomac River with his…show more content…
The site chosen by Lee had many advantages for his military. The terrain provided his troops cover behind fences and limestone. Furthermore, the woods and swales allowed men to maneuver around the enemy without behind seen. Antietam creek flowed between the Confederate and Union armies. If the Army of the Potomac were to attack, they would have to cross one of the three stone bridges. The only disadvantage to Lee was the single escape route. Since the Potomac River blocked the Confederate rear with only one crossing point, Lee did not have a great retreat plan. General Lee divided his Army into the right and left wings commanded by Major General James Longstreet and Major General Thomas J. Jackson respectively. Each wing guarded their respective flank. In the north, General Jones’ and General Hood’s divisions would eventually fight Gibbon’s Iron Brigade.
Gibbon had fought under Burnside just three days before the Battle of Antietam at the Battle of South Mountain. The result of the battle was a loss 318 men: 37 killed, 251 wounded, and 30 missing. However, these losses did not dishearten his troops as they were able to hold their ground and push back Confederate troops at South Mountain. After arriving at Antietam, Gibbon fell back under Doubleday’s First Division. Since General McClellan did not know the disposition of Confederate forces, he remained cautious and did not attack

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