The Battle of Antietnam

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The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest, most significant battle of the Civil War. The battle and the strategy behind it impacted the Confederates and the Union, paved the way for the Emancipation Proclamation, and sparked controversy over Lincoln’s legacy as “The Great Emancipator.” Overall, the battle changed the course of the war, and the course of our nation’s history. The Confederate States of America were overjoyed after the overwhelming victory at Second Manassas, and many citizens were beginning to see the light at the end of this dark, defeating war. The Confederacy knew that it could not be content to protect southern holdings defensively, for the Union Army would never tire. General Robert E. Lee knew that he had to launch a massive attack that would, in a sense, kick the Union Army while they were down. According to McPherson, “Lee continued to believe that in a long war the greater numbers, resources, and industrial capacity of the North would prevail. Thus the South should try for a knockout punch while its armies had the power to deliver it” (89). Lee chose Maryland for this attack for several reasons. First, Lee wanted to draw the fighting out of Virginia. The Confederate capital had suffered incredible damage, and with the harvest season quickly approaching, a Virginia unable to harvest would hurt the Confederate agricultural economy. Another reason Lee had for choosing Maryland was because Maryland was a slave state, but had not yet joined the

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