Thursday, May 10, 2018

A is for Antietam (Blogging through the Alphabet)

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For the new "Blogging through the Alphabet" series, I thought I would focus upon a subject that I really love: History! In this first post, I will share information and facts about Antietam. I will explore a different place, person, or historical event in history each week. I hope you will join me on the journey!

The Battle of Antietam 

An important battle during the American Civil War was the Battle of Antietam, which took place on September 17, 1862 at Sharpsburg, Maryland. It has become known as the bloodiest day due to the more than 12,000 Union and 14,000 Confederate casualties. (It is also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg because Northerners and Southerns sometimes named battles differently. Southerners often name the battles for nearby towns like Sharpsburg or Manassas, while Northerners named them for landmarks. So, the Battle of Antietam was named for a nearby creek by the Northerners.)

Why Sharpsburg? 

The Army of Northern Virginia was led by General Robert E. Lee across the Potomac River to Sharpsburg, Maryland for a number of reasons:
  • looking to secure supplies 
  • looking to recruit troops from among Maryland residents who were sympathetic to the South's cause even though Maryland remained in the Union
  • gain recognition of the Confederacy by European nations
  • press further northwards
In early September, Lee's army occupied Frederick, Maryland and he sent General Stonewall Jackson to capture Harper's Ferry in the hope that they could gain control of the gateway to the valley. The rest of the Confederate troops moved towards Hagerstown, Maryland and bad luck struck them. A copy of Lee's orders was lost and found by the Northern Army. Union General George McClellan now had the plans of General Lee but still he moved cautiously.

Even with the return of Jackson, Lee's men were still vastly outnumbered by McClellan. The latter still acted cautiously, as he had in most prior engagements. Fortunately for Lee, A.P. Hill's "Light Division" marched from Harper's Ferry to join the rest of the Confederate Army. The arrival of Hill and his men helped the Confederate Army repulse wave after wave of Union troops.

Fierce fighting would take place around a country road which would be renamed "Bloody Lane" and around a bridge that would become known as Burnside's Bridge. With the fall of darkness, the Confederate Army withdrew across the Potomac River having lost nearly a quarter of its men. Lee's hope of Northern conquest was ended. 

In the end, the Battle of Antietam was seen as a Northern victory and it allowed President Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. This promised that on January 1, 1863, all slaves that resided in states still in rebellion would be free. 

"Free at Last - Traditional Spiritual song" 

"Free at last, free at last,
I thank God I'm free at last; 
Free at last, free at last,
I thank God I'm free at last"

If you wish to read more about A. P. Hill and his "Light Division," take a look at The Battle of Antietam: A. P. Hill's Greatest Action from Warfare History Network.


Antietam National Battlefield 

American Battlefield Trust: Antietam 

I linked up with the following blog(s):


  1. What a terrific theme! I love history and look forward to reading your posts.

    1. Thank you...I am excited about this as I get to be creative but still have a theme for guidance.

  2. Looking forward to the rest of this series.

  3. I love history and this will be a fun educational theme to follow for the #abcblogging adventure!

    1. Hoping it will be. I think I even have the full 26 posts figured out (well, 25 left).

  4. I thought history was boring, until I began teaching my own children! Being able to step foot on places where events actually happened is one way to make it come alive for them. And now with easy access to videos and such we should all be enjoying history come alive. This will be an exciting series - thanks for taking us along.

    1. I love getting out to the actual places. Wish I could travel more but you are right about videos - such a great way to learn about history!

  5. Love this! A history lesson while going through the alphabet. I can't wait to read what you have next!

  6. Very nice! We had a chance to visit Harpers Ferry for the first time a few weeks ago. It was really interesting.

    1. I haven't been to Harper's Ferry in over 10 years. It was such a neat town.