Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Dixie Gazette - Battle of Sharpsburg ends in Union "victory"

September 17, 1862
Sharpsburg, Maryland
After confederate hero Robert E. Lee won some major defenses, he felt he had good chances invading Union soil. Unfortunately, due to unexpected circumstances, Union general McClellan got his hands on some of Lee's battle plans. Later, Lee sets up his defense on the high ground oitside of Sharpsburg. The opening action primarily centered around Cornfield, Westwood, and the Dunker Church. Although the union had a huge advantage in manpower and weapons, they were unable to press their advantage due to poor leadership and the fact that a great number of their generals were shot. The Comfederates, although outmanned and outgunned, had an advantage - they had been in battle before. Unfortunately for the Confederates, an officer from Alabama accidentally called "about face", which means everyone turns around. To the Union soldiers, it appeared that the Southereners were retreating! To the Sunken Lane, the nickname "Bloody Lane" was given because after just 3 hours of fighting, 5,500 men were killed or wounded with neither side gaining a definite advantage. Lee was weakest on his right side, which was given to Confederate officer Burnside to defend. Unfortunately, this was an extremely weak side because of Lee's lack of manpower. Burnside's men take 2 hours to cross the bridge at Antietam creek because the bridge is quite narrow and they were surrounded. The men finally make it across the bridge on their 3rd attempt. The confederates were then forced to retreat, because they were all out of options. Because it took Burnside 2 hours to retreat, however, Lee had time to regroup before the final attack. Finally, A.P. Hill's men arrive and push back the Union soldiers. Lucky for Lee, McClellan did not act, which gave Lee just enough time to slip back into Virginia. The Union claimed victory, but noting was really gained or lost. Due to his hesitation, McClellan is fired promptly upon return. After the battle, photography showed the grim reality of the situation and the horrors of war. After the battle, President Lincoln claimed victory for the Union and used it to emancipate all slaves down south with the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as fire General McClellan. Overall, a very bloody and almost unnecessary battle occurred, but in the end it allowed Lincoln to not only fire McClellan but also issue the Emancipation Proclamation. 

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