UNITED STATES NEWS

Antietam 150th prompts reflection on loss, freedom

Sep 17, 2012, 9:12 PM

Associated Press

SHARPSBURG, Md. (AP) – Hundreds on Monday marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Antietam amid patriotic music and cannon fire, recalling the mind-boggling carnage and an ensuing Confederate retreat that Abraham Lincoln considered divine approval for abolishing slavery.

Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days after the 1862 battle in Maryland, “a decision that transformed and redefined the purpose of the Civil War and ignited the modern Civil Rights movement,” National Park Service Associate Director Stephanie Toothman said at the commemoration.

More than 23,000 men were reported killed, wounded or missing in the dawn-to-dusk clash at Antietam, making the battle of Sept. 17, 1862, the bloodiest day of combat on U.S. soil.

“Although Antietam battlefield witnessed the deadliest single day in American history, it resulted in a significant step forward in eliminating a system by which human beings had been held in bondage in this country for more than two centuries,” Toothman said.

She spoke before more than 500 visitors to the battlefield, which is set on rolling farmland along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, about 60 miles from Washington in western Maryland.

The battle was inconclusive but the Confederates retreated to Virginia the next day, ending Gen. Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North. The Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., the following July marked the high-water mark of the Confederacy.

The Army of Northern Virginia, emboldened by Confederate victories in Virginia in 1862, had crossed the Potomac River into the Union state of Maryland that September, aiming for a decisive victory in the North. England and France appeared poised to recognize the Confederacy as a separate nation and Lincoln was praying for guidance, said Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson.

He said then-President Lincoln told his cabinet after the battle that as the Confederates moved toward Sharpsburg, “I made the promise to myself that if God gave us the victory in the approaching battle, I would consider it an indication of divine will in favor of emancipation.”

Lincoln’s preliminary proclamation warned the Confederate states that unless they returned to the Union by Jan. 1, 1863, their slaves would be considered free.

The crowd at the ceremony included Brian Gardner, 63, a retired Pennsylvania state forestry bureau worker from Williamsport, Pa., whose ancestor fought at Antietam. Gardner said it was important to pause and reflect on such momentous events.

“I think too many people in this fast-paced world we have now, everybody’s wrapped up in their own little bubble with all their electronic toys,” he said. “These people deserve to be remembered.”

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

46 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

1 hour ago

(Suspect mugshot via @KPRC2Bryce/X)...

Associated Press

Texas police arrest suspect in abduction of 12-year-old girl who was found safe after 8 days

Police in Texas have arrested a man suspected in the disappearance of a girl who was missing for eight days before she was safely located.

2 hours ago

FILE - A voting sign is seen near a voting center at Croft Baptist Church, Feb. 24, 2024, in Sparta...

Associated Press

A chunk of Republican primary and caucus voters say they wouldn’t vote for Trump as the GOP nominee

About 1 in 10 early contest voters who said they supported Trump in the 2020 general election said they wouldn’t be doing so this year.

4 hours ago

Associated Press

2 police horses on the lam cause traffic jam on I-90 in Cleveland area

CLEVELAND (AP) — Drivers on an Ohio interstate came upon an unusual traffic hazard over the weekend — a pair of police horses trotting against traffic on the highway. The two animals on the lam caused an unusual traffic jam Saturday afternoon as they wove through slowing traffic and then stopped it on Interstate 90 […]

8 hours ago

On Friday, March 1, 2024, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said yogurt sold in the U.S. can ma...

Associated Press

Eating yogurt may reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, FDA says

Eating at least two cups of yogurt a week might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Antietam 150th prompts reflection on loss, freedom