The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution

By Richard Slotkin

In the summertime of 1862, after a 12 months of protracted struggling with, Abraham Lincoln selected a thorough swap of strategy—one that deserted wish for a compromise peace and devoted the country to all-out warfare. the center-piece of that new procedure used to be the Emancipation Proclamation: an extraordinary use of federal energy that may revolutionize Southern society. In The lengthy highway to Antietam, Richard Slotkin, a well known cultural historian, reexamines the demanding situations that Lincoln encountered in the course of that anguished summer season one hundred fifty years in the past. In an unique and incisive learn of personality, Slotkin re-creates the showdown among Lincoln and normal George McClellan, the “Young Napoleon” whose competition to Lincoln integrated obsessive fantasies of dictatorship and an army coup. He brings to 3-dimensional lifestyles their ruinous clash, demonstrating how their political fight supplied accomplice basic Robert E. Lee along with his most sensible chance to win the battle, within the grand offensive that resulted in September of 1862 on the bloody conflict of Antietam.

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On the crest, the nationwide highway ran via a slender passage among excessive, wooded hills. With fieldworks around the low flooring and riflemen at the slopes, Colquitt’s Brigade of approximately 1,000 infantry and a battery might carry its flooring opposed to a miles better strength. notwithstanding, one mile north and one mile south of Turner’s there have been different gaps, reached through roads branching off the nationwide highway. Fox’s hole to the south used to be the bigger of those, a saddle half of one mile vast, separated from Turner’s hole via a steep wooded ridge. there has been one other, smaller set of gaps to the north, however the terrain there has been extra rugged and seriously wooded, and the gaps tougher to process. D. H. Hill lacked the power to hide all 3 gaps, so he used his lone cavalry regiment to reveal the northern hole and despatched Brigadier basic Samuel Garland’s Brigade to hide Fox’s hole. Federal common Jacob Cox introduced his Kanawha department ahead early within the morning, assessed the power of the Turner’s hole place, and made up our minds to show it via notable via Fox’s hole. His lead brigade, 3 thousand males with an artillery battery, peeled off the nationwide street and trudged up in the course of the woods to the cleared flooring on the best of the cross. one of the regiments led by means of brigade commander Colonel Eliakim Scammon was once the Twenty-third Ohio, commanded via Lieutenant Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, which incorporated a platoon led by means of Sergeant William McKinley. Hayes will be wounded that day, McKinley may move unscathed, yet either could live to tell the tale to be elected president of the USA. Scammon made touch with Garland’s line and deployed his brigade into line. He outnumbered Garland 3 to at least one. The Federals spread out with shell hearth and musketry, then complex in a line that outflanked Garland left and correct. The 12th North Carolina, a rookie regiment, broke and ran, and Garland used to be killed attempting to carry the remainder of the brigade jointly. by way of 10:00 AM Fox’s hole were cleared. Cox could have been capable of force the remainder of D. H. Hill’s troops off South Mountain if he had up this luck. His moment brigade, commanded by means of Colonel George criminal, was once correct in the back of Scammon’s. it may well have undergone, swung to the correct, taken the defenders of Turner’s hole within the rear, and compelled them to retreat. in spite of the fact that, Cox didn't recognize what sort of energy the Rebels had on his entrance. Heavy rifle hearth from skirmishers within the woods forward steered the presence of a big strength. Cox was once additionally a ways just before the remainder of IX Corps, remoted for the instant and with out aid. He hence determined to carry until eventually the remainder of IX Corps got here up. Brigadier normal Jesse Reno used to be accountable for IX Corps. He didn't have the right kind rank for corps command yet used to be an skilled officer who had commanded divisions of the corps at moment Bull Run. His orders have been now coming from common Burnside, who were commanding IX and that i Corps as a “wing” of the military seeing that September 7. Burnside behind schedule Reno’s improve till midmorning to permit I Corps to shut up.

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