Antietam: Crossroads to Freedom Essay

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Sean Hoeffner Antietam: Crossroads to Freedom Essay Did Antietam Change the Course of the Civil War? In the book, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, by James M McPherson, McPherson gives us, the reader, a rundown of the battle which is referred to as; according to Karl Max and Walter Taylor, as the main event of the entire Civil War. The question at stake here though is if this battle did change the course of the Civil War? After previous studies and a thorough reading of this novel, It’s almost shortsighted to say the Battle of Antietam didn’t change the course of the war. The infamous Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland, occurred on September 17th, 1862, being known as one of the most gruesome and significant battles of the entire war. As described by Captain Robert Shaw, he shared his thoughts of the horrific day to a letter home to his parents. “Every battle makes me wish more and more that the war was over, “It seems almost as if nothing could justify a battle like that of the 17th, and the horrors inseparable from it.” There were a total of 6,000 plus causalities for both sides, making it one of the bloodiest, if not the bloodiest day in American history. McPherson even compared Antietam to historic battles such as Normandy, where McPherson described Antietam as having four times the amount of Normandy causalities on June 6, 1944. A United States Commission Official would describe the battle as “utter devastation and ruin” where “For four miles in length, and nearly half a mile in width, the ground is strewn with . . . hats, caps, clothing, canteens, knapsacks, shells and shot.” The commonly asked question from many individuals after going over the Battle of Antietam is, why was this battle the most gruesome in American History? For the simple reason that it was “the event” that would decide “the fate of the American Civil War.”

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