By James M. McPherson
The conflict of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, used to be the bloodiest unmarried day in American background, with greater than 6,000 squaddies killed--four instances the quantity misplaced on D-Day, and two times the quantity killed within the September eleventh terrorist assaults. In Crossroads of Freedom, America's most outstanding Civil conflict historian, James M. McPherson, paints a masterful account of this pivotal conflict, the occasions that led as much as it, and its aftermath. As McPherson indicates, via September 1862 the survival of the U.S. used to be doubtful. The Union had suffered a string of defeats, and Robert E. Lee's military used to be in Maryland, poised to threaten Washington. The British govt used to be brazenly conversing of spotting the Confederacy and brokering a peace among North and South. Northern armies and electorate have been demoralized. And Lincoln had shelved his proposed edict of emancipation months earlier than, anticipating a victory that had no longer come--that a few proposal could by no means come. either accomplice and Union troops knew the conflict was once at a crossroads, that they have been marching towards a decisive conflict. It got here alongside the ridges and within the woods and cornfields among Antietam Creek and the Potomac River. Valor, misjudgment, and surprising twist of fate all performed a job within the consequence. McPherson vividly describes an afternoon of savage battling in locales that grew to become eternally famous--The Cornfield, the Dunkard Church, the West Woods, and Bloody Lane. Lee's battered military escaped to struggle one other day, yet Antietam used to be a severe victory for the Union. It restored morale within the North and stored Lincoln's occasion in command of Congress. It overwhelmed accomplice hopes of British intervention. And it freed Lincoln to convey the Emancipation Proclamation, which immediately replaced the nature of the battle. McPherson brilliantly weaves those strands of diplomatic, political, and army heritage right into a compact, swift-moving narrative that indicates why America's bloodiest day is, certainly, a turning element in our heritage.
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Extra info for Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam
The hearts of the people will thrill with joy,” predicted the 2 Richmond Enquirer. And so they did. From Virginia to Louisiana, civilians and soldiers filled their diaries and letters with paeans of praise for “the tremendous whipping” that the “great and good” 3 Stonewall had given Banks. During the months of Confederate defeats, wrote a South Carolina woman who had three brothers in the army, “I poured out prayers to God for victory. . My prayer 4 was heard. ” While Jackson was escaping the mismanaged effort to trap him between two converging Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley, General Joseph Johnston launched an equally mismanaged Confederate attack on a portion of McClellan’s army five miles east of Richmond on May 31–June 1.
At the same time Henry Adams wrote to his brother in the army back home that “times have so decidedly changed since my last letter to you. . ” Even Napoleon’s pro-Southern sentiments seemed to have cooled. From Paris the American minister, William Dayton, wrote in April that “the change in condition of affairs at home has produced a change, if possible more striking abroad. There is little more said just now as to . . ” News from America took almost two weeks to reach Europe. ” It must have been, to prompt such behavior by the grandson of John Adams and son of John Quincy Adams.
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