Antietam and Emancipation [SEPTEMBER 11-OCTOBER 12, 1862]
SEPTEMBER, 1862, was a critical month. While Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg threatened Louisville and Cincinnati, Lee's veterans pushed forward into Maryland. Frederick City was occupied, the Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry was surrounded, and Lee moved toward Hagerstown. The approach of the invaders brought panic and terror to Northern cities, and war governors demanded that Lincoln oust McClellan, emancipate the slaves, and reorganize his cabinet.
The morale of the Federal army was sadly shaken by recent defeats and shifts in command, and Chase had no confidence in McClellan's ability to check the Confederates. Even when McClellan was given a copy of Lee's army orders, accidentally dropped by one of the Southern commanders, he seemed unable to move swiftly. The engagement at South Mountain ( September 14) was inconclusive, and the battle of Antietam three days later has been called a "defeat for both armies." Then, while McClellan rested, Lee's army recrossed the Potomac to the safety of Virginia.
"We have spent large sums of money and sacrificed a