The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution
In the summer of 1862, after a year of protracted fighting, Abraham Lincoln decided on a radical change of strategy—one that abandoned hope for a compromise peace and committed the nation to all-out war. The centerpiece of that new strategy was the Emancipation Proclamation: an unprecedented use of federal power that would revolutionize Southern society. In The Long Road to Antietam, Richard Slotkin, a renowned cultural historian, reexamines the challenges that Lincoln encountered during that anguished summer 150 years ago. In an original and incisive study of character, Slotkin re-creates the showdown between Lincoln and General George McClellan, the “Young Napoleon” whose opposition to Lincoln included obsessive fantasies of dictatorship and a military coup. He brings to three-dimensional life their ruinous conflict, demonstrating how their political struggle provided Confederate General Robert E. Lee with his best opportunity to win the war, in the grand offensive that ended in September of 1862 at the bloody Battle of Antietam.
Quick to note, by suggesting that Blacks could use violence for self-defense, the Proclamation attacked the fundamental principle of plantation law and discipline, which not only forbade the slave to resist punishment or even abuse by a legal master, but also prohibited an appeal to either the civil or the criminal court. That principle was most clearly stated by Justice Thomas Ruffin, of the North Carolina Supreme Court, in a precedent-setting 1829 case. “The slave, to remain a slave, must be.
Lee’s confidence in the combat proficiency of his own army—and given as well the fact that to “win” Lee had only to induce McClellan to retreat—his willingness to risk his army at Antietam was justified in principle, and not simply by the fact that his army escaped destruction. As a strategic exercise, the invasion of Maryland and Kentucky also had a political component. President Davis combined armed force with a strong propaganda campaign and the use of high-prestige political figures in an.
His troops back to Manassas to overwhelm Jackson before Lee can come to his aid. Meanwhile Lee, with Longstreet’s Corps, begins to march north following Jackson’s route. In Washington, Halleck admits he is overwhelmed by his tasks and begs McClellan to order Franklin to go to Pope’s aid. McClellan demurs: the “great object” was not to aid Pope but to protect Washington. Franklin stays put. AUGUST 28. In Tennessee, Bragg’s army begins its offensive against Buell’s army. In Virginia, Jackson.
Standing by moving against the enemy in his front he needed to secure himself against the enemies in his rear. He labored and schemed to force Scott into retirement, feeling sure he would succeed him “unless in the mean time I lose a battle—which I do not expect to do.” The only way to be certain of that was to avoid battle entirely. But after Scott was gone other enemies appeared to threaten his position—rival generals, Radical senators, hostile cabinet members. For more than eight months after.
Line, then south to threaten Baltimore and Washington from the rear, maneuvering so as to confuse and divide the pursuing Federals and defeat them in detail.14 Fortunately for Lee, while decisive battle was desirable, it was not essential to a successful campaign. By simply prolonging his presence in Maryland, he would dramatically demonstrate the Confederacy’s ability to stymie Federal efforts at invasion and subjugation, and do so at a moment when such a demonstration could have powerful and.