Saturday, January 31, 2015

In September. 1862, along a sleepy little creek in Northern Maryland, two great armies clashed. The Battle of Antietam also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, was a one day affair that saw the greatest loss of American life in any one day battle in the history of our country. The war, which when it started, had many believe would last only 90 days, was already deep into its second year when the troops under Robert E. Lee encountered the Union forces commanded by General George McClellan. From sun rise the battle raged back and forth. Northern soldiers seemed at times ready to rout their southern brothers only to have the soldiers in gray pick themselves up off the canvas to counter punch each Union threat. By the end of the day, September 17, 1862, all that was settled was that more young men were forever lost and would never return home. On September 18, 1862, the two armies stood and stared at each other. One despite being in a vulnerable position with its back to the Antietam creek, daring the other to come forward, the other just hoping he would go away. By the end of the day on September 18th, the Coonfederate troops exited their position and headed back to Virginia, a situation McClellan was all to happy to allow. With their departure, the Union could claim a victory considering it was now the sole owner of the lands upon which so much American blood had just been spilled. More importantly, from a political standpoint, the weak claim of victory was enough to allow President Abraham Lincoln to release, on September 22, 1862, the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. This deed would forever alter the course of the war. Still, at this time, the country was reeling, teetering on forever being split. It was, as the title of this painting conveys, in "Turmoil" Here is a recent oil painting, entitled "Turmoil, Antietam Creek (Antietam National Battlefield)".

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