If August 1862 was a month of "Past, Present and Future" then September 1862 was a month of the "Here and Now" with events that led to the Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg and the Emancipation Proclamation.
One newspaper report from the Antietam battlefield prophetically claimed "A reliable person, just in, reports the battle as still progressing -- the bloodiest encounter of the war, perhaps of any on record." Although not the bloodiest encounter of any war (the Battle of Borodino during Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 saw roughly twice as many casualties), the Battle of Antietam / Shapsburg remains the single bloodiest day in U.S. military history.
Various newspaper articles in August 1862 rumored that Lincoln was waiting for a military victory to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and Antietam, although generally considered a draw, was sufficient for the purpose. Five days after Antietam, on September 22 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation and was published in newspapers on September 23.
August 1862 concluded with Lee's decisive victory over Pope at the Second Battle of Bull Run / Manassas setting in place events that would lead to what many consider a turning point of the War.
Lee Invades the North! "Invading the North" quickly became a common headline on many newspapers. On September 3rd, there were articles warning the populous of the North warning that "Stonewall" Jackson was crossing Edward's Ferry and marching on Baltimore following the Battle of Chantilly and the capture of Harper's Ferry. Other articles reported that saboteurs had damaged the Chain Bridge in Washington D.C., adding to concern that the Capitol was once more under threat of capture.
Hoping to gain popular support, Gen. Lee issued a proclamation to the people of Maryland that was published widely in both Northern and Southern newspapers. In Pennsylvania, fearing a rapid capture of Baltimore and a continuing offensive toward Philadelphia Gov. Curtin
called out the militia.
Fear of invasion spread West, following on the heels of the Battle of Munfordville. In Cincinnati businesses closed, the militia was called out, and the city was placed under martial law and newspapers reported of it's capture by Confederate forces. The Battle of Iuka stemmed some of the concern.
As the Confederate army advanced, the Union army was in turmoil. Gen. Pope was relieved of command. Gens. Geo. B. McClellan and Daniel E. Sickles were reported killed at the second Battle of Bull Run / Manassas. Gen. McDowell was placed on a 15 day leave of absence. A court martial was ordered for Generals Fitz-John Porter, Franklin and Griffin. In New-York Spinola's Empire Brigade, complaining of a lack of regular and bounty pay threatened to riot. The New-York 7th was ordered to assemble at Tompkin's Market armory in "fighting trim" with one day's rations and 20 ball cartridges per soldier. Maj.-Gen. William "Bull" Nelson was shot by Brig.-Gen. Jefferson C. Davis at the Galt House in Louisville, Kentucky after an altercation. Numerous editorials railed for and against McClellan's assignment to command the Army of Virginia.
But not all hope was lost in the North. Newspaper reports streamed in from Chicago of the railroad meeting for the Pacific Railroad, later to be called the Union Pacific Railroad, that would eventually meet the Central Pacific Railroad forming the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit, Utah. The 20th Maine left Boston for the seat of war, enroute with their destiny on the field of Gettysburg in 1863.
The South, only months before at its nadir was engaging the Union forces in Northern Territory. In honor of the victory at Manassas, Jefferson Davis proclaimed September 18 to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving.
September 1862 was a month of the "Here and Now".
Tags: am civil war , antietam newspaper report , maine newspaper sept. 1862
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