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Posted by : Robert Child Friday

Monday, September 17th is the 150th Anniversary of one of the most pivotal battles of the entire Civil War. Antietam for Lincoln was the most critical battle of his entire Presidency. I illustrate this in my film Lincoln And Lee At Antietam: The Cost of Freedom (available everywhere). Lincoln had drafted the Emancipation Proclamation in the summer of 1862 but his war cabinet advised him against releasing it immediately. The Union Army was losing battle after battle. In fact in mid 1862 the Confederacy was on the verge of gaining support from Europe for their cause. Many in the North felt the war was already lost.

Lincoln needed a victory to be in a position of strength to announce the Proclamation and Antietam gave him that platform. Militarily many argue that the battle was a draw but for Lincoln the fact that Robert E. Lee had to recross the Potomac and retreat south was enough to call it a win.

The week after the battle he announced the Proclamation and it became official in January 1863. This more than any other event during the Civil War turned the tide in the favor of the North. As freed slaves could now join the ranks of the Union Army which added sorely needed manpower to fight the battles ahead.

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