Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam
Stephen W. Sears
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Combining brilliant military analysis with rich narrative history, Landscape Turned Red is the definitive work on the Battle of Antietam.
The Civil War battle waged on September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, Maryland, was one of the bloodiest in the nation's history: on this single day, the war claimed nearly 23,000 casualties. Here renowned historian Stephen Sears draws on a remarkable cache of diaries, dispatches, and letters to recreate the vivid drama of Antietam as experienced not only by its leaders but also by its soldiers, both Union and Confederate, to produce what the New York Times Book Review has called "the best account of the Battle of Antietam."
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siege warfare, he was then presented with a handy scapegoat for the delay. The president detained General McDowell’s corps, ticketed for the Peninsula, to fill the apparent gaps in the capital’s defenses. McClellan protested that this threw all his plans into disarray. What role McDowell’s men might have played in quickly breaking through the thinly held Confederate lines at Yorktown he did not explain; McDowell had not been scheduled in any case to reach the Peninsula for ten days to two weeks.
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themselves, agreed that this was the most ragtag of armies. Uniforms were in rags and tatters, described as “multiforms”; faces were unshaven, unkempt hair stuck through torn slouch hats, and the dusty roads added new layers of dirt. In many infantry regiments the barefooted seemed to outnumber those with shoes. From generals to privates the army was lousy, and the marching columns, it was said with only slight exaggeration, could be smelled before they could be seen. “They were the dirtiest men
bridge the column was strung out over ten miles. One Confederate picket post was overrun and scattered, and another was evaded by going cross-lots. Whenever a horse gave out, the rider doubled up with a comrade and the column kept moving. It was a clean breakout, blessed with a touch of good fortune. This happened to be the same road old John Brown had taken when he descended on Harper’s Ferry back in 1859 to incite the slaves to rise, and Jeb Stuart, who was then a lieutenant in the U.S. 1st
General Lee’s secret, however, thanks to the lack of aggressive Federal reconnaissance. No hint reached McClellan that the Army of Northern Virginia was still not yet fully united. No cavalry was posted to observe Confederate movements between Harper’s Ferry and Sharpsburg. General Pleasonton’s best efforts on September 16 served only to muddy the waters. So far as he could discover, the Rebels were in full retreat. “The greater portion of the forces of the enemy have gone towards Williamsport,”