Essay about The Second Bull Run and Thomas J. Stonewall

Essay about The Second Bull Run and Thomas J. Stonewall

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One cannot discuss the campaign of Antietam without at least acknowledging the gruesome totals for casualties on both sides of the war. Be that as it may, the ramifications of the campaign of Antietam far exceeded mere death counts. Before Antietam, the Confederacy gained huge momentum with Stonewall Jackson’s successful raid on Harpers Ferry, Robert E. Lee’s victory at Second Bull Run, but the Confederacy leadership viewed military success on Union soil as a necessary tenant of long-term victory. In this paper I will argue that the Confederate decision to invade Maryland was in fact sound strategy, but their eventual loss at Antietam reconfigured the political and military landscape of the American Civil War. After Antietam, Lincoln, displeased with McClellan’s performance against Lee reshaped the command structure of the Union generals, and felt enough confidence to deliver the Emancipation Proclamation which secured a favorable Union stance with regard to foreign policy. As such, the true significance of the campaign of Antietam was in regard to subsequent policy changes in military command, improvement of Union morale, and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as opposed to the Union technical victory over the Confederates on the battlefield.
Leading into Antietam, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was simply dominating the Union. Victories in both the Second Bull Run and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s capture of Harper’s Ferry prompted Confederate leadership to try to embark on a campaign into Union soil. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson’s men prospected Harpers Ferry intensely before attempting to seize the garrison post, and their swift victory was reflective of the tactical prowess that had defeated the Union f...

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... Lincoln’s deliverance of the Emancipation Proclamation, effectively freeing the slaves in rebellion states and destroying Confederate chances of allying with European countries.
The costs of the campaign of Antietam were immensely severe, as such great losses of life were surely accompanied with brutal psychological issues and destruction of morale. Similarly, it allowed for Lincoln’s issuing of a presidential proclamation dismantling the economic and cultural landscape of the south. What was most ironic about the effects of Antietam is that Lee’s masterful strategy on the battlefield against a comparably miserable showing by McClellan actually led to a Confederate “loss” and rejuvenated Union. The reenergized and reorganized Union, however, reaped such benefits as a result of non-military benefits from not losing rather than a decisive victory in battle.

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