Two Friends at Antietam

In honor of the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, I reblog an article from 2011 about two old friends reunited on the morning of the battle.

Historical Digression

“Burnside’s Bridge” on the Antietam battlefield a short time after the battle of September 17, 1862

Someone commented to me recently how awful it must have been for those early war units in 1861. Militia regiments that had never seen battle, suddenly thrown into a maelstrom for which they were utterly unprepared. It reminded me of Lincoln’s famous quote to General Irwin MacDowell early in the war. The General was reluctant to attack prior to Bull Run in July 1861, insisting he needed more time to train his troops. Lincoln replied, “You are green, it is true. But they are green also. You are all green alike.”

The playing field was level, in a manner of speaking, early in the war. But imagine what it was like for a new, green unit, virtually without training, to be thrown into battle in 1862 or 1863. Inexperienced soldiers going up against battle-hardened veterans. A dreadful situation.

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About Patrick Browne

I am a PhD candidate in History, former historical society and museum director of roughly 20 years, an author, and quondam Civil War reenactor. I specialize in early American History, particularly the Civil War era. View all posts by Patrick Browne

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