It was the single bloodiest day in the Civil War.

Battle of Antietam 01American Minute with Bill Federer

Baltimore had riots of anti-Union protests.

The Confederate Army seemed unstoppable, with General Robert E. Lee winning the Second Battle of Bull run and marching 55,000 men into Maryland on September 3, 1862.

Then two Union soldiers discovered a mislaid copy of Lee’s battle plans wrapped around three cigars.

Union General George McClellan suddenly had an advantage. He intercepted the Confederate Army just 70 miles from Washington, DC, and the Battle of Antietam took place on September 17, 1862.

More than 100,000 Union and Confederate soldiers clashed all day, with the North and the South losing over 10,000 men each.

It was the single bloodiest day in the Civil War.

This costly battle convinced Britain and France not to recognize the Confederacy.

A week later, President Lincoln announced he would issue an Emancipation Proclamation.

Three weeks after the battle, OCTOBER 6, 1862, President Lincoln met with Eliza Gurney and three other Quakers, saying:

“We are indeed going through a great trial…

In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father…as we all are, to work out His great purposes…”

Lincoln continued:

“But if, after endeavoring to do my best in the light which He affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it…

If I had been allowed my way, this war would have ended…But we find it still continues…

We must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of His own…”

Lincoln concluded:

“We cannot but believe that He who made the world still governs it.”


Self-Educated American contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.


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