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The Civil War
(1861-1865)

Battle at Antietam



Battle at Antietam
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 10
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.69

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    delusion, cornfield, legitimate, sunken, outcome, crossing, spite, finding, gunfire, ridge, decisive, unfold, exhaustion, issue, confusion, advance
     content words:    General George McClellan, Stonewall Jackson, South Mountain, President Lincoln, Antietam Creek, Potomac River, General Jackson, Dunker Church, Bloody Lane, Union General Burnside


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Battle at Antietam
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     The battle of Antietam-- or Sharpsburg as it was known in the South-- was the first of two invasions led by Lee into the Northern states. In it, he faced General George McClellan, the leader of the Union army.
 
2     Lee was in need of men and supplies and hoped to get them in Maryland. On the march into Maryland, he split his army. Half went to Harper's Ferry with Stonewall Jackson, while Lee led the others to the passes around South Mountain.
 
3     McClellan had the good fortune of finding a copy of Lee's special orders detailing where he would be, but even that was not enough to guarantee him a victory. After seeing Lee's orders, he wrote to President Lincoln and told him he was going to go and get Lee. Then, oddly, he didn't. Perhaps his cautious nature suspected a trap. Perhaps he was still under the delusion that the invading Confederate force was much larger than it really was.
 
4     After initial engagements in and around the passes of South Mountain, the area became Union controlled. The much smaller Confederate force had already done their job, however, by delaying the Northern army until Jackson's half of the army could get back to the main body. He returned with exhausted men and with supplies they desperately needed. It also gave Lee time to choose his battlefield.

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