Today is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. In their effort to split apart the Union to preserve their right to own other people, the rebel forces, fighting in Maryland, killed approximately 2,108 American soldiers and wounded approximately 10,000 more. The rebels themselves had casualties of 10,318 with 1,546 dead.
The battle was a tactical stalemate – in no small part because of Union General McClellan’s extreme cautiousness – but forced the rebels out of Maryland and gave President Lincoln sufficient political cover to issue the Emancipation Proclamation five days later. That Proclamation did not, technically, free very many people because it applied mainly to areas in rebellion and not under the control of the U.S. government. But, as the Union re-gained control of the territory in rebellion, the slaves in those areas were freed. This also had the strategic effect of dissuading France and England from recognizing the Confederates. With the Union having won at least a nominal victory and explicitly tied its efforts to ending slavery, France and England couldn’t support the Confederacy. Far from seeing it as a positive good worth committing treason over – as the officials in the state governments of the South had done – France and England had abolished the practice.
The Confederates were on their own. They were weaker and in the wrong. Eventually, the United States would win and preserve our country.