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add to all the images of dread and fear (vague indeed, and indefinable, but from that very circumstance, all the more powerful) raised in the public mind by the very thought of invasion. With these considerations as the data of a judgment, let the reader say of what and of how much was that sanguinary field decisive which saw the insurgent army, after being shattered in the conflict, compelled to abandon the invasion of the North, and with its arrogant assumptions of superior valor brought low, seek refuge behind the barrier of the Potomac.

Nor would it be beyond the warranty of sound reason if we should enlarge the scope of our induction by the reflection of what would have been the result upon the issue of the war, had McClellan suffered defeat at Antietam. It is very certain that had that fate befallen the Union army, there was nothing between Lee and Washington and Baltimore. And even had the national capital not fallen a prey to the Confederate advance, who shall say how different a reception Lee's ragged, hatless, and shoeless soldiers might have met in Eastern Maryland from that they experienced in the loyal section within which their manoeuvres were circumscribed. It is not worth while now to discuss how far the mistakes of the national government gave a tinge of plausibility and a flavor of force to the Confederate commander's lofty recitation of the wrongs inflicted upon "down-trodden" Maryland. But imagine the language of Lee's proclamation, held not in the little city of Frederick, before the ordeal of battle, but in the great city of Baltimore, after a defeat of the Union army, and who would venture to forecast what under the circumstances might have been the ultimate upshot of the audacious foray? If the country was spared the experience of whatever of reality might have lain behind the curtain of contingency, it was because Antietam intervened to thrust aside that horror. And under whatever category the pedantry of military classification may range that action, it is very

certain that to the present generation of men it can never appear otherwise than as a signal deliverance and a crowning victory.

Nor can we overlook the association which is known to have subsisted between this great battle and that decisive political stroke, the promulgation of the policy of Emancipation by the Executive of the United States. Of this association an interesting memorial in Mr. Lincoln's own words has lately been made public. "It had got to be," said he, "mid-summer, 1862. Things had gone on from bad to worse, until I felt that we had reached the end of our rope on the plan of operations we were pursuing; that we had about played our last card, and must change our tactics, or lose the game. I now determined upon the emancipation policy; and without consulting with or the knowledge of the Cabinet, I prepared the original draft of the proclamation, and, after much anxious thought, called a Cabinet meeting on the subject. This was the last of July or the first part of the month of August, 1862. This Cabinet meeting took place I think upon a Saturday. Nothing was offered that I had not already fully anticipated and settled in my mind, until Secretary Seward spoke. He said, in substance: Mr. President, I approve of the proclamation, but I question the expediency of its issue at this juncture. The depression of the public mind consequent upon our repeated reverses, is so great that I fear the effect of so important a step. It may be viewed as the last measure of an exhausted government, a cry for help; the government stretching forth its hands to Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth her hands to the government.' His idea," said the President, "was that it would be considered our last shriek on the retreat. Now,' continued Mr. Seward, while I approve the measure, I suggest, sir, that you postpone its issue, until you can give it to the country supported by military success, instead of issuing it, as would be the case now, upon the greatest disasters of the

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war.' Mr. Lincoln continued: "The wisdom of the view of the Secretary of State struck me with great force. The result was that I put the draft of the proclamation aside, waiting for a victory. Well, the next news we had was of Pope's disaster at Bull Run. Things looked darker than ever. Finally came the week of the battle of Antietam. I determined to wait no longer. The news came, I think, on Wednesday, that the advantage was on our side. I was then staying at the Soldiers' Home. Here I finished writing the second draft of the proclamation; came up on Saturday; called the Cabinet together to hear it, and it was published the following Monday. I MADE A SOLEMN VOW BEFORE GOD, THAT IF GENERAL LEE WAS DRIVEN BACK FROM MARYLAND, I

WOULD CROWN THE RESULT BY THE DECLARATION OF FREEDOM TO THE SLAVES.'

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[Carpenter's Six Months in the White

If the Army of the Potomac, instead of retaining the ascendancy it acquired over its enemy in this great action, was afterwards doomed to many defeats; if the victory was very far from being made to fulfil the conditions it should have fulfilled; if Antietam was a name "writ in water," it was on account of causes that are only too well known. Too well known for this result ever to be ascribed to the fault of the noble Army of the Potomac; too well known for it not to be laid to the door of that evil policy which, by committing the army to incompetent hands, left it to pour out its blood in unavailing efforts in two disastrous campaigns on the Rappahannock.

12

V.

MURFREESBORO'.

I.

PRELUDE TO MURFREESBORO'.

IN the cedar-brakes that border the sluggish stream of Stone River, in Northern Tennessee, was fought on the last day of 1862 an action that must always be memorable in the history of the war. When first its story was flashed over the land, men only saw that a battle, fierce and terrible beyond all previous example in the West, had been delivered; and the North rejoiced with exceeding great joy that in the mighty wrestle the enemy had been hurled discomfited from the field. But when the true relations of this contest came to be apprehended, it was perceived to have a weight and meaning beyond that which attaches to any mere passage - it was seen that it bore upon the whole life of the rebellion. And now that, in the light of history, we can contemplate this victory as it stands related to all that went before and all that came after it, we readily discern that it is one of those few pivotal actions upon which, in very truth, turned the whole issue of the war. This fierce, far-reaching fight in the cedar-brakes of Stone River is known as the battle of Murfreesboro'.

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To gain a point of view from which we may justly estimate the place of Murfreesboro' in the history of the Western

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