Defining Moments

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Abraham Lincoln at Antietam

There are certain moments in our history that define an entire era, and there are key photographs which captured those moments.  This section of the WEB site is dedicated to those moments, and the images that captured them for posterity.

As an example,  we feature above a photograph of Abraham Lincoln taken on October 3, 1862 on the Battlefield of Antietam. This is perhaps the best outdoor portrait of Lincoln extant. He is shown standing next to Allan Pinkerton (Left) and General McClernand (Right).

The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest day in American History. There were 23,000 casualties in one day . . . four times the casualties suffered during the D-Day invasion. The Battle of Antietam was one of the defining moments in American History.

In the fall of the year 1862, Abraham Lincoln had become desperate for a victory in the Civil  War.  Up to that time, the South had achieved victory after victory.  Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, and Shiloh had all been convincing victories for the South.  Abraham Lincoln realized that if the North did not achieve a victory soon, the survival of the Union would be in doubt.  This led Abraham Lincoln to look to God and make an offer . . . Lincoln prayed that if God would grant him victory on the battlefield, he would free the slaves. 

Slavery had haunted Lincoln for some time. He fully realized the cruelty and brutality of this corrupt institution, but he did not have the strength to stand up against it. Desperate for a victory, he made the deal with God.  Shortly after this, he received news of McClellan's success at Antietam.  Despite devastating losses, McClellan was able to drive Lee out of Maryland, and back into Virginia. The battle of Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862.  On September 22, 1862 Abraham Lincoln honored the promise he made to God, and issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

The picture above was taken on October 3, 1862.  Lincoln is shown standing on the Battlefield of Antietam.  The following day, October 4, 1862 his Emancipation Proclamation appeared for the first time on the pages of Harper's Weekly, the most widely distributed newspaper of the day.

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