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I Dread the Thought of the Place

The Battle of Antietam and the End of the Maryland Campaign

D. Scott Hartwig

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The definitive account of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of the Civil War.

The memory of the Battle of Antietam was so haunting that when, nine months later, Major Rufus Dawes learned another Antietam battle might be on the horizon, he wrote, "I hope not, I dread the thought of the place." In this definitive account, historian D. Scott Hartwig chronicles the single bloodiest day in American history, which resulted in 23,000 casualties.

The Battle of Antietam marked a vital turning point in the war: afterward, the conflict could no longer be understood as a limited war to preserve the...

The definitive account of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of the Civil War.

The memory of the Battle of Antietam was so haunting that when, nine months later, Major Rufus Dawes learned another Antietam battle might be on the horizon, he wrote, "I hope not, I dread the thought of the place." In this definitive account, historian D. Scott Hartwig chronicles the single bloodiest day in American history, which resulted in 23,000 casualties.

The Battle of Antietam marked a vital turning point in the war: afterward, the conflict could no longer be understood as a limited war to preserve the Union, but was now clearly a conflict over slavery. Though the battle was tactically inconclusive, Robert E. Lee withdrew first from the battlefield, thus handing President Lincoln the political ammunition necessary to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. This is the full story of Antietam, ranging from the opening shots of the battle to the powerful reverberations—military, political, and social—it sent through the armies and the nation.

Based on decades of research, this in-depth narrative sheds particular light on the visceral experience of battle, an often misunderstood aspect of the American Civil War, and the emotional aftermath for those who survived. Hartwig provides an hour-by-hour tactical history of the battle, beginning before dawn on September 17 and concluding with the immediate aftermath, including General McClellan's fateful decision not to pursue Lee's retreating forces back across the Potomac to Virginia. With 21 unique maps illustrating the state of the battle at intervals ranging from 20 to 120 minutes, this long-awaited companion to Hartwig's To Antietam Creek will be essential reading for anyone interested in the Civil War.

Reviews

Reviews

The appearance of the second in D. Scott Hartwig's massive and grandly executed two-volume study of the campaign is a decidedly welcome event.... All readers will be impressed with the skill with which he tells the story of Antietam.

I Dread the Thought of the Place is not only the best Civil War book published in 2023, but is destined to stand as the definitive, magisterial study on the Maryland Campaign and one of the best battle studies ever produced.

Hartwig has written the best and most complete story of the Civil War's bloodiest day. He puts the reader in the middle of the action on every part of the Antietam battlefield during every hour of that horrific and lethal struggle. And he brilliantly places the battle in the context of the war in which it was a major turning point.

This volume triumphantly concludes Scott Hartwig's examination of the Antietam campaign. Equally satisfying in dealing with commanders and soldiers in the ranks, it evokes the unimaginable chaos of the nation's bloodiest day and stands as the finest treatment of a battle that shaped the course of our defining national trial.

The product of a historian who has been considering the nature and impact of war for decades, Scott Hartwig's book on Antietam is a masterpiece. Deeply researched, carefully considered, and beautifully crafted, the book is relentlessly human. America's deadliest battle with its immense stakes has received a treatment worthy of its profound significance to our nation.  

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Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
7
x
10
Pages
976
ISBN
9781421446592
Illustration Description
5 b&w photos, 21 maps
Author Bio
David S. Hartwig
Featured Contributor

David S. Hartwig

D. Scott Hartwig was the supervisory park historian at the Gettysburg National Military Park for twenty years. He is the author of To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862.
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