As the Emerging Civil War Series continues its focus on 1862, it should come as no surprise that we’re finally telling one of the most anticipated stories of the war. Daniel Vermilya visits That Field of Blood: The Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.
(And just to tease you, Dan’s is the first of two Antietam-related books this year. Rob Orrison and Kevin Pawlak have a treat in store for you later this year!)
“Writing about the battle of Antietam is something I have always wanted to do,” Dan says. “The battle has played an extremely important role in my life and my work as a historian.”
As a kid, Dan learned that he had an ancestor killed at the battle. “Learning of him and his story sparked my love and interest in history,” Dan says. “As I studied the battle more and began my work as a historian, I realized the fascinating, tragic, complex, and crucially important role that Antietam played in our nation’s story. While it remains the bloodiest single day in American history, the battle had a tactical and strategic importance that extended far beyond the fields of Sharpsburg, MD. In writing That Field of Blood: The Battle of Antietam, I tried to tell not just the story of the soldiers who fought along Antietam Creek in September 1862, but also to tell the story of how their actions that day changed the United States and the world.”
Dan is the author of a great book on James Garfield in the Civil War as well as a book on the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. “There are many different components that go into writing a book,” he explains. “While I certainly enjoy the entire process, my favorite aspect is actually creating the flow of the narrative and the writing itself. Researching can be, at times, quite tedious, and the editing process can drag on and become stressful too. But the writing is, by far, my favorite aspect of these projects. Getting the chance to actually tell the stories of the men who fought at Antietam is a great honor, and it is not one I take lightly.”
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From the Back Cover:
September 17, 1862—one of the most consequential days in the history of the United States—was a moment in time when the future of the country could have veered in two starkly different directions.
Confederates under General Robert E. Lee had embarked upon an invasion of Maryland, threatening to achieve a victory on Union soil that could potentially end the Civil War in Southern Independence. Lee’s opponent, Major General George McClellan, led the Army of the Potomac to stop Lee’s campaign. In Washington D.C., President Lincoln eagerly awaited news from the field, knowing that the future of freedom for millions was at stake. Lincoln had resolved that, should Union forces win in Maryland, he would issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
All this hung in the balance on September 17: the day of the battle of Antietam.
The fighting near Sharpsburg, Maryland, that day would change the course of American history, but in the process, it became the costliest day this nation has ever known, with more than 23,000 men falling as casualties.
Join historian Daniel J. Vermilya to learn more about America’s bloodiest day, and how it changed the United States forever.
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About the Author:
Daniel J. Vermilya is a Civil War historian who works as a park ranger at Gettysburg National Military Park. He has previously worked as a park ranger at Antietam National Battlefield and Monocacy National Battlefield and is also a licensed battlefield guide at Antietam. He is the author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and James Garfield and the Civil War. He lives in Frederick, Maryland, with his wife Alison.