By Phil Portway
In September 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee was to take the war to the Yankees and make the North fight on their own land for a change. This was to culminate in one of America’s bloodiest battles on its own soil.
The town of Sharpsburg was a modest size in 1862 with fertile Pastures in the surrounding area, where, many small farms dot the landscape, but in September 1862 these quiet settlements were to have 120,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fighting over every fence, every track and every ear of corn.
Why was it a turning point in the struggle of North and South, it was the Unions first major victory to date and with that victory. Shortly after the battle, Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation, whichproclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with the rest freed as Union armies advanced. Lincoln then announced that he would issue a formal emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederacy that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863.
Antietam also brought the horror of the war to the people in that it was the first time that the dead soldiers were photographed on the battlefield.
General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia’s 55,000 troops were organized into two large infantry corps of ten infantry divisions, made up from forty infantry brigades.
The Union’s Army of the Potomac’s 85,000 troops, commanded by Major General George B. McClellan, consisted of six infantry corps, divided up into nineteen divisions, made up from forty six infantry and five cavalry brigades, which also included units absorbed from John Pope's Army of Virginia .
Our game is simulating a part of the battle from the second day in the area of the sunken lane, which was to be renamed Bloody Lane after the battle, due to the huge losses inflicted to the Confederates holding it. The scenario is from one of the many available sources on the web and countless books available. We are using Johny Reb II rules (our preferred set), where on figure represents twenty actual combatants. The game turn is approximately twenty minutes of “real time” and reinforcements come on to the table at set times as they did in the battle.
The 15mm figures are from various manufacturers and are from our own collections. Some of the terrain is scratch built (hills and most of the picket fencing) and the rest are commercially available (roads, river, trees and buildings) also from various manufacturers.