Antietam was also something of a media milestone. When Robert E. Lee led his army across the Potomac it was shocking news in the North, and newspaper correspondents traveled with the huge Union Army that set out to intercept the Confederates.
The size and importance of the battle meant that Antietam was front-page news for weeks. And despite understandable confusion in some dispatches, the reporting from the fields of Antietam was often surprisingly comprehensive. And, much of it conveyed the drama and horror of the epic battle.
- New York Tribune, September 18, 1862: Early headlines on the day after the battle contain some glaring errors, such as General Longstreet, a notable Confederate, being taken prisoner.
- Cleveland Morning Leader, September 19, 1862: Two days after the battle, the immense scope of it was evident to distant readers, though some details were still confused.
- New York Tribune, September 20, 1862: A passage noted the horrific carnage at Antietam.
- New York Tribune, September 22, 1862: A writer for the New York Tribune on the heavy losses of the 69th New York of the Irish Brigade: "The regiment has been transferred from the field to the hospital and to the grave, where sleep so many of the Irish braves who have fallen in this war."
- New York Tribune, September 24, 1862: A week after the battle, dispatches from the fields of western Maryland still dominated the front page in New York City.
Note: After clicking on the newspaper links above, click the "persistent link" on the excerpt page to view the entire page of the newspaper. Simply browsing about in the newspapers from late September 1862 will reveal countless items of great interest.
Photograph: Soldier at Antietam, standing besides graves at the Burnside Bridge/photograph by Alexander Gardner, courtesy Library of Congress
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