September 17, 1862: Sharpsburg, MD
150 years ago today, the Battle of Antietam reaped 23,000 casualties in the single bloodiest day of fighting in American history.
Just weeks before the battle, Abraham Lincoln explained his determination to proceed with the war:
In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party—and yet the human instrumentalities, working just as they do, are of the best adaptation to effect his purpose. I am almost ready to say that this is probably true, that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet. By his mere great power on the minds of the now contestants, he could have either saved or destroyed the Union without a human contest. Yet the contest began. And having begun, he could give the final victory to either side any day. Yet the contest proceeds.