By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the Judgment Day:
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.
—"The Blue and the Gray" by Francis Miles Finc
In September of 1862, two great Civil War armies faced each other across tiny Antietam Creek. General Robert E. Lee's Confederate army found itself vastly outnumbered, with retreat all but cut off by the Potomac River. Lee's opponent was General George B. McClellan, who worried constantly that Lee would outfox him and annihilate his Union army.
As the sun rose that morning, none of the soldiers knew that they were about to take part in an epic battle that would prove to be the bloodiest day in American history. Nor could they know that the future of millions of men, women, and children held in slavery hung in the balance: In Washington, DC, President Abraham Lincoln was waiting for the right moment to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. From that day onward, the phrase "All men are created equal" would take on a new and powerful meaning.
Using archival photographs, maps, and numerous first-person accounts, Jim Murphy sweeps young readers into the chaos and confusion of battle—shoulder to shoulder with the generals and soldiers who fought it. The result is a gritty, utterly engaging look at the battle destined to change the United States forever.