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Antietam 150th prompts reflection on loss, freedom

By David Dishneau

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Sept. 17 2012 2:20 p.m. MDT

Kevin Zepp, left, and Jim Matte, volunteers portraying members of the Confederate Army's 14th Tennessee Regiment, chat at their camp site at Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. A series of demonstrations and speeches took place at the battlefield to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's Battle of Antietam.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

SHARPSBURG, Md. — Federal officials have marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg with cannon fire, patriotic music and reflection on the bloodiest day of combat on U.S. soil.

Ranking representatives from the Pentagon and the National Park Service joined Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson on Mondat at a commemoration ceremony on the battlefield.

Park service Associate Director Stephanie Toothman said the sacrifices Americans made on Sept. 17, 1862, led directly to then-President Abraham Lincoln issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation five days later.

More than 23,000 men were reported killed, wounded or missing at Antietam. The battle was inconclusive though Confederate forces retreated to Virginia the day after the battle. McPherson said Lincoln considered that a sign of divine approval for preserving the Union and freeing slaves.

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