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On September 17, 1862, Generals Robert E. Lee and George McClellan faced off near Antietam creek in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in the the first battle of the American Civil War to be fought on northern soil.Though McClellan failed to utlilize his numerical superiority to crush Lee’s army, he was able to check the Confederate advance in to the north. After a string of Union defeats, this tactical victory provided Abraham Lincoln the political cover he needed to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. Though the result of the battle was inconclusive, it remains the bloodiest single day in American history, with more than 22,000 casualties.