Released to collectors July 31, 2013 along with
Owney the Postal Dog, James Madison, New Orleans, & So Long Stan Musial
The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, particularly in the South, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Union soil. It is also known as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. After pursuing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee into Maryland the Union Army Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan launched attacks against Lee’s army in defensive positions behind Antietam Creek. At dawn on September 17, a powerful assault was mounted on Lee’s left flank. Although outnumbered two-to-one, Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill. In spite of crippling casualties, Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout September 18, while removing his battered army south of the Potomac River. McClellan halted Lee’s invasion of Maryland, but Lee was able to withdraw his army back to Virginia without interference from McClellan. Although the battle was tactically inconclusive, the Confederate troops had withdrawn first from the battlefield, making it, in military terms, a Union victory. McClellan’s “Army of the Potomac” included six infantry corps. One of the divisions of the second Corps, under Maj. Gen. Edwin V. Sumner consisted of the divisions of Brig. Gen. Thomas F. Meagher (featured on your cachet). Meagher (pronounced Mar) was an Irish nationalist and leader of the Young Irelanders in the Rebellion of 1848. After being convicted of sedition, he was first sentenced to death, but received transportation for life to Van Diemen’s Land in Australia. In 1852, he escaped and made his way to the United States. He settled in New York City and studied law, worked as a journalist, and presented lectures on the
First Day of Issue
April 24, 2012
New Orleans, LA 70113
ISSUE TOTAL SIZE
A passionate defender of the Irish Cause, Union General Meagher, with no military experience,
placed an ad in the local newspaper calling for 100 Irishmen to fight for the North. For another man's
country, and the honor of their homeland, they fought fearlessly and counted their lives as not their own.
Irish cause. At the beginning of the Civil War he joined the U.S. Army and rose to rank of brigadier general where he was noted for recruiting and leading the Irish Brigade for the Union. With the battle of Fort Sumter, Meagher was on the side of the Union. He became vocal with speeches imploring the Irish of the North to defend the Union. At the Battle of Antietam his Irish Brigade lead off the fourth attack of the day and suffered huge losses against Sunken Road –later referred to as “Bloody Lane”. They advanced with their emerald green flags snapping in the breeze as a chaplain rode back and forth across the front of the formation shouting words of conditional absolution for those who were about to die. The Irish immigrants lost 540 men to heavy volleys before they were ordered to withdraw. By 5:30 p.m. the battle was over with the Union casualties at more than 14,000 and the Confederate numbering more than 11,000. More Americans died in battle that September day in 1862 than on any other day in the nation’s military history. Antietam is considered a turning point of the war and a victory for the Union because it ended Lee’s strategic campaign-his first invasion of the North. The results also allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22. Although Lincoln intended to do so earlier, he was advised by his Cabinet to make this announcement after a Union victory. If you get the opportunity to travel to Sharpsburg, Maryland you should try to stop by the Antietam National Battlefield Site which also features a visitor center, a national military cemetery, Burnside’s Bridge, and a field hospital museum.
When complete, the Civil War set will be comprised of 10 covers, 2 stamps being released per year, over a five-year period. Six issues have been thus far painted. A few whole sets remain available for collecting. You can collect the existing six issues, then subscribe to the remaining four, to be painted in the near future.
First Day of Issue