National Geographic : 1960 Mar
"At Antietam (reek, within cannon range of the canal. Union and Confederate armies fought the bloodiest single day of battle in ('ivil War history." The Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, climaxed the first of two attempts by General Lee to carry the war into Northern territory. His 41.000 troops clashed with a Federal force of 87,000 led by Gen. George B. McClellan. The Union suffered 12,410 casual ties; the (onfederacy, 10.700. Neither side could claim a clear-cut victory. but the battle was highly significant. Lee's failure cost the ('onfederacv the recognition of (reat Britain and gave Lincoln an oppor tunity to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Had Mc('lellan won a decisive victory, on the other hand, the war might have ended in a few months, instead of dragging on for an other two and a half years. 434 NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERTHM A J Al:t e F(I M E :I N.G S "I)id you know." Wolfe continued. "that three times the Federals commandeered barges and held them in Georgetown? If a ('on federate fleet had steamed up the river toward Washington. the Union planned to load the boats with rock and sink them in the channel of the I'otomac below the city. Fortunatelv. it never happened." When the war finally ended, the canal's coal trade boomed. In 1875 more than a mil lion tons rode downstream. A single lock saw more than 100 boats pass through in a day. At long last, the company began to earn some income. But the canal never really made any money for its owners. It was always too far in debt. I asked Mir. \olfe if it was true that steam boats once sailed the canal. "Yes," he said, "they tried steam power for a dozen or so years on some of the barges.