According to the famous English romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “History is a cyclic poem written by Time upon the memories of man”. So, over the years we have been seeing the repetitive patterns of the way history presents itself to people. Great achievements, developments in assorted fields, battles of different kinds have their memories that linger around us even today. Even though history has a lot to teach, yet events of the same nature keep repeating again and again which probably makes history cyclic. One such eventful day in history is September 17, and you shall be shocked to learn that so much has happened on just one single day.
Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.
1862: Battle of Antietam breaks out
The Battle of Antietam began early on the morning of September 17, 1862. Union forces of the First and Twelfth Corps were sent across Antietam Creek the day before by McClellan in an attempt to attack the Confederate left flank (the flank is the side of an army or battle line). From 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, these forces were engaged with Confederates under Major General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson in a 24-acre cornfield, now known simply as The Cornfield.
These were the fiercest hours of the battle; over 8,000 casualties fell during this time. As Union General Joseph Hooker later wrote, ‘It was never my fortune to witness a bloodier, dismal battlefield.’ During the first hour of the fighting in the Cornfield, the slaughter was so intense that one man fell, was killed, or wounded every second. By 10 AM, Union forces had taken the Cornfield, but the Confederates remained on the field.
Just as the fighting in the now-infamous Cornfield was winding down, the Union Second Corps, commanded by Major General Edwin V. Sumner, began moving onto the field. One division of the corps pushed due west into an area known as the West Woods; in this woodlot, these 5,000 Union soldiers were hit by a severe flank attack, losing almost 50% of their strength in half an hour.
While disaster struck in the West Woods, the other two divisions of the Second Corps assaulted an old sunken farm road in the middle of the battlefield, now known as Bloody Lane. From 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM, Union forces struggled to take this position, and thousands more were killed, wounded, or missing. By 1:00 p.m., Union forces had taken the road, breaking a hole in the Confederate lines. However, because of exhaustion and heavy casualties, these Union troops were not able to advance any further. By the early afternoon hours of September 17, about 17,000 Union and Confederate soldiers had fallen as casualties at Antietam.
1939: The Soviet Union invades Poland
On September 17, 1939, the Soviets began their invasion of Poland from the east, as previously agreed upon with Germany. The Polish government and military leaders fled the country, as did numerous troops and civilians.
The invasion of Poland is considered the beginning of World War II since it caused Britain and France to declare war on Germany. However, no serious conflict between those nations would occur until the spring of 1940, when Germany began its invasion of Norway, the Low Countries, and France.