SHARPSBURG, Md. - The National Park Service is marking the 150th anniversary of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at Antietam National Battlefield near Sharpsburg.
The event Saturday commemorates President Abraham Lincoln's announcement on Sept. 22, 1862, that unless the Confederate states returned to the Union by January, their slaves would be considered free.
The announcement came five days after the Battle of Antietam. Lincoln had drafted the document earlier but held off on releasing it because of Confederate victories that summer. The Confederate retreat from Antietam was enough of a Union victory for him to make the announcement.
Earlier Saturday, the park service is helping dedicate the restored Tolson Chapel in Sharpsburg. The 146-year-old building served after the war as a schoolhouse for the children of former slaves and free blacks.
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