The Confederates won the Second Battle of Bull Run, crossed the Potomac River into Maryland and captured Harper's Ferry. But the Confederate drive was halted at the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day of fighting in American history. Abraham Lincoln responded by issuing his Emancipation Proclamation. On this day, Dec. 1, 1862, President Lincoln stated in his Second Annual Message to Congress: "In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free. ... We shall nobly save – or meanly lose – the last, best hope of earth. ... The way is plain ... which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless."