Camp Herndon, Va.
September 8, 2000
All Civil War Buffs:
A couple of weeks ago I starting posting, in the chatroom, the events leading up 2nd Manassas, the battle itself, and now have started, a day or so ago, with the events leading up to the Battle of Antietam. So far I have gotten to where Lee has his army at Frederick, Maryland. However, I have been noticing that by the time the majority of our members get to read them, they have scrolled out of range. Well, starting today, I will post them in the room, just for the early risers and will also put them on the message board for any late comers.
To continue with Lee's Maryland Campaign, on this day in 1862, Lee has his Army of Northern Virginia concentrated in and around the city of Frederick, Maryland. In accordance with Davis's instructions prior to moving across the Potomac, Lee has issued a proclamation to the people of Maryland stating what his objectives were. The following is the last part of that proclamation:
"....This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission, so far as you are concerned. No constraint upon your free will is intended; no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all, of every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free will."
However, as I said yesterday, the citizens in this part of Maryland were pro Union and more closely aligned with the people of Pennsylvania to the North than they were with the Virginians to the South, but things being as they were, Lee could not long worry himself with political matters.
McClellan, again in charge of the Union forces, had gathered an army of about 90,000 and with his right anchored on the B&O railroad and his left on the Potomac has begun moving his forces toward the Monocracy where he is told Lee's army is. Lee, on the other hand, has no intention of fighting in his present location. He wants draw the Union army further from its base and at the same time threaten Pennsylvania. It is with this in mind that he will publish his Special Orders No. 191 (which will ultimately fall into Union hands) tomorrow. This will show that Hagerstown, across the Blue Ridge (called South Mountain in this area) will be his immediate destination. Additionally, it is with this order that he will split his army once again and send Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry. Most think that Chancellorsville was the first time that Lee split his army. What a crock! As one can readily see, through our previous discussions on 2nd Manassas, and now again with the discussion of the Maryland Campaign, Lee had no problem at all in splitting his forces if the situation dictated. By the time of Chancellorsville, it had become old hat to him.
Now tomorrow, on the 9th, Lee will hold his council of war with Longstreet and Jackson and issue SO 191. This will dictate that Jackson leave early on the morning of 10th via the National Highway. This National Highway (Now Route 40) will play a major role in the coming days, for it is that highway that passes through Turner's Gap on South Mountain. There D.H. Hill and his little division will make a gallant stand to hold off McClellan's army while Lee reassembles his army along the Antietam. This will result in what has become know as the Battle of South Mountain. Anyway, Jackson is to proceed up the highway, veering off and ultimately wind up at Harpers Ferry and capture the garrison there. Longstreet will follow taking his corps toward Hagerstown. Well, I don't want to get too far ahead of myself so I will wait until my next post to continue.
Just to put everything in perspective I need to back up a few months. Remember that in the summer of '61 McDowell had been soundly defeated at 1st Bull Run. George McClellan was brought in to reorganize the army and lift its sagging spirits. Then the army, under McClellan, was sent to the Peninsula and were virtually at the gates of Richmond when Joe Johnston was wounded and Robert E.Lee took over the Confederate army in the field. Well, after Lee took over things did not go very well for McClellan's army and Lincoln, despite protests from McClellan, decided to withdraw them. In the meantime he (Lincoln) had brought in a Western general, John Pope to command his Army of Virginia. Pope, as we all know was thoroughly defeated at 2nd Manassas by Lee. Now Pope was gone and McClellan was again in charge. As the word spread, the cry went up from the throughly demoralized Union army "Mac's Back! Mac's Back!!" Their savior had at last been returned to them. Now they would show the upstart Bobby Lee! So here we are, in less than 90 days Lee has driven one army from the gates of Richmond and off the Peninsula, defeated another army, and is preparing to face still another. It was indeed a heck of a war!
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,