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American Battlefield Trust's map of the Maryland Campaign

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Chicago citation style: Forbes, Edwin, Artist. APA citation style: Forbes, E. More Photos, Prints, Drawings like this. Photo, Print, Drawing Genl.

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McClellan passing through Frederick City Myd. General George B. McClellan seated on horseback, greeted by crowd of cheering supporters. Contributor: Forbes, Edwin Date: Sedgwick crossing the bridge at Funkstown Antietam Creek in pursuit of Genl. You might also like. Also available in digital form. Running title: Life of Major-General Meade. At head of cover title: General Meade's life and public services.

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Contributor: T. Date: Map Antietam Relief shown by hachures.


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Another copy of original. LC Civil Contributor: Weyss, J. Nathaniel - Michler, N. Map Map of the battlefield of Antietam. Wool, ordered that those men should remain in place. On September 9, Lee conceived of an elaborate plan to deal with this turn of events. While the rest of Lee's men headed north to Boonsboro, Stonewall Jackson would march about two-thirds of the Confederate army back across the Potomac to quickly capture Harpers Ferry. It was a risky move because, in dividing his army, Lee would make the Confederates particularly vulnerable to attack.

In fact, Lee divided his army not into two parts but four. He ordered Jackson to separate his men into three columns, each charged with capturing various points of high ground above Harpers Ferry. Once the garrison had surrendered, and Jackson and Lee had reunited, they would then continue north to another crossroads, at Hagerstown, Maryland. From there the Confederates would be able to move in several directions, forcing Union pursuers to disperse their strength while allowing Lee to again concentrate his. Lee's plan found official expression in Special Orders No.

Lee addressed one of these copies to Confederate general Daniel Harvey Hill. Jackson also sent Hill a copy, and after the war, Hill produced the order from Jackson. The one from Lee, however, was lost in the vicinity of Frederick. In the meantime, McClellan lacked solid evidence of the Confederate army's size and the direction of its movements, and he thus continued to advance on a broad front in order to defend both Washington and Baltimore.

While pushing toward Frederick, his army covering each of the three main roads, McClellan received widely varied estimates of Lee's intentions and numbers. His best guess, based on cavalry and civilian reports, put Confederate strength at about , men, or not quite double the size of Lee's actual force. McClellan based his operations on this figure, leading him to move with what later historians criticized as too much caution. Pursuant to Special Orders No. Jackson himself swung one arm of his force wide to the west, so that it fell on another Union garrison at Martinsburg before approaching Harpers Ferry from the west.

Lafayette McLaws commanded the third arm of Jackson's force. He took a more or less direct route to Harpers Ferry, marching to the southwest across South Mountain to Maryland Heights, to the north of the Union garrison. This happened sooner than Lee had originally outlined, but the general had heard that Union troops might be approaching Hagerstown from the north, and he determined that the town was crucial to his operation.

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Hill's men brought up the Confederate rear, leaving Frederick on September McClellan drove the last Confederates out of Frederick and entered the city on September The next day, in a meadow outside the city, Corporal Barton W. The document—which came to be known as the Lost Order—was quickly passed on to McClellan, who ordered a reconnaissance to confirm its veracity.

By this time Jackson's forces had surrounded the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry and were conducting a siege of the town. On September 12, the Army of Northern Virginia was dangerously spread across roughly twenty-one miles, from Harpers Ferry north to Hagerstown. Providing the only link between Jackson in the south and James Longstreet 's men to the north, D. Hill's division was then at Boonsboro, near South Mountain. The town was situated about halfway between Frederick and Hagerstown, and about halfway between Hagerstown and Harpers Ferry. McClellan was jubilant.

On September 13 he sent a telegram to Lincoln: "I have the whole rebel force in front of me … I think Lee has made a gross mistake, and that he will be severely punished for it. His jubilation was tempered with caution, however, as the Lost Order appeared to confirm his belief in Lee's superior numbers. After listing the various divisions detached with Jackson, the order twice referred to the "main body" of the army, suggesting that Lee commanded a force so large he did not fear dividing it in enemy territory.

If the order called attention to the challenges in confronting Lee's army, it also demanded action. Already having ordered his men to move in the direction of South Mountain, McClellan now understood that an attack there would divide the Confederates, rescue the Harpers Ferry garrison, and perhaps allow him to destroy Lee's army piece by piece.

On the evening of September 13, Lee hastily ordered Hill to block the roads that traveled over South Mountain, hoping to buy time while Jackson continued his siege of Harpers Ferry.

The Campaign and Battle of Antietam - Essential Civil War Curriculum

The first real fighting of the Maryland Campaign was about to begin. Fighting spread to another crossing just to the north, Turner's Gap, where the Union First Corps, under Joseph Hooker , joined the battle and drove the Confederates back. Union troops also attacked farther south, at Crampton's Gap, which was defended by just a handful of Confederates from McLaws's division, which was otherwise engaged at Harpers Ferry.

Early in the afternoon, Hill's beleaguered defenders were reinforced by Longstreet's men arriving from Hagerstown, and by sundown, Union troops had taken Fox's Gap and Crampton's Gap but could not quite break the line at Turner's.

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Shot by a Confederate sharpshooter at dusk, Reno was among the day's dead. By eight o'clock that night Lee realized his campaign was in jeopardy. McClellan's success at South Mountain had cost the Confederates nearly 3, casualties, compared with Union losses of slightly more than 2,, and if Lee now failed to concentrate his scattered forces in time, then he risked losing his entire army.

He ordered McLaws—and likely Jackson and Walker, too—to retreat back across the Potomac and arranged for the rest of the army to regroup at Shepherdstown Ford, in Virginia. At daybreak on September 15, somewhere on a ridge east of the small Maryland town of Sharpsburg, Lee surveyed the terrain. High bluffs, clumps of trees breaking up the German farmers' fields, a sunken road, Antietam Creek—it was eminently defendable. When a messenger arrived with the welcome news that Jackson expected the surrender of Harpers Ferry that morning, Lee decided to call off his retreat and instead gamble on reassembling his army here.

He positioned his meager forces to block the pursuit by McClellan's larger army and then settled in to wait for Jackson.


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  4. Miles ran up a white flag at about eight thirty that morning. After Miles was mortally wounded by a stray shell, Union general Julius White officially surrendered about 12, men, their rifles, seventy-three artillery pieces, and other supplies. After a quick breakfast, Jackson began the march to Sharpsburg, with the first of his men arriving at dawn on September Lee quickly placed them on the Confederate left flank, along the Hagerstown Pike.

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    His right flank was securely anchored on Antietam Creek, and the Confederates controlled the southern two bridges of the three that crossed it. McClellan, looking for an advantage, ordered Hooker's First Corps to cross at the northernmost bridge and prepare to attack the Confederate left flank first thing in the morning. A lively firefight flared at dusk and soon settled into sporadic skirmishing that lasted throughout the night. A light rain fell that night, and the skies remained overcast until about five thirty on the morning of September That's when Confederate artillery, situated on the high ground northwest of Sharpsburg, opened fire, inaugurating what would become the bloodiest twelve hours in American history.