Death in September: The Antietam Campaign
Early September 1862... General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Potomac River and invades the North for the first time during ... Show synopsis Early September 1862... General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Potomac River and invades the North for the first time during the Civil War. Major General George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac moves northwest through Maryland in pursuit of the Confederates. Lee decides on a daring course of action. To capture the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, the Confederate commander boldly divides his army. Meanwhile in one of the greatest intelligence coups of the war, two Federal soldiers find a copy of Lee's orders. The Confederate plan in hand, the Union commander brings the Southern army to battle along Antietam Creek. Lee's men are badly outnumbered, and their backs are to the Potomac River, but McClellan, incredibly, fritters away his advantage in a series of bloody, piecemeal attacks. Both sides suffer horrific casualties, and the Battle of Antietam ends in a gruesome stalemate. Two days later, Lee recrosses the Potomac and retreats into Virginia. Although the Battle of Antietam ended in a bloody draw, it ultimately proved to be an important Union victory. Southern hopes for aid from Britain and France waned, and soon after Lee's retreat, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. A momentous battle, artfully recreated by an important military historian. Perry D. Jamieson is co-author of Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage, and author of Crossing the Deadly Ground: United States Army Tactics 1865-1899. Both titles were selections of the History Book Club. Dr. Jamieson is an historian for the Air Force History Support Office in Washington, D.C.