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I am a lifelong student of military history with particular interest in the Battle of Antietam. I work for the federal government in Washington DC and have two teenagers who I love very much. I currently volunteer at the battlefield and devote much time to the study of this battle and the Maryland Campaign. I enjoy collecting notable contemporary quotations by and about the men of Antietam. These words often add a degree of color and character not found elsewhere in their stories. A feature of this blog is the presentation of some of these quotes. My perspective comes from a 28 year career in the U.S. Army. Travels took me to World War II battlefields in Europe and the Pacific where American valor ended the tyranny of Nazism and Empire. But our country faced its own greatest challenge 80 years earlier during the Civil War. And it was the critical late summer of 1862, when Robert E. Lee launched the Maryland Campaign that fortune could have gone either way. It is an incredible story of drama, carnage, bravery, and missed opportunities that culminated around the fields and woodlots of peaceful Sharpsburg MD. So join me as I make this journey South from the North Woods.

Friday, September 23, 2011

John Reynolds in the Maryland Campaign

John Reynolds
Check out a new group of quotes on Union Major General John Reynolds over at Antietam Voices here.  Reynolds, would be killed nine months after the battle of Antietam on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  Reynolds, much to his disgust and that of his corps commander Joseph Hooker was detached from command of the Pennyslvania Reserve Division and sent to Pennsylvania to organize the Pennsylvania Emergency Militia who were being raised against a feared attack into Pennsylvania.  John Curtin, the powerful Pennsylvania governor asked the War Department Reynolds by name to command this militia. Here is the terse message exchange between General Halleck and General McClellan regarding this assignment.  Never known for being at a loss for words, see General Hooker's reaction to the reassignment.  Reynolds' division was part of his corps.  All correspondence is taken from the Official Records, Volume 19, Part II.








-----------------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON D.C., September 11, 1862 (Sent 10.20)
Major-General McClellan
The Governor of Pennsylvania wishes the services of General Reynolds. Can you order him here for that purpose? H.W. Halleck, General-in-Chief
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
ROCKVILLE, MD., September 11, 1862 (10.45 a.m.)
Maj. Gen. H.W. Halleck, General in Chief:
General Reynolds is now engaged in important service, supporting with his division an attack on New Market. He has one of he best divisions, and is well acquainted with it. I cannot see how his services can be spared at the present time.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN, Major-General
----------------------------------------------------------------------
WASHINGTON D.C., September 11, 1862 (Sent 1.55 p.m.)
Major-General McClellan, Rockville, Md.:
General Reynold's division can be commanded by some one else. He has been designated for other duty, and must report here immediately.
H.W. Halleck, General-in-Chief
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Headquarters, Army of the Potomac
MIDDLEBROOK, MD., September 11, 1862
Maj. Gen. H.W. Halleck, General in Chief:
I have ordered General Reynolds to report to Governor Curtin at the earliest practicable moment.  He is now about 25 miles from here. He will probably not be able to start before morning.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN, Major-General
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Hdqrs, Third Corps, Army of Virginia
Ridgeville, Md., September 12, 1862
Brig. Gen. S. Williams, Assistant Adjutant General:
I have just been shown an order relieving Brigadier-General Reynolds from command of a division in my corps. I request that the major-general commding will not heed this order; a scared Governor ought not to be permitted to destroy the usefulness of an entire division of the army, on the eve of important operations.
General Reynolds commands a division of Pennsylvania troops of not the best character; is well known to them, and I have no officer to fill his place.
It is satisfactory in my mind that the rebels have no more intention of going to Harrisburg than they have of going to heaven.
It is only in the United States that atrocities like this are entertained.
JOSEPH HOOKER,
Major-General, Commanding Corps.

Monday, September 19, 2011

365 days to the 150th. (Its a Leap Year!)


Check out Harry's post at Bull Runnings on his visit to Antietam this weekend.  I couldn't have said it better and echo his sentiments completely.  The rangers and volunteers  did a tremendous job.  The crowds were truly awesome and are hopefully an indication of what is to come next year.  
Ranger Brian Baracz at the Smoketown Road





Ranger Kevin Walker at the Joseph Poffenberger House
Rangers Keith Snyder, Brian Baracz and John Hoptak leading the tour near the Cemetery
Ranger John Hoptak at the Pry House

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 15, 1862 Voices




Abraham Lincoln

"Your dispatch of today received. God bless you and all with you. Destroy the Rebel army if possible.”
Abraham Lincoln September 15 1862 Telegram from Lincoln to McClellan. 2:45PM September 15 1862. From The Battle of South Mountain by John David Hoptak.  Charleston:  The History Press, 2011.  page 181











George B. McClellan
“We attacked a large force of the enemy yesterday occupying a strong pass four miles west of Middletown. Our troops old and new regiments behaved most valiantly & gained a signal victory. R.E. Lee in command. The Rebels routed and retreating in disorder this morning. We are pursuing and taking many prisoners.”  George B. McClellan in a telegram to retired Brevet Lieutenant General Winfield Scott.  September 15, 1862,  From The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan. Ed. Stephen W. Sears. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1989 page 464.






Robert E. Lee


"We will make our stand in these hills." Robert E. Lee calling out to D.R. Jones men as they arrived at Sharpsburg on September 15 1862. From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. page 305














Thomas J. Jackson

"Through God's blessing, Harper's Ferry and its garrison are to be surrendered.  As Hill's troops have borne the heaviest part in the engagement, he will be left in command until the prisoners and public property shall be disposed of, unless you direct otherwise.  The other forces can move off this evening as soon as they get their rations.  To what point shall we move?" Thomas Jackson in a dispatch at 8AM on September 15.  Arrived at Lee's HQ about noon advising of his success against Harpers Ferry on Sep 14. From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010. page 424

"I will join you at Sharpsburg."
Thomas Jackson Sep 15 1862
Jackson to Lee. From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. page 318

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September 14, 1862 Voices



"The day has gone against us and this army will go by Sharpsburg and cross the river.  It is necessary to abandon your position tonight."
Robert E. Lee
Sep 14 1862
Lee to McLaws reporting the defeat at South Mountain and his decision to retreat out of MarylandFrom Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.
page 289





"We are firing the passes of the Blue Ridge. Have possession of the heights on the left of Hagerstown pike; are now attacking the right. Franklin is attacking the Rockville [Crampton's] Pass, through the same ranges. Thus far all goes well. Have taken about 100 prisoners. I have the troops in hand. They are confident, and hope to have gull possession of the passes by dark."
George B. McClellan
Sep 14 1862
McClellan's 4PM report to Halleck on the Battle of South MountainFrom Unfurl Those Colors! McClellan, Sumner, & The Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign by Marion Armstrong. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008.
page 121

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September 13, 1862 Voices


Joseph K. F. Mansfield

"We may never meet again."
Joseph K. F. Mansfield September 13 1862.  Joseph Mansfield bidding farewell to fellow Connecticut native Gideon Welles as he departs to assume command of the 12th Corps.  Mansfield will be mortally wounded four days later in the East Woods at the Battle of Antietam.  From Lincoln's Darkest Year The War in 1862 by William Marvel. Boston: Houghtin Mifflin Company Company, 2008. page 188.











William Nelson Pendleton

"bold, prompt, energetic, and sagacious"
William Nelson Pendleton September 13 1862
Pendleton in a letter to President Davis who had asked Pendleton for "occasional confidential memoranda of the positions, doings etc of the army."  Pendleton is describing General Lee.
From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. page 222 

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12, 1862 Voices


Joseph Hooker

"a scared Governor ought not to be permitted to destroy the usefulness of an entire division of the army, on the eve of important operations....It is satisfactory in my mind that the rebels have no more intention of going to Harrisburg than they had of going to heaven.  It is only in the United States that atrocities like this are entertained."
Joseph Hooker, September 12 1862.
Hooker protesting to McClellan the reassignment of division commander John Reynolds to command militia in Pennsylvania at the height of the Maryland Campaign.  From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010. Page 204






Robert E. Lee

"Before crossing the Potomac, I considered the advantages of entering Maryland east or west of the Blue Ridge.  In either case it was my intention to march upon this town [Hagerstown]"
Robert E. Lee, September 12 1862
Lee to Davis explaining his intentions to move on Hagerstown. From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11, 1862 Voices


"General, I wish we could stand still and let the damned Yankees come to us!" James Longstreet, September 11 1862
Longstreet to Lee after he is ordered to proceed on to Hagerstown and to leave D.H. Hill at Boonsboro.  From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. page 184












"All evidence that has been accumulated from various sources since we left Washington goes to prove most conclusively that almost the entire rebel army in Virginia, amounting to not less than 120,000 men, is in the vicinity of Frederick City.
George B. McClellan,  September 11 1862
McClellan in a letter to Halleck from Rockville MD
From The Maryland Campaign of September 1862 Vol. 1 South Mountain. Edited by Tom Clemens. New York:  Savas Beatie, 2010. page 183 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 10, 1862 Voices


Confederate troops moving through Frederick

"their friends were anxious to get rid of them and of the penetrating ammoniacal smell they brought with them."
Lewis H. Steiner September 10 1862
Doctor Steiner of the U.S. Sanitary Commission watches the reaction of the citizens as the Confederate Army left Frederick. 
From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Jospeh L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. page 171




 


Ambrose Powell Hill
"Donning his coat and sword he mounted his horse and dashed to the front of his troops, and looking like a young eagle in search of his prey, he took command of his division to the delight of all his men" George Mills
September 10 1862
A North Carolina officer describing the suspension of A.P. Hill's arrest and his return to duty commanding the Light Division.
From General A. P. Hill - The Story of a Confederate Warrior by James I. Robertson.  New York:  Random House, 1987. page 135

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 9, 1862 Voices


A Union Soldier

"We have bully times out here. We went out yesterday and caught four hogs and skinned them and roasted them over the coals. This morning we fetched in another hog and some ducks and chickens. We live first rate out here….Who would not be a soldier?"
Andrew Tehrune September 9, 1862
Rookie soldier Private Andrew Tehrune of the 13th NJ writing his cousin about foraging. From  "Who Would Not Be A Soldier?" by Scott D. Hartwig. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999. page 149.







A Confederate Soldier

"What a set of ragamuffins they looked! It seemed as if every cornfield in Maryland had been robbed of its scarecrows and propped up against the fence….My costume consisted of ragged pair of trousers, a stained, dirty jacket; an old slouch hat, the brim pinned up with a thorn; a begrimed blanket over my shoulder, a grease covered haversack full of apples and corn, a cartridge box full and a musket. I was barefooted and had a stone bruise on each foot...there was no one there who would not have been 'run in' by the police had he appeared on the streets of any populous city, and would have been fined the next day for undue exposure. Yet those grimy, sweaty, lean, ragged men were the flower of Lee's army. Those tattered, starving unkempt fellows were the pride fo their sections."
Harvey Judson Hightower of the 20th Georgia describes himself.September 9, 1862
A confederate describes himself.  From Burnside's Bridge The Climactic Struggle of the 2nd and 20th Georgia at Antietam Creek by Phillip T. Tucker. Mechanicsburg:  Stackpole, 2000. page 5
 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 8, 1862 Voices


Joseph Mansfield

 "Brig. Gen. J.K.F. Mansfield, U.S. Volunteers, is relieved from duty in the Army of Virginia and will report in person to Major General McClellan."
E.D. Townsend, September 8 1862. Special Order 229 assigning Mansfield to the Army of the Potomac. From OR 19 (2), page 214.










H. Watters Berryman, 1st Texas Regimen
"I never saw such pretty country or an old one in my life,…splendid crops have been raised in this part of Maryland and everything good to eat."
H. Watters Berryman, September 8 1862.  Pvt Watters Berryman of Co I 1st Texas describes Maryland. From "First Texas in the Cornfield." by George E. Otott.  The Maryland Campaign of 1862 Civil War Regiments:  A Journal of the American Civil War. Vol 5, No 3. Campbell CA:  Savas Publishing Company, 1998. page 77

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September 7, 1862 Voices




U.S. Ambassador to France William L. Dayton

"Truthfulness is not, as you know, an element in French diplomacy to manners.  No man but a Frenchman would ever have thought of [Charles} Talleyrand's famous bon mot, that the object of language was to conceal thought."
William L. Dayton, September 7 1862.
Dayton, US ambassador to France expressing frustration toward the French at a critical moment in the war when French or British mediation is a possibility.  From Blue and Gray Diplomacy by Howard Jones. Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
page 285






 


Confederate President Jefferson Davis
"That under these circumstances, we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy, who pursues us with a relentless and, apparently aimless hostility;"
Jefferson Davis, September 7 1862
Part of a proclamation drafted by President Davis for Lee to use in Marylad
OR 19 (2) page 598

Monday, September 5, 2011

September 6, 1862 Voices


"It was a hard march.  The men were falling out of the ranks all along the road.  I fell out about a mile behind the regiment and slept on the porch of a house."
Albert A. Pope September 6, 1862
Lt Albert A. Pope of the 35th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry  describes the march on September 6, 1862. From  "Who Would Not Be A Soldier?" by Scott D. Hartwig. The Antietam Campaign. Ed. Gary Gallagher  Chapel Hill:  The University of North Carolina Press,  1999. page 148.





"Maryland, from her eastern shore to the Blue Ridge, is throbbing with the hope of early deliverance, and sits uneasy in her chains."
Charleston MercurySeptember 6 1862
A Charleston Editor on the issue of Maryland awaiting liberation.  From "Maryland Our Maryland." by William A. Blair. The Antietam Campaign, Ed. Gary Gallagher Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. page 89
 

September 5, 1862 Voices

Abraham Lincoln
"I must have McClellan to reorganize the army and bring it out of chaos.  But there has been a design-a purpose in breaking down Pope without regard of consequences to the country.  It is shocking to see and know this, but there is no remedy at present.  McClellan has the army with him."  Abraham Lincoln to John Hay.  September 5, 1862. From Until Antietam The Life and Letters of Major General Israel B. Richardson, U.S. Army by Jack Mason.  Carbondale IL:  Southern Illinois Press, 2009. Originally from Diary of Gideon Welles by Gideon Welles.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin, 1911.














Robert E. Lee
 "It makes no difference to you, my man.  Keep up with your regiment."  Robert E. Lee while walking in Leesburg replies to a soldier who asked the distance to White's Ford. September 5, 1862. From Taken at the Flood Robert E. Lee & Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by Joseph L. Harsh.  Kent:  The Kent State University Press, 1999. Originally from Harrison Family Memoirs. Typescript. Loudon Museum, Leesburg, Virginia.