About Me

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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 young adult children who I love very much. I currently volunteer at Antietam 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. Since 2013 I have been conducting in depth research on the regular artillery companies of the Union Army and their leaders. I hope to turn this into a book on this subject in the future. 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. 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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The "Lost Paragraphs" of Special Order 191

The copy of Special Order 191 that was found by Sergeant John Bloss and Corporal Barton Mitchell and put into the hands of General McClellan is now on display at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick.  I was privileged to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new exhibit on Friday.  On hand beside the bevy of V.I.P.s were descendents of the Bloss and Mitchell families.  They contributed a number of previously unseen letters and artifacts to the exhibit. It was exciting for me to see such an important part of history and something so key to the Maryland Campaign.  We owe a debt of thanks to everyone who made the exhibition possible. 

On Sunday when I was working at the Antietam Visitor’s Center, a sharp-eyed visitor asked why the copy of the Lost Order on display begins with paragraph III.  Look closely at the order here.  Was that a typo?  Where are the “lost” paragraphs?

In its entirety, Special Order 191 does in fact have paragraphs I and II.  However, these paragraphs, which dealt largely with administrative matters not important for the combat commanders, were omitted from the copy written for D. H. Hill.  The copy, written out for D.H. Hill by Jackson from his original, also does not contain these paragraphs.  Here are the “lost” paragraphs:

I.               The citizens of Fredericktown being unwilling while overrun by members of this army, to open their stores, to give them confidence, and to secure to officers and men purchasing supplies for benefit of this command, all officers and men of this army are strictly prohibited from visiting Fredericktown except on business, in which cases they will bear evidence of this in writing from division commanders. The provost marshal in Fredericktown will see that his guard rigidly enforces this order.

II.             Major Taylor will proceed to Leesburg, Virginia and arrange for transportation of the sick and those unable to walk to Winchester, securing the transportation of the country for this purpose. The route between this and Culpepper Court-House east of the mountains being unsafe, will no longer be travelled. Those on the way to this army already across the river will move up promptly; all others will proceed to Winchester collectively and under command of officers, at which point, being the general depot of this army, its movements will be known and instructions given by commanding officer regulating further movements.


  1. Hi Jim,
    Great blog, I represent PBS who is releasing a new Civil War program by Ric Burns in September, I wanted to contact you regarding but didn't know how else to do it other than via comment. Please email if you would like more information, deana@jgoldstienpr.com

  2. There were no "lost" paragraphs of Special Order 191. What few persons have taken the time to understand, is that the paragraphs were written as Special Order 190 and then incorporated into the text of Special Order 191 as it was written into Chilton's letterbook by his aide, A.P. Mason. But why brother about details. See http://joeryancivilwar.com/Special-Order-191/resources/Ruse-of-War-Joseph-Ryan-Special-Order-191-exhibits.html