previous next


On September 9th, Halleck telegraphed to McClellan: ‘It may be the enemy's object to draw off the mass of our forces and then attempt to attack from the Virginia side of the Potomac.’

Lee's 35,000 men were on that day preparing to march northward from Frederick.

On the 12th President Lincoln telegraphed McClellan: ‘I have advices that Jackson is crossing the Potomac at Williamsport, and probably the whole Rebel army will be drawn from Maryland.’ ‘Please do not let him get off without being hurt.’

On the 13th Halleck telegraphed him: ‘I am of opinion that the enemy will send a small column towards Pennsylvania to draw off your forces in that direction, then suddenly move on Washingion with the forces south of the Potomac, and there he may cross over.’

Jackson, McLaws and Walker were on that day investing Harpers Ferry. On the 14th Halleck telegraphed: ‘Scouts report a large force still on the Virginia side of the Potomac; if so, I fear you are exposing your left and rear.’

Harpers Ferry surrendered at 8 A. M. on September 15th. And on September 16th, the day after the surrender of Harpers Ferry, he again telegraphed: ‘I think, however, you will find that the whote force of the enemy in your front has crossed the river; I fear now more than ever that they will recross at Harpers Ferry, or below, and turn your left, thus cutting you off from Washington. This has appeared to me to be a part of their plan, and hence my anxiety on the subject. A heavy rain might prevent it.’

This was the day when McClellan was feeling along Lee's front at Sharpsburg, and the day before the battle. No heavy rain ever did prevent Lee's movements, or hinder Jackson, Longstreet or the Hills. Just before this point of time occurred one of those incidents which, unforeseen and astounding, change the conduct of campaigns and the fortunes of war.

Western Maryland is traversed by the Catoctin range of mountains running through Frederick county from the Potomac to Pennsylvania. Parallel and about eight miles northwest runs the South Mountain, the extension through Maryland of the Blue Ridge, the dividing line between Frederick and Washington counties.

From two miles and a half to three miles northwest of South Mountain runs the Elk Ridge from the Potomac, extending almost eight miles parallel to the South mountain.

The Valley of the Monocacy is east of the Catoctin. Between it and South Mountain is Middleton Valley, and between South Mountain

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
H. B. McClellan (3)
Fitzhugh Lee (3)
Stonewall Jackson (3)
Halleck (3)
J. G. Walker (1)
Lafayette McLaws (1)
James Longstreet (1)
Abraham Lincoln (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
September 16th (1)
September 15th (1)
September 9th (1)
14th (1)
13th (1)
12th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: