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erate by the east side of the Blue Ridge, and on the 26th his advance crossed the Potomac by a ponton-bridge at Berlin, five miles below Harper's Ferry. By the 2d November the entire army had crossed at that point. Advancing due southward towards Warrenton, he masked the movement by guarding the passes of the Blue Ridge, and by threatening to issue through these, he compelled Lee to retain Jackson in the Valley. With such success was this movement managed, that on reaching Warrenton on the 9th, while Lee had sent half of his army forward to Culpepper to oppose McClellan's advance in that direction, the other half was still west of the Blue Ridge, scattered up and down the Valley, and separated from the other moiety by at least two days march. McClellan's next projected move was to strike across obliquely westward and interpose between the severed divisions of the Confederate force; but this step he was prevented from taking by his sudden removal from the command of the Army of th
y way of Middletown on the direct route to the ferry, and seize the hills on the Maryland side known as Maryland Heights; Walker was to cross the Potomac below Harper's Ferry and take possession of the Loudon Heights. The advance was begun on the 10th: the several commanders were all to be at their assigned positions by the night of the 12th, cause the surrender by the following morning, and immediately rejoin the remainder of the army, with which Lee was to move to Boonsboroa or Hagerstown. y morning that the army broke through the South Mountain, and was in position to relieve the beleaguered force, it was surrendered by Colonel Miles! I shall briefly detail the circumstances under which this took place. Leaving Frederick on the 10th, Jackson made a very rapid march by way of Middletown, Boonsboroa, and Williamsport, and on the following day crossed the Potomac into Virginia, at a ford near the latter place. Disposing his forces so that there should be no escape for the garri
er, was assigned. Jackson was to proceed by way of Sharpsburg, crossing the Potomac above Harper's Ferry, and, investing it by the rear; McLaws was to move by way of Middletown on the direct route to the ferry, and seize the hills on the Maryland side known as Maryland Heights; Walker was to cross the Potomac below Harper's Ferry and take possession of the Loudon Heights. The advance was begun on the 10th: the several commanders were all to be at their assigned positions by the night of the 12th, cause the surrender by the following morning, and immediately rejoin the remainder of the army, with which Lee was to move to Boonsboroa or Hagerstown. Up to the time of Lee's leaving Frederick, McClellan's advance had been so tardy as to justify the Confederate commander in the belief that the reduction of Harper's Ferry would be accomplished and his columns again concentrated before he would be called upon to meet the Union army. But this expectation was disappointed, and all Lee's pl
nion army pressing forward with an unwonted rapidity that threatened to disconcert all his plans. On the afternoon of the 13th, before Lee had received any word from Jackson, Stuart, who with his troopers was covering the Confederate rear, reported y Jackson in his advance on Harper's Ferry, the passes of South Mountain would have been carried before the evening of the 13th, at which time they were very feebly guarded, and then debouching into Pleasant Valley, the Union commander might next morinsburg evacuated that place, and retired to Harper's Ferry, the rear of which, at Bolivar Heights, Jackson reached on the 13th, and immediately proceeded to put himself in communication with Walker and McLaws, who were respectively to co-op erate inis subordinates. But what was worse, Ford, after opposing a very feeble and unskilful resistance to McLaws' attack on the 13th, retired to Harper's Ferry, spiking his guns and toppling them down the declivity. Thus Maryland Heights was abandoned al
eep gorge in the mountains, the crests of which on each side rise to the height of one thousand feet. The gap itself is unassailable; but there is a practicable road over the crest to the right of the pass, and another to the left. The key-point of the whole position is a rocky and precipitous peak which dominates the ridge to the right of the pass. With a considerable force this position is very defensible; but when the advance of the Union force reached the mountain, on the morning of the 14th, it was guarded only by D. H. Hill's division of five thousand men. Reno's corps arrived near the pass early in the forenoon; but that officer directed all his efforts to the assault of the crest on the left—the key-point being overlooked. After a sharp fight Reno succeeded in dislodging the Confederate brigade opposed to him, and established his troops on the first ridge, but was unable to push beyond. The Confederate brigade opposed to Reno was under General Garland, who was killed ear
with the exception of a single regiment, and formed his troops in battle order across Pleasant Valley to resist any sudden attack, and before Franklin could make his dispositions to strike, the garrison at Harper's Ferry had surrendered. This left free exit for McLaws, who skilfully retired down the Valley towards the Potomac, which he repassed at Harper's Ferry, and by a detour by way of Shepherdstown joined Lee at Sharpsburg. Upon the retirement of the Confederates on the morning of the 15th, McClellan pushed forward his whole army in pursuit; but after a few miles' march, the heads of the columns were brought to a sudden halt at Antietam Creek, a rivulet that, running obliquely to the course of the Potomac, empties into it six miles above Harper's Ferry. On the heights crowning the west bank of this stream, Lee, with what force he had in hand, took his stand to oppose McClellan's pursuit, and form a point of concentration for his scattered columns. II. the battle of Antieta
esigned he should assail after forcing the passage of the Antietam by the lower stone-bridge. The part assigned to General Burnside was of the highest importance, for a successful attack by him upon the Confederate right would, by carrying the Sharpsburg crest, force Lee from his line of retreat by way of Shepherdstown. General McClellan, appreciating the full effect of an attack by his left, directed Burnside early in the morning to hold his troops in readiness Early on the morning of the 17th, I ordered General Burnside to form his troops and hold them in readiness to assault the bridge in his front and to await further orders.—McClellan: Report, p. 389. to assault the bridge in his front. Then, at eight o'clock, on learning how much opposition had been developed by Hooker, he ordered Burnside to carry the bridge, gain possession of the heights, and advance along their crest upon Sharpsburg, McClellan: Report, p. 390. as a diversion in favor of the right. Burnside's tentativ
General Lee's statement. But it is needless to sound deeper in this sea of blood. The morning of the 18th brought with it the grave question for McClellan whether to renew the attack or to defer it, even with the risk of Lee's retirement. After anxious deliberation, he resolved to defer attack McClellan's Report, p. 211. during the 18th, with the determination, however, to renew it on the 19th, if re-enforcements, expected from Washington, should arrive. But during the night of the 18th, Lee withdrew across the Potomac, and by morning he stood again with his army on the soil of Virginia. This inactivity of McClellan after Antietam, has been made the theme for so much animadversion, that it may be proper to set forth briefly the facts that should guide criticism in this case. It should first of all be borne in mind that the action at Antietam, though a victory in its results, seeing that it so crippled Lee's force as to put an end to the invasion, was tactically a drawn b
he usual proportion of five wounded to one killed, the aggregate would be very much in excess of General Lee's statement. But it is needless to sound deeper in this sea of blood. The morning of the 18th brought with it the grave question for McClellan whether to renew the attack or to defer it, even with the risk of Lee's retirement. After anxious deliberation, he resolved to defer attack McClellan's Report, p. 211. during the 18th, with the determination, however, to renew it on the 19th, if re-enforcements, expected from Washington, should arrive. But during the night of the 18th, Lee withdrew across the Potomac, and by morning he stood again with his army on the soil of Virginia. This inactivity of McClellan after Antietam, has been made the theme for so much animadversion, that it may be proper to set forth briefly the facts that should guide criticism in this case. It should first of all be borne in mind that the action at Antietam, though a victory in its results, s
September (search for this): chapter 6
VI. the Maryland campaign. September-October, 1862. I. Manoeuvres previous to Antietam. When Lee put his columns in motion from Richmond, it was with no intent of entering upon a campaign of invasion across the great river that formed the dividing line between the warring powers. But who can foretell the results that may spring from the simplest act in that complex interplay of cause and effect we name war? A secondary operation, having in view merely to hold Pope in check, had effected not only its primal aim, but the infinitely more important result of dislodging the Army of the Potomac from the Peninsula. Thus relieved of all care touching Richmond, Lee was free to assume a real offensive for the purpose not merely of checking but of crushing Pope. The success of the campaign had been remarkable. From the front of Richmond the theatre of operations had been transferred to the front of Washington; the Union armies had been reduced to a humiliating defensive, and the r
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