& Battles of the Civil War
Sometimes referred to as the Antietam
Campaign, this series of four battles took place in September, 1862 in
West Virginia and Maryland. Considered one of the major turning points
in the war,
General Robert E. Lee's goal was to reach the major Northern
states of Maryland and Pennsylvania in order to threaten the cities of
Washington and Baltimore, supply his army from the untouched farms,
relieve the habitual fighting in Virginia, and hopefully make such an
impact that the end of the war might be negotiated.
Lee divided his army into five parts, with
General "Stonewall" Jackson taking three of them to attack
Harpers Ferry, in order to control the Shenandoah Valley.
General James Longstreet would lead the
fourth part to Hagerstown to guard against a rumored movement of
troops from Pennsylvania, and the fifth and final part, under the
command of General Daniel Harvey Hill, was to guard the reserve
artillery and wagon train at Boonsboro, Maryland, as well as watching
for escaping Federals from Harpers Ferry.
Battle of Antietam.
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On September 4, 1862, the Army of Northern
Virginia crossed the Potomac River and began the Maryland Campaign
which would be repulsed by
Major General George B. McClellan and the Army of the Potomac, who
intercepted General Robert E. Lee and his
Army of Northern Virginia, attacking them near
Sharpsburg, Maryland. The resulting
Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in
The Maryland Campaign included the
Maryland Campaign (September 1862)
(September 12-15, 1862) - In
Lee's first invasion of the North, General Robert E. Lee planned to first attack Harpers
Ferry, in order to control the
Shenandoah Valley, capture its supplies, and secure his own supply
line back to Virginia. He divided his army into four columns, three of
which converged upon and attacked Harpers Ferry. On September 15,
Confederate artillery was placed on the heights overlooking the town,
which was virtually indefensible, dominated on all sides by higher
ground and not properly fortified.
As the Confederates
bombarded the garrison from all sides and were preparing an infantry
assault when Colonel Dixon S. Miles surrendered
the garrison of more than 12,000 men.
It would be his last
military action, as Miles, himself, was mortally wounded by a last
discharge of firearms from a battery on Loudoun Heights.
Confederate Major General
"Stonewall" Jackson took possession of Harpers
Ferry, then led most of his
soldiers to join
Lee at Sharpsburg. Major General A.P. Hill's division was
left to complete the occupation of the town.
After paroling the
prisoners at Harpers Ferry, Hillís division would also join
Lee, just in time time to save
Lee's army from near-defeat at Sharpsburg. Less than 100
men were killed in the battle of Harpers Ferry.
National Historic Park
P.O. Box 65
Harpers Ferry , West Virginia 25425
South Mountain (September
14, 1862) - Also called the Battle of Cramptonís,
Turnerís, and Foxís Gaps, this skirmish took place in Frederick and
Washington Counties, Maryland. While the vast majority of General
Robert E. Lee's Army were attacking Harpers Ferry, the rest were marching on to Maryland, with
Major General George B. McClellan hotly in pursuit. Following them
to Frederick, Maryland, McClellan advanced on them at South Mountain, a natural formation
that separates the Shenandoah and Cumberland Valleys from the eastern
part of Maryland. A number of battles were fought on September 14th
over possession of the South Mountain passes: Cramptonís, Turnerís,
and Foxís Gaps.
By dusk, the Confederate defenders were driven back,
suffering severe casualties, and McClellan was in a position to destroy
Lee's army before it could re-concentrate.
McClellan's limited activity the next day gave
Lee time to unite his scattered divisions at Sharpsburg. In
the South Mountain Battle, an estimated 4,500 casualties were suffered
including Union general Jesse Reno and Confederate General Samuel
Garland, Jr. who were killed.
P.O. Box 50
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia 25425
South Mountain Battle.
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(September 16-18, 1862) -
Also referred to as the Battle of Sharpsburg, Major General George B.
Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Sharpsburg, Maryland west of Antietam Creek on September 16, 1862. At dawn the next day, Major General
Joseph Hooker's I Corps mounted a powerful assault on
Lee's left flank that began the single bloodiest day in
American military history. Attacks and counter-attacks swept across
Millerís cornfield and fighting swirled around the Dunker Church Major
General Joseph K. Mansfield's XII Corps joined to reinforce Hooker. Union
assaults, led by Major General Edwin V. Sumner's II Corps, against
the Sunken Road (Bloody Lane) eventually pierced the Confederate center,
but the Federal advantage was not followed up.
Late in the day, Union General Ambrose Burnside's IX Corps finally got
into action, crossing the stone bridge over Antietam Creek and rolling up
the Confederate right. At a crucial moment, Major General A.P. Hillís
division arrived from Harpers Ferry and counterattacked, driving back Burnside and
saving the day.
Although outnumbered two-to-one,
Lee committed his entire force, while McClellan sent in less than three-quarters of his army, enabling
Lee to fight the Federals to a standstill. During the night,
both armies consolidated their lines. In spite of crippling casualties,
Lee continued to skirmish with McClellan throughout the 18th, while removing his wounded south of the
river. McClellan did not renew the assaults. After dark,
Lee ordered the battered Army of Northern Virginia to withdraw
across the Potomac River into the Shenandoah Valley.
In the end, an
estimated 23,100 casualties were suffered.
P.O. Box 158
Sharpsburg, Maryland 21782
19-20, 1862) -
Also referred to as the Battle of Botelerís Ford, this encounter took
place in Jefferson County, West Virginia as the Confederate forces
retreated southward. On September 19, a detachment of Union Major General Fitz John Porter's V Corps pushed across the river at Botelerís Ford,
attacked the Confederate rearguard commanded by Brigadier General William
Pendleton, and captured four guns. Early on the 20th, Porter pushed
elements of two divisions across the Potomac to establish a bridgehead.
Confederate Major General A.P. Hillís division counterattacked while many
of the Federals were crossing and nearly annihilated the 118th
Pennsylvania (the "Corn ExchangeĒ Regiment), inflicting 269 casualties.
This rearguard action discouraged Federal pursuit. On November 7,
Lincoln relieved McClellan of command because of his failure to follow up
Lee's retreating army and Major General Ambrose E. Burnside
rose to command the Union army. The end result of the battle was 625
of America, updated September, 2017.
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