Chronological History of the American Civil War

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starting to get indications, though: reports from cavalry scouts today, informed him that the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) had departed from the area of the Monocacy River, and were heading away from Frederick, Maryland. General Lee (CSA) split his men in two forces, with Jackson ordered to capture Harper’s Ferry, while he would lead his men to Hagerstown, Maryland. In Bolivar, Tennessee, John Houston Bills tells us in his diary, “Mrs. Neely & Mrs. J.R. Fentress start to Corinth to visit General Grant for to procure the release of their husbands who are political prisoners at Alton.” Thursday, September 11, 1862 : The Confederacy, after a year and a half of war, decide that an entirely defensive campaign was not going to succeed in winning their war of independence. Aggressive efforts, were now underway on two fronts, one famous, one less so. Robert E. Lee and his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia were in Hagerstown, Maryland, today. It was assumed in the South, that Maryland would have seceded and joined the Confederacy, if it were not for the presence of Union troops. Lee was expecting many men to flock to his colors to enlist, but this did not happen. On the western front, other forces in gray under General Kirby Smith (CSA) (pictured) were within seven miles of Cincinnati, Ohio. This inspired panic in the citizenry there, many of whom clogged the roads in an attempt to flee town. In Greensboro, North Carolina, William Sydney Porter was born today. He will become one of America’s greatest authors, but you might know him better just by his pen name, O. Henry. Friday, September 12, 1862 : If, General George McClellan (U.S.) had no idea where Robert E. Lee and his army were located, the state officials in Pennsylvania had good idea, that he was headed for them. On the assumption that Lee would try to stay some distance away from the McClellan’s army, made this a fairly logical possibility. Orders were issued in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, today to box up the state’s documents, bonds, archives and treasury and ship them to New York for safekeeping. A fair number of politicians decided to ride along on the train--just to keep the records safe, of course. The Natchez Daily Courier reported: “Arrest of a Young Lady. Miss Green, a loyal young lady in one of the northwestern counties in Virginia, was arrested and put in jail in Buckhannon, Upshur county, on a charge of cutting telegraph wires in the Yankee army. When interrogated, she confessed she had cut the wires, and said that she would do so again if set at liberty, at the same time refusing to take the oath of Yankee servitude. One end of the wire cut was found stuck in the ground several inches, and when asked why she did that, she replied that a great many Yankees had been killed, and as that wire pointed the way they had gone, it would doubtless be used to know; if there was room for any more.” Saturday, September 13, 1862 : In an astonishing twist, two Union soldiers found some cigars where Lee had made his camp. They were wrapped in paper. On this paper was written Lee’s next plans for his army – their targets, which part of his army was marching where etc. This was Lee’s Special Order 191. The Confederates knew that they had lost one copy; but must have assumed that it was never going to be found by the North. Sunday, September 14, 1862 : Robert E. Lee’s (CSA) knew one copy of his “Special Order 191”, directing his next move was lost, but the odds of someone finding it was slim. Slim or not, a couple Union soldiers did find the orders. Lee had split his army on two paths. Stonewall Jackson (CSA) was headed to Harpers Ferry, while Lee's part of the army was making his way toward Hagerstown, Maryland. The North, with the knowledge of where Lee was, and where he was heading, made a series of attacks on the Confederates at South Mountain in Maryland.

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