Sesquicentennial events

September 1862 & 2012

Maryland Campaign

Then: Fresh from his great victory at Second Manassas (Bull Run), Lee decided to take the war north. He crossed into Maryland, then spread his army to take care of bothersome Federal garrisons. His opponent, George McClellan, newly re-christened commander of the Army of the Potomac, followed, trying to figure out Confederate intent. Helped by finding one of Lee's orders to his scattered commands, McClellan sprang into action, hoping to catch Lee before he could consolidate. The result was one of the bloodiest single-day battle of the war at Antietam (Sharpsburg).


All the Antietam 150th events compiled by Web site for historical and anniversary information

150Sept 1, 1862 – Battle of Chantilly (Ox Hill) (VA)

Then: Stonewall Jackson, attempting to finish up the big win at Second Manassas, was stopped in his pursuit here in a driving rainstorm. The Union lost two division commanders during this battle.

2012: A tiny piece of the battlefield is preserved in a well-interpreted park. Details, location:

Living history, music, tour and more at the Ox Hill Battlefield Park 10 am–6 pm.

Sept 1, 1862 – Battle of Britton Lane (TN)

Then: Confederate cavalry raiding north from Mississippi ran into Federal cavalry and infantry near Denmark. The Southerners suffered heavy losses in the four-hour battle and eventually withdrew.

2012: A battlefield park marks the location.

250Sept 4–7, 1862 – Lee crosses the Potomac (VA-MD)

Then: Following the battles of Second Manassas and Chantilly, Lee assembled his army near Leesburg. He began crossing the river Sept 4, beginning the Maryland Campaign, which ended with the Battle of Antietam Sept 17. He re-crossed the river back into Virginia (now West Virginia Sept 18–19.

2012: The location of the White's Ford is marked with Civil War Trails signs:


250Sept 6–13, 1862 – Troops from both sides occupy Frederick (MD)

Then: While in or near Frederick, Lee drafted orders for the movement of his widely scattered troops. A copy of the orders was found a few days later by Union soldiers camping near the Monocacy River. When McClellan saw the orders he saw an opportunity to "whip Bobby Lee." The Battles of South Mountain and Antietam followed.

2012: The actual copy of the Lost Orders (Special Order 191) is on display Aug 1-Oct 30 at the Monocacy National Battlefield.

250Sept 13–15, 1862 – Confederates capture Harpers Ferry
(now West Virginia)

Then: Lee was determined to get rid of the large Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry, which would remain in his rear during the campaign. Despite a Union rescue attempt through Crampton's Gap on South Mountain Sept 14, the town fell to the Confederates Sept 15 and 12,500 Union troops were captured. Part of the Confederate force here under A.P. Hill had to hurry back to Sharpsburg (Antietam) as fighting began Sept 17.

2012: The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park preserves many areas that saw fighting and maneuvering in September 1862 including School House Ridge and Boliver Heights.

Living history and ranger programs Sept 13-15 commemorate the 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

250Sept 14, 1862 – Battles at South Mountain (MD)

Then: Confederates were pressed hard at the crest of this mountain range between Frederick and Sharpsburg. Lee hoped to delay the Union advance long enough to capture Harpers Ferry and consolidate his army at nearby Sharpsburg. Confederates held just long enough after tough fighting at three mountain gaps.

2012: All the Antietam 150th Events

150Sept 14–17, 1862 – Battle, capture of Munfordville (KY)

Then: Confederates moving north approached this station on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad on Sept 14. The small Union force here repulsed initial Confederate attacks, but surrendered three days later to gathering Southern strength.

2012: The Battle for the Bridge Historic Preserve Park preserves part of the battlefield with interpretation.

A living history weekend with reenactments, living history, music and more is shceduled in downtown Munfordville Sept 7-9.

250Sept 17, 1862 – Battle of Antietam (MD)

Then: McClellan's Union army caught up with Lee's Confederates at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg resulting in the bloodiest single-day battle of the war. The fighting was touch-and-go all day. When the smoke cleared that evening, the Confederates had held, barely, but Lee's exhausted army was done in Maryland. The Confederates crossed back into Virginia (now West Virginia) Sept 18–19.

2012: All the Antietam 150th Events

The incredibly well preserved Antietam National Battlefield interprets the battle. Website:
Podcast battlefield tours:



250Sept 18–19, 1862 – Lee re-crosses Potomac (MD/VA)

Then: Lee's army re-crossed the Potomac River at Boteler's Ford near Shepherdstown. McClellan's forces eventually followed and forced a small battle on the south side of the river. Union artillery and infantry forced the Southern rear-guard from the south-side bluffs, but no real pursuit was undertaken.

2012: The site of Boetler's Ford is marked with a Civil War Trails sign on the C&O Canal on the Maryland side. The battlefield on the south side is the subject of preservation activities.

Related lecture scheduled Sept 20 at Shepard University.

Sept 19, 1862 – Battle of Iuka (MS)

Then: Seeing a danger of a concentration of Confederates under Gens. Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn in Northern Mississippi, Union forces under Gen. US Grant ordered attacked Price's force in Iuka. The Union attempt was bungled and Price escaped to unite with Van Dorn. The powerful combined Confederate armies were then free to operate against the rail junction and Union base at Corinth.

2012: A reenactment of the battle with living history programs is planned in Iuka Aug 31-Sept 2.

150Sept 21, 1862 – Confederates in Bardstown (KY)

Then: Bragg's Confederates arrived here expecting to link with Kirby Smith's force but Smith was elsewhere. The Confederates rested here while Bragg planned his next move.

2012: Watch for anniversary living history events at the Old Bardstown Village.

Sept 22, 1862 – Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation announced (DC)

Then: Finally seeing the opportunity following the close victory at Antietam, Lincoln issues the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

2012: The Antietam National Battlefield hosts speakers and living history programs Sept 22-23.

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