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1862 September 10: The Maryland Campaign Begins

September 10, 2012

Robert E. Lee’s Maryland Campaign—also known as the Antietam Campaign—occurred from September 4th through the 20th, 1862.  Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North will be repulsed by Union General George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, but not until the bloodiest single-day battle in American history had taken place near Sharpsburg, Maryland (the Battle of Antietam, September 17).

The Campaign begins with the subject of today’s lead article from The Prescott Journal of September 10, 1862.  On September 4, 1862, Lee began moving north through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, splitting his army in two. One portion, under Stonewall Jackson, headed for the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry.  Lee’s portion of the army was headed for Maryland, hoping to damage Northern morale in anticipation of the November elections.

This article appeared in both The Prescott Journal and The Hudson North Star of September 10, 1862.  As usual, the two papers put the paragraph breaks in different places and some information appears only in the North Star.  The headlines here are from the Journal, although the North Star‘s headlines are similar, except that the North Star reports in bold letters the DEATH OF GENERAL EWELL.  Confederate General Richard S. Ewell, you may remember, had his left leg amputated below the knee following the Battle of Groveton on August 29, but he did not die; he lived until 1872.

The two papers also have completely different endings, so we are breaking the article where they diverge and the two endings will both be posted tomorrow.

W  A  R     N  E  W  S  !

From Washington.
Jackson at Frederick with 45,000 Troops.

WASHINGTON Sept. 7. [Sunday]

(Times’ Correspondence.)—From one of the Times’ correspondents who has just returned from Poolesville [Maryland], we learn that on Thursday night the rebels commenced to cross with cavalry at or near the mouth of the Monocacy.  They brought over two regiments of cavalry and threw over a pontoon bridge and crossed with artillery, and threw our pickets towards Poolesville.

On Friday, about 11 o’clock, a column of infantry and artillery commenced to cross.  They were crossing in three places besides the bridge, the water being up to a man’s waist, and no resistance being offered to their crossing.

Some cavalry who were near them were attacked and chased.  The houses were closed and the streets blockaded by the citizens.  The farmers fired upon our flying cavalry as they passed.

About dusk General Lee rode into Poolesville at the head of four regiments of infantry, and guided by a farmer who has been professedly a Union man.  Their infantry went off to the left toward Frederick.  The rebel Generals Robert Lee, Hill1, Stewart [sic: J.E.B.Stuart], and Fitzhugh Lee2 are with the men.  Their wagon trains were crossing on Saturday and Sunday morning.

The farmers are bringing in hay and provisions of all kinds and giving them away.  There is not a loyal man, with one or two exceptions, there.  The women received them with flags and other tokens of joy.

SUNDAY, 11 P. M.—A following account has just been received from the upper Potomac, and is believed to be reliable.

The rebel force in the neighborhood of Darnstown [sic], estimated at 3,000, is composed entirely of cavalry.

A body of the enemy about 1,500 strong crossed the river last night at White’s Ferry, and are supposed to be en route for Frederick.

[This portion appears only in the North Star:  Our forces hold the bridge across Seneca Creek which was not injured by the rebels on their return from the recent dash on Darnestown.  It has been ascertained that Jackson crossed the Potomac opposite the north mouth of the bank of the Monocacy, and passed along the bank of the stream to Frederick.]

A rebel picket captured near Clarksburg to-day, says Jackson’s force is 45,000.

Advices from Gainesville, about two and a half miles beyond Bull Run, state that the rebel Gen. A. O. Hill3 arrived day before yesterday with 35,000 men from Richmond.

[This portion appears only in the North Star:  A division under General Walker4 has left Gainesville for Leesburg.]

My informant saw Jackson, Longstreet [James Longstreet], and Hill, at Gainesville, and counted 44 pieces of artillery, mostly rifled guns, none larger than 12 pounders.  [This portion appears only in the North Star: At Centreville he saw a few cavalry only, and a battery, which was returning from Bull Run, having, it is said, been taken by the Yankees away from Hill.]

One of the Times’ correspondents left the vicinity of Fairfax Court House about 4 o’clock this morning, and says our pickets are within four miles of that place.

The enemy’s pickets seem to be within abut a mile of Fairfax in a semi-circular shape on the southwest.  [This portion appears only in the North Star:  There has been no new action.]

[A paragraph that has nothing to do with the action in Maryland appears at this point in the North Star.]


(Tribune’s Correspondence.)—Rebel surgeons who amputated Gen. Ewell’s leg told one of our surgeons yesterday that Ewell had since died.

The order for a court of inquiry into the causes of recent events has been countermanded.

Acquia Creek was evacuated yesterday.  Fifty-eight cars were burned and a quantity of stores destroyed.

The engines and whatever else could be conveniently carried away were brought to the city.  Before the transports got out of sight a squad of rebel cavalry appeared a mile from the river and were scattered by shells from a gunboat.

1.  Both A. P. (Ambrose Powell) Hill and D. H. (Daniel Harvey) Hill were commanders in Lee’s Second Corps. As we will learn in a few paragraphs, A. P. Hill is in Richmond at this time, so this probably refers to D. H. Hill.
2.  Fitzhugh “Fitz” Lee (1835-1905) was a nephew of Robert E. Lee. He graduated from West Point and after practical experience as a cavalry officer he was an instructor of cavalry tactics at West Point when the Civil War broke out. He was a Confederate cavalry general during the Civil War, and after the Battle of Gettysburg General Stuart said he was “”one of the finest cavalry leaders on the continent.”
3.  This should be A. P. Hill, who was in Richmond. The North Star has A. O. Keil, but there wasn’t a Confederate general by that name.
4.  John George Walker (1821-1893) joined the U.S. Army in 1846 to fight in the Mexican War and remained in the service until he resigned to join the Confederate Army in 1861. In January 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general and served in the Peninsula Campaign. His division occupied Loudoun Heights, overlooking Harpers Ferry, until the garrison surendered on September 15. Walker will then serve under General Longstreet at South Mountain and Antietam.

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