Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide

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In September 1862 the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac conducted one of the truly great campaigns of the Civil War. At South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam, North and South clashed in engagements whose magnitude and importance would earn this campaign a distinguished place in American military history. The siege of Harpers Ferry produced the largest surrender of U.S. troops in the nation’s history until World War II, while the day-long battle at Antietam on September...
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Lincoln 2008 Softcover This Hallowed Ground: Guides to Civil War Battlefields Series. 320 pages. Softcover. Brand new book. UNITED STATES CIVIL WAR. In September 1862 the ... Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac conducted one of the truly great campaigns of the Civil War. At South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam, North and South clashed in engagements whose magnitude and importance would earn this campaign a distinguished place in American military history. The siege of Harpers Ferry produced the largest surrender of U.S. troops in the nation's history until World War II, while the day-long battle at Antietam on September 17 still holds the distinction of being the single bloodiest day of combat in American history. This invaluable book provides a clear, convenient, stop-by-stop guide to the sites in Maryland and West Virginia associated with the Antietam campaign, including excursions to Harpers Ferry and South Mountain. Thorough descriptions and analyses, augmented w Read more Show Less

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Overview


In September 1862 the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac conducted one of the truly great campaigns of the Civil War. At South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam, North and South clashed in engagements whose magnitude and importance would earn this campaign a distinguished place in American military history. The siege of Harpers Ferry produced the largest surrender of U.S. troops in the nation’s history until World War II, while the day-long battle at Antietam on September 17 still holds the distinction of being the single bloodiest day of combat in American history.

This invaluable book provides a clear, convenient, stop-by-stop guide to the sites in Maryland and West Virginia associated with the Antietam campaign, including excursions to Harpers Ferry and South Mountain. Thorough descriptions and analyses, augmented with vignettes and numerous maps, convey the mechanics as well as the human experience of the campaign, making this book the perfect companion for both serious students of the Civil War and casual visitors to its battlefields.

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Editorial Reviews

Suncoast Civil War Society Newsletter - James Durney

"A necessary addition to any Antietam library."—James Durney, TOCWOC, A Civil War Blog
Civil War Books and Authors blog - Andrew Wagenhoffer

"I've often expressed my admiration for Nebraska's This Hallowed Ground series of Civil War battlefield guides, and this latest volume by Ethan Rafuse continues the series's tradition of consistent quality in information and presentation. . . . I would recommend this volume as the best general use touring guide for this campaign."—Andrew Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors blog
Choice - M. J. Smith Jr.

"Rafuse provides a helpful guidebook dedicated to this single campaign arena. Employing the latest research, he guides the visitor (in person or by armchair) through all the various stops associated with the fighting at South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam."—M. J. Smith Jr., Choice
Timothy B. Smith

"Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide is a worthy continuation of the University of Nebraska Press series. . . . Meticulous maps as well as detailed sources and recommendations for further reading add to the experience of reading this volume."—Timothy B. Smith, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
Ted Alexander

“A refreshing and original study of America’s bloodiest day that is free of the clichés found in some previous works on this subject. Using original sources and consulting the latest scholarship on Antietam, Rafuse has written a superb battle and campaign study.”—Ted Alexander, chief historian of Antietam National Battlefield
Suncoast Civil War Society Newsletter

"Excellent guides at a reasonable price, written by experts on the battle."—James Durney, Suncoast Civil War Society Newsletter

— James Durney

Civil War Books and Authors blog

"I've often expressed my admiration for Nebraska's This Hallowed Ground series of Civil War battlefield guides, and this latest volume by Ethan Rafuse continues the series's tradition of consistent quality in information and presentation. . . . I would recommend this volume as the best general use touring guide for this campaign."—Andrew Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors blog

— Andrew Wagenhoffer

Choice

"Rafuse provides a helpful guidebook dedicated to this single campaign arena. Employing the latest research, he guides the visitor (in person or by armchair) through all the various stops associated with the fighting at South Mountain, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam."—M. J. Smith Jr., Choice

— M. J. Smith Jr.

Timothy B. Smith

"Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide is a worthy continuation of the University of Nebraska Press series. . . . Meticulous maps as well as detailed sources and recommendations for further reading add to the experience of reading this volume."

—Timothy B. Smith, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Ted Alexander

“A refreshing and original study of America’s bloodiest day that is free of the clichés found in some previous works on this subject. Using original sources and consulting the latest scholarship on Antietam, Rafuse has written a superb battle and campaign study.”

—Ted Alexander, chief historian of Antietam National Battlefield

Library Journal

Rafuse (military history, U.S. Army Command & General Staff Coll.; McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union) provides a detailed guide to the Civil War engagements of September 1862 as they may be understood by visiting the battlefield sites today. For each major battle, he describes the strategic and political situations leading up to the encounters. "Stops" indicate vantage points from which to view a site, while numerous black-and-white maps showing landmarks, roads, rivers, etc., as they are today indicate the locations of particular units in battle there. "What Happened" sections detail the battle while adding further vignettes, orientation, and directions. Each subsection is followed by an analysis, and "Further Reading" sections provide page-specific citations relevant to the site. Finally, appendixes for "Orders of Battle" and "Organization, Weapons, and Tactics," along with sourcing, wrap up the book. Debatably, the reverse chronological order is a flaw, but it may be forgiven considering that Antietam was the most significant battle of the three. Recommended for Civil War aficionados, especially those living near the battlefields.
—Matthew J. Wayman

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Ethan S. Rafuse is an associate professor of military history at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He is the author of several books, including McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, and is the coeditor of The Ongoing Civil War: New Versions of Old Stories.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Introduction xiii

How to Use This Guide xv

Antietam 1

The Road to Antietam 3

Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center 9

Stop 1 Battlefield Vista 10

1A Lee Arrives, September 15, 1862 12

1B Lee Deploys and Plans, September 16, 1862 15

1C Lee's Battle Plan, September 17, 1862 16

Stop 2 Pry House 19

2A The Federals Arrive, September 15, 1862 20

2B McClellan Deploys His Command, September 16, 1862 22

2C McClellan Plans and Manages the Battle, September 17, 1862 25

Overview of Hooker's Fight, 5:30-9:00 A.M. 27

Stop 3 North Woods 29

3A Hooker Moves into Position, September 16-17, 1862 30

3B The I Corps Attacks, 5:00-6:00 A.M. 32

Stop 4 East Woods 35

4A Twilight Skirmish, September 16, 1862, 4:30-7:00 P.M. 36

4B Ricketts's Battle, September 17, 1862, 5:00-7:00 A.M. 38

Stop 5 The Hagerstown Pike 42

5A Doubleday's Attack, 6:00-6:30 A.M. 43

5B Into the Cornfield, 6:00-7:00 A.M. 45

Stop 6 The Cornfield 48

6A Hood's Counterattack, 6:45-7:15 A.M. 49

6B Hood's Repulse, 7:15-7:45 A.M. 51

6C Hill Arrives, 7:45-8:30 A.M. 54

6D Greene's Advance, 8:15-9:00 A.M. 57

Overview of Sumner's Fight, 9:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M. 61

Stop 7 West Woods 63

7A Sumner Arrives, 7:00-9:00 A.M. 64

7B Into the West Woods, 9:00-9:30 A.M. 66

7C McLaws Arrives, 8:00-9:30 A.M. 68

7D "We must get out of this," 9:00-10:00 A.M. 70

7E Gordon's Charge, 9:45-10:15 A.M. 73

Stop 8 Dunker Church 75

8A Greene Seizes the West Woods, 9:00 A.M.-12:45 P.M. 76

8B Franklin's Battle, 1:00-3:00 P.M. 78

Stop 9Bloody Lane 80

9A French Arrives, 7:30-9:30 A.M. 81

9B French's Attack, 9:30-11:00 A.M. 83

9C The Union Breakthrough, 11:00 A.M.-1:30 P.M. 86

Overview of Burnside's Fight, 10:00 A.M.-6:00 P.M. 89

Stop 10 Burnside Bridge 91

10A "A Difficult Task," 9:00-11:15 A.M. 92

10B The Federal Success, 11:15 A.M.-1:30 P.M. 96

Stop 11 The IX Corps Attacks 99

11A The Federals Deploy, 1:00-3:00 P.M. 100

11B Christ's and Welsh's Advance, 3:15-4:30 P.M. 102

11C Rodman's Attack, 3:15-4:30 P.M. 104

Stop 12 Otto Cornfield 107

12A A. P. Hill Arrives, 3:00-4:15 P.M. 108

12B The 16th Connecticut, 3:45-4:30 P.M. 111

12C The Federals Hold the Bridge, 4:30-6:00 P.M. 113

Stop 13 Lee's Headquarters 115

13A Lee's Council of War, September 17, 1862 116

13B The Day After, September 18, 1862 119

Stop 14 National Cemetery 122

14A Lee Retreats, September 18-21, 1862 123

14B Antietam National Cemetery 125

Optional Excursion 1: Bloody Lane 127

Stop A Hill's Defense, 9:30 A.M. 128

Stop B Weber's and Morris's Attacks, 9:30-10:00 A.M. 130

Stop C Kimball's Attack, 10:00-10:15 A.M. 132

Stop D Anderson and Richardson Arrive, 10:00-11:15 A.M. 133

Stop E The Irish Brigade Attacks, 11:15-11:45 A.M. 136

Stop F The Sunken Road Is Captured, 11:45 A.M.-12:15 P.M. 138

Stop G The Union Attack Stalls, 12:15-2:00 P.M. 141

Optional Excursion 2: Burnside Bridge 147

Stop A Toombs's Position, 7:30-10:00 A.M. 148

Stop B The First Federal Assault, 10:00-10:30 A.M. 150

Stop C Nagle's Attack, 10:45-11:15 A.M. 152

Stop D The Federals Capture the Bridge, noon-1:00 P.M. 155

Stop E The Union Bridgehead, 1:00-3:00 P.M. 157

Stop F Rodman's March and Crossing, 10:30 A.M.-1:15 P.M. 158

Stop G The Federal Pause, 1:00-3:00 P.M. 161

Optional Excursion 3: Boteler's Ford 163

Stop A Recrossing the Potomac, September 18-19, 1862 165

Stop B The Battle of Shepherdstown, September 19-20, 1862 167

South Mountain 171

Overview of the Battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862 173

Stop 1 Fox's Gap 177

1A Cox's Attack, 5:00 A.M.-noon 178

1B Union Victory, noon-10:00 P.M. 181

Stop 2 Mt. Tabor Cemetery 185

2A Meade's Assault and Rodes's Defense, 4:30-6:00 P.M. 186

2B Hatch's Assault, 4:30-10:00 P.M. 190

Stop 3 Mountain House 192

3A Gibbon's Attack, 5:00-9:00 P.M. 193

Stop 4 Burkittsville 196

4A Franklin's Assignment, 5:00 A.M.-noon 197

4B The Federal Attack, noon-5:45 P.M. 198

Stop 5 Gathland State Park 201

5A Cobb's Defense, 5:45-6:00 P.M. 202

5B Last Stand at Crampton's Gap, 6:00-7:00 P.M. 204

5C Franklin Moves into Pleasant Valley, September 15, 1862 205

Harpers Ferry 207

Overview of the Siege of Harpers Ferry, September 13-15, 1862 209

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor Center 211

Stop 1 Harpers Ferry 212

1A Strategic Point and Deathtrap 213

1B The Confederates Converge on Harpers Ferry, September 10-13, 1862 215

1C The Hapless Defenders, September 10-13, 1862 218

Stop 2 Bolivar Heights 220

2A The Noose Is Closed, September 13, 1862 221

2B Confederate Bombardment, September 14-15, 1862 223

2C Harpers Ferry Falls, September 14-15, 1862 225

After Antietam 229

Appendix A Orders of Battle 233

Appendix B Organization, Weapons, and Tactics 243

Sources 255

For Further Reading 261

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