Antietam - Chaney 2 On the morning of September 15, 1862...

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Chaney 2 On the morning of September 15, 1862 word arrived to Robert E. Lee that Jackson had successfully raided Harper’s Ferry and that the supply lines for the Confederate army were now back open again. With this news Lee decided to make his stand against McClellan’s army of the Potomac at Antietam. He decided to halt his retreat and make his stand here for several reasons. The first of which was to allow the southerners more time to remove the captured goods from Harper’s Ferry. More time was needed due to the extensive amount of goods that were left there by the Union. Also, Boteler’s Ford, which is also called Blackford’s Ford provided access for Jackson’s 23,000 troops acroos the Potomac to rejoin Lee’s army. Lee also knew that a stand in Maryland would allow southerners time to collect the fall harvest in the Shenandoah Valley which would provide the Confederates with much needed food. Lastly, Lee believed that McClellan would not immediately attack the Confederates because of his cautious tendancies which would also allow the Confederate troops to unite under one common command in Lee. The only problem with making a stand here was that there was only one legitimate escape route over the Potomac which was at Boteler’s Ford. The Confederates set their line west of the Hagerstown Turnpike and it stretched four miles, twisting and turning in order to take advantage of the terrain. The position had very good defensive ground and the Confederates had their infantry and artillery well placed to fire into open fields while being protected by ravines, woods, and ridgelines. After coming out of the mountains and pursuing Lee, McClellan began to organize his troops just east of Antietam Creek when he realized that Lee appeared to be making a stand at Antietam. His army was divided into three subcommands, under Franklin, Sumner, and Burnside, for most of the march through Maryland. He decided to
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Chaney 3 abandon this system when he arrived at Antietam for reasons unbeknownst to anyone else. Due to the fact that Fighting Joe Hooker had lived up his nickname at Turner’s Gap and had gotten rid of any kinks that were previously there from McDowell, McClellan decided to spearhead the main attack on the Confederate left with Hooker’s First Corps. This made Hooker no longer under the command of Burnside. McClellan recognized Lee’s only escape route and this was the reason for his plan of attacking the Confederate left flank. Hooker was told by McClellan on the afternoon of September 16, 1862 to cross Antietam Creek using the Upper Bridge and to take position opposite the Confederate left flank. McClellan then ordered Mansfield’s Twelfth Corps to cross the Antietam late that night to reinforce Hooker. Sumner was then told to prepare to cross the Second Corps early on the morning of the seventeenth, where he would go into battle under the direction of Hooker. This order from McClellan put a ranking general in Sumner under the command of his subordinate Hooker. At 7:30 pm on the sixteenth McClellan ordered
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course HIST FS taught by Professor Algaa during the Fall '06 term at Allegheny.

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Antietam - Chaney 2 On the morning of September 15, 1862...

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