Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Lost Orders

Special Order Number 191, written by Confederate General Robert E Lee on September 9th 1862, outlined plans for the Maryland Campaign. The Order detailed the dividing of his army, with Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson going to Harpers Ferry, Major General James Longstreet north to Boonsboro and the rest of the army to Hagerstown. Confederate Adjutant Robert H Chilton made copies of #191 for each commander and their subordinate commanders. One of the copies which was made for Major General Daniel Hill, was in some way left at the Best Farm in Frederick County Maryland.

Union Private Barton W Mitchell of the 27th Indiana found the Orders on September 13th 1862, in an envelope wrapped around a bunch of cigars. Giving the find to his superiors Orders #191 made its way into the hands of Union Major General George B McClellan. McClellan having the Confederate troop movements was reported to have said, "Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobby Lee, I will be willing to go home." The two armies would meet at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, the bloodiest day of the war.

For further information about this subject check out this web site Special Order No 191

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