Friday, June 14, 2013

Goldsboro's Sacrifice at Battle of Antietam-- Part 3

Unfortunately for Robert E. Lee, Maryland's people did not flock to the colors.  Compounding the matter was that Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was steadily shrinking as troops, believing the war was in defense of their homeland disagreed with the decision to cross over into the Union. 

Estimates have Lee's force as having dwindled to 40,000 by the time it had reached Sharpsburg near Antietam Creek. (I'm wondering if the 40,000 number reflected the fact that A.P. Hill's men were at Harper's Ferry?)

Lee was opposed by his old adversary from the Peninsula Campaign, Union General George McClellan, who had been fired by Lincoln after that and reinstated after General Pope's defeat at the Second Battle of Manassas.  McClellan had about 80,000 troops, but wasn't moving fast as he thought Lee had 120,000 men.  As Lincoln said about McClellan, he had a case of the "slows."

Lees situation became even worse when a copy of his orders was discovered by an Indiana corporal (something about three cigars).  The orders contained Lee's battle plans which involved dividing his force into three columns.  Ever suffering from the "slows," McClellan didn't move on the fortunate find for 18 hours enabling Lee to bring his army together at Antietam Creek, where the two armies camped the night of September 16th.

Big Battle A-Brewing.  --Old Secesh



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