In early September 1862 thousands of Union soldiers huddled
within the defenses of Washington, disorganized and discouraged
from their recent defeat at Second Manassas. Confederate General
Robert E. Lee then led his tough and confident Army of Northern
Virginia into Maryland in a bold gamble to force a showdown that
would win Southern independence. The future of the Union hung in
the balance. The campaign that followed lasted only two weeks, but
it changed the course of the Civil War.
For the sesquicentennial of Antietam and the Maryland Campaign,
D. Scott Hartwig delivers a riveting first installment of a
two-volume study of the campaign and climactic battle. It takes the
reader from the controversial return of George B. McClellan as
commander of the Army of the Potomac through the Confederate
invasion, the siege and capture of Harpers Ferry, the day-long
Battle of South Mountain, and, ultimately, to the eve of the great
and terrible Battle of Antietam.
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