This Day (Splitting Up Edition)

Published:September 9, 2012 by Brendan Wolfe

On this day 150 years ago, Confederate general Robert E. Lee issued Special Orders No. 191, instructing Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson to take about two-thirds of the Army of Northern Virginia and march south from Frederick, Maryland, to the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, which was threatening Lee’s supply line. This was important because a) Lee was taking a great risk in splitting up his army while in enemy territory; and b) one copy of the order would (awkwardly for Lee) turn up in the hands of Union general George B. McClellan.

Which mattered because … well, historians are still arguing over it. The point of departure in this particular discussion is a defense of General McClellan put forward by Tom Clemens, who contributed our entry on the Maryland Campaign.

IMAGE: See here.