Transaction Fact Sheet: 2013 Antietam Campaign
Save 318 acres at 4 Battlefields
Match: Every $1 donated turns into $11 of battlefield land.
|Battlefield||# Acres||Cost||Matching Funds||Civil War Trust Portion|
Learn about the Historic Significance of each property:
The Battle of Harpers Ferry – 4 acres
September 12-15, 1862
Learning that the garrison at Harpers Ferry had not retreated after his incursion into Maryland, Lee decided to surround the force and capture it. He divided his army into four columns, three of which converged upon and invested Harpers Ferry. On September 15, after Confederate artillery was placed on the heights overlooking the town, Union commander Col. Miles surrendered the garrison of more than 12,000. Miles was mortally wounded by a last salvo fired from a battery on Loudoun Heights. General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson took possession of Harpers Ferry, then led most of his soldiers to join with Lee at Sharpsburg. After paroling the prisoners at Harpers Ferry, A.P. Hill’s division arrived just in time to save Lee’s army from near-defeat at Sharpsburg.
The property we are saving consists of two properties in the center of the Union position, fronting current modern Route 340. There is little doubt that if this dagger-shaped land is not saved now, it will surely be developed commercially, likely as a large gas station-restaurant-type facility, which would be an assault on the viewshed and historic importance of Harpers Ferry.
The Battle of South Mountain: Turner’s Gap – 298 acres
September 14, 1862
Lee’s bold plan of invasion was jeopardized on September 13 when a mislaid copy of his orders revealing the Confederates' plans and positions was given to Union commander Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. Emboldened by this intelligence, McClellan tried to force his army through three passes in the South Mountain range on September 14, 1862. Intense fighting drew increasing numbers of troops of both armies to Fox's, Turner's, and Crampton's gaps. General Joeseph Hooker, in command of the Union Army I corps, ascended the heights of Turner’s Gap. To his front were the scattered brigades of D.H. Hill.
The objective of General George Gordon Meade's division was the high peak which commanded the National Road and would render the Confederate position at Turner's Gap untenable. To guard the approach to this key terrain, Confederate General D. H. Hill assigned General Robert Rodes's Alabama brigade, of about 1,200 men. Rodes's brigade deployed directly across the land we are saving. They were attacked by Magilton's and Seymour's brigades of Meade's Pennsylvania Reserves, with support from Gallagher's brigade. This was ideal defensive terrain and it took hard fighting for Meade's Reserves to push Rodes's men back across the land we are purchasing. Meade's division ultimately seized this point which rendered Lee's position at Turner's and Fox's Gaps untenable and he withdrew his army to Sharpsburg during the night.
Since these heights were the key terrain in the Turner's Gap battle, the fighting that secured them for the Union army was some of the most significant of the Battle of South Mountain. Preserving the ground of that fighting is therefore integral to preserving the South Mountain battlefield.
The Battle of Antietam – 15 acres
Sharpsburg, September 16-18, 1862
The Army of the Potomac, under the command of George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against Robert E. Lee’s forces near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. The morning assault and vicious Confederate counterattacks swept back and forth through Miller’s Cornfield and the West Woods. Later, towards the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced the Confederate center after a terrible struggle. Late in the day, the third and final major assault by the Union army pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge at Antietam Creek. Just as the Federal forces began to collapse the Confederate right, the timely arrival of A.P. Hill’s division from Harpers Ferry helped to drive the Army of the Potomac back once more. The bloodiest single day in American military history ended in a draw, but the Confederate retreat gave Abraham Lincoln the “victory” he desired before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.
The property we are saving at Antietam was a significant Confederate artillery site, and saw crucial troop movements throughout the entire battle. It offers excellent direct views to most of the major landmarks of the battle, and must be preserved before it can be purchased by a developer and subdivided into home sites.
The Battle of Shepherdstown – 0.6 acres
September 19-20, 1862
On September 19, a detachment of General Fitz John Porter's V Corps pushed across the river at Boteler's Ford, attacked the Confederate rearguard commanded by Brig. Gen. William Pendleton, and captured four guns. Early on the 20th, Porter pushed elements of two divisions across the Potomac to establish a bridgehead. Hill's division counterattacked while many of the Federals were crossing and nearly annihilated the 118th Pennsylvania (the "Corn Exchange" Regiment). This rearguard action discouraged Federal pursuit. On November 7, President Lincoln relieved McClellan of command because of his failure to follow up Lee's retreating army.
This small parcel – containing a non-historic home – helps “fill in” a crucial gap in the land that the Civil War Trust has already saved at Shepherdstown, the final battle of the 1862 Maryland Campaign, protecting it from being re-developed with a new “McMansion” overlooking the Potomac River. Although 50 miles from Washington, DC, Shepherdstown, like Fredericksburg in Virginia, is increasingly populated by workers who commute via rail into the District.
Summary: Considering how much battle action each of these areas saw, and how many well-known Civil War officers were associated directly with these sites – George Meade, D.H. Hill, John B. Gordon, Joseph Hooker, Robert Rodes, A.P. Hill, G.T. Anderson, Dick Anderson, John Bell Hood, Shanks Evans, G.K. Warren – these 318 acres absolutely must be preserved to help tell the full story of the 1862 Antietam Campaign.
You can research even more in-depth resources on the 1862 Maryland Campaign on the Civil War Trust website at: http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/antietam/history/the-maryland-campaign-of-1862.html