SPECIAL ORDER 191: RUSE OF WAR

 

BY

 

  JOSEPH RYAN

 

Position Paper

Who Wrote The Lost Order?
A presentation in four parts

Supporting Documents Exhibit

Sharpsburg Campaign Maps

Photo Album

Summary Video Presentation


Introduction

 
 

On September 5, 1862 , General Lee crossed his army over the Potomac into Western Maryland. It had taken him four months to drive Lincoln 's armies out of Virginia and the effort had left his soldiers staggering. He needed to get them into the Shenandoah Valley, the only place within a radius of sixty miles from his position, after the fierce battle at Manassas, where they could find subsistence, rest, and reorganize. But, in turning his army back from the environs of Washington, it was impossible for him to lead it directly across the Blue Ridge into the Valley. Lincoln 's armies would consolidate under McClellan's command again and move toward Richmond, and he would have to hurry his soldiers across the wasteland of Northern Virginia to intercept them. Only one strategy would keep the enemy away from Richmond while he marched his army to the Valley and that was to move there indirectly, through Maryland.

Twelve days after General Lee's army entered Maryland , the Battle of Antietam was fought on Constitution Day. In the space of twelve hours, over five thousand soldiers, blue and gray, lost their lives in action and another twenty thousand were wounded. Soon after, General Lee's soldiers were safely in the Shenandoah Valley , camped along the Opequon, where they remained until the end of October.

Since the end of the Civil War, generations of historians, as well as popular Civil War writers, have offered the view that the Battle of Antietam happened by accident, that in entering Maryland General Lee had planned to carry the war into Pennsylvania, drawing McClellan after him, but someone—perhaps one of General Lee's division commanders, D.H. Hill—had negligently lost a copy of Lee's  movement order, which allowed McClellan to thwart Lee's plans and force him into battle at Sharpsburg. Yet, in light of all the available evidence, it seems reasonably clear that the Battle of Antietam happened by General Lee's design—a design that he formulated, in collaboration with Stonewall Jackson, while they were camped at Frederick, Maryland.

 

 1. General Lee's Purpose in Using Special Order 191 as a Ruse.

In 1867, the then editor of the Richmond Examiner, E.A. Pollard, published a book entitled, The Lost Cause. [1] In it, Pollard claimed that the loss of General Lee's movement order—Special Order 191 found by a Union soldier in a field at Frederick Maryland on September 13, 1862—happened because Confederate Major General Daniel Harvey Hill, "in a moment of passion had thrown the paper to the ground." [2] Incensed by Pollard’s slur on his military reputation, D.H. Hill published in a popular magazine called The Land We Love, in February 1868, an article entitled The Lost Dispatch. [3] In his article, Hill categorically denied having anything to do with the loss of Special Order 191. In support of his denial he offered the indisputable fact that he had in his possession a copy of the subject order, written in Stonewall Jackson's hand. [4] Jackson, Hill wrote, "did not trust it to be copied by his adjutant, and with care, I carried it in my pocket and did not trust it among my office papers." [5]

  Hills copy written by Jackson

Rejecting Pollard's supposition that General Lee's headquarters staff had prepared a copy of Special Order 191 for his attention, sending it to his camp by courier, Hill offered the affidavit of his adjutant, William Ratchford, in which Ratchford swore no such order arrived at Hill's headquarters. [6] In support of Ratchford’s statement, Hill offered the fact that, upon crossing the Potomac into Maryland at Cheek's Ford, his division advanced to Frederick under Jackson 's command; as a consequence, Hill wrote, "we drew all of our supplies and received all our orders for the next several days through Jackson. "Under such circumstance, Hill explained, "Official etiquette required [Special Order 191] to be sent to me through Jackson. " [7] "It [is] utterly incomprehensible that all orders should come through the proper channels, except this one, the most important of all," he wrote.

Having rebutted Pollard's charge that he was responsible for the loss of Lee's order, Hill went on to explain how the finding of the order induced McClellan to act in a manner beneficial to Lee. The text of the order specified that, as of September 13th, the “main body” of the Confederate Army, with all its supply, artillery, and ammunition trains, would be waiting behind South Mountain at Boonesboro for the detached commands of Jackson, McLaws, and Walker to return from the Virginia side of the Potomac, where they had gone four days before on a mission. [8] Yet, in fact, on September 13th, the only rebel infantry force occupying Boonesboro was D.H. Hill's lone division of five brigades. Proceeding the march of Hill's division to the SouthMountain, General Lee, in the company of Longstreet's command, [9] had camped at Boonesboro the night of September 10th as the order specified; but, on the following morning, he had gone with Longstreet's command to Hagerstown , thirteen miles to the northwest, ostensibly to gain possession of the town's supplies. The army's trains accompanied the march of these troops, and, reaching the vicinity of Hagerstown, the reserve artillery and ammunition trains, with much of the supply trains, were turned on to the roads leading to Williamsport and, by September 13th, they were crossing the Potomac, moving around toward Sheperdstown. [10]

When McClellan read the Lost Order, he naturally assumed that he would encounter a dangerously strong body of Lee’s troops as he passed over SouthMountain. As a consequence of this thinking, he delayed attacking in earnest the position D.H. Hill's division was defending—Turner's Gap on the road to Boonesboro—until he had concentrated almost four of his five corps in front of the mountain pass. "McClellan could have crushed my little squad in ten minutes but for the caution inspired in him by the belief that [Lee's main body] was there," Hill wrote. [11] After reading the Lost Order, McClellan had another good reason to cautiously approach the South Mountain, Hill offered—he had to worry that Jackson had returned from Martinsburg, where Lee's lost order specified he was sent, and was lurking somewhere on the other side of the mountain. [12]

On both these points, D.H. Hill's position is plainly correct. The text of Special Order 191 unambiguously specifies that Longstreet's command, with the army trains, was to camp at Boonesboro, and that Stonewall Jackson's command was to cross the Potomac and "take possession of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Martinsburg capturing the garrison there," and then return to Maryland to join Lee's "main body," either at Boonesboro or Hagerstown. [13] As Hill put it in The Lost Dispatch, "the apprehension that [Jackson] had returned from Martinsburg, as directed by Lee's order, and which he had time to do, made McClellan still more guarded in his approaches." [14]

At the time The Lost Dispatch was published, D. H. Hill sent a copy to General Lee, who was then acting as President of Washington College in Lexington,Virginia. [15] Lee soon found himself drawn into conversation about Hill's article with various persons connected to the college faculty. [16] After these conversations occurred, Lee wrote a personal letter to D.H. Hill, on February 21, 1868 . [17]

In his letter, professing to have no knowledge of how the order was lost, [18] General Lee rejected Hill’s position that the Army’s custom and practice did not require Lee's headquarters staff  to send a copy of the order directly to D.H. Hill. Lee wrote, without offering any objective basis—"[I]t was proper in my opinion that a copy of the order should be sent to you by the adjt General." [19]

Hill had written in italics: "In going to Harper's Ferry from Martinsburg instead of returning to Boonesboro, Jackson acted on his own responsibility and in violation of Lee's order." [20] To this, General Lee replied that Jackson was "by verbal instructions" placed in command of the expedition "to dislodge the Federal troops occupying Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry." [21] As verification of his statement, General Lee offered a quotation from Jackson 's official report of his operations: "In obedience to instructions from the Commg Genl, and for the purpose of capturing the Federal forces and stores then at Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry, my command left the vicinity of FrederickCity on the 10th". [22] Lee’s response, though, ignores the plain text of the order. No doubt Jackson did receive verbal instructions from General Lee to go to Harper's Ferry—at the time they were known to have conferred together in private [23] —but the indisputable fact remains that Jackson was in possession of a written order (albeit in his own hand) which specified that he march his command to Martinsburg, not to Harper's Ferry. [24] And, indisputably, a penciled copy of that particular order came into George McClellan's possession. [25]

General Lee claimed in his letter to Hill that the loss of the order was "a great calamity" to his campaign, writing that he had "supposed there would have been time for [the execution of Jackson's verbal orders] and for the army to have been reunited before Genl. McClellan could cross the SouthMountains ." [26]

Why did he suppose this? His letter offers as his reason that "Genl. Stuart who was on the line of the Monocacy reported that Genl McClellan had reached Rockville and was advancing very slowly with an extended front, covering the roads to Washington and Baltimore."But the question, as Hill saw it, was not how slow McClellan was moving before he read the lost order, but how slow he was moving after he read it. What possible basis did General Lee possess to think McClellan's advance from Frederick would be so slow that Harper's Ferry could be overrun (or the garrison induced to surrender), and Lee's detached columns reconcentrated in Maryland before McClellan's army came into the Cumberland Valley? Lee's letter to Hill does not say.

In opposition to Lee’s claim that he supposed he would have time to reconcentrate before McClellan engaged him, must be put what he knew on September 9. On September 9th, at Frederick, he was informed by Stuart that McClellan's army was beginning to march westward from Rockville on a broad front. The right wing under Burnside's command— Reno's and Hooker's corps—marching on the

National Road
so as to block an enemy advance that might materialize in the direction of Baltimore . McClellan's left wing, composed of Franklin's corps, supported by Couch's division, was marching west on the roads close to the Potomac so as to block an enemy advance in the direction of Washington. And his center, composed of Sumner's corps, the 12th corps, and Fitz John Porter's corps, was marching on the Georgetown turnpike leading to Urbana and Frederick, twenty-five miles away. From this, Lee knew that McClellan was expecting to be attacked as his front advanced, and Lee knew that as long as McClellan thought that, he would proceed cautiously. Once, though, McClellan realized that the enemy was retreating instead of advancing, Lee could expect that McClellan’s defensive-minded advance would shift to an offensive-minded one, the velocity of the march accelerating. For, to the mind of any competent general in McClellan’s shoes, an enemy in flight posed hardly the same threat as an enemy operating on the offensive. [27]

Given the depleted ranks of his army and the sorry condition of his supplies, General Lee, even as aggressive as he was, must have known he could not avoid retreating from Frederick . To make a stand on the line of the Monocacy, he would have needed twice, if not three times, the strength he possessed. To keep McClellan's vast array out of his rear, he would have had to extend his front to cover the National Road on his left and the mouth of the Monocacy on his right—a length of front entirely beyond the capacity of his army to acheive.

Knowing, then, that retreat from Frederick was mandatory, General Lee must have canvased his map, probably in the company of Jackson, looking for an available location in Maryland where natural barriers would make the turning of his flanks impossible. Plainly, he saw that that place was behind the Antietam at Sharpsburg —where he would have only a three mile front to defend, the shoulders of which would be pressed against the folds of the Potomac. But to fight a general battle in this position, the rebel army required a secure line of retreat to Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley, and the Union garrison at Harper's Ferry—10,000 soldiers and 1,200 cavalrymen—posed an unacceptable threat to it.

   Theater of Operations Map

For this reason, General Lee gave Jackson verbal instructions to capture Harper's Ferry and rejoin the rest of the army in Maryland . Making the decision to send Jackson however, to neutralize the Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry garrisons, did not solve the problem created by the direction the Union Army's advance would take, once word reached McClellan that the enemy was retreating. Once McClellan reached Frederick and found it abandoned by the enemy, he would certainly learn that the enemy had crossed the Potomac into Virginia and this fact would induce him to rush his army directly toward Harper's Ferry in order to get a powerful force quickly into the Shenandoah Valley, to pursue or break up the enemy's retreat in the direction of Winchester. [28] The three rebel divisions remaining with Lee behind SouthMountain —D.R. Jones's, John Hood's, and D.H. Hill's—could hardly be expected to paralyze the advance of McClellan's five corps toward Harper's Ferry. Something else was required to have any chance of doing that. All of this General Lee ignored in his letter to Hill.

Lee's letter does offer an argument of sorts for the proposition that McClellan's reaction to reading the lost order placed the Rebel Army in grave peril. The letter quotes a message McClellan had written to William Franklin at 6:20 p.m., on September 13th (Franklin was then encamped at Buckystown); but McClellan's message proves, not disproves, Hill's case that reading the lost order induced him to do exactly the opposite of what he would have done if the order had not been found.

McClellan wrote Franklin : "I have now full information as to movements and intentions of the enemy. Jackson has crossed the Upper Potomac to capture the garrison at Martinsburg, and cut off Miles's retreat towards the west. A division on the south side of the Potomac(Walker's) was to carry LoudounHeights, and cut off his retreat in that direction. McLaws, with his own division and the division of R.H. Anderson, was to move by Boonesboro and Rohrersville to carry MarylandHeights . . . . Longstreet was to move to Boonesboro, and there halt with the reserve trains, D.H. Hill to form the rear guard, Stuart's cavalry to bring up stragglers etc." [29]

Clearly, George McClellan could read Lee's English correctly; as a result, he formulated a plan of action which placed his main body in front of where Lee's lost order placed the rebel main body. [30] But while his main body was composed of thirty brigades he did not know that Lee's was composed of only fourteen. [31] Thinking Lee and Jackson intended to attack him from the direction of Boonesboro, McClellan assigned but three divisions to advance against the two rebel divisions, under McLaws's command, which had marched to MarylandHeights, ostensibly "to endeavor to capture Harper's Ferry." [32] The rest he massed in front of Turner’s Gap.

Direction, not speed, is the key to understanding Lee's ruse with the lost order. If he had not read the lost order, a reasonable general in McClellan's circumstances would have directed his main body on Rohrersville, instead of Boonesboro, with the plan of relieving Miles at Harper's Ferry and then pressing after the enemy wherever found. Through the 11th and 12th McClellan had received many reports that told him the enemy was apparently making a headlong retreat across the river: From Harper's Ferry, Colonel Miles telegraphed that a heavy column of troops was passing through the Cumberland Valley in the direction of Hagerstown; [33] from Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin came the advice that "Jackson is crossing at Williamsport and probably the whole army will be drawn from Maryland." [34] Even Lincoln, wiring McClellan that the enemy was crossing the Potomac, pleaded with McClellan at the time—"Please do not let him get off without being hurt." [35] In reaction to these reports, on the 12th at , McClellan wired Lincoln 's general-in-chief, Henry Halleck, "My columns are pushing on rapidly to Frederick. From all I gather, secesh is skedalleling, and I don't think I can catch him unless he is really moving into Pennsylvania. . . [36] I begin to think he is making off to get out of the scrape by recrossing the river at Williamsport. . . I shall endeavor to cut off his retreat. My movements tomorrow will be dependant upon information received during the night." [37] By this time, the advance guard of McClellan's right wing had entered Frederick.

Under the circumstances known to McClellan the evening of the 12th, there was only one way his army could possibly have caught the enemy in retreat: Its main body—at least three, if not four, of its five corps—must march on the morrow in the direction of Crampton's Gap in the South Mountain, pass into the narrow enclave called Pleasant Valley and move in the direction of the Potomac; the remainder of the army to march west on the National Road to guard the main body's left flank and rear from possible attack coming from the direction of Turner's Gap, six miles to the north of Crampton's. Once on the Virginia side of the river, McClellan's columns would then march into the Shenandoah Valley and converge on the enemy's line of retreat toward Winchester, with the rear guard of the army, passing Turner's Gap into the Cumberland Valley, closing up by passing the Potomac at Shepherdstown.

On the 13th, however, having reached Frederick and read Lee's lost order, McClellan did exactly the opposite of this. As General Lee's letter to Hill only partially quotes, he messaged to Franklin, at "The whole of Burnside's command march. . . followed by Sumner, the 12th Corps and Sykes (division of Porter's corps) upon Boonesboro to carry that position. . . . Without waiting for the whole of [Couch's] division to join you, you will move at day-break by Jefferson and Burkittsville upon the road to Rohrersville. . . in order to cut off the retreat of or destroy McLaws's command. . . If you effect this. . . [38] you will then return to Boonesboro if the main column has not succeeded in its attack. If it has succeeded, take the road to Sharpsburg and Williamsport, in order to cut off the retreat of Hill and Longstreet towards the Potomac, or to prevent the repassage of Jackson. My general idea is to cut the enemy in two." [39]

But for his choice of deployment, George McClellan might have achieved his objective of cutting the enemy in two. Instead, by late evening on the 14th, he found himself only in possession of the SouthMountain gaps, and the next morning—Harper's Ferry having surrendered—his main body took possession of Boonesboro and cautiously began to follow the enemy toward Sharpsburg . Induced by Lee's lost order not only to direct the weight of his forces away from Crampton's Gap—the gateway to Pleasant Valley and the Potomac crossing at Harper's Ferry—but also to delay launching an overpowering attack on D.H. Hill's position at Turner's Gap, McClellan gave Lee time to clear his rear of the enemy and concentrate for battle behind the Antietam. Time Lee would not have had, but for the lost order.

 2. How Lee's Order Was "Lost"

According to the historical evidence, sometime close to on September 13, 1862, a Union soldier, Private (perhaps Corporal) Barton Mitchell of the 27th Indiana Regiment, Gordon's Brigade, 12th Corps, was engaged in stacking arms with his comrades at Frederick, when he discovered Lee's lost order lying on the ground. The first public description of this occurrence was given by Silas Colgrove, the 27th Indiana's war time colonel, to the editors of the Century Magazine, in 1886. [40] Colgrove wrote: "Within a few minutes of halting, the order was brought to me by First Sergeant John M. Bloss and Private B.W. Mitchell, of Company F, who stated that it was found by Private Mitchell near where they stacked arms. When I received the order it was wrapped around three cigars, and Private Mitchell stated that it was in that condition when found by him." [41] According to his letter to the Century editors, Colgrove carried the found order directly to the headquarters of the 12th Corps's temporary commander, Alpheus S. Williams, and handed it to Williams's adjutant, Colonel Samuel E. Pittman. Pittman showed it to Williams who signed a message to McClellan—"I enclose a special order. . . which was found on the field. . . It is a document of interest." [42] By Williams's choice of language one may reasonably assume his message to McClellan, along with the found order, was placed in an envelope. Pittman then had a courier carry the documents to McClellan's headquarters and hand them to McClellan's adjutant, Seth Williams. [43] When Lee's lost order was handed to McClellan he reportedly exclaimed in the presence of civilians—"Now I know what to do." [44]

  McClellan's copy  Three Cigars

How General Lee's order was lost has been most often explained as happening by accident; as the prolific civil war writer, Stephen W. Sears, most recently put it: "Far and away the most likely explanation for the loss of order 191 is also the simplest—that it was accidentally dropped by a courier from Lee's headquarters while on his way to deliver it to D.H. Hill." [45] However, when the totality of the available evidence is marshalled, it is impossible to ignore the probability that Special Order 191 was intentionally lost by General Lee, in order to induce McClellan to throw the weight of his army against South Mountain's Turner's Gap instead of Crampton's.

Besides the practical situation General Lee's army was in, the relevant circumstances that establish the probable truth of the matter are these: staff procedure, the cigars, weather, the stationer's stamp, Lee's reaction to notice of the order's loss, and, finally, the issue of identifying the writer of McClellan's copy. From the proof of these facts the conclusion necessarily follows that it is more likely than not true that the order was dropped near Private Barton Mitchell's side, by a civilian passing casually through the field the men of the 27th Indiana Regiment were settling in to on September 13, 1862 .

A. Staff Procedure

The officers whose positions placed them at General Lee's headquarters during the Antietam Campaign fall into three distinct categories: the general staff of the army, General Lee's personal staff, and those officers attached to his headquarters who were field agents of the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office at Richmond. The members of Lee's general staff—the chiefs of the various departments of his army such as artillery, commissary, quartermaster etc—were not involved in the preparation, record keeping and transmission of movement orders addressed to commanders of infantry units. The members of Lee's personal staff and that of the Adjutant General's attached staff had mixed involvement with the promulgation of such orders. The names of the officers who composed Lee's personal staff at the time are in order of descending rank: A.L. Long, Lee's military secretary, Walter Taylor, aide and sometime adjutant, and aides Charles Marshall and Charles A. Venable. The members of the attached Adjutant General's staff were Robert Chilton, Assistant Adjutant General, and his aides, A.P. Mason and T.M.R. Talcott.

The Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States specify the following with regard to "special orders." Such orders "relate to the march of some particular corps" and "are not published to the whole command." An "important special order must be read and approved by the officer whose order it is, before it is issued by a staff officer." Such orders are generally put "through the office of the Adjutant or Adjutant and Inspector General of the Command" and they "are transmitted through all intermediate commanders in the order of rank." In contrast to "special" orders, "general" orders "announce. . . whatever may be important to make known to the whole command." [46] "During marches and active operations, all orders will be either sent direct to the troops, or the respective commanders will be informed when to send to headquarters for them." "Copies of all orders of the commanders of armies. . . will be forwarded at their dates, or as soon thereafter as practicable, in separate series, on full sheets of letter paper to the Adjutant and Inspector General's (General Samuel E. Cooper's) office" in Richmond." [47]

In the case of Lee's lost order, conformance with the substance of the regulations quoted above was accomplished by General Lee's personal and attached staff officers in the following manner. First, on September 9th, A.P. Mason wrote a document that he entitled "Special Order 191," which contains the first two paragraphs of the eventual full text of order 191. This two paragraph document contains the actual signature of Robert H. Chilton and was addressed to the Adjutant General's office in Richmond . [48] The obvious function of this document was to establish the fact that, on September 9th, General Lee had ordered his long time aide, Walter Taylor, to leave the army and travel to Virginia, ostensibly on a mission to persuade President Davis, who was then at Gordonsville attempting to come up to the army, to go back to Richmond. [49] Second, at some unverifiable moment in time, A.P. Mason wrote the complete official record copy of Special Order 191—the full text is ten paragraphs—into Robert Chilton's bound letterbook. At the signature line of this document, A.P. Mason wrote "Adjutant General." [50]

Last, someone, perhaps, Charles Marshall, beginning with the third paragraph, wrote a copy of order 191 in ink. This document is plainly signed by Robert H. Chilton. This document was enclosed with a letter, written in Marshall 's hand, dated September 12th, and addressed by General Lee to President Davis. It was delivered by courier to Davis . When Davis fled Richmond in 1865, the letter and enclosure traveled with him to Georgia where it was left for some time in a trunk. [51] These three documents—A.P. Mason's two paragraph copy, the eight paragaph copy (Special Order 190), and Chilton's letterbook copy—constitute the only known copies of Special Order 191 created by the ordinary procedures of General Lee's personal staff or the Adjutant General's attached staff.

There is little evidence that any copy of Special Order 191 [52] was delivered to the subordinate commanders who supposedly received it—Longstreet, Jackson , McLaws, Walker and D.H. Hill. Longstreet's chief of staff, Moxley Sorrel, wrote, "[The order] was so full that when a copy came in my possession I wondered what could be done with it in event of my falling into the enemy's hands." [53] Longstreet, in an article published in 1886, in the Century Magazine, said about the lost order only this—"Ordinarily, upon getting possession of such an order, the adversary would take it as a ruse de guerre, but it seems that General McClellan gave it his confidence." [54] In his autobiography published in 1896, Longstreet added this, "The copy sent to me was carefully read, then used as some persons use a little cut of tobacco, to be assured that others could not have the benefit of its contents." [55] John Walker, whose division by the order was sent to LoudounHeights , wrote, in an article in the Century Magazine, [56] that he received verbal orders while at Frederick on the 9th, "to return to the mouth of the Monocacy and destroy the aqueduct of the Chesapeake & OhioCanal . . . Retracing our steps toward the Potomac, at 10:00 p.m. of the 9th my division arrived at the aqueduct [and] about 3:00 a.m. on the 10th went into bivouac about two miles west of the Monocacy. Late in the afternoon a courier from General Lee delivered me a copy of [order 191] directing me to cooperate with Jackson and McLaws in the capture of Harper's Ferry." Finally, of the four commanders, only Lafayette McLaws makes reference in his official report to order 191, saying merely that he moved his command "in compliance" with its requirements. [57] From these meager snippets of unsworn testimony, which constitute all that exists in the record, it is a strain to draw more than that communications were transmitted which gave to each commander an understanding of the role he was to play in the movement about to commence. And two of the four, Longstreet and Jackson, received their instructions from Lee directly.

As for Lee's staff officers, they tell us nothing about their personal involvement in the creation and transmission of Special Order 191 to the field commanders. The evidence shows that, of the officers on Lee's personal staff, Charles Marshall wrote most of Lee’s letters while at Frederick and Hagerstown . After the war, Marshall made frequent public appearances where he gave addresses on the subject of General Lee's operations, and he prepared a manuscript which, after his death, became a published book in 1927. Yet he never said or wrote anything which revealed his direct knowledge about the matter.

In a letter sent to D.H. Hill, in November 1867, Marshall wrote, "How the order was lost I am wholly unable to conjecture. . . I can only say that the army then not being organized into corps, it was a frequent occurrence to communicate general orders for movements of the whole army to divisions commanders. . . Such orders were usually copied by the staff, one getting copied into the Confidential Book, to be copied into the general order book post factum. They were sent out by orderlies who were required in cases of moment to bring back envelopes or some other receipt from the officers to whom they were sent." [58] In Marshall's manuscript, published as a book twenty years after his death by British major general, Frederick Maurice, we are offered only this snippet: ". . . as yet unexplained, a copy of the general order directing movement of the whole army. . . fell into the hands of General McClellan." [59] Telling us that a custom existed, in the creation and transmission of orders, tells us nothing we don't already know from reading the Confederate Army's Regulations concerning the promulgation of orders. [60] Marshall tells us nothing about who, among Lee's staff officers, actually supervised the recording and transmission of the order to the field. [61]

Frederick Maurice became the editor of Marshall 's manuscript, in 1927, because he had two years before published a book about General Lee. [62] Reading Maurice's book about Lee, Marshall 's eldest son, a New York lawyer named H. Snowdon Marshall, wrote to Maurice in England and offered his father's manuscript. In his letter Marshall's son said: "When I read your book I heard my father talking again, and it seems to me that you divined a trait in General Lee, which had a tendency to obscure the truth of history. . . I am almost bewildered at the startling accuracy with which you found your path through this camouflage of suppression of actual facts. I think [my father] had in mind the feeling that to print indisputable facts which had been edited out of the reports by General Lee would be a disloyalty." [63] Clearly, if any one besides Taylor would have known who supervised the transmission of Special Order 191 to the field, it was Charles Marshall. Yet, the language he used in his letter to D.H. Hill makes plain he did not know.that person's identity.

The other staff officers, too, refused to reveal who was responsible. Walter Taylor, who most certainly would have known, had Lee not ordered him away from Frederick on the 9th, (two paragraph version) published two books in his life time. In the first, published in 1878, he wrote, "It was the custom to send copies of such orders, to the commanders of separate corps or divisions only." [64] "It is impossible to explain how a copy addressed to D.H. Hill was thus carelessly handled or lost." [65] In a footnote, though, Taylor pointed the finger at Charles Venable, writing—Venable always contended "One copy was sent directly to Hill from headquarters." [66] A.L. Long, writing in his biography of Lee, in 1886, repeated this same one line quotation which he attributed to Venable. [67] For Charles Venable's part, nothing can be found in the historical record that acknowledges this hearsay testimony as his own. [68]

As for Robert Chilton, who signed the two copies of the order that were transmitted to Richmond, he offers, unknowingly or not, information that reveals the probable truth of the situation. In 1874, in writing a reply to an inquiring letter received from Jefferson Davis, he wrote speaking of Hill: "Not having as I have told you kept a journal, I could but give my recollection, viz. that they were sent to all division commanders, entrusted with special duties, his at the Monocacy, that couriers were required to bring back envelopes or other evidences of delivery, failure in doing this to lead to a duplicate order to ensure its receipt. . . but I could not of course say positively that I had sent any particular courier to him after such a lapse of time." [69] Chilton's statement does speak to his knowledge of a courier being sent with the order to Hill, but he puts Hill at the Monocacy when, in fact, it was John Walker who was at the Monocacy and Walker acknowledges the receipt of his marching orders by courier. Twelve years after the event, it seems obvious that Chilton had apparently confused Hill with Walker. [70] Corroborating this is the evidence which shows General Lee was prone to give verbal instructions directly to his subordinate commanders—he admits this, Longstreet and Walker directly confirm it—and, thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Walker, as the only officer of the five officers involved to be actually detached from the main body of the army on the 9th, should have received his marching orders by courier.

What can reasonably be deduced, therefore, from the known evidence of General Lee's staff procedure, is that two copies, each containing partial text of Special Order 191, were written in pen, and that Robert H. Chilton signed his name to them. Despite the fact that one or more of Lee’s staff officers should have known whether a copy of the general movement part of the order was actually sent to D.H. Hill's headquarters, they offer us nothing which reasonably can be relied on as evidence establishing this was done.

B. Other Circumstances

If the evidence is limited to proof of General Lee's staff procedure, the question of whether the lost order was intentionally given to McClellan might reasonably be in doubt, but there is evidence of undisputed facts which shifts the balance of probability clearly in favor of a finding of intent. First, there is the fact Colonel Colgrove, in 1886, stated that when he received the lost order from Mitchell and Bloss it was "wrapped around three cigars." Colgrove's credibility, here, is not diminished by any evidence of personal motive—he had nothing to gain by fabricating the fact of the cigars. Bloss, who did have something to gain—status as the actual finder of the order—repeatedly corroborated Colgrove's statement in later years. McClellan's copy of the lost order, as examined in the Library of Congress, clearly shows creases where it had been folded for many years into a shape 3" X 5." Three cigars can easily be laid side by side upon the surface of the folded paper and tied by a string. Laid on the ground in this configuration, what Barton Mitchell would have seen is the cigars and, if they looked unspoiled by the weather, how likely would it have been for a reasonable person in his shoes not to stoop to pick them up? The existence of the cigars could reasonably have had no other purpose than to function as the means of attracting the Union soldier's attention to the object lying near his feet. There simply can be no other rational explanation: The suggestion that a courier, traveling the short distance from Lee's headquarters camp to D.H. Hill's, would have connected cigars somehow to the paper he was carrying to Hill smacks of incredibility.

Second, there is the fact that the fields around Frederick were inundated with rain from a storm all day on September 11th, lasting at least into the night. Heros Von Borcke, JEB Stuart's chief of staff at the time, wrote in 1866 of September 11th: "On the morning of the 11th we received marching orders. . . . A steadily falling rain, which gave us some discomfort in the saddle, added much to the dejection of spirits with which we got in readiness to move away from Urbana. " [71] According to a Union soldier, "steady rain" fell the evening of the 11th; "The storm stretched from Frederick to Washington. " [72] And Alfred Pleasonton, McClellan's cavalry commander is reported as saying, "I entered Frederick (on the 12th) about " and "the roads were muddy from the previous day's rain. [73] If one assumes, as all civil war writers have, that the lost order was written and sent by courier to Hill on September 9th, or at the latest the morning of the 10th, the paper and cigars must have been lying in the field where they were found for at least three, if not four, nights and three and a half days. McClellan's copy of the order—as it exists today in the Library of Congress—shows a small splotch on its surface; hardly sufficient evidence to infer the fact that the paper had been exposed to the weather for such a length of time, much less that it had been lying on the grass of a farm field during a twelve hour rain storm.

Magnifying the incredulity of arguing otherwise, is the fact that, on the 12th, the corps of the Union Army pressed Stuart's cavalry divisions back from Sugar Loaf Mountain, on the left of McClellan's advance from Urbana, and back from New Market on the right—the advance guard of the 9th corps, in the early afternoon of the 12th, tramped across the Monocacy on the National Road and skirmished with Stuart's cavalry into the streets of Frederick. These troops went into camp in the fields skirting the suburbs of the town and, by evening, were joined by the divisions of Sumner's corps, which crossed the Monocacy between the Urbana Turnpike and the National Road, and went into camp in the fields adjacent to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad spur which runs into Frederick on the south side of the National Road. [74] Given the muddy condition of the fields and the tramping of men and horses, the movement of artillery and wagons, it is hardly reasonable to think Lee's lost order could have survived in the condition it now exists. Therefore, the evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that the order could not have been "lost" in the field until sometime after D.H. Hill's division was long gone from Frederick . [75] Which means necessarily that it was not lost by a courier sent from Lee's headquarters to Hill's.

And, in weighing the scales, the documented reaction of Lee to news of the order's loss cannot be ignored. Stephen Sears has written about this: "Remarkably, there is no record of General Lee or anyone at his headquarters ever investigating the matter, even after, some months later, it was learned that a copy of S.O. 191 had reached enemy hands." [76] Months later? The indisputable evidence is, by General Lee's own admission, that he was on actual notice, no later than the early morning hours of September 14th, that McClellan had the Lost Order in his hands. [77] Yet, the knowledge of this did not induce General Lee to order his "main body" to flee Maryland and rendezvous with the rest of his army in Virginia . Instead, he sent his trains across the Potomac at Williamsport and marched in plain view of Pleasonton's scouts across the CumberlandValley to support D.H. Hill's defense of Turner's Gap. The inference from this is obvious: there was nothing to investigate. He had tricked McClellan into thinking, throwing his weight against Crampton's Gap would expose him to an attack from Lee's main body at Turner's Gap, and now Lee had a good chance to draw McClellan into battle at Sharpsburg.

C.    Who Wrote McClellan's Copy?

Given the totality of the circumstances shown by the evidence so far, the presumption must be that McClellan's copy was lost no earlier than on September 12th and no later than on September 13th. But who wrote it? In resolving this question, the opinion of a so-called "handwriting expert" is not required. As a federal court has explained, [78] there is a lack of empirical evidence that such an "expert" is any more proficient than a lay person to correctly match handwriting samples, because such opinions constitute "nothing more than a set of subjective observations and little different from an unsupported opinion as to the fact of authorship of a document." [79] Leaving the matter then to lay persons to decide, the first task is to examine the writings of those most likely to have written the text of McClellan's copy; under the standard theory of the order's accidental loss, these persons would be the members of Lee's personal and attached adjutant general staff; i.e., A.L. Long, Walter Taylor, Charles Marshall, Charles Venable, Robert Chilton, A.P. Mason and T.M.R. Talcott. [80]

A two-thirds majority of reviewers, who compare the handwriting of these candidates with the writing of McClellan's copy, will probably distinguish the latter example from the former examples easily. (See four part series: Who Wrote The Lost Order?) Since the handwriting of none of these candidates compare favorably with the writing on McClellan's copy, the search for its authorship must expand to include General Lee and his closest confidants—Stonewall Jackson and JEB Stuart. Stonewall’s handwriting is plainly not a probable match. (See Hill's copy of S.O. 191 written in Jackson's hand.)

As for General Lee, the naysayers will point to the fact that as of September 9th, his hands were injured, presumedly making it impossible for him to write. [81] Nonetheless, a comparison of the writing in his 1868 letter to D.H. Hill with the writing in Mac’s copy of Special Order 191, reveals strong similarities of writing style: For example, the peculiar writing of the “F” in Harper’s Ferry, along with the shaping of H’s, C’s and D’s, ought to make one hesitate before ruling Lee out. It is possible, given its appearance, that Mac’s copy was in fact the first draft of the order, a draft made by Lee which Jackson copied from.

As for JEB Stuart, [82] according to his chief of staff, Heros Von Borcke, his headquarters on the afternoon of September 11th was located, "about a half mile from [Frederick] at the farm of an old Irishman." [83] On the next day, the 12th, all of Stuart's cavalry, except for the rear guard and Fitz Lee's brigade, which was on an unexplained mission in McClellan's rear, had moved west of Frederick and occupied Braddock's Gap in the Catocin Mountain range. [84] Stuart himself, in the company of other officers, spent most of day of the 12th in Frederick, at the residence of William R. Ross, a well known and wealthy lawyer who was pro-South in sympathy. Earlier, during the rebel army's stay at Frederick, Stuart as well as other rebel officers had frequented lawyer Ross's house as the following narrative of one of JEB Stuart's aides, W.W. Blackford, illustrates: "In passing through Frederick I called to take leave of my kind friends, the Rosses, at whose house my father lived while studying law in Mr. Ross's office. . . I had called to see them several times since crossing the Potomac . . . (On the 12th) [w]e had a cavalry engagement in the streets. . . One of the ladies at Mr. Ross's at the last moment ran out as we were taking leave under skirmish fire. . . ." [85] Heros Von Borcke writes of the time dinner on the 12th: "General Stuart rode with his staff into Frederick where we had been invited by several prominent citizens to dine." [86] Around the afternoon of the 12th, after the skirmish with Union cavalry in the Frederick streets, Stuart vacated the place in the company of Von Brocke and went into the MiddletownValley . [87]

Clearly JEB Stuart had the opportunity, after September 10th, to lose McClellan's copy of Lee's order in the field where it was found by Private Mitchell; but when examples of Stuart's written messages from the field are compared to McClellan's copy, [88] the writings do not appear to match. [89]

  Stuart note

If neither General Lee nor JEB Stuart wrote the Lost Order, then who could the writer have been? The known circumstances suggest the possibility it could have been General Lee’s eldest son, Custis Lee. In 1905, Dr. Erwin Newton, a member of the staff of the Army Surgeon General, LaFayette Guild, wrote Walter Taylor and said, with respect to the Sharpsburg Campaign, “I recall with pleasure the name of Custis Lee among Lee’s staff.” [90] The statement implies that Newtonsaw Custis at Frederick . During the war Custis Lee wrote a 300 page manuscript about the life of General Lee’s father, “Light Horse Harry” Lee. The manuscript is now at the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond . All of the pages show the Platner & Porter Manufacturing Co.’s stationers stamp, as does the Lost Order. Custis was a member of President Davis’s entourage. When Davis began his trip toward Maryland , someone carried ahead of him his letter to General Lee, announcing his coming. The letter arrived on September 9th, and Lee chose Walter Taylor to carry his reply back to Davis . Did Custis deliver Davis ’s letter to Lee? Was he present with his father at Frederick ? Did he supply the paper stock used to write the Lost Order? Does his authenticated handwriting, examples created at or near the 9th, show a probable match? The Virginia Historical Society does not allow Custis’s manuscript pages to be copied, so they are unavailable here. The search continues.

Other circumstances provide clues to the timing of the order’s creation, and the manner of its use as a template. First, the writer of McClellan's copy, in writing the September date of the order, wrote first the number "1," not the number "9." He then corrected the date, not by using an eraser, but by interlining. Next to the marked over number "1," the writer then wrote the number "9." This suggests that the text of McClellan's copy was written sometime after September 9th. Second, side by side comparison of the copy labeled 190 and Chilton's letterbook copy (written in A.P. Mason's hand) with D.H. Hill's copy (written in Jackson 's hand) and McClellan's copy, show that McClellan's copy was copied from Jackson's . The former two copies use the same phrase "in intercepting the retreat" in paragraph six; the latter two copies use the same phrase "and intercept the retreat" in paragraph six. Either the writer copied McClellan's copy from Jackson's, or Jackson copied his from the writer’s. Last, of all the known messages, letters, and orders that came out of Lee's headquarters during the Antietam campaign, none of them contains the stationer's embossed stamp that is found in the upper left hand corner of McClellan's copy. Therefore, the paper the writer used probably came from a non-headquarters source.

The stationer's embossed stamp identifies the paper of McClellan's copy as manufactured by the Platner & Porter Manufacturing Co. of Farmington,Connecticut . This company was in business manufacturing such paper from 1848 to about 1880. [91] According to Jesse R. Lankford, Jr, North Carolina 's State Archivist, this paper was routinely used by North Carolina's civil war government and reams of it can be found in the state archives. At the Virginia Historical Society, in Richmond,Virginia, several hundred pages of this paper can be found, comprising an original manuscript written by General Lee's eldest son, Custis Lee, in 1867. [92] And Platner & Porter paper was used by Walt Whitman in his 1862 notebook as he followed the Union Army to Antietam. [93] Since none of the orders, dispatches and letters written by General Lee, during the Sharpsburg Campaign, are found on Platner & Porter paper stock, the conclusion seems reasonable to reach that the paper used to write Mac’s copy of the lost order came from a non-headquarters source.  

Platner & Porter Manufacturing watermark

Finally, there is the question of how the lost order was dropped in the field where it was found. Since Stuart was still at Frederick as late as the afternoon of the 12th, it is possible that he could have dropped the order and cigars in the field at that time, anticipating that the approaching Ohio troops of Reno's corps would find it. [94] Stephen W. Sears, in his last word on the subject, takes the position that the discovery of Special Order 191 "represented the workings of pure chance"—that the order and the cigars "could just as easily have been overlooked as it lay in that clover field." From this logic Sears argues that the order's finding was as much an accident as its loss. [95] An alternative, though, that Sears's logic suggests, is that the order had to be lost under circumstances which guaranteed it would be found.

Since Stuart was forced from Frederick the afternoon of the 12th it hardly would have seemed certain to him that his dropping of the order would result in its being found by on the 13th. From the point of view of a person in his shoes, the idea of dropping the order to the ground in the face of the oncoming horde of Burnside's soldiers, horses, cattle, wagons and artillery, would be silly. There was only one sure way of guaranteeing that the dropping of the order would be discovered and that was to drop it in the presence of the soldiers who were to find it.

Who the person was by which this was done the evidence does not exactly say. But that a civilian could easily have planted it in the vicinity of Company's F's stacking of arms the evidence does say: for, "[t]he town jubilantly welcomed the liberators. `Handkerchiefs are waved, flags are thrown from Union houses, and a new life infused into the people,'. . . The troops responded with volleys of cheering, and regimental bands blared martial music. . . `the place was alive with girls going around the streets in squads waving flags, singing songs and inviting the soldiers in for hot supper. . . [T]he next day (the 13th) the people began to cook for us, bringing out as we passed, cake, pie and bread.' . . . It was like a gigantic Fourth of July celebration. . . ." [96] And, in the excitement, someone walked by Mitchell and let fall from his hand the folded paper of the order wrapped around cigars.

If the issue of this had been raised at the time, a prime suspect might well have been the Reverend Doctor, John B. Ross. Before assuming the pastorate of Frederick 's First Presbyterian Church, in 1856, Dr. Ross had pastored for several years in Roanoke,Virginia, and was personally acquainted with Stonewall Jackson. According to Henry Kyd Douglas, one of Jackson 's aides, Jackson met privately with Ross at the church Manse the morning of September 10th. [97] In a manuscript the UNC Press used to publish I Rode With Stonewall, in 1940, Douglas had written—"The General was anxious, before leaving Frederick , to see the Reverend Dr. Ross, a personal friend, and I took him to the house." [98] Two weeks after the battle of Antietam, Dr. Ross resigned his position as pastor and left Frederick and never returned. As the church's historians have reported it, during September 1862 "Rev. Ross was visited by his personal friend, Stonewall Jackson. In (October) 1862, the work of pastoring became so difficult and discouraging for Dr. Ross that he gave it up." [99]   Jackson could have taken the draft of the order made by Lee and given it to Ross on the 10th.

3.     The Truth of History Revealed?

Did General Lee intentionally lose his order, or was it an accident as the historians and civil war writers generally say? To answer the question, one must rely on the evidence which has more convincing force than that opposed to it. Here, the tactical realities of the ground, the unsworn testimony of those witnesses most knowledgeable about the promulgation of orders, the circumstances of the weather and the cigars, and the reasonable inferences to be drawn from them, much less the handwriting on McClellan's copy, all converge to point to the finding of intent as the probable truth.

While strange discrepancies do exist in the facts, they can be reasonably reconciled in light of the totality of known circumstances. First, because the eight paragraph version of Special Order 191 was misnumbered 190, Robert Chilton, when he signed it, would not necessarily have corrected it, since the order he signed authorizing Walter Taylor to leave the army was numbered 191. Second, as originally written, order 191 was, in fact, a "special" order as defined by Confederate Regulations, because it dealt solely with the specific detachment of Taylor from the army. In contrast, the order  numbered 190, was by its terms a "general" order since it dealt with the movement of the entire army. Someone presented this general order to A.P. Mason to copy into Chilton's letterbook; in doing so, Mason was confronted with the fact that, on September 8th, he had previously copied into the letterbook a four paragraph order labeled "Special Order 190" which authorized leaves of absences for four disabled officers. [101] Whether on his own initiative, or by instruction by someone, the fact is that Mason added the text of Special Order 190 to the text of Taylor 's detachment order. (Chilton's Letterbook) Third, years later, when Davis queried him about the promulgation of a special order issued at Frederick, Chilton remembered what a reasonable person would probably have remembered—a special order was sent by courier to a commander on detached duty, and since the name of D.H. Hill was known to be recorded on McClellan's copy of Order 191, Chilton assumed the courier had been sent to Hill; when, in fact, the courier had been sent to Walker on the Monacacy.

Last, it is obvious that the credibility of the key members of General Lee's personal staff is highly suspect. In 1878, Walter Taylor was the first to write publicly about the incident of the lost order. Taylor, of course, could have had no personal knowledge about the issuance of the lost order, because he had been sent to Virginia by General Lee and did not return to Maryland until the army had already reached Sharpsburg . To explain the loss of the order in his book, Taylor invoked a supposed statement of Charles Venable's; by writing—"Colonal Venable. . . says in regard to this matter: 'This is easily explained. One copy was sent directly to Hill from headquarters. General Jackson sent him a copy.'" Eight years later, in his book, Memoirs of General Lee, A.L. Long repeated verbatim Taylor 's quotation of what Venable supposedly said. Clearly, by their reliance on a hearsay statement (in Long's case, double hearsay), it is obvious that both Taylor and Long did not know from personal knowledge that a copy of order 191 was actually sent to Hill "from headquarters." But Taylor thought Venable knew. Yet, inexplicitly, Charles Venable, who lived a long time after the war, never made a public or private statement about his actual knowledge of the matter, even though he knew Taylor and Long had invoked his name as the one living witness who claimed a copy of the order was sent to Hill from headquarters.

And what about Charles Marshall? He never disclosed to anyone what he knew of the order being sent to Hill. Both he and Venable wrote unpublished narratives of their experiences as Lee's staff officers, yet both men stopped their narratives at the point Lee moved his army into Maryland . These facts damage the credibility of Taylor 's hearsay statement greatly, because the inference follows reasonably from the fact of their silence that neither man could bring himself to come forward with an account of his actual knowledge. Given the undisputed facts of the case, the reason for this failure is obvious: they knew enough to know that, in bringing on the battle of Antietam, General Lee had probably used the order as a ruse of war.

(Davis copy)

They had good reason to keep their mouths shut. In 1876, two years before Taylor'sFour Years with General Lee was published, Louis Phillipe d'Orleans, known as the Comte de Paris, published the second volume of his work, History of the Civil War in America. In it he expressed the prevailing public view that the Battle of Antietam "was a defeat for the Confederates in the triple view, of tactics, strategy, and politics. . . Th[e] error was in [Lee's] dividing his forces to capture Harper's Ferry. Had he not done so he could have fought upon SouthMountain or continued the campaign on the upper Potomac . . . so much blood shed to no purpose for the Confederate cause." [102]

d'Orleans's 1876 view was shared by Major General Frederick Maurice, in 1925, when his book Lee the Soldier was published. "I have condemned Lee's decision to fight behind the Antietam," Maurice said, "because no general should fight a battle which is not forced upon him unless the chances of obtaining decisive results preponderate in his favor." [103] Another important British war theorist, J.F.C. Fuller, echoed this view when he wrote, in 1933: "The battle of Sharpsburg was a totally unnecessary battle." [104] In the face of such criticism, from Marshall's and Venable's points of view, how worse would the public perception be of Lee, if they had made known that he intentionally used a ruse to draw McClellan into the battle? So they kept quiet about their knowledge of the order, although Marshall was quick to challenge the assumption that the battle was not "forced" on General Lee.

Writing to the Comte de Paris, in 1877, Marshall made the persuasive argument that, after the Union army's defeat at Bull Run , General Lee had to fight somewhere: "The country around [Bull Run] within a compass of fifty miles had been stripped by both sides, and was wholly incapable of supporting an army. What was General Lee to do?" He wrote. "His army could not be maintained where it was. . . it was not possible to make a direct attack upon Washington. . . if he were [to retreat] it would be taken as an admission. . . that he had no policy but to await such attacks as the Federals might make." [105] Therefore there was nothing left for General Lee to do but move indirectly toward the Shenandoah Valley , by moving through Maryland .

The Shenandoah Valley was the only place left in Northern Virginia where Lee's army could live off the land for an extended period of time. But it could not be reached safely by marching directly to it. The movement would be recognized by the enemy as a retreat and it would have left roads to Richmond undefended. And General Lee needed to use the Valley as a sanctuary, not a battleground, for his troops. Thus, General Lee had no reasonable choice but to keep up the pretense of threatening an offensive against Washington by marching to Frederick. Once there a battle had to be planned which carried with it the reasonable probability that the enemy's capacity for combat might be weakened enough to make him stop fighting—at least long enough for the Rebel Army to replenish its strength for the offensive again.

Above all else, battles are tests of military structure; the object is not merely to kill but to disorganize. As Clausewitz has written, "Getting the better of the enemy—that is, placing him in position where he has to break off the engagement—cannot in itself be considered as an objective. Nothing remains, therefore, but the direct profit gained in the process of destruction. This gain includes not merely casualties inflicted during the action (which many times will be equal), but also those which occur as a direct result of the retreat. . . The really crippling losses, those the vanquished does not share with the victor, only start with his retreat. . . Thus a victory usually only starts to gather weight after the issue has already been decided." [106] Lee denied McClellan the real profit of battle by the fierce tenacity of his defense, which wrecked the Union Army's organization and stopped it cold, freezing McClellan at the Potomac while he retreated unmolested into the haven of the Shenandoah Valley .

Dwight D. Eisenhower, in writing of the risk he took in leaving the Allied front through the Ardennes forest weakly defended, in 1944, said this: "At any moment from November 1 [1944] onward I could have passed to the defensive along the whole front and made our lines absolutely secure from attack while we waited for reinforcements. . . We remained on the offensive and weakened ourselves where necessary to maintain those offensives. This plan gave the German opportunity to launch his attack; if giving him the chance is to be condemned by historians, their condemnation should be directed at me alone." [107] Like Eisenhower,  in giving the enemy a chance, Lee took a calculated risk that resulted in the sacrifice of thousands of lives. In both cases, the sacrifice reaped for the American commander a great battle profit—in Eisenhower's case the ultimate overwhelming of the German resistance at the Siegfried Line; in Lee's, the time to replenish his army’s strength to remain on the offensive deep into 1863. General Lee's use of the lost order made this possible, and it marks him, with Eisenhower, among America 's greatest soldiers.


End Notes

 

 


[1] . E.B. Trent, New York (1867); Reprint Bonanza Books, New York .

The Lost Cause

[2] . Bonanza Books Reprint at p. 314.

[3] . Vol. IV The Land We Love (Feb. 1868) pp. 270-284.

[4] . The original document, part of the D.H. Hill Papers, is maintained in the vault of the Office of Archives & History, North Carolina Dept/Cultural Affairs, Raleigh , North Carolina .

[5] . The Lost Dispatch, supra. at p. 274. Hill never made clear precisely when and where he received the copy of Special Order 191 written in Jackson 's hand. In the subject article Hill said that when he was at Chattanooga , he "wrote home that the copy of Lee's order. . . could be found among my papers, having been sent home by a private hand while we were encamped on the Opeqoun." (At p. 275, supra). It is a relevant fact that at the time the wives of D.H. Hill and Stonewall Jackson were sisters, as is the fact that Hill's sending the paper home is extraordinary.

[6] . The Lost Dispatch at p. 274. In 1909, Ratchford's memoirs were published posthumously; entitled Some Reminiscences of Persons and Incidents of the Civil War (Shgal Creek Publishers Reprint 1971), Ratchford's memoirs say nothing about the lost order; however, he does describe a relevant incident that occurred on the second day after the battle of Antietam . "That night after we had gone into campGeneral Lee issued an order to march, which directed General Hill to follow General Jackson. About sunrise next morning General Hill at the head of his division, reported to General Lee and asked for orders. His reply was `Follow Jackson,' and there was no further information." Ratchford does not explain how the order was received.

[7] . The Lost Dispatch at p. 274. The Regulations for the Army of Confederate States (1863 edition) specify that "orders are transmitted through all the intermediate commanders in the order of rank. When an intermediate commander is omitted, the officer who gives the order shall inform him, and he who receives it shall report it to his immediate commander." (Publisher: J.W. Randolph Richmond; republished by The National Historical Society, Harrisburg, PA 1980)

[8] . Sometime after General McClellan's death, in 1885, the executer of his estate, a man named Prime, donated to the Library of Congress, a pencil-written copy of Special Order 191 which he represented to be the actual paper that was found by the Union soldier, Barton Mitchell, in a field at Frederick . With the order Prince included an 9" X 5" envelope upon the surface of which he had written: "This is the original order found and on which McC was able to form his movements to SouthMountain and Antietam ." (initialed "DP").

[9] . D.R. Jones's division of six brigades, John Hood's division of two brigades, and Evans's independent brigade.

[10] . See, e.g., E.P. Alexander, Military Memoirs of a Confederate (New York: Scribner's, 1907), p. 232 "My reserve ordinance train, of about 80 wagons, had accompanied Lee's headquarters to Hagerstown , and had also followed the march back to Boonesboro. I was now ordered to cross the Potomac at Williamsport , and go thence to Sheperdstown, where I should leave the train and come in person to Sharpsburg ."

[11] . The Lost Dispatch at p. 277.

[12] . The Lost Dispatch at p. 277.

[13] . See McClellan's copy of order 191, pargraph III, in his book, General McClellan's Report and Campaigns (New York, Sheldon & Co., 1864), pp. 353-354.

[14] . The Lost Dispatch, p. 277.

[15] . Now known as Washington & LeeCollege .

[16] . See, e.g., Conversations with General R.E. Lee, William Allan Papers #2764, in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill.

[17] . A photostat of this letter is among The D.H. Hill Papers at the University of North Carolina 's Wilson Library. According to the archive records, the document was given to UNC sometime prior to 1940, by Charles W. Dabney, who made a copy of the original letter he borrowed from D.H. Hill's daughters. A copy of this letter can also be found in letterbook #4 (General Lee's correspondence, 1865-1870). The letterbook was donated to the Library of Congress by Mrs. DeButts, a relative of General Lee's, sometime in the middle 1940's. There can be no reasonable doubt that the letter is an authentic writing in the hand of General Lee.

[18] . In closing the five paragraph letter, General Lee wrote: "I do not know how the order was lost, nor until I saw Genl McClellan's published report after the termination of the war did I know certainly that it was the copy addressed to you." Lee is probably referring to McClellan's book—General McClellan's Report and Campaigns—published in 1864. "In considering the testimony of any witness, you may take into account: the witness's memory, his manner of testifying, his interest in the outcome of the case, whether other evidence exists which contradicts his testimony, and the reasonableness of his testimony in light of all the evidence." (Standard California jury instruction.)

[19] . In the complex syntax of his sentence, General Lee admitted that by Special Order 191, Hill was "withdrawn from Genl Jackson's command." See reproduction of Lee's letter in A Lee Letter on the "Lost Dispatch" and the Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Hal Bridges, Vol. 66 The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, April 1958, at p. 164.). Yet he offers no explanation why Article 34, section 425 of Confederate Army Regulations ("orders are transmitted through all the intermediate commanders in order of rank") did not therefore apply here. In the trial court, an expert opinion offered without a factual basis to support it, is inadmissible in evidence.

[20] . The Lost Dispatch at p. 278.

[21] . Italics added; See, The Virginia Magazine, p. 164.

[22] . See The Virginia Magazine, supra, at p. 164-165. General Lee's offer of Jackson 's report does not constitute a corroboration of his statement that Jackson received from him "verbal instructions." The phrase "In obedience to instructions" was one customarily used by Jackson and is neutral as to the method of receiving the instruction. (See, e.g., Official Record of the Rebellion (OR) Vol. 12, part II, at p. 641.)  Nor does Lee's extended quotation from Jackson 's report of his operations, September 5 to September 27, 1862 (OR, Vol 19, part 1, at p. 952.) add anything relevant to the precise issue in dispute. Jackson 's narrative merely states what he did do, versus what General Lee's lost order said he would do. ( Jackson 's unfinished report of operations, written in April 1863, was discovered by a relative in a trunk in May 1863 and filed after his death, in July 1863. McClellan's finding of Lee's order became public in April 1863.)

[23] . See, e.g., Frank B. Meyers, The Comanches—White's Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Kelly, Piet & Co., 1871), pp. 107-108: At Frederick Capt. Elijah White went with JEB Stuart to Lee's tent. "Arrived there, Gen. Stuart passed in, and White saw that Gen. Jackson was also there." James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox (J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1896), p. 202, writes: "[T]he day after we reached Frederick , upon going over to Headquarters, I found the front of the general's tent closed and tied. Upon inquiring of a member of the staff, I was told that he was inside with General Jackson. As I had not been called, I turned to go away, when General Lee called me in. The plan had been arranged. Jackson , with his three divisions was to recross the Potomac by the fords above Harper's Ferry [and] march via Martinsburg to BolivarHeights ."

[24] . Special Order 191 specifies in pertinent part: "General Jackson's command will form the advance, and, after passing Middletown, with such portion as he may select, take the route towards Sharpsburg, cross the Potomac at the most convenient point, and, by Friday night, take possession of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, capture such of the enemy as may be at Martinsburg, and intercept such as may attempt to escape from Harper's Ferry." In contrast the order specified that, on reaching Middletown, General McLaws, "will take the route to Harper's Ferry, and by Friday morning possess himself of the Maryland Heights (the southern facing cliff of Elk's Ridge), and endeavor to capture the enemy at Harper's Ferry and vicinity." (Italics added.) For the text of the order, see George M. McClellan, General McClellan's Report and Campaigns (Sheldon & Co., New York, 1864), p. 353.

[25] . There are four original copies of Special Order 191 in existence: (1) Hill's copy; (2) McClellan's copy; (3) the Adjutant General's letterbook copy now in the National Archives; and (4) Jefferson Davis's copy now in the Virginia State Library. The first two, in paragraph six, contain the phrase "intercepting the retreat of the enemy." The latter two, in paragraph six, contain the phrase "and intercept retreat of the enemy." Therefore, whoever made McClellan's copy used Hill's copy as the template.

[26] . The Virginia Magazine, supra, at p. 165.

[27] . See, George McClellan, From the Peninsula to Antietam (Grant-Lee Battles and Leaders edition, 1884), Vol II, Part II, at pp. 554-555.

[28] . That General Lee knew this, is certain: burying the fact in a mass of ancillary details, Fitz Lee, Lee's nephew and ANV cavalry commander, wrote, in 1894, "Stuart. . . moved to Crampton's Gap, five miles south of Turner's, to reinforce his cavalry under Munford there, thinking, as General Lee did, that should have been the object of McClellan's main attack, as it was on the direct route to Maryland Heights and Harper's Ferry." (General Lee, supra, at p. 204 [italics added].)

[29] . George McClellan, General McClellan's Report and Campaigns, supra, at p. 359; OR 19: 1, p. 45.

[30] . Special Order 191, after stating that "Longstreet's command will pursue the {National] Road as far as Boonesboro," twice characterizes the command as the "main body" of the army.

[31] . As Hill pointed out in The Lost Dispatch, "Now observe the cautious order does not give the composition and strength of our forces. It speaks of Jackson 's `command' without naming divisions. . . It speaks of Longstreet's command without naming Hood, Jones, or Evans." Only 45 days before, McClellan had experienced the fierce onslaught of Lee's forces which forced him behind barricades at Harrison 's Landing. McClellan had good reason to think a similar onslaught was waiting for him over the SouthMountain .

[32] . Since McClellan knew it was impossible for McLaws, from Maryland Heights, to effectuate the capture of Harper's Ferry on the opposite side of the Potomac, he naturally assumed Lee had designed to trap his army as it passed into Pleasant Valley, a narrow corridor between Rohrersville and Sandy Hook.

[33] . OR, 19: 2, p. 266; OR, 19, 1, p. 758.

[34] . OR, 19: 2, p. 277.

[35] . OR, 19: 2, p. 270.

[36] . A very stupid thing for Lee to do under the circumstances known to McClellan—for Lee's line of retreat would now be blocked by the strength of the entire Union Army instead of a few garrisons.

[37] . OR, 19: 2, p. 271. At the same time, to his wife, Mary Ellen, McClellan wrote: "I begin to think that he is making off to get out of the scrape by recrossing the river at Williamsport —in which case my only chance of bagging him will be to cross lower down and cut his communications near Winchester . He evidently don't want to fight me—for some reason or other."

[38] . In the event, Franklin did little more than stick his head through Crampton's Gap, look at McLaws's defensive line strung across the head of Pleasant Valley and stood on the defensive.

[39] . General McClellan's Report and Campaigns, supra, at p. 360; The Virginia Magazine, p. 166. (General Lee quotes what McClellan planned for Crampton's Gap, but not what he planned for Turner's ["In determining what inferences to draw from the evidence you may consider, among other things, a party's failure to explain or to deny such evidence."] (Standard California Jury Instruction).)

[40] . See Battles & Leaders, (1886 Grant-Lee edition) Vol. 2, Part II, p. 603.

[41] . In 1892, long after Mitchell's death, John Bloss manufactured an account in which he was the actual discoverer. In his account, he was laying on the ground with Mitchell and others, saw a "large yellow envelope" in the grass and asked Mitchell to reach over and hand it to him; opening it two cigars and a piece of paper tumbled out. See, John M. Bloss, Antietam and the Lost Dispatch, (Kansas Commandery, MOLLUS, 1892), at pp. 8-9. Later, in 1906, Bloss and others offered a similar story in a hearing held at a regimental reunion. (See, Wilbur Jones, Giants in the Cornfield (White Mane, 1997), pp. 228-242.).

[42] . A.S. Williams to McClellan, Sept. 13, 1862 , McClellan Papers in the Library of Congress.

[43] . Samuel Pittman's versions of his involvement are found in a Detroit Free Press interview given on June 20, 1886 , and an interview given to the National Tribune, June 25, 1925 . See also, How Samuel E. Pittman validated Lee’s “Lost Order” prior to Antietam : a historical note. Journal of Southern History November 1, 2004 .

[44] . McClellan did not know about the cigars. Williams’s note left that fact out. If Mac had known about the cigars, he probably would have concluded the Lost Order was planted in the field for Barton Mitchell to pick up. Replying to a letter he received from D.H. Hill, in 1869, Mac wrote: I have no recollection as to the particulars in which the order came into my possession; it was brought to me by my staff as having been found by one of the troops, or found vacated by the camps of General Lee’s army, verifying General Chilton’s signature. I was satisfied in regard to the genuineness of the order and made no further inquiry.” (Mac’s letter is held by the Virginia State Library.) If Mac had known about the cigars, that detail would be hard for him to forget.

[45] . Stephen W. Sears, Controversies & Commanders (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999), p. 121.

[46] . Confederate Regulations, supra, section 420.

[47] . Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States: Article 34, Orders and Correspondence, sections 419-435.

[48] . This document is held by the National Archives. In April 1865, Samuel Cooper placed the entire records of his office in a wagon train, including the subject document, and transported the contents to Goldsboro , N.C. , where the train was captured by William Sherman. The contents were delivered to the War Department at Washington and maintained by it until transferred to the National Archives. Chilton's true signature is verifiable by comparison with letters written by him and preserved in various depositories.

[49] . Of all Lee's personal aides at the time, Walter Taylor was the most likely candidate to supervise the promulgation of special orders.

[50] . This document is held by the National Archives. It was also in Cooper's train. The text as originally found was in a bound letterbook. In the 1890's a War Department clerk ripped the book apart, to deposit the cardboard leaf (which shows the book to be Union army property) elsewhere.

[51] . This document has been held by the Virginia State Library since 1915. Of the existing copies of order 191, besides A.P. Mason's two paragraph version, the Virginia State Library copy is the only one that contains Chilton's actual signature. Therefore, it is the copy of the order that conforms to the requirements of Confederate Regulations. Yet, General Cooper, in Richmond , would not have known that, since his office was sent the two paragraph copy written by A.P. Mason.

[52] . the text of the order labeled  as "190" is clearly the same as that recorded by A.P. Mason in Chilton's letterbook.

[53] . This statement is found in a book, published several years after Sorrel's death, in 1901. See, Sorrel, Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer (Morningside Bookshop, 1978 [reprint of 1905 edition].), p. 125.

[54] . Battles & Leaders (Grant-Lee edition) Vol. II, Part II, at p. 665.

[55] . Longstreet must have been kidding, a reasonable person would hardly eat an 8" X 10" piece of paper under the circumstances. Furthermore, as to receiving a copy of the order, Longstreet does not explain what point there was to sending it, since he narrated earlier in his book a scene in which he received his marching orders verbally. "General Lee called me in. The plan had been arranged. . . I was to march over the mountain by Turner's Gap to Hagerstown ." (Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox (J.B. Lippincott, 1896) pp. 202 & 213.

[56] . Battles & Leaders, supra Vol. II, Part II, at p. 604.

[57] . OR, Vol. 19, Pt. 1, p. 852. There is no record of McLaws stating he received a copy of the order by courier. Like D.H. Hill's division, McLaws's, as well as R.H. Anderson's, came up to the Potomac from Richmond as independent forces. As D.H. Hill's division became attached to Jackson 's command crossing the Potomac , so, too, did McLaws and Anderson become attached to Longstreet's. Therefore, if Confederate Regulations were followed, McLaws and Anderson received their written marching orders, if any were given, through Longstreet's headquarters, not directly from Lee's.

[58] . Italics added. Marshall letter to Hill, dated November 11, 1867 , held in the D.H. Hill Papers, Wilson Library, UNC. Given Marshall 's knowledge, his use of the word "general" instead of "special" is telling. In fact, the portion that he wrote of Special Order 191 is more akin to a general order. By A.P. Mason the text of Marshall 's copy was added to the text of the order as previously written by him. If Lee intended to deceive General Cooper's office, the way to do it was to send it only Mason's two paragraph version of Special Order 191.

[59] . Major General Frederick Maurice, An Aide-de-Camp of Lee (Little Brown & Co., 1927), p. 158.

[60] . In light of the regulations, and given the nature of the movement order, it seems that order 191 might more properly have been labeled as a general order, but whatever its label, the method of recording and transmitting it does not change. Lee's staff seems to have used the labels interchangeably. See, e.g., Special order 185, August 19, 1862 [movement order issued for movement from Rapidan to Culpeper] (Confederate Museum, Richmond); General Order 74, signed by Lee, which specifies the army's movement from Gettysburg, (OR, Vol. 27, Pt. 2, p. 211); "Circular" dated 7/14/63, signed by Chilton, dated 7/14/63 (OR, Vol. 27, Pt. 3, p. 1006.) See also, Downey & Manarin, The War Time Papers of General Lee (Little Brown & Co., 1961), pp. 539, 550,

[61] . A standard jury instruction covers the problem of Marshall 's credibility: "If weaker and less satisfactory evidence is offered by a party, when it was within such party's ability to produce stronger and more satisfactory evidence, the evidence offered should be viewed with distrust."

[62] . Maurice, Robert E. Lee, the Soldier (Houghton Mifflin Co., 1925).

[63] . Letter dated April 27, 1925 from H. Snowdon Marshall, addressed to Frederick Maurice; held by Kings College, London, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives.

[64] . Taylor's statement conforms exactly to Confederate Regulations and is at odds with the opinion General Lee expressed in his letter to Hill that "it was proper. . . a copy" should have been sent to Hill.

[65] . Walter Taylor, Four Years With General Lee (Appleton & Co., 1878), p. 67.

[66] . Four Years With General Lee, supra, at p. 67.

[67] . A.L. Long, Memoirs of Robert E. Lee (J.M. Stoddart & Co., 1886), p. 213.

[68] . Among the Charles Venable Papers there is a twenty page manuscript of a narrative of Venable's staff experiences in the Civil War, but it ends before Lee's army crossed the Potomac into Maryland . (Wilson Library, Southern Historical Collection, Chapel Hill .) It may be reasonable to take Taylor and Marshall at their unsworn word when they speak about what they did, since their actions can be corroborated; but it is not reasonable to take their word for what Venable is supposed to have said when it is plain Venable never confirmed he said what Taylor and Long attribute to him.

[69] . Italics added; in an earlier letter, to Davis, Chilton wrote, "Respecting my recollections. . . , you are aware that a confidential general order was issued from headquarters while at Leesburg Va. and distributed to all divisions commanders, under which all except Longstreet and D.H. Hill were detached for an attack on Harper's Ferry." Rowland, ed., Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist: His Letters, Papers and Speeches (Jackson: Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1923) Vol. 7, pp. 412-413.

[70] . A standard jury instruction reads: "Discrepancies in a witness's testimony or between such witness's testimony and that of other witnesses, if there are any, do not necessarily mean that any witness should be discredited. Failure of recollection is common. Innocent misrecollection is not uncommon. Whether a discrepancy pertains to an important matter or only something trivial should be considered by you."

[71] . Von Borcke, Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence (New York, Peter Smith, 1838 [reprint of 1866 publication].), pp. 199-200.

[72] . John M. Priest, Before Antietam: The Battle of South Mountain (White Mane Publishing Co., 1992), p. 82, citing Edward E. Schweitzer, Memoir, Civil War Times Illustrated Collection, USAMHI, p. 13.

[73] . John W. Schildt,  Roads to Antietam (Burd Street Press, 1985), p. 66-68.

[74] . See John M. Priest, Before Antietam , supra, at pp. 89-103; John W. Schildt, Roads to Antietam , supra, at pp. 65-69.

 

[75] . Stephen Sears, in his latest rendition of lost order theory, writes "Company F (of the 27th Indiana ) stacked arms and Mitchell was relaxing and chatting with private John Campbell when he noticed a bulky envelope in the clover nearby." Although he gives no basis for this, it is apparent Sears relies on an affidavit Campbell executed on March 4, 1889 . The affidavit was made as part of the reunion hearing held over Bloss's claim of having noticed the order first and used to support Mitchell's widow's claim for a pension. (See Mitchell's pension records in the National Archives.) Sears also claims that it "is the fact that the Chilton copy of S.O. 191 addressed to Hill was found by Mitchell still in its envelope—the envelope the courier was supposed to return to headquarters as proof of delivery." Finally, Sears presumes that the alleged "bulky envelope" (in Bloss's words, "a large yellow envelope") actually exists in the Library of Congress's The McClellan Papers. (Controversies & Commanders, supra, at pp. 114, 120.) The fact of the matter is, however, that no such envelope exists.

[76] . See Controversies and Commanders, supra, at p. 122. The time Sears is referring to is the spring of 1863, when McClellan's finding of the order was reported in the press.

[77] . The Virginia Magazine, supra, at p. 165.

 

[78] . See United States v. Saelee, 62 F.Supp. 2d 1097 U.S. Dist. Lexis 15125 (2001)

[79] . Accordingly the court excluded the expert's testimony: 162 F.Supp. at p. 1105.

 

[80] . See, e.g., letter of A.L. Long addressed to Lafayette McLaws, dated Sept. 13, 1862 (National Archives); letter of Walter Taylor addressed to C.W. Field, dated April 21, 1862 (National Archives); Order 191 and letter written in Charles Marshall's hand, addressed to Jefferson Davis, September 12, 1862 (Virginia State Library); Letter of Charles Venable addressed to his wife, dated May 15, 1863 (Wilson Library, UNC); letter of Robert H. Chilton on stationary of the Columbus Manufacturing Co., dated July 22, 1871; original signatures of Robert H. Chilton shown on the two paragraph version of Special Order 191 (National Archives) and seven paragraph version sent to Davis on Sept. 12, 1862 (Virginia State Library); Special order 209, dated October 4, 1862, in Mason's hand and signed by him (Eugene C. Baker, Texas Historical Center) and Chilton's letterbook copy (National Archives); letter of T.M.R. Talcott to Captain Rise, dated April 27, 1861.

[81] . It is a fact that General Lee had injured his hands in an accident  with his horse that occurred on or about September 1, 1862 . He did not regain the full use of his hands until the middle of October. However, the nature and extent of his hand injuries are in dispute, several staff and general officers giving different stories about this in their writings. It appears that he may have sprained his wrists and, perhaps, suffered a fractured finger.

[82] . Other possible candidates include Fitzhugh Lee, Custis Lee, and Rooney Lee. The writing of Lee’s sons is similar to his.

[83] . Memoirs of the Confederate War, supra, at pp. 201-202.

[84] . Memoirs of the Confederate War, supra, at p. 202. In his report of his operations, Stuart writes: "Late on the afternoon [of the 14th] Fitz Lee arrived at Boonesboro and reported to the commanding general, having been unable to accomplish the object of his mission, which his report will more fully explain." (OR, Vol 19, Part 1, p. 819.) No report was ever filed by Fitz Lee. In his book, General Lee, published in 1894, Fitz Lee writes only this—"Fitz Lee, who had been with his cavalry brigade in the rear of the Federal army at Frederick , arrived at Boonesboro during the night (of the 14th)." (Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee (D. Appleton & Co., 1894 [italics added].), p. 205. On the 12th, Fitz Lee had been in the vicinity of New Market. (OR, Vol 19, Pt. 1, at p. 272) A message from Burnside, dated the 13th at , directed to Pleasonton reads: "The rebel cavalry is reported to have been seen at five miles from Frederick on the

Emmittsburg Road
. Ascertain the truth of this."

[85] . W.W. Blackford, War Years with Stuart (New York, Scribner's, 1945 [memoirs apparently written sometime prior to 1896].).

[86] . Memoirs of the Confederate War, supra, at p. 202.

[87] . Von Brocke's memoirs, supra at p. 204.

[88] . Not surprisingly, the relevant exemplars are found in The Charles Venable's Papers, Wilson Library UNC: (1) message to Lee, dated May 3, 1864, (2) message to Lee dated May 10, 1864, and (3) message to Lee dated ?, 1864. All three of these exemplars were copied by the U.S. War Department, in 1894, and returned to Charles Venable. As the result, each has been stamped with the War Department's logo.

[89] . One must be careful to verify that what is offered by a depository, as an authentic writing of Stuart's, is in fact such. The Virginia Historical Society has possession of a letter addressed to Stuart’s wife, Flora, and dated September 12, 1862 , “near Frederick .” The letter was received as a gift from Stuart’s granddaughter, Virginia Stuart (Waller) Davis, in 1985. It is unsigned and the handwriting does not match the handwriting of Stuart’s 1864 field notes to General Lee.

[90] . See, The Walter H. Taylor Papers held by The Sargent Room in the Norfolk Public Library.

[91] . See Mabel s. Hurlburt, Farmington Town Clerks and their Times and by Christopher P. Bickfrod, Farmington in Connecticut, published by the Farmington Historical Society, Farmington , Ct.

[92] . Recently, General Lee's relatives have produced a trunk of documents, held now by the Virginia Historical Society, which include Custis's manuscript. The Platner & Porter paper size, however, is not identical to the paper size of McClellan's copy, but the Platner logo is extremely well preserved on each folded 11" X 17" page.

 

[93] . See Thomas Biggs Harned Collection, Library of Congress.

[94] . That Stuart had possession of cigars at that time can hardly be doubted. As of August 18th, 1862 , Stuart had captured from John Pope "Two boxes of excellent cigars." And, as of September 5, his officers were purchasing cigars in Poolesville , Maryland . (Memoirs of the Confederate War, supra, at pp. 132, 186-187.

[95] . Controversies & Commanders, supra, at p. 120.

[96] . William W. Sears, Landscape Turned Red (Ticknor & Fields, 1983), p. 111

[97] . Douglas, I Rode with Stonewall The UNC Press, 1940, from an original, now lost manuscript), p. 150-151. The church Manse is less than fifty yards from lawyer Ross's residence on

Record Street
.

[98] . This sentence was not included in an article Douglas wrote in 1885. See the Century Magazine, Stonewall Jackson in Maryland, (Grant-Lee Battles & Leaders edition, Vol. II, Part II), p. 662. Douglas 's manuscript, used by the UNC Press, appears to be lost. Presumably, in his life time, when publishing the Century Magazine article, Douglas was unwilling to disclose the fact that Jackson had met with Ross.

[99] . Pastor Thomas Dixon, 1780-1905 Historical Sketch of Frederick Presbyterian Church (Historical Society of Frederick County); Batdorf, A Brief History of the Frederick Presbyterian Church (Church website)

[100] . Kyd Douglas, I rode with Stonewall (The UNC Press, 1940), from an original now lost manuscript., p. 150-151. The sentence at page 151—"The General was anxious, before leaving Frederick, to see the Reverend Dr. Ross, a personal friend, and I took him to the house—was not included in Douglas's writing of the Century Magazine article, Stonewall Jackson in Maryland, published in 1885. (Compare the article's page 622 with the book's page 151.) See also, A Brief History of Frederick Presbyterian Church [During September 1862 "Rev. Ross was visited by his personal friend, Stonewall Jackson. In October 1862, the work of pastoring became so difficult and discouraging for Dr. Ross that he gave it up."].)

[101] . See, Chilton's letterbook in National Archives.

[102] . Comte de Paris, Vol. II, History of the Civil War in America, Porter & Coates (1876) p. 356-358.

[103] . Maurice, Lee, The Soldier, p. 276.

[104] . Fuller, Grant & Lee, (Eyre and Spottiswoode, London, 1933) p. 169.

[105] . Marshall 's letter to the Comte de Paris was found by Maurice among Marshall 's papers. Aide de Camp, p. 145.

[106] . Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, PrincetonUniversity Press (1984), p. 230.

[107] . Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe, Doubleday & Co., New York (1950), p. 341.

 

Original posted February 2010; last revised August 2010

 

Published with permission by the Author:

Joseph Ryan

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