2011-10-28 / Travel

History & Culture in Hagerstown Part 2: Antietam Battlefield

By Warner M. Montgomery
WarnerM@ TheColumbiaStar.com


President Lincoln and Gen. McClellan discuss the Battle of Antietam a few weeks after the battle. Lincoln wanted McClellan to chase and destroy Lee’s army but McClellan refused and was relieved of duty. President Lincoln and Gen. McClellan discuss the Battle of Antietam a few weeks after the battle. Lincoln wanted McClellan to chase and destroy Lee’s army but McClellan refused and was relieved of duty. The second tour of a historic place during the International Torch Club convention in Hagerstown, MD, last June was to the Antietam ( Sharpsburg) National Battlefield. Linda and I joined 30 other Torch Club members on the bus tour to the site.

The Battle of Antietam was part of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s invasion of the North. Gen. Robert E. Lee commanded the Confederate Army and was supported by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet, Maj. Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, and Brig. Gen. William N. Pendleton.

There were many men from South Carolina fighting with Lee. Longstreet’s forces included Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, Col John D. Kennedy, Maj. Frank Gaillard, Col. James D. Nance, Col. David W. Aiken, Capt. John S. Hard, and Lt. Col. Axalla J. Hoole from South Carolina. Kennedy and Aiken were wounded.


A Tarheel visitor to Antietam expresses his own hero worship. A Tarheel visitor to Antietam expresses his own hero worship. Jackson’s forces from South Carolina included Brig. Gen, Maxcy Gregg, Col. Daniel H. Hamilton, Sr., Lt. Col. James M. Perrin, Col. Dixon Barnes, Maj. William H. McCorkle, Col, Oliver E. Edwards, and Lt. Col. William D. Simpson. Gregg and Perrin were wounded, Barnes was mortally wounded.

Longstreet’s forces from the Palmetto State were Col. Joseph Walker, Lt. Col. Daniel Livingston, Col. Robert A. Thompson, Capt. Thomas C. Beckham, Capt. E. B. Cantey, Lt. W.T. Field, Capt. A.H. Foster, Capt. F.W. Kirkpatrick, Lt. Col. Martin W. Gary, Capt. William K. Bachman, Capt. Hugh R. Garden, Col. Fitz W. McMaster ( later became mayor of Columbia), Col. William H. Wallace, Lt. Col. Thomas C. Watkins, Maj. Miel Hilton, Capt. S. A. Durham, Lt. E.R. White, Col. Peter F. Stevens, Capt. Robert Boyce, and Lt. William Elliott. Livingston, Cantey, Foster, and Stevens were wounded. Durham was mortally wounded.


Even after losing a fourth of his men at Antietam, Gen. Robert E. Lee continued to fight for two and a half years. Even after losing a fourth of his men at Antietam, Gen. Robert E. Lee continued to fight for two and a half years. Stuart’s forces included South Carolinians Brig. Gen. Wade Hampton III (later governor of S.C.), Col. Matthew C. Butler, and Capt. James F. Hart.

CSA President Jefferson

Davis explained the attack in September 1862 saying, “...we are driven to protect our own country by transferring the seat of war to that of an enemy who pursues us with a relentless and apparently aimless hostility.”

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, commander of the USA Army of the Potomac stated before the battle, “...if we defeat the army arrayed before us, the rebellion is crushed, for I do not believe they can organize another army. But if we should be so unfortunate as to meet with defeat, our country is at their mercy.”

During the 12- hour battle 500 cannons fired over 50,000 rounds creating “artillery hell.” At the end of the day, September 17, 1862, there were 22,720 casualties, making it the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War. Lee retreated back to Virginia and soon thereafter President issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, making it a war to end slavery as well as to preserve the Union.

Next week: A Cultural Evening

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