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Antietam: The March Into Maryland (Answers)

Trivia powered by Prof. Walter1. False. The specific reason Lee chose this risky strategy of splitting his army to capture Harpers Ferry is not known. One possibility is that he knew it commanded his supply lines through the Shenandoah Valley.

2. True. Before he entered Maryland he had assumed that the Federal garrisons at Winchester, Martinsburg, and Harpers Ferry would be cut off and abandoned without firing a shot (and, in fact, both Winchester and Martinsburg were evacuated).

3. True. McClellan requested permission from Washington to evacuate Harpers Ferry and attach its garrison to his army, but his request was refused.

4. True. Lee's invasion was fraught with difficulties from the beginning. The Confederate Army's numerical strength suffered in the wake of straggling and desertion.

5. False. Although he started from Chantilly with 55,000 men, within 10 days this number had diminished to 45,000. Some troops refused to cross the Potomac River because an invasion of Union territory violated their beliefs that they were fighting only to defend their states from Northern aggression. Countless others became ill with diarrhea after eating unripe "green corn" from the Maryland fields or fell out because their shoeless feet were bloodied on hard-surfaced Northern roads. Lee ordered his commanders to deal harshly with stragglers, whom he considered cowards "who desert their comrades in peril" and were therefore "unworthy members of an army that has immortalized itself" in its recent campaigns.

6. False. Upon entering Maryland, the Confederates found little support; rather, they were met with reactions that ranged from a cool lack of enthusiasm, to, in most cases, open hostility. Robert E. Lee was disappointed at the state's resistance, a condition that he had not anticipated. Although Maryland was a slaveholding state, Confederate sympathies were considerably less pronounced among the civilian population, which generally supported the Union cause, than among the pro-secession Maryland legislature. Many of the fiercely pro-Southern Marylanders had already traveled south at the beginning of the war to join the Confederate Army in Virginia. Only a "few score" of men joined Lee's columns in Maryland.

7. True. Maryland and Pennsylvania, alarmed and outraged by the invasion, rose at once to arms. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin called for 50,000 militia to turn out, and he nominated Maj. Gen. John F. Reynolds, a native Pennsylvanian, to command them. (This caused considerable frustration to McClellan and Reynolds's corps commander, Joe Hooker, but Henry Halleck ordered Reynolds to serve under Curtin and told Hooker to find a new division commander.) As far north as Wilkes-Barre, church and courthouse bells rang out, calling men to drill.

8. False. In Maryland, panic was much more widespread than in Pennsylvania, which was not yet immediately threatened. Baltimore, which Lee incorrectly regarded as a hotbed of secession merely waiting for the appearance of Confederate armies to revolt, took up the war call against him immediately.

9. False. When it was learned in Baltimore that Southern armies had crossed the Potomac, the reaction was one of instantaneous hysteria followed quickly by stoic resolution. Crowds milled in the street outside newspaper offices waiting for the latest bulletins, and the sale of liquor was halted to restrain the excitable. The public stocked up on food and other essentials, fearing a siege. Philadelphia was also sent into a flurry of frenzied preparations, despite being over 150 miles from Hagerstown and in no immediate danger.

 


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