Antietam: The March Into Maryland
1. 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
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