Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain

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9780942597370: Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain

Robert E. Lee, after decisively repelling John Pope's August 1862 invasion of Virginia at the Second Battle of Manassas, took the offensive. Moving north into Maryland, Lee divided his forces to capture Harpers Ferry while continuing his advance further into Union territory. George B. McClellan, the new Union commander, learned that Lee had divided his forces, and advanced to attack the Confederates. The armies, from squad to corps level, fought hard in both cavalry and infantry actions for control of the three gaps across South Mountain, about sixty miles from the Federal capital. The victory McClellan's officers and men gave him forced Lee to fall back and regroup near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, thus setting the stage for the Civil War's bloodiest day which soon followed at Antietam Creek.
Three days before that September day, the opposing armies fought a series of engagements that came to be known as the Battle of South Mountain. Until Before Antietam, those battles existed in our history as only a footnote to the events at Antietam. Because of the work of John Michael Priest those terrible encounters now have their rightful place in American military history.

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About the Author:


About the Author:
John Michael Priest is the author of Antietem: The Soldiers' Battle, and the editor in chief of From New Bern to Fredericksburg: Captain James Wren's Civil War Diary. He is a member of the Civil War Education Association in Winchester, Virginia, and is currently working on two other Civil War book projects.

From Library Journal:

The Battle for South Mountain during the Civil War has always been treated as a prelude to the major Battle of Antietam. Here, Priest, the author of several Civil War books, gives the first full study of the battle and emphasizes its importance. He details the troops' marches, bivouacs, and skirmishes but also gives the reactions of the civilians as they encounter the troops from both sides. The author uses the words and actions of the common soldiers involved, both blue and gray, to describe graphically the conditions preceding the battle, the intense fighting, and the horrrible conditions that were left afterward. Priest has used extensive letters, diaries, military records, and newspaper articles to create a vivid account of a battle for which both sides claimed a victory. Before Antietam sets the stage for the Battle of Antietam. It will make an excellent addition to all Civil War collections.
- W. Walter Wicker, Louisiana Tech Univ., Ruston
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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