Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain

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White Mane Publishing Company, 1992 - History - 433 pages
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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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Before Antietam: the battle for South Mountain

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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 ... Read full review


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About the author (1992)

John Michael Priest, a retired high school teacher, has written or edited twelve Civil War history books since 1989. He has carried his obsession for the Civil War into the classroom where his students researched and edited three sets of diaries and memoirs. Acclaimed by many as the soldiers' historian, he offers a balanced, nonpartisan account of combat as the participants experienced it. Mr. Priest is a guide at Antietam Battlefield.

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