The Maryland Campaign Part 2: An Impossible Situation: Defending Harpers Ferry

November 30 – December 2, 2018
A BGES Civil War Field University Program
With Norm Dasinger from Dalton, GA
With Tom Clemmons from Frederick, Maryland

After his arrival in Maryland, Robert E. Lee quickly concluded that western Maryland was not receptive to his army of “Liberation” and that there was little purpose in remaining near Frederick. After deciding to enter Pennsylvania, he examined the logistics of such an operation and realized that a large Federal garrison stationed at Harpers Ferry would be astride his lines of supply through the Shenandoah Valley.

Plans were drawn up and distributed for an operation that would stage his forces to enter the Keystone State while eliminating the threat to his operations. Stonewall Jackson was assigned the lead role under a very strict timeline. It called for converging operations with supporting forces under the command of General John Walker occupying Loudon Heights overlooking the town of Harpers Ferry from Virginia and Georgians under the command of Lafayette McLaws clearing and occupying Maryland Heights while Jackson corked the bottle by maneuvering and occupying Bolivar Heights. Once established there would be no succor for the embattled Union garrison. A bombardment would reduce the town to rubble and the Federal garrison would be forced to evacuate or surrender. Once done Lee's forces would reunite near Hagerstown and enter Pennsylvania. Time was of the essence. This second program in the 1862 Maryland Campaign series is devoted to the objective that caused the battle at Antietam on September 17, 1862

The complete itinerary is here on our main website: The Maryland Campaign Part 2.

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