South Mountain, Pivotal Battle of the Maryland Campaign
By Dr. Thomas G. Clemens
The Campaign of 1862 opened with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia boldly occupying Frederick, Maryland and threatening the capital of the United States. On September 6, Lee optimistically suggested to his president, Jefferson Davis, that negotiations for Southern independence be opened with President Lincoln. Yet within a week of this pronouncement, Lee’s army was reeling in retreat towards Sharpsburg, and striving to escape from Maryland intact. What happened? Among many factors, the most important was that George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac had forced Lee’s forces into battle while they were scattered and nearly destroyed them. Due to the relatively small numbers engaged, the battle of South Mountain is often lost in the shadow of Antietam, yet without the fight at the gaps on the mountain, there would not have been a battle at Sharpsburg. How this pivotal battle came to be, and how it affected the campaign, will be the topic of this presentation, which hopefully will illuminate several overlooked points of its importance.
Dr. Clemens earned his BA & MA in history at Salisbury State University and his Doctorate of Art at George Mason University, where he studied under Dr. Joseph Harsh, author of the trilogy on Confederate strategy through the Maryland Campaign of 1862. He taught at Hagerstown Community College for 34 years, retiring recently as Professor Emeritus. His publications include an edited version of Ezra Carman’s Maryland Campaign of September 1862: South Mountain (2010) and Vol.II, Antietam (2012). Volume I received the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award, Reprint Category. He is currently working on Vol. III which will include the battle of Shepherdstown Ford. Tom appears in Antietam, A Documentary Film, which is shown daily in the Antietam Visitor Center. Living with his wife Angela within two miles of Antietam battlefield, Tom is a Licensed Antietam Battlefield Tour Guide, and a 30+ year volunteer there. He is a Founder and current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation Inc. and is also a board member of Shepherdstown Battlefield Preservation Association.
MEETING DATE: MARCH 27, 2013
ROYALE ORLEANS BANQUET CENTER, 2801 South Telegraph Road, 63125
Doors open at 5:30 pm; Meal served at 6:30; Presentation at 7:30
Make reservations by MARCH 13 at email@example.com