Lost Orders Prior To Antietam Analysis

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How Samuel E. Pittman Validated Lee's "Lost Orders" Prior to Antietam: A Historical Note By C HARLES B . DEW W H A T WAS ARGUABLY THE MOST INCREDIBLE STRING OF COINCIDENCES that occurred during the American Civil War took place on the moming of September 13, 1862. The extraordinary events of that day began between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. when Corporal Barton W. Mitchell of the 27th Indiana sought some shade in which to rest as his regiment completed a march to Frederick, Maryland. His unit, like much of General George B . McCIellan's Army of the Potomac, was in pursuit of General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, which had crossed the Potomac River and entered Maryland several days earlier. As Mitchell stretched…show more content…
The heading on the paper read: (Confidential) Hd Qrs Army of Northern Va Sept 9th 1862 Special Orders No 191 The document was nothing less than Lee's detailed marching orders for the Maryland campaign. They were addressed to "Maj Gen D. H. Hill Comdg Division" and were signed: ' This account of the finding of the "Lost Orders" is based on the descriptions in Stephen W. Sears, "Last Words on the Lost Order," in his Controversies and Commanders: Dispatches from the Army of the Potomac (Boston, 1999), 113-15, and James M. McPherson, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam (New York, 2002), 107-8. MR. DEW is Ephraim Williams Professor of American History at Williams College. THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY Volume LXX, No. 4, November 2004 866 THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY By Command of Gen R. E. Lee R. H.…show more content…
"I have seen it somewhere stated, or I have heard it that you were at one time, prior to the war, a clerk to Col R. H. Chilton, Lee's A. A. G and recognized his signature as genuine &c Am I correct or [is] this an error?" Carman concluded this letter with an apology. "I am sorry to trouble you so much," he wrote, "but I am digging for facts."'"* Civil War historians have reason to commend Carman for his diligence. His persistence in "digging for facts" led Pittman, in a letter dated May 28, 1897, to give a full account of how he was able to identify Chilton's signature: I did at once pronoutice the signature genuine, but from as follows, viz; That Chilton, a few years before the war, was on duty at Detroit as a Paymaster of the U.S. Army, at which time he kept his Bank account with the Michigan State Bank, and at the time I was teller of that Bank, thus paying thousands (probably) of his checks over the Bank counter—that my tellers experience qualified
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