Commander’s Column: 150 Years Ago This Month (with assistance from Adjutant Wayne Sutherland)
1 Sep 1862 - Battle of Chantilly, Virginia. Making a wide flank march, Jackson hoped to cut off the Union retreat from Bull Run. On 1 September, beyond Chantilly Plantation on the Little River Turnpike near Ox Hill, Jackson sent his divisions against two Union divisions under Kearny and Stevens. Confederate attacks were stopped by fierce fighting during a severe thunderstorm. Union generals Stevens and Kearny were both killed. Recognizing that his army was still in danger at Fairfax Courthouse, Union Maj. Gen. Pope ordered the retreat to continue to Washington. With Pope no longer a threat, Lee turned his army west and north to invade Maryland, initiating the Maryland Campaign and the battles of South Mountain and Antietam. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan assumed command of Union forces around Washington.
15 Sep 1862 - Capture of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia). This battle was a precursor to the Battle of Antietam.
17 September 1862 – Battle of Antietam. On this date occurred “the bloodiest single day in American history”, the Battle of Antietam. The Union Army suffered over 12,000 casualties, the Confederates over 11,000 (casualties include dead, wounded, and captured). Though unable to achieve his goal of getting Maryland into the Confederacy, Lee, though outnumbered two-to-one, fought the Union army to a standstill, and was able to slip away back across the Potomac before the Bluecoats could harm him further. As a result of this battle, Lincoln replaced McClellan with Burnside.