This Week in the American Civil War: September 10-16, 1862

Information courtesy of the

Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force

( and “Minnesota Civil War 150” on Facebook)


Major Highlights for the Week

Wednesday September 10, 1862

Cavalry reports informed Federal Major General George B. McClellan that Lee had fallen back across the Monocacy River away from Frederick, Maryland, and he speeded up his cautious pursuit of the Confederates. Skirmishing occurred near Boonesborough, Frederick and Sugarloaf Mountain, Maryland.

A thousand men from the Ohio Valley volunteered their services at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio to be part of the home guards. Nobody was quite sure how far the Confederate invasions east or west would go.

Thursday September 11, 1862

Confederate forces entered Hagerstown, Maryland and the turmoil in the north continued. Pennsylvania Governor Andrew G. Curtin called for fifty-thousand men to join the militia.

Confederate units had pushed to within seven miles of Cincinnati with considerable skirmishing in Boone County, Kentucky. Maysville, Kentucky was occupied by Confederate forces under E. Kirby Smith.

Friday September 12, 1862

The Federal Army of the Potomac, moving northward, began to move into Frederick, Maryland as the Confederates were dispersing to their assigned tasks. Confederate Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was converging at Harpers Ferry.  Skirmishing occurred at Frederick, Maryland and at Hurricane Bridge, Virginia.

The First, Second and Third Corps of the Federal Army of Virginia were redesignated into the First, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The Army of Virginia ceased to exist. 

Saturday September 13, 1862

Two soldiers in the Army of the Potomac discovered a paper wrapped around two cigars. It contained Lee’s General Order No. 191, the battle plan for the Confederate’s Maryland campaign. By evening, Federal Major General George B. McClellan was pushing his forces west towards the mountains beyond Frederick, Maryland. Skirmishes occurred at Catoctin Mountain, Middletown, Jefferson and South Mountain.

Sunday September 14, 1862


The left wing of Federal Major General George B. McClellan’s army, under the command of Major General William B. Franklin, moved towards Crampton’s Gap in an effort to relieve the Harper’s Ferry garrison and to cut off Confederates advancing on that stronghold.

At South Mountain and Fox’s and Turner’s gaps, Federal cavalry under Alfred Pleasanton fought with D.H. Hill’s Confederates until the two Federal corps of Reno and Hooker of Burnside’s right wing came up. After a severe battle, the Confederates withdrew in the evening. Federal Major General Jesse L. Reno was killed. Federal casualties were 443 killed, 1,807 wounded and 75 missing for a total of 2,325 of more than 28,000 engaged. The Confederates lost 325 killed, 1,560 wounded and 800 missing for a total of 2,685 out of a beginning troop strength of 18,000.

Monday September 15, 1862

Harper’s Ferry fell to Confederate Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s command after short resistance. The Federal defense, led by Dixon S. Miles was considered inadequate and there was an argument over whether the strategic point should have been held at all. Miles was mortally wounded in the standoff.

Confederates at South Mountain fell back to Sharpsburg, Maryland. Lee was concentrating his scattered force at the small village in preparation for withdrawing across the Potomac. However, hearing that Harper’s Ferry had fallen, he reversed his plan and established a line to the west of Antietam Creek.

In the west, E. Kirby Smith appeared before Covington, Kentucky on the Ohio River across from Cincinnati, but retired quickly.

Tuesday September 16, 1862

Things were fairly quite along Antietam Creek. Confederate General Robert E. Lee gathered his forces and formed his lines. Union forces moved cautiously forward from Keedysville, Maryland. Some small skirmishing occurred but no major engagement.

In Kentucky, 4,000 Federals were surrounded at Munfordville by Braxton Bragg, while Kirby Smith’s Confederates continued their withdrawal from the Ohio River near Cincinnati back towards Lexington, Kentucky.

Where Minnesota Regiments were the week of September 10-16, 1862 

1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty near Keedysville, Maryland as part of the Antietam campaign.

2nd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Marched to Louisville, Kentucky in pursuit of Braxton Bragg.

3rd Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Marched to Fort Ridgely to support Colonel Henry Hastings Sibley’s forces. A detachment marched to relief Fort Abercrombie and later rejoined the regiment at Camp Release.

4th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – At Jacinto, Mississippi for garrison duty.

5th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – Companies B, C and D remained in Minnesota and Dakota Territory on garrison duty while the remaining companies were moved to Iuka, Mississippi.

6th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

7th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

8th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On frontier duty at various points in Minnesota: Anoka, Princeton, Monticello, Kingston, Manannah, Paynesville, Fort Ripley, Sauk Center, Pomme de Terre, Alexandria and Fort Abercrombie until May 1864.

9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Fort Abercrombie, Dakota Territory; along with Glencoe and Hutchinson, Minnesota.

10th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry – On duty at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

Brackett’s Battalion of Minnesota Cavalry – On duty at Clarksville, Tennessee.

1st Minnesota Light Artillery Battery – On garrison duty at Corinth, Miss.

2nd Independent Battery, Minnesota Light Artillery – March to Louisville, Kentucky in pursuit of Braxton Bragg.

2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company A – Transferred to the Army of the Potomac as part of the consolidation with the Army of Virginia in the aftermath of Second Bull Run. Participate in the Battle of South Mountain.

About civilwarweek

Member - Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force, Civil War reenactor and historian since 1993, holds Bachelor's Degree in History from Concordia University-St. Paul, currently pursuing Master's Degree in History at St. Cloud State University and is author of the forthcoming book, "Muskets and Memories: A Modern Man's Journey through the Civil War."
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