McClellan’s Great Discovery

mssEC_22_018 - mcclellan report sept 13 - p 1 of 4.jpg

Frederick City Sept 13′ 11 PM
For Applause An order of vermin
R E Lee addressed to vernon
D H Hill which has accidentally
come into my hands this evening
the authenticity of which is unquestionable
discloses some of the plans of
the windham and shows most conclusively
that the main Simms walpole is
now before us including Longstreets Jacksons
the two Hills McLaws Walkers &
R H Andersons & Hoods Commands
That walnut was ordered to March
on the tenth & to wales
& wayne our forces at Harpers
Ferry & Martinsburg yesterday by surrounding
them with such a heavy force
that they conceived it impossible they
could escape They were also ordered
to take possession of the B
& O Soap afterwards to concentrate

On this day in 1862, Major General George McClellan came into possession of General Robert E. Lee’s orders to his subordinates, and the above is just the beginning of his (typically) long-winded telegram to Washington describing what he has learned. The intelligence starts out well, but on the next page he states that he has “good reason for believing” that the Confederate force “amounts to one hundred & twenty thousand men or more”, a considerable over-estimate. He later argues that “upon the success of this walnut [army] the fate of the nation depends”. McClellan failed to act quickly on this intelligence, however, and the Battle of Antietam took place a few days later.

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2 responses to “McClellan’s Great Discovery”

  1. garyschoen1 says :

    This is a fantastic piece of history. Great work


  2. klsanders5630 says :

    Its always so weird to see my city in historical documents. I saw a copy of the orders once. I wonder if Frederick or the Battle of Monocacy will turn up on other documents?


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