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Battle of Antietam
Harper's Weekly Articles

The Following article is transcribed from Harper's Weekly Journal of Civilization, dated October 4, 1862:

The Rebels' Fortnight in Maryland

          The rebel army, under Generals Lee, Jackson, Longstreet, Ewell, and Hill, invaded the State of Maryland on 4th, 5th, and 6th September. The General Commanding issued his proclamation to the Maryland peopled, informing them that he had come to liberate them from the despotism of Lincoln, and intimating that he intended to stay. On the 18th September, just a fortnight after the advanced-guard of the rebels crossed the Potomac with this proclamation in their hands, the rear-guard of the same rebel army recrossed back into Virginia. What did they make by their fortnight's excursion?

          They discovered, in the first place, that there was either no rebel sentiment in Maryland, or that if there was any it dared not show itself. They got no recruits. A few men from some of the western towns ran away from their homes to join them; but, to use their won words, "when they saw and smelt the rebel army, they thought better of the enterprise and returned whence they had come. On the other hand, it is estimated that they lost 4000 or 5000 men by desertion. Every house in the counties which they visited is found to contain rebel deserters. They met, of course, with no resistance from the farmers and villagers. But they met with no civility, and nothing like cordiality; while, on the other hand, the people of Frederick and Hagerstown almost went crazy with delight over the approach of the delivering army of the Potomac.

          While in Maryland they fought two battles, in which they lost something like 20,000 men. Our losses, which were heavy likewise, were instantly repaired by the arrival of fresh troops. Theirs are not repaired yet, and can not be until they retire to the interior of the country, if then.General Lee's army is in the condition the army of the Potomac was after the battles before Richmond, when we were all half dreading to hear of its annihilation.

          In both those battles they were defeated. At South Mountain we drove them from the strong positions they had seized in the mountain gaps. At Antietam, we took their position and forced them to retire across the Potomac. Whatever prestige they may have derived, therefore, from their victories at the Rappahannock and at Manassas has been destroyed by their defeats in Maryland. They invaded the State exultant, hopeful, flushed with triumph; they retire defeated, disappointed, disheartened.

          They got some supplies in Maryland. We hear of their getting boots at Frederick, driving cattle in from the fields, and laying hands upon the produce of farmers. Whether they got enough to feed their army for a week is very doubtful. If they had 100,000 men -- and some people think they had 150,000 -- it may safely be safely said that they did not. It is not likely that there were in all Frederick boots and shoes enough to furnish a brigade. An army of 100,000 men eats, or ought to eat, 500 barrels flour and 75,000 pounds of meat per day. To feed such an army for a week would require 3500 barrels flour, and 1500 head of cattle, besides vegetables, sugar coffee, vinegar, etc. The rebels certainly found no such stock of supplies as this in the counties of Washington and Frederick, Maryland; and from what they did find must be deducted what they lost on their retreat. The chances are that, in supplies as in morale and physical strength, they were heavy losers by their visit to "My Maryland."

          Under the circumstances it will be curious to see what the rebel Congress thinks of the enterprise which three-fourths of that body united in pronouncing wise, skillful, and full of promise.

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