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General Robert E. Lee, in command of the Army of Northern Virginia for less than a year, took a major gamble in bringing the war to Maryland, partly because of a mistaken impression that Marylanders would Jlock to the Southern cause.

General Robert E. Lee, in command of the Army of Northern Virginia for less than a year, took a major gamble in bringing the war to Maryland, partly because of a mistaken impression that Marylanders would Jlock to the Southern cause.

cessful in West Point's history. Lee was lieutenant colonel of the newly raised 2nd United States Cavalry, fighting Indians on the western plains from 1855 - this, it should be noted, being Lee's only experience leading troops before the Civil War.

The growing sectional difficulties that brought about the American Civil War were made apparent to Lee in 1859, when he commanded the detachment of troops that captured John Brown's men at Harper's Ferry, Virginia. Lee was offered high command in the Federal army early in the war, but he declined out of loyalty to Virginia. He commanded briefly in the western sections of Virginia, completed an inspection tour of Confederate eastern coastal defences, and was serving as President Jefferson Davis's military adviser when he assumed command of the troops defending Richmond.

Lee nearly achieved sainthood status in the years following 1865, as the South needed a hero to help deal with the humiliation suffered by defeat. 18

Americans have never accepted military defeat well. Lee has been defended by generations of loyal Southern historians, and it is only recently that some of his defects have been studied. Lee consistently failed to appreciate the complete military picture; rather he tended to look at the conflict only as it impacted upon his own theatre in Virginia. This is natural enough, but Lee's growing reputation gained as a result of impressive but strategically barren victories in Virginia precluded the Confederacy from deploying adequate resources in the western theatre. Tactically, Lee persisted in employing outdated Napoleonic infantry assaults when growing evidence suggested the sterility of such tactics. The South could not afford the casualties suffered as a result of such frontal assaults as Lee launched at Malvern Hill and Gettysburg. Lee generally failed to give precise orders to his subordinate commanders and failed to understand how to delegate authority. His staff officers, commenting on Lee's insistence upon having a say in even the most minute matters of army business, called him behind his back 'the Tycoon'.

In addition to these characteristics, Lee was often in poor health. With perceived heart troubles, he frequently expressed the opinion that he would not survive the war. During the Maryland Campaign Lee was suffering from intense pain in his hands, as a result of an accident that took place on 2 September. He had dismounted to speak with Longstreet and his staff. His horse was startled and jumped backwards, while Lee held the horse's bridle loosely in his hands. Thrown violently to the ground, Lee sprained both wrists and broke a number of bones in his hands while attempting to stop his fall. As a result the Confederate commander was unable to write, rode with difficulty, and frequently travelled in an ambulance during the Maryland operations.

Lee was an able field commander. He had the full confidence of his troops. His officers were convinced that wherever Lee led, victories like Second ┬┐Manassas would follow. Defeat was perceived only as temporary setback and nothing dulled the unbounded confidence the Army of Northern Virginia had in Lee throughout the remainder of the war. How many commanders of armies have fought their campaigns with such devotion and con

Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson with almost half of the Confederate army was well to the west, capturing the garrison at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, during the opening phase of the Antietam campaign.

Major General James Longstreet won promotion to lieutenant general (9 October 1862) in large part because of his activities at Sharpsburg. Foot problems caused him to have to wear slippers instead of boots during the battle itself

Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson with almost half of the Confederate army was well to the west, capturing the garrison at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, during the opening phase of the Antietam campaign.

fidence? The South expected great things of the army Lee had forged.

The capture of Harper's Ferry and the critical battle on the Confederate left at Antietam would be entrusted to 'Stonewall1 Jackson. Thomas Jonathan Jackson (1824-63), an 1846 graduate of the United States Military Academy, had won three brevets for gallantry during the war with Mexico, while serving with the new 'flying artillery'. He taught Natural Philosophy and Artillery Tactics at the Virginia Military Institute from 1851, and the cadets did not like him. Jackson was not an imaginative instructor. He would memorize each day's lesson the night before and simply repeat it in class; and if a cadet had the temerity to ask a question Jackson would start the lecture again from the beginning. Jackson was a strict disciplinarian, insisting on the exact limit of the regulations, and he was famous for the number of court-martial proceedings he initiated against cadets. The cadets called him 'Tom Fool

Major General James Longstreet won promotion to lieutenant general (9 October 1862) in large part because of his activities at Sharpsburg. Foot problems caused him to have to wear slippers instead of boots during the battle itself

Jackson' and 'Old Blue Light', making fun of the stern major when opportunity presented itself. For example, on one occasion Jackson was trying to teach the mobile artillery tactics he had learned in Mexico, and in the absence of horses he placed cadets to draw the guns, caissons and limbers. Jackson ordered the cadets to trot, and one cadet in a lead position refused to move. He placed the offending cadet under arrest. During the court-martial proceedings, when asked why he had refused to move forward after Major Jackson's order, the cadet responded by stating: 'Sir, Major Jackson ordered me to trot. I am a natural pacer.'

The VMI Board of Visitors considered dispensing with Jackson's services. He was not even on speaking terms with the school's superintendent, Colonel Francis Henney Smith, but no one could deny the man's obvious ability with field pieces; and when the VMI Corps of Cadets went to Richmond in 1861 to train Virginia's regiments the battalion of

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