Tag Archives: Battle of Antietam

Speech to Tampa Civil War Roundtable on Lee’s Lost Dispatch

This Wednesday I will be making a presentation on my latest Civil War book, Lee’s Lost Dispatch and other Civil War Controversies.

When: Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Where: Tampa History Center
801 Old Water Street
Tampa, Florida 33602
(Next to Hockey Arena)

Time: 7:00 p. m.

Parking: Arrive early to park for free in the basement.

Topic: Lee’s Lost Dispatch during Antietam campaign.

During Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the North he developed a detailed plan to get his army into Pennsylvania by splitting it into fragments that would enable him to clear an invasion path by capturing the 12,000-man federal garrison at Harpers Ferry and taking the rest of his army to Hagerstown, Maryland less than six miles from the Pennsylvania state line. His army was vulnerable to annihilation while it was split into five parts, especially if Union Major General George McClellan became aware of the Confederate deployment.


Unfortunately for Lee, that is precisely what happened. Union soldiers discovered an authentic copy of Lee’s order detailing the Rebel army’s scattered unit locations. When the copy reached McClellan he declared, “Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobby Lee, I will be willing to go home.” The result was the unplanned battle of Antietam.

My talk will describe the strategic situation, how the order was lost or stolen, and the consequences of the Union discovery. It will also analyze the available evidence to try and determine who was responsible for losing the orders.


My other Civil War books include

Trading With the Enemy
Co. Aytch: Illustrated and Annotated