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September - October 1862

Originally published by America's Civil War magazine. Published Online: July 02, 2012 
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General Lee heads north, producing a bloodbath in Maryland. And Abraham Lincoln presses emancipation


2 – In the aftermath of the Union's second loss at Bull Run, George McClellan is restored to full command of the Army of the Potomac, incorporating Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of Virginia. Pope will be sent west to deal with an uprising among the Sioux.

3 – Confederate forces under command of Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith capture Frankfort, Ky.—the only Union state capital to be captured.

In a report to General in Chief Henry Halleck, Maj. Gen. John Pope charges Maj. Gen. Fitz-John Porter with disobedience in the loss at Second Bull Run.

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4 – General Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia begin crossing the Potomac into Maryland.

9 – From Frederick, Md., Lee issues Special Orders 191, which divides his troops and sends them in three directions.

12 – Pennsylvania officials, fearing Lee's impending invasion, send state treasury and archives to New York for safety.

13 – Union soldiers find a copy of Lee's Special Orders 191.

14 – McClellan's troops repulse Confederates in the Battle of South Mountain, west of Frederick, Md.

15 – Stonewall Jackson captures Harpers Ferry and 12,000 prisoners. Lee begins concentrating his forces across the Potomac at Sharpsburg, Md.

19 – Union Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans stops Maj. Gen. Sterling Price's army's advance toward Nashville at the Battle of Iuka, Miss.

22 – Federal troops reoccupy Harpers Ferry.

Lincoln uses the victory at Antietam to issue the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slaves in states in rebellion to be freed January 1, 1863.

23 – Federal forces soundly defeat Sioux warriors in the Battle of Wood Lake in Minnesota, effectively ending the Dakota War.

27 – The first all-black U.S. Army regiment forms in New Orleans.

The Confederate Congress authorizes the Second Conscription Act, allowing President Jefferson Davis to draft men aged 36 to 45.

29 – During a quarrel in a Louisville hotel, Union Brig. Gen. Jefferson C. Davis shoots his commander, Brig. Gen. William "Bull" Nelson, mortally wounding him.


3 – 4 – Rosecrans' Army of the Mississippi stops Confederate Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn from advancing through northern Mississippi and into middle Tennes­see at the Second Battle of Corinth.

8 – Union forces fight off a Confederate incursion into Kentucky at the Battle of Perryville, keeping the state in Federal hands.

Otto von Bismarck becomes prime minister of Prussia.

12 – Jeb Stuart's Confederate cavalry rides around McClellan's army. Again.

14 – Playing for the Brooklyn Excelsiors, baseball's first star, James Creighton, ruptures a hernia hitting a home run against the Union Club of Morrisania, N.Y. He dies four days later at age 21.

16 – Eight surviving members of Andrews' raiders, who had attempted to hijack a Confederate train in "the Great Locomotive Chase" earlier in the year, escape from jail in Fulton County, Ga. All would eventually be awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions.

18 – In what will be known as the Palmyra (Mo.) Massacre, 10 Confederate prisoners of war are executed by firing squad in retaliation for the disappearance of a Union informer.

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