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Harpers Ferry, Capture of


HARPERS FERRY, CAPTURE OF. On 9 September 1862, in Frederick, Maryland, General Robert E. Lee issued his famous "lost order." To clear the enemy from his rear, Lee directed General Thomas J. ("Stonewall") Jackson to capture the garrison at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), and then hurry northward to rejoin the main army. The combined forces would then move through Hagerstown into Pennsylvania. But the "lost order" had come into the Union general George B. McClellan's possession. The defenders of Harpers Ferry put up unexpected resistance against Jackson's siege on September 14 and did not surrender until the following day. Jackson rejoined Lee at Sharpsburg twenty-four hours late, a delay that nearly led to disaster at the Battle of Antietam.


Gallagher, Gary W., ed. The Antietam Campaign. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

Teetor, Paul R. A Matter of Hours: Treason at Harper's Ferry. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1982.

Thomas RobsonHay/a. r.

See alsoAntietam, Battle of ; Maryland, Invasion of .

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