“It makes no difference to you, my man. Keep up with your regiment.”

Robert E. Lee Statue at Sharpsburg

Joseph Harsh’s Taken at the Flood is the best account of the Maryland Campaign ever written…in my opinion. If you are interested in the Maryland Campaign and you have never read this book, by all means get it.  Each winter, I read it again and every time I come up with new insights in to this pivotal campaign of the Civil War.  I recently added 89 quotes from this book to my database.  Below are just a few of my favorites.  They appear with the quote, who spoke it, what page it can be found in the book, the original location of the quote in the footnotes of the book and the page in that source.  In this post, the quotes are in chronological order.  All were made (with one exception) during the month of September 1862.  The exception is the first quote and I have not determined when Lee made it.

“In the beginning, we appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers.”

Robert E. Lee

Page 7

Originally found in Personal Reminiscences, Anecdotes and Letters of Gen. Robert E. Lee by John Williams Jones (New York: D. Appleton, 1876) Page 242

“It makes no difference to you, my man.  Keep up with your regiment.”

Robert E. Lee

September 5 1862

While walking in Leesburg as his army crosses the Potomac, Lee’s reply to a soldier who asks him the distance to White’s Ford Page 93

Originally found in Harrison Family Memoirs. Typescript. Loudon Museum, Leesburg, Virginia.  Page 2

“General Stuart like a good soldier knew how to improve the passing hour in the enjoyment of the charming society the country round afforded.”

William Willis Blackford

September 7 1862

A staff officer recalls relatively inactive day of Sep 7 1862 Page 115

Originally found in War Years with Jeb Stuart by William Willis Blackford. New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1945 Page 140

“the confounded Yankees can shoot better in the United States than they can when they come to Dixieland.”

George M. Neese

September 8 1862

One of Chew’s gunners regarding a cavalry action at Poolesville on September 8 1862 Page 122

Originally found in Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery, by…a Gunner in Chew’s Battery by George Michael Neese. New York:  Neale Publishing, 1911 Pages 113-16

“General, I wish we could stand still and let the damned Yankees come to us!”

James Longstreet

September 11 1862

Longstreet to Lee after he is ordered to proceed on to Hagerstown and to leave DH Hill at Boonsboro  Page 184

Originally found in Lee the Soldier. Gary W. Gallagher, ed. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press, 1996 Page 8

“let the work be done thoroughly…Demolish the place.”

Thomas Jackson

September 14  1862

Jackson to McLaws in a 7 AM message describing artillery tactics to use to capture Harper’s Ferry Page 268

Originally found in OR, vol 19 2 Page 607

“Put them all in, every gun you have long range and short range.”

James Longstreet

September 15 1862

Longstreet to his gunners on Sep 15 ordering them to place them in positions where the Federals would see them around Sharpsburg Page 304

Originally found in In Camp and Battle with the Washington Artillery of New Orleans:  A Narrative of Events during the Late Civil War, from Bull Run to Appomattox and Spanish Fort by William Miller Owen. Boston:  Ticknor, 1885 Page 138

Well General, I am glad to see you.  But we have I believe a hard day’s work before us.”

Robert E. Lee

September 17 1862

Lee’s greeting to Lafayette McLaws upon the latters arrival at Sharpsburg early in the morning of Sep 17, 1862 Page 368

Originally found in “Maryland Campaign,” by Ezra Carman chap. 17 Page 105

“General, your presence will do good, but nothing but infantry can save the day on the left.”

Stephen D. Lee

September 17 1862

Stephen D Lee to Robert E. Lee just minutes before the arrival of McLaw’s division that had been ordered to the West Woods minutes before by Robert E. Lee Page 384

Originally found in “New Lights on Sharpsburg,” by Stephen D. Lee.  Richmond Dispatch, Dec 20 1896.

“Can you do any good by a cavalry charge?”

George B. McClellan

September 17 1862

McClellan to his cavalry chief Alfred Pleasanton at around 11:45 AM when things looked bad for the Federal attacks, Sep 17 1862 Page 400

Originally found in McClellan, George B.  The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan:  Selected Correspondence, 1860-1865, ed. Steven W. Sears. New York:  Ticknor & Fields, 1989  Page 467

“God has been very kind to us today.”

Thomas Jackson

September 17 1862

Jackson to McLaws concerning the fighting on the morning of Sep 17 1862 Page 407

Originally found in Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War by George Francis Robert Henderson. (New York: Longmans, Green, 1949) Page 593


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