The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume I: South Mountain

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Pub Date:
June 2010
Hardcover, 6 x 9
Maps, photos, notes, index 576 pp
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About the Book

When Robert E. Lee marched his Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland in early September 1862, Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan moved his reorganized and revitalized Army of the Potomac to meet him. The campaign included some of the bloodiest, most dramatic, and influential combat of the entire Civil War. Combined with Southern failures in the Western Theater, the fighting dashed the Confederacy’s best hope for independence, convinced President Abraham Lincoln to announce the Emancipation Proclamation, and left America with what is still its bloodiest day in history.

One of the campaign’s participants was Ezra A. Carman, the colonel of the 13th New Jersey Infantry. Wounded earlier in the war, Carman would achieve brigade command and fight in more than twenty battles before being mustered out as a brevet brigadier general. After the horrific fighting of September 17, 1862, he recorded in his diary that he was preparing “a good map of the Antietam battle and a full account of the action.” Unbeknownst to the young officer, the project would become the most significant work of his life.

Appointed as the “Historical Expert” to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894, Carman and the other members solicited accounts from hundreds of veterans, scoured through thousands of letters and maps, and assimilated the material into the hundreds of cast iron tablets that still mark the field today. Carman also wrote an 1,800-page manuscript on the campaign, from its start in northern Virginia through McClellan’s removal from command in November 1862. Although it remained unpublished for more than a century, many historians and students of the war consider it to be the best overall treatment of the campaign ever written.

Dr. Thomas G. Clemens (editor), recognized internationally as one of the foremost historians of the Maryland Campaign, has spent more than two decades studying Antietam and editing and richly annotating Carman’s exhaustively written manuscript. The result is The Maryland Campaign of September 1862, Carman’s magisterial account published for the first time in two volumes. Jammed with firsthand accounts, personal anecdotes, maps, photos, a biographical dictionary, and a database of veterans’ accounts of the fighting, this long-awaited study will be read and appreciated as battle history at its finest.




"Ezra Carman’s long-unpublished history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign is an essential source on the operations that produced the bloodiest day in American military history and largest surrender of U.S. troops before World War II and there is no one better qualified than Thomas Clemens to bring it to print. Not only does this volume make Carman’s study broadly accessible to students of the war, but Clemens’s many years studying the events of September 1862 and unmatched knowledge of Carman and his work enable him to skillfully and authoritatively explain and scrutinize Carman’s take on events. In addition to being a magnificent contribution to literature on the Civil War, this outstanding book will also advance the process of securing Clemens a place alongside Carman and Harsh in the pantheon of Maryland Campaign scholars. I cannot recommend it highly enough." (Ethan S. Rafuse, author of McClellan’s War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union and Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide)

"From reading the manuscript and Clemens's expert editing, one easily sees why modern Antietam scholars lean heavily upon Carman's pioneering work. One wishes all Civil War battlefields had been likewise gifted with such a worthy and dedicated veteran sponsor. Soon, with the completion of the pair of volumes comprising The Maryland Campaign of 1862, all readers will have easy and affordable access to a classic of Civil War historiography, as well as a mammoth editorial project of significant scholarship in its own right." (Civil War Books And Authors)




Ezra Ayres Carman was born in Oak Tree, New Jersey, on February 27, 1834, and educated at Western Military Academy in Kentucky. He fought with New Jersey organizations throughout the Civil War, mustering out as a brevet brigadier general. He was appointed to the Antietam National Cemetery Board of Trustees and later to the Antietam Battlefield Board in 1894. Carman also served on the Chattanooga-Chickamauga Battlefield Commission. He died in 1909 on Christmas day and was buried just below the Custis-Lee mansion in Arlington Cemetery. Thomas G. Clemens earned his doctoral degree at George Mason University, where he studied under Maryland Campaign historian Dr. Joseph L. Harsh. Tom has published a wide variety of magazine articles and book reviews, has appeared in several documentary programs, and is a licensed tour guide at Antietam National Battlefield. An instructor at Hagerstown Community College, he also helped found and is the current president of Save Historic Antietam Foundation, Inc., a preservation group dedicated to saving historic properties.