The discovery of Robert E. Lee’s Special Orders no. 191 outside of Frederick, Maryland on September 13, 1862 is one of the most important and hotly disputed events of the American Civil War. For more than 150 years historians have debated if George McClellan, commander of the Union Army of the Potomac, dawdled upon receiving a copy of the orders before warily advancing to challenge Lee’s forces at the Battle of South Mountain.
In this new digital essay, the first in the Spotlight Series to be published by Savas Beatie, authors Gene Thorp and Alexander Rossino document exhaustively how ‘Little Mac’ moved with uncharacteristic energy to counter the Confederate threat and take advantage of Lee’s divided forces, striking a blow in the process that wrecked Lee’s plans and sent his army reeling back toward Virginia.
The essay is a beautifully woven tour de force of primary research that proposes to put a final word on the debate over the fate and impact of the Lost Orders on the history of the 1862 Maryland Campaign.
Born in Baltimore, Gene Thorp is a senior cartographer at the U.S. Department of State Office of the Geographer. He spent 15 years as an award-winning graphics editor at The Washington Post covering daily stories from the 2000 Bush-Gore election to the rise and fall of the Islamic State. His custom maps can be found in numerous non-fiction books on the New York Times Best-Seller list and throughout museums and parks across America.
Alexander B. Rossino is an award-winning historian and the author of Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity. He worked for a decade at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum while penning a number of scholarly articles and book reviews. His lifelong fascination with the Civil War was rekindled in 2013 when he moved to western Maryland, where he currently resides at the foot of South Mountain. Alex is also the author of the deeply researched and beautifully written Six Days in September, a novel about Lee’s Army in Maryland during the 1862 campaign. He is currently researching and writing a companion book from the Union perspective.