Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia From the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862

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Alexander B. Rossino
Pub Date:
Fall 2021
Hardcover, 6 x 9
10 images, 20 maps, 312 pp.
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Click HERE to buy the ebook

Click HERE to read the Table of Contents, Introduction, and Chapter 1

Check out the high-quality reprint of the Antietam Official Records volumes HERE

About the Book

Most students of the Civil War believe the story of Robert E. Lee’s 1862 Maryland Campaign is complete, and that new studies must rely on interpretations long-since accepted and understood. But what if this is not the case? What if the histories previously written about the first major Confederate operation north of the Potomac River missed key sources, proceeded from mistaken readings of the evidence, or were influenced by Lost Cause ideology?

As Alexander B. Rossino, author of the acclaimed Six Days in September, demonstrates in Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia from the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862, these types of distortions continue to shape modern understanding of the campaign.

Rossino reassesses the history of the Confederate operation in seven comprehensive chapters, each tackling a specific major issue:

- Rebel Revolutionary: Did Robert E. Lee Hope to Foment Rebellion in Maryland in September 1862?

- High Hope for Liberating Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia Crosses the Potomac River, September 4–7, 1862;

- Four Days on the Monocacy: Confederate Encampments Near Frederick City and the Implications for the Lost Orders Debate;

- Dreams Dashed on the Rocks of Reality: The Army of Northern Virginia’s Mixed Reception in Maryland;

- Rebels Photographed in Frederick, Maryland: The Case for September 1862;

- The Army of Northern Virginia Makes a Stand: A Critical Assessment of Robert E. Lee’s Defensive Strategy at Sharpsburg on September 15–16, 1862;

- A Very Personal Fight: The Role of Robert E. Lee on the Field at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.


Rossino addresses many important issues: Did supply problems in Virginia force Lee north to press the advantage he had won after the Battle of Second Manassas? What did Rebel troops believe about the strength of secessionist sentiment in Maryland, and why? Did the entire Army of Northern Virginia really camp at Best’s Farm near Frederick, Maryland? Did D. H. Hill lose Special Orders No. 191, or is there more to the story? How did Maryland civilians respond to the Rebel army in their midst, and what part did women play? Finally, why did Robert E. Lee choose to fight at Sharpsburg, and how personally was he involved in directing the fighting?

 Rossino makes extensive use of primary sources to explore these and other important questions. In doing so, he reveals that many long-held assumptions about the Confederate experience in Maryland do not hold up under close scrutiny. The result is a well-documented reassessment that sheds new light on old subjects and reinvigorates the debate on several fronts.

Advanced Praise


“What Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia hoped to accomplish when they crossed the Potomac in September 1862 continues to inspire debate among historians of the Civil War. In Their Maryland, Alexander B. Rossino contributes to this debate with a collection of well-researched, informative, and well-written essays that merit the attention of anyone interested in the events that produced what is still the bloodiest day in American military history.” — Ethan S. Rafuse, author of Antietam, South Mountain, and Harpers Ferry: A Battlefield Guide and Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863-1865

 “Alex Rossino has crafted a thought-provoking book that takes a fresh look at many important aspects of the Maryland Campaign. He uses a wide range of primary sources, many of which have not been consulted, and challenges many old paradigms with careful analysis. This meticulous study is an outstanding addition to the Maryland literature.” — Bradley M. Gottfried, author of The Maps of Antietam

 “Alexander Rossino explores several contested questions concerning the Antietam campaign in this thoroughly researched and well argued book: Why did Robert E. Lee decide to invade Maryland? How did Marylanders respond? Why did Lee decide to stand and fight at Sharpsburg? And most intriguing of all, which hapless Confederate officer lost a copy of Lee’s Special Orders no. 191? Whether or not one agrees with all the answers, the reader will come away with a greater understanding of this crucial campaign and battle.” — James M. McPherson, author of Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam

 “In seven sprite chapters, Their Maryland supplies the most comprehensive assessment to date of how Confederate soldiers thought about and experienced their first foray north. More than an exacting reassessment of key details, Rossino yields new insights into Lee’s motivations for the campaign, his strategic thinking, and his performance on the battlefield at Sharpsburg. Engagingly written and persuasively argued, this daringly revisionist book is an essential addition to the Antietam bibliography.” — Brian Matthew Jordan, Pulitzer Prize finalist and associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University


"A masterpiece of meticulous and exhaustively researched scholarship, Their Maryland: The Army of Northern Virginia From the Potomac Crossing to Sharpsburg in September 1862 is a particularly appreciated and valued contribution to the growing library of American Civil War histories. An impressively informative, exceptionally well presented, and thought-provoking study..." - Midwest Book Review

Award-winning author and historian Alexander B. Rossino is a resident of Boonsboro, Maryland. He worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (1994-2003) and is the author of Hitler Strikes Poland: Blitzkrieg, Ideology, and Atrocity, an acclaimed history of the racial-political policies implemented by the Third Reich during its 1939 invasion of the Polish Republic, and nearly a dozen scholarly articles and book reviews. Dr. Rossino has also published a two-part series of historically accurate Civil War novels, Six Days in September: A Novel of Lee’s Army in Maryland, 1862 (2017) and The Guns of September: A Novel of McClellan’s Army in Maryland, 1862 (2021), as well as a groundbreaking study in Savas Beatie’s Civil War Spotlight series titled The Tale Untwisted: George McClellan and The Discovery of Lee’s Lost Orders, September 13, 1862 (2019), which he co-authored with Gene M. Thorp.