The Lost Order

The Lost Order (HMC29)

Location: Frederick, MD 21704 Frederick County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 22.625', W 77° 23.737'

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Shrouded in a Cloak of Mystery

— Antietam Campaign 1862 —

After crossing the Potomac River early in September 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee reorganized the Army of Northern Virginia into three separate wings. On September 9, he promulgated his campaign strategy - to divide his army, send Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to attack Harpers Ferry, and send Gen. James Longstreet toward Hagerstown - was described in Special Orders No. 191, seven copies of which were distributed to his senior subordinates.

A copy intended for Gen. D.H. Hill was accidentally left behind, wrapped around three cigars, when the Confederates marched to South Mountain the next day. On September 13, the 27th Indiana Infantry Regiment moved into Hill's former camp and a soldier found the bundle. The cigars were a welcome treat; however, another soldier recognized the importance of the wrapper. It soon reached Gen. George B. McClellan, who jubilantly exclaimed that he held the Confederate battle plan in his very hands!

Evidence does not indicate exactly where the lost orders were found but suggests the Hermitage or Best Farm. How effectively McClellan used the information is debatable, but Union forces did follow the Confederates more closely as they marched through Frederick and across South Mountain toward Sharpsburg. From here, the story of the Antietam Campaign changes as McClellan changed his plans to defeat Lee.

Hill, whose name was on the orders, forever after denied having lost them.

Frederick Junction was a small community located here, 3 miles south of the city of Frederick, during the war. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, connecting Baltimore with West Virginia, and the main road south to Washington, D.C., crossed the Monocacy River at this point. Union troops were posted here to protect the junction and its bridges. The Federals also crossed the Monocacy here in 1863 on their way north to Gettysburg. In 1864, Union Gen. Lew Wallace delayed Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's raid on Washington, D.C., in a pivotal struggle here.
HM NumberHMC29
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 6:24pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 293653 N 4361360
Decimal Degrees39.37708333, -77.39561667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 22.625', W 77° 23.737'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 22' 37.50" N, 77° 23' 44.22" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)240, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2721-2747 New Technology Way, Frederick MD 21704, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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