America's Civil War

HIGH DRAMA

While tens of thousands of people visit Antietam National Battlefield every year, a relatively small number explore nearby South Mountain, where fighting occurred on September 14, 1862, as a precursor to that bloodiest day of the Civil War.

Riding the tide of Confederate victories, Robert E. Lee decided to take his Army of Northern Virginia north of the Potomac River following the Second Battle of Manassas on August 28-30, 1862. He could not have predicted the desperate showdown his men would fight on the steep, boulder-strewn terrain of South Mountain.

His bold plan to divide his army into five parts and establish supply lines for an advance into central Maryland was

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