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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sharpsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

“Destroy the Rebel Army”

 
 
"Destroy the Rebel Army" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
1. "Destroy the Rebel Army" Marker
Inscription. Before the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln sent a telegram to General George B. McClellan, commanding the Union Army of the Potomac:
GOD BLESS YOU AND ALL WITH YOU
DESTROY THE REBEL ARMY IF POSSIBLE


McClellan, with an army nearly twice the size of Lee's, thought that he was outnumbered:
"One battle lost, and almost all would have been lost. Lee's army might then have marched as it pleased on Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, or New York."

Lee knew that he was outnumbered, but he had brought this Army of Northern Virginia north of the Potomac River to win a great victory:
"We will make our stand."

The evening before the battle, combat artist Edwin Forbes sketched the soldiers of the Union First Corps as they waded across Antietam Creek. The crossing was well to the north of Sharpsburg, so the Southerners knew that the first attack would fall on Major General "Stonewall" Jackson's Corps waiting at the Dunker Church.

Major General Joseph Hooker commanded the First Corps, and he was ready:
"If they had let us start earlier, we might have finished tonight."
 
Location. This marker has been replaced by another marker nearby. 39° 28.531′ N, 77° 44.802′ W. Marker is
McClellan's Plan image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 17, 2007
2. McClellan's Plan
The plan of the Union Commander was simple:
1 Attack on the right
2 Attack on the left
3 Attack the center "with any reserves
I might then have on hand."
near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is at the intersection of Dunker Church Road / Old Hagerstown Pike and Smoketown Road, on the right when traveling south on Dunker Church Road / Old Hagerstown Pike. Touch for map. Located at stop one of the driving tour of Antietam Battlefield. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. A different marker also named Destroy the Rebel Army ( here, next to this marker); Beacon of Peace ( here, next to this marker); Jackson's Command ( within shouting distance of this marker); Twelfth Army Corps ( within shouting distance of this marker); Second Army Corps ( within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Twelfth Army Corps ( within shouting distance of this marker); 5th, 7th and 66th Ohio Infantry Monument ( within shouting distance of this marker); Greene's Division, Twelfth Army Corps ( within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sharpsburg.
 
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker are portraits of Major General George B. McClellan, U.S.A. and General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A. The Edwin Forbes sketch is displayed in the upper center. A map on the right side details McClellan's plan of battle.
 
Regarding "Destroy the Rebel Army".
Tour Stop One - the Dunker Church image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
3. Tour Stop One - the Dunker Church
On the left is the Dunker Church interpretive marker. Facing the camera is the "Destroy the Rebel Army" interpretive marker. The 59th New York Infantry monument is opposite the church in the distance. Note the fold of the terrain in the background. This section of ground was contested throughout the morning of the battle.
This marker was replaced by another titled "Destroy the Rebel Army" (see nearby markers).
 
Also see . . .  Antietam Battlefield. National Park Service site. (Submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,175 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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