September 1862

The war’s momentum had clearly shifted to the South. Northerners were alarmed by the turnaround after having been so close to total victory just three months ago. Washington officials were scrambling to accommodate wounded Federal troops after the terrible defeat at Second Bull Run. The U.S. Army Surgeon General requested that women and children scrape lint for bandages.

The Battle of Chantilly

1 Sep – A vicious fight in driving rain ended the Second Bull Run campaign with Major General John Pope’s Federal Army of Virginia still intact but thoroughly defeated by General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.

McClellan Reinstated

2 Sep – President Abraham Lincoln reinstated Major General George B. McClellan as overall Federal commander in Virginia and Washington, merging Major General John Pope’s defeated Army of Virginia with McClellan’s Army of the Potomac.

Kentucky: Smith Takes Lexington and Frankfort

3 Sep – The Confederate incursion into Kentucky continued, with Major General Edmund Kirby Smith’s forces taking Lexington and the state capital of Frankfort.

The Maryland Campaign Begins

4 Sep – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia began crossing the Potomac River into Maryland to take the war to the North for the first time.

Maryland: Lee Tries Garnering Support

7 Sep – Confederate General Robert E. Lee tried garnering support from the people of Maryland, while Major General George B. McClellan’s Federals tried tracking him down.

Maryland: Northerners Start Panicking

9 Sep – The Confederates resumed their advance as panic began spreading through southern Pennsylvania.

Bragg Enters Kentucky

10 Sep – General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army of Mississippi entered Kentucky as thousands of men volunteered to stop the Confederates from crossing the Ohio River and invading the North.

Lincoln Ponders Colonization and Emancipation

11 Sep – President Abraham Lincoln approved a contract to deport slaves to Central America. He later hosted a delegation urging him to abolish slavery.

Maryland: The “Lost Order”

12 Sep – General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was divided into multiple sections as Federals entering Frederick discovered a document that threatened to destroy the Confederates.

Confederates Descend on Harpers Ferry

14 Sep – Three Confederate forces converged on the Federal garrison at Harpers Ferry, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

The Battle of South Mountain

14 Sep – A portion of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia defended key mountain passes in Maryland against Major General George B. McClellan’s Federal Army of the Potomac.

The Fall of Harpers Ferry

15 Sep – As part of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia fought at South Mountain, another portion led by Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson forced the largest Federal surrender of the war.

Maryland: The Armies Gather at Sharpsburg

16 Sep – General Robert E. Lee concentrated his Confederate Army of Northern Virginia near Sharpsburg as Major General George B. McClellan’s Federal Army of the Potomac approached.

The Battle of Antietam

17 Sep – The bloodiest day in American history occurred as the armies of Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan fought to a standoff near Sharpsburg, Maryland, along Antietam Creek.

The Fall of Munfordville

17 Sep – General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Mississippi captured a Federal garrison in Kentucky after a unique gesture of chivalry.

The Maryland Campaign Ends

18 Sep – General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia defiantly awaited another attack from Major General George B. McClellan’s Federal Army of the Potomac after the Battle of Antietam.

Confederates on the Move in Mississippi

18 Sep – With Confederate forces moving into Maryland and Kentucky, the third prong of the overall Confederate offensive began moving in Mississippi.

The Battle of Iuka

19 Sep – Federal forces attacked Confederates in northern Mississippi but could not prevent them from escaping to join with another force.

The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

22 Sep – President Abraham Lincoln issued his decree stating “that all persons held as slaves” within rebellions areas “are, and henceforward shall be free” if those areas did not submit to Federal law by January 1.

The Battle of Wood Lake

23 Sep – Federal forces effectively suppressed the Sioux uprising of 1862 over mistreatment on reservations and drove much of the tribe out of Minnesota.

The Suspension of Habeas Corpus

24 Sep – After issuing an order freeing all slaves in the Confederate states, President Abraham Lincoln issued a second order curtailing freedoms in the northern states.

Kentucky: Buell Reaches Louisville

25 Sep – Major General Don Carlos Buell’s Federal Army of the Ohio secured Louisville, but the Lincoln administration received several reports critical of Buell’s leadership.

The Army of the Potomac Stays in Maryland

27 Sep – Major General George B. McClellan sought more approval from Washington, while President Abraham Lincoln addressed reports of disloyalty within the army.

The Murder of “Bull” Nelson

29 Sep – Major General William “Bull” Nelson was shot to death by Brigadier General Jefferson C. Davis over a trivial argument.

The Battle of Newtonia

30 Sep – Confederates tried reentering southwestern Missouri from Arkansas, resulting in a fierce skirmish.

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Last Updated: 9/30/2017

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