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Antietam: The Lost Order Hardcover – September 30, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing (September 30, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589803663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589803664
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,047,854 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The true story of the lost battle plans that led to the bloody battle of Antietam.

From the Inside Flap

When Robert E. Lee's secret plan to capture Harpers Ferry fell into the hands of Gen. George B. McClellan, the annals of Civil War history were immediately scratched in stone. This book covers the time from the moment the plan reached McClellan's hands to the reunion of Lee's army hours later.

In September 1862, the Confederate army, under Gen. Robert E. Lee, invaded Maryland and headed for Pennsylvania. The Union army, under McClellan, took a blocking position between Lee and the cities of Washington and Baltimore. Lee decided that he could afford to take a major gamble. He divided his army by three and sent them to encircle and capture the large Union garrison at Harpers Ferry. Then they were to reunite with the remaining force before McClellan realized Lee's movements. By an extraordinary set of circumstances, the Confederates misplaced and the Union recovered a copy of the Confederate battle plan, Special Order 191. McClellan, upon reading it, said, "If I can't beat Bobby Lee with this piece of paper, I will be willing to go home."

(Back flap)
This brief period of the Civil War provided perhaps the greatest drama and suspense of any episode and resulted in the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day ever seen on the North American continent. Antietam: The Lost Order concludes by analyzing what went wrong on the Union side, the lasting impact of finding the lost order, and finally, the fates of the major players.

Author Capt. Donald R. Jermann, USN, retired, lives in Maryland, where he works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. He served on active duty during World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and was a founding member of the Armed Forces Security Agency, the predecessor of the National Security Agency. In his postmilitary career, he has twice been awarded the Secretary of the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Each map is numbered for easy reference.
Kristina L. Hamilton
These maps coupled with the daily chapter format and good writing keeps the reader in the picture.
James W. Durney
Lincoln called upon General George B. McClellan to defend against Lee's threat.
Robin Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Morris on November 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off the title of this book is sort of a misnomer. If you are expecting a book dealing with order 191 and it's being lost then you're in for a surprise as the actual order itself being lost is covered only briefly in this book. Instead we get a rather nice book on Harpers Ferry, it's importance in the Maryland Campaign and a detailed look at Lee's plans to take it.

The book starts off a touch rough. In it's first few pages it insinuates that Little Mac could have taken Richmond on the Pennisula if Lincoln had simply sent him more troops. Then the book repeats as fact the old myth that Grant sent a silver serving set across the battle lines of Petersburg as a present to George & Sally Pickett on the birth of their son. That is just a fiction create by Sally Pickett in her writings after the war.

However after that the book settles down and what we have is a really well done telling of Lee's planning prior to the battle of Antietam and the siege of Harpers Ferry itself. This is an often just a side note covered by a chapter or two in most books, but here it's center stage and covered well. Men like Dixon Miles get a lot more coverage here and we find a nice in depth look at the man himself and how he viewed the events, being cut off from the outside by the Confederate siege.

If you're worried that this will be a dry study of the events like we often find in Civil War books don't worry. Donald Jermann shows he is a talented writer with a sharp wit. His humor really adds a nice touch to his writing and the book flows very well.

I recommend this book. It covers a not very often told part of the 1862 Maryland Campaign and does it with wit and clarity. I think most Civil War buffs will find it very worthwhile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John Cioffi on November 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Imagine knowing the detailed plans of your enemy before a major encounter. That's the underlying premise of this fascinating story, written by a career military man.

This book is, first of all, a higly interesting and easily understandable account of a crucial set of events in American history. Even those who are not rabid history fans will be propelled along by the story and the clear writing. This book explains the intriquing and unique events that compelled the Confederate and Union forces to clash at Antietam - our country's bloodiest battle.

Unlike many historical accounts, especially those of our Civil War, this book is clearly written and easy to follow. The key characters are presented with irreverent tongue in cheek, and the many accompanying maps provide an understandable account of the chess board maneuvering of the North and South in the mountainous terrain surrounding Harpers Ferry and Antietam.

When you've completed this book you'll understand how the armies of the Civil War were organized for managment and for battle, how they treated the opposition with gentlemanly respect and near deference, how they gathered intelligence and communicated in the field, and how they often made winning or losing decisions based on imperfect information.

In the end, you'll see that the all-too-human and unpredictable behavior of key decision makers shaped the events that led to this avoidable and bloody conflict. It's quite a story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bomojaz on February 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Not exactly the most eloquent or impressive military account of an important phase of the Civil War ever written, but it gets the job done. Jarmann examines the events leading up to the battle at Antietam, beginning at September 9th with Lee north of the Potomac and stationed at Frederick, MD. He spends a great deal of time dealing with the situation at Harpers Ferry and the maneuverings of Franklin's Sixth Corps at Cramptons Gap on the 13th and 14th. The finding of Lee's "Lost Order" describing precisely his plans for splitting his army and the capturing of Harpers Ferry were found by Union soldiers near Frederick on the 13th and made its way quickly to McClellan's headquarters. McClellan knew exactly what he had and also, apparently, knew or should have known that quick action was necessary to strike Lee's army while is was still separated. But Little Mac was incapable of such a move. (Jermann criticizes Franklin for apparently possessing the same "slows" bug that infected McClellan.)

Jermann is very good at looking at some important details: McClellan's writing to Halleck about fog on the morning of the 16th preventing him from accomplishing much that day, for example: no one else seems to mention this mysterious fog and it didn't prevent the Confederates from getting that much closer to reuniting its army. Although Lee retreated with his army back across the Potomac after the major engagement on the 17th, Jermann does not see the Battle of Antietam as much of a Union victory - certainly when compared to what it could have and should have accomplished. Jermann's writing is okay, but rather artless ("The order reads as follows" is a typical lead-in to first-hand information). It's a better account of the lead-up to the battle than the battle itself, which he barely touches on.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Liberty and Union on August 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I do enjoy Jermann's style, and the book offers some good writing on the campaign. I had hoped for more analysis of the Lost Order itself. Perhaps too much of an emphasis on Harper's Ferry. For example, we don't need the verbatim text of the commission that investigated charges against various Union officers for the fiasco. The maps are a bit too simplistic, too.
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Antietam: The Lost Order
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