With a tally of more than five thousand killed, twenty thousand wounded, and three thousand missing, the Battle of Antietam made September 17, 1862, the deadliest day of combat in American history. In Opposing the Second Corps at Antietam, scholar Marion V. Armstrong Jr. completes his magisterial study of Antietam begun in Unfurl Those Colors! by examining Robert E. Lee’s leadership at the climactic battle in the Confederate invasion of Union territory.

Eminent Civil War historians consider Antietam the turning point of the war. Hoping to maintain the initiative they had gained at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Confederate leaders looked to a stunning victory on Northern soil to sour Northern sentiment on the war as well as to coax European powers to recognize the fledgling Confederacy. Having examined McClellan’s role at Antietam in Unfurl Those Colors!, Armstrong now recounts in riveting detail Lee’s command decisions and their execution in the field, drawing on a superlative collection of first-person accounts by Confederate veterans to narrate the cataclysmic struggle between Lee and McClellan.

Armstrong sets the stage with a lively recap of the political and military events leading up to the early fall of 1862 and foreshadowing the conflagration to come on September 17. Each chapter then traces a critical section of the battle, the fight for the West Woods and the bloody engagement of the Sunken Road. Armstrong augments this narrative with an exceptional set of maps, which will be valued by scholars, readers, and visitors to the battlefield. These unique maps delineate troop movements in intervals as brief as fifteen minutes, bringing to life the fluid, mutable lines that characterize the glory and horror of Antietam.

Either together with Unfurl Those Colors! or as a stand-alone account of the Confederate side of the battle, Opposing the Second Corps at Antietam provides the fullest possible understanding of the experience of Confederate soldiers at Antietam.

Marion V. Armstrong Jr. is the author of Unfurl Those Colors!: McClellan, Sumner, and the Second Army Corps in the Antietam Campaign. He is a retired US Army reserve officer and teaches history at Middle Tennessee State University.

“Armstrong’s Opposing the Second Corps at Antietam is a masterful tactical study. This is an essential book for any Antietam library.”
—Ted Alexander, author of Antietam: The Bloodiest Day and historian at Antietam National Battlefield 

Opposing the Second Corps at Antietam is a useful companion to Armstrong’s first book, as he does a masterful job of addressing a specific part of the battle that no other book has done. Armstrong clearly shows the fighting was not compartmentalized, but rather flowed from one portion of the field to another. This is important because this linkage is omitted from most books, due to the difficulty of explaining these transitions.”
—Thomas G. Clemens, editor of The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume 1, South Mountain and The Maryland Campaign of September 1862: Volume II, Antietam

216 pp / 41 maps
ISBN: 978-0-8173-1904-5 Cloth
ISBN: 978-0-8173-8957-4 Ebook
Price: $39.95