Re: Lee's Reasons for Retreating to Sharpsburg (plus two quick questions)
- Hi Philip,
I've not seen the Upper Bridge called "Sumner's" anywhere else either.
The tablets you found are #14:
http://aotw.org/tablet.php?tablet_id=140 and #15:
http://aotw.org/tablet.php?tablet_id=150 (Stephen's got 'em pictured
and they talk about I Corps units. You're quite right about Sumner's
troops crossing at the Pry Ford.
Carman only uses this name on those two tablets, as far as I can tell,
and he refers to it as the "Upper Bridge" on at least 4 others (1, 48,
118, 119). On the maps in the Battlefield Board's Atlas it's the
It's possible this refers to Gen Sumner's role as Wing Commander on
This is an entertaining question. I hope someone has time to dig in
General Carman's notes (!).
--- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "philipkesaris"
> (1) Was the Upper Bridge/Hitt Bridge also
> known as the "Sumner Bridge"? I noted two War Department tablets
> (about Meade's and Ricketts' divisions on 9/16) that refer to it as
> such. Was this a mistake? I thought Sumner crossed the creek at the
> Pry Mill ford? Also, IIRC, wasn't there a bridge across the
> Chickahominy called the "Sumner Bridge" that was used in the
> Peninsula Campaign?
- This is from Carman. No mention of the bridge:
On the evening of September 16th, when McClellan directed Sumner to
send the Twelfth Corps across the Antietam that night, Sumner correctly
requested that the Second Corps should go, also, but McClellan would
not consent; he gave orders to hold the corps in readiness to march an
hour before daybreak, to support Hooker, but not to move until further
orders. In anticipation of going that night Sumner had already sent
some of his batteries across the Antietam. Sumner's men had all
breakfasted before daybreak, filled their canteens and rolled their
blankets; they were ready to march but no orders came, and a little
after 6 o'clock Sumner, with his son, Captain S.S. Sumner, of his
staff, went to headquarters, but a few yards distant, for orders and
personal instructions. McClellan had not yet awakened from sleep and
none of his staff seemed disposed to disturb him, though the roar of
the battle was sounding in their ears. Sumner waited, walking to and
fro on the veranda of the Pry house, or sitting on the steps, the roar
of battle increasing and the detonation of the heavy guns shaking the
panes and shivering the sash of the windows, which let into McClellan's
room the full sunlight, but McClellan did not make his appearance.
Members of the staff were watching Hooker's struggle, which was in full
view, yet McClellan could not be seen and one of his staff members
remarked that Hooker's fight was only a rearguard affair, as "Uncle
Bobby Lee" was too much of a soldier to fight in that position with a
river at his back. And the opinion was expressed to McClellan, also,
that morning, whether he shared it or not we do not know.
Finally, at 7:20 a.m., after waiting more than an hour, Sumner received
his orders to cross the Antietam with two divisions, Richardson to
follow when relieved by Morell's' Division of the Fifth Corps. He put
Sedgwick in motion immediately, French following, went down the hill in
rear of McClellan's headquarters and crossed the Antietam at Pry's
Ford, where Doubleday had crossed the evening before, and when across
ascended a gentle slope for about a quarter of a mile, halted and
formed his lines.
On Friday, February 17, 2006, at 09:25 AM, Brian Downey wrote:
> This is an entertaining question. I hope someone has time to dig in
> General Carman's notes (!).
- Brian Downey wrote:
> Hi Philip,
> I've not seen the Upper Bridge called "Sumner's" anywhere else
The only reference to a "Sumner's Bridge" that I could find is that
it is an alternate name for Grapevine Bridge on the Chickahominy.
- It is called Sumner's Bridge infrequently in Antietam literature, and
also, alternatively, Hooker's or Doubleday's Bridge.
Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
Professor of History
Hagerstown Community College
>>> teej@... 02/17/06 6:53 PM >>>