Vol. II Review

And here is the review for Vol. II:

The Mary­land Cam­paign of Sep­tem­ber 1862 Vol­ume II: Antietam

Ezra A. Car­man, edited and anno­tated by Thomas G. Clemens

Savas Beatie, 2012, 670pp., $37.50

ISBN: 978–1-61121–114-6

Image cour­tesy of amazon.com

The clas­sic off The Mary­land Cam­paign of Sep­tem­ber 1862 has long been con­sid­ered a clas­sic in mil­i­tary lit­er­a­ture but some­thing which has been miss­ing in the doc­u­ment is anno­ta­tions. Upon read­ing pri­mary sources, there are some ques­tion­able things which have been writ­ten in these accounts, but with a good anno­ta­tion, the errors are cor­rected and sources prop­erly. Thomas G. Clemens has pro­vided these anno­ta­tions and are an excel­lent way to re-read this classic.

Ezra Ayres Car­man was born in Oak Tree, New Jer­sey and attended the West­ern Mil­i­tary Acad­emy in Ken­tucky. Dur­ing the Civil War, he fought with New Jer­sey units and faced some of the fiercest fight­ing through­out the war includ­ing the Bat­tle of Anti­etam. After the war, he was appointed to the Anti­etam National Ceme­tery Board of Trustees and the Bat­tle­field Board. Thomas G. Clemens has spent years study­ing the Mary­land Cam­paign and gained his doc­tor­ate at George Mason Uni­ver­sity. He has writ­ten a myr­iad of mag­a­zine arti­cles and has appeared in doc­u­men­taries along with being a licensed tour guide at Anti­etam National Bat­tle­field. Also, he is an instruc­tor at Hager­stown Com­mu­nity Col­lege and also founded the Save His­toric Anti­etam Foundation.

Much of vol­ume one deals with the Bat­tle of South Moun­tain and the process of reach­ing the bat­tle­field of Anti­etam. With­out vol­ume one, vol­ume two does not make much sense but both works stand as clas­sics. In order to appre­ci­ate the full con­text of Carman’s work, both vol­umes need to be read and with Clemens’ anno­ta­tions aid the work in the best way pos­si­ble. Thomas G. Clemens has per­formed a labor of love and his notes on the Bat­tle of Anti­etam are quite exten­sive. Through­out the text, there are quite a few good his­toric maps and the text is also fueled with many good pho­tographs of the field. The Bat­tle of Anti­etam is one of the most ter­ri­fy­ing expe­ri­ences from the Civil War and is con­sid­ered the blood­i­est day in Amer­i­can his­tory. In all of the works on the bat­tle, there are few which do not men­tion the work done by Ezra Car­men and since he was present at the bat­tle, the pri­mary source can be seen as more accu­rate than oth­ers. With­out the words of Clemens, there could be some con­fu­sion on the part of the reader not quite famil­iar with the bat­tle­field of Anti­etam or the rest of the Mary­land Campaign.

The Mary­land Cam­paign of Sep­tem­ber 1862 Vol­ume II: Anti­etam, stands on its own as a great work of Civil War lit­er­a­ture, but is more appre­ci­ated with both vol­umes. I highly rec­om­mend this book to any­one who has an inter­est in the Mary­land Cam­paign or is just inter­ested in the Bat­tle of Anti­etam. This in depth work by a Civil War vet­eran brings the hor­ror of the bat­tle­field to the reader and the anno­ta­tions of Clemens bring acad­e­mia to the work. These two vol­umes will be hailed as the great­est edi­tion of Carman’s work and a great addi­tion to the annals of Civil War history.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted December 26, 2014 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    I think this ques­tion is East­ern The­ater sci­fipec. While I’m a firm believer that Anti­etam is a huge turn­ing point in the war over­all (just as big or big­ger than Get­tys­burg), if we’re just look­ing at the East, I’ll go with Get­tys­burg. Get­tys­burg wrecks Lee’s army in way from which it’ll take over a year to recover and ends any real chance of ever invad­ing the North again. It pro­vides the Army of the Potomac with its first deci­sive win over is South­ern rival. Tremen­dous the­ater impli­ca­tions after Get­tys­burg! The Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion doesn’t do much to reshape the war in the East (it’s a national issue), and Anti­etam is essen­tially a bat­tle­field draw from which Lee will recover; he will invade the North again within the year.

  2. Tom
    Posted December 31, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your com­ment. Cer­tainly the advances of Bragg, Kirby Smith and Van Dorn make the fall of 1862 much more deci­sive than the sum­mer of 1863. Lee’s MD Cam­paign, in con­junc­tion with the afore­men­tioned Con­fed­er­ate thrusts, make this the true turn­ing point of the war. If suc­cess­ful the South might have dis­cour­aged North­ern vot­ers, allowed Euro­pean recog­ni­tion, and as you say, avoided the national issue of slav­ery. There was no going back once Eman­ci­pa­tion was declared. This ended seri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion of Euro­pean recog­ni­tion. In addi­tion, Lee in 1863 argued that north­ern inva­sion would force Grant to aban­don the siege of Vicks­burg, thus “win­ning” in both the­atres with one advance. It didn’t hap­pen, so Get­tys­burg was less sig­nif­i­cant that Anti­etam, as Vicks­burg fell on July 4. I argue the MD Cam­paign was as clear a vic­tory as Meade at Get­tys­burg, and per­haps more so. Meade did not launch one attack, yet is cred­ited with a vic­tory, while McClel­lan attacked Lee three times in five days, and drove him across the Potomac. I call that a vic­tory as Lee vacated both fields. Casu­alty losses for Lee at Get­tys­burg exceed about 1/3 of the army. In the MD Cam­paign they are sim­i­lar. I find Get­tys­burg to be a dra­matic, and some­what piv­otal bat­tle, but pales in com­par­i­son to the fall of 1862, led by the MD Cam­paign. Of course you may dis­agree, but these are my thoughts.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>