September 5, 1862 – Washington, D.C.

It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow. – Aesop

 

Lee is hoping to draw the Union army out of the defenses of Washington by moving into Maryland on the previous day. President Lincoln has responded to the poor performance of Pope by bringing back McClellan to oversee the defense of Washington, but McClellan knows he must react to the Army of Northern Virginia’s move into Maryland. However, he is under no orders directing that he move the army to meet Lee’s invasion. After McClellan becomes aware that General Lee is moving his army north of the Potomac into Maryland, McClellan begins the very slow westward movement of six of his eight corps consisting of about 84,000 troops. Initially, this action is only intended to expand the defensive perimeter for Washington and potentially react to any Confederate threat to Baltimore.

The Army of Northern Virginia crossing the Potomac into Maryland, September 1862

 

It is a lively atmosphere as the southern soldiers reach the Maryland shore of the Potomac River. Bands are playing and troops are singing, “Maryland, My Maryland.”

 

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,

Maryland! My Maryland!

His torch is at thy temple door,

Maryland! My Maryland!

Avenge the patriotic gore

That flecked the streets of Baltimore,

And be the battle queen of yore,

Maryland! My Maryland!

 

Meanwhile, the 8th and 11th CVI regiments continue to make camp in Washington. Harland’s Brigade remains short at least one veteran regiment, the 4th Rhode Island. The 4th RI is still enroute to Washington from Acquia Landing. Unknown to Oliver, the fourth and final regiment to join Harland’s Brigade will be the newly formed 16th Connecticut. His brothers Ariel and Alonzo have recently enlisted in the 16th and we can safely assume that the mail received from home the previous day has brought this news to him.

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