By Blood and Iron~September, 1862~the second week

In the second week of September, casualties mount as Confederate troops invade Maryland. General Lee tries to reassure Marylanders that his army means freedom and choice for the state. His military intentions are revealed to the Union army by accident. British sympathy for the South increases in some quarters.

President Lincoln maintains a hectic schedule and publicly ponders the will of God while meeting with an interdenominational group from Chicago. The abolitionist Frederick Douglass criticizes General McClellan in a private letter to an old friend.

An assault on English citizens who are ignorant of or indifferent to the culture in Japan will create an international incident between the two island empires.

abolitionist activist Gerrit Smith in a photo by Matthew Brady


September 8– Monday– Rochester, New York– Frederick Douglass writes to his old friend, the abolitionist politician Gerrit Smith who is now 65 years old and having some health problems. “I had attributed your silence of late to what I supposed must be your ineffable disgust at the wretched management of the war. Your gloomiest predictions have been even now more than realized, and I shudder at what the future may still have in store for us. I think the nation was never more completely in the hands of the Slave Power. This government is now in the hands of the Army, and the Army is in the hands of the very worst type of American Democracy, the chief representative of which is now doing his utmost to destroy the country.” [This comment refers to Union General George McClellan, a long-time member in the Democratic Party.]

September 8– Monday– Fredericktown, Maryland– General Robert E Lee issues a proclamation to the people of Maryland, asserting that the state has long had ties to the South and is being oppressed by the Federal government. He concludes by saying, “In obedience to this wish [for freedom] our army has come among you, and is prepared to assist you with the power of its arms in regaining the rights of which you have been so unjustly despoiled. This, citizens of Maryland, is our mission so far as you are concerned. No restraint upon your free-will is intended—no intimidation will be allowed within the limits of this army at least. Marylanders shall once more enjoy their ancient freedom of thought and speech. We know no enemies among you, and will protect all of you in every opinion. It is for you to decide your destiny, freely and without constraint. This army will respect your choice, whatever it may be; and, while the Southern people will rejoice to welcome you to your natural position among them, they will only welcome you when you come of your own free-will.”


General Robert E Lee, c.1863


September 8– Monday– London, England– Chancellor or the Exchequer William Gladstone writes to a colleague that “the South cannot be conquered . . . It is our absolute duty to recognize . . . that Southern independence is established.”

September 10– Asuncion, Paraguay– Carlos Antonio Lopez, who has ruled dictatorially since 1841, dies at age 69.

William S Porter, aka O. Henry

September 11–Thursday–Greensboro, North Carolina– Birth of William Sydney Porter who will become famous as O Henry, American writer.

September 11– Thursday– Hagerstown, Maryland– Confederate troops seize the town.

Confederate Cavalry

September 11– Thursday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– Fearing a rebel invasion, Governor Andrew Curtin calls for 50,000 militia to prepare to defend the state.

September 12– Friday– Harrisburg, Pennsylvania– State records and the state treasury are shipped to New York to avoid seizure from the expected Confederate invasion.

John Ross, a leader among the Cherokee people

September 12– Friday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with John Ross, a leader of Cherokee Nation, to discuss treaty relations; holds a brief cabinet meeting on military affairs; writes to General McClellan “that the enemy is recrossing the Potomac. Please do not let him get off without being hurt”; advises Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania that he does not have 80,000 troops to send to Pennsylvania; and assures the mayor of Philadelphia that “Philadelphia is in no danger. . . . and could not be reached by the rebel Army in ten days, if no hindrance was interposed.”

September 13– Saturday– Frederick, Maryland– Two Union soldiers find a copy of Confederate General Lee’s orders for the invasion of Maryland. The document is quickly passed to General McClellan. In the evening, Jeb Stuart advises Lee that McClellan has the document.

September 13– Saturday– Washington, D.C.– President Lincoln meets with a an interdenominational group of Christians from Chicago who present a petition calling for emancipation of all slaves. In response, Mt Lincoln says, “I hope it will not be irreverent of me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is I will do it.” He concludes his remarks by saying, “I view the matter as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.”

Battle of South Mountain

September 14– Sunday– South Mountain, Maryland– In pitched battles for control of three passes through the Blue Ridge Mountains in this area, Federal troops turn back the Confederate forces. Dead, wounded and missing Confederates total 2685 and Union casualties amount to 2325.

body of Charles L Richardson

September 14– Sunday– Namamugi, Japan– Four British nationals– Charles Lennox Richardson, Woodthorpe Charles Clark, William Marshall, and Mrs. Margaret Watson Borradaile– are traveling on the Imperial Highway, enjoying a sight-seeing ride. When they encounter the large and well-armed retinue of Satsuma regent Daimyo Shimazu Hisamitsu heading in the opposite direction, they do not yield the roadway nor stop nor dismount. When Mr Richardson approaches Shimazu’s palanquin too closely, the daimyo’s bodyguard attack the Englishmen, killing Richardson and seriously injuring Marshall and Clark. [The incident initially provokes fear among the Europeans in Japan and when the Japanese government fails to pay reparations, will lead to a British naval bombardment of a Japanese town in August of 1863 and eventual payment by Japan of £25,000.]

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