Confederate Robert E. Lee’s Army of the Northern Virginia took its fight to Maryland 150 years ago this week in the Civil War.
Lee’s forces clashed with Union foes on Sept. 14, 1862, at the Battle of South Mountain, Md. Fighting would be a mere prelude to the monstrous Battle of Antietam in three days’ time.
Lee’s hope was to crush Northern war spirits by taking the fight to Union turf. Lee’s troops briefly occupied Frederick, Md., but they soon were chased off by the approaching Union forces of Major Gen. George B. McClellan.
In fierce fighting at South Mountain, McClellan sought to crush the Army of Northern Virginia. But it was to no avail. Lee regrouped his far-flung divisions to fight another day.
Only days ahead, the two foes would meet at Antietam, turning point in the Civil War. Still, there was little inkling this week of the deathly battle that was near.