Talk:Special Order 191

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Edit July 30[edit]

I am running out of time to do the research, but I don't think the paragraph describing the contents of the order is accurate. The order was really about the Harpers Ferry operation and the other parts of the army movement were subsidiary. And the concentration at Sharpsburg happened after Lee realized his plans were revealed. BTW, the link to military order doesn't go where someone thought. :-) Hal Jespersen 13:26, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

I changed the text to reflect the text of the order, which indeed was concerned with the investment of Harpers Ferry and the army's role in supporting that action. I also changed Barton Mitchell's rank to Corp. (most contemporary historians have it wrong, according to NPS park rangers at Antietam that I have consulted). Scott Mingus 16:23, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

June 3, 2010 Edit[edit]

An IP and new user Lostorder (who I believe are one and the same)are adding either unsourced or poorly sourced material to the article. The focus seems to be on Chilton's role in the writing of the order and a few details about the discovery of the order. There are two paragraps in particular that I have reinserted into the article to replace the unsourced modifications made by Lostorder. These paragraphs are fully sourced to Sears' Landscape Turned Red.

Rather than continually reverting this info, I suggest that, if it can be supported by reliable sources (and website articles by unpublished authors are not generally reliable sources -- especially in the area of the Civil War where there are so many easily available reliable sources) that it be discussed here as a possibility to add it as an alternative view rather than a complete substitution. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 15:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Page Title[edit]

All original copies of the document in question are entitled "Special Orders No. 191". Why on earth has the Wiki-article changed this to a singular? (talk) 12:29, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Did R.E.Lee know?[edit]

The wikipedia Robert E. Lee site states that "Lee had been informed by a spy that McClellan had the plans", i.e. that McClellen was in possession of S.O. 191.

Now, is this a fact? James McPherson in his essay To Conquer a Peace in his book This Mighty Scourge (p. 81) states that Lee was reading the newspaper coverage of McClellen's testimony to the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, regarding the events leading up to Antietam/Sharpsburg. Only months after the battle did Lee realize that the orders had been lost, according to this source. Can you verify this? Or is the wiki edit wrong? Califa (talk) 21:25, 2 May 2011 (UTC)

Every source I ever read on the subject said that Lee *suspected* McClellan had found out about his plan in one way or another, but didn't *know* as such that a copy of his S.O. had been recovered. (talk) 13:43, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

In Sears Landscape Turned Red he describes a Maryland civilian who was present in McClellan's camp when the order was brought to McClellan. This civilian went to Lee and told him, without any specifics, that McClellan had been brought papers--orders or intelligence of some kind--and was very excited. Sears went on to say that this non-specific warning, along with other reports, led Lee to conclude that McClellan was acting more quickly than he'd anticipated. Lee acted on this, bringing Longstreet back from Hagerstown sooner than he otherwise would have.

So did Lee know that his orders had been found? No, he didn't know the specifics until much later. But he knew something was up; that McClellan had information about the Confederate movements and was acting on it. Jacksheriff (talk) 21:06, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Apparently Lee only got wind of the story the following spring. Until then, he did not realize that his defeat at Antietam had been the result of pure accident. Taken together with his victory at Chancellorsville, this gave him a feeling of invincibility that caused him to try again to invade Pennsylvania. Valetude (talk) 23:18, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
Update. According to the Wiki article on the Chambersburg Raid, re Antietam, 'A Frederick, Maryland citizen, who was at McClellan's camp, although he was a Southern sympathizer, saw McClellan's reaction on that morning and warned Lee of the Union's intelligence coup.[1] Valetude (talk) 18:57, 13 November 2014 (UTC)


There is a vivid illustration of the moment when a mounted officer lets the order fall from his pouch. Might be suitable for this page. Valetude (talk) 00:29, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Spelling of Culpeper[edit]

I can't find an image of the first page. Was it in fact misspelled Culpepper in the original? --NE2 07:12, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Eicher, David J. The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. ISBN 0-684-84944-5. p. 341.