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The Antietam Campaign$
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Gary W. Gallagher

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780807824818

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807835913_gallagher

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We Don't Know What on Earth to Do with Him

We Don't Know What on Earth to Do with Him

William Nelson Pendleton and the Affair at Shepherdstown, September 19, 1862

(p.259) We Don't Know What on Earth to Do with Him
The Antietam Campaign

Peter S. Carmichael

University of North Carolina Press

The Army of Northern Virginia suffered a near catastrophe on September 19, 1862, when Federals crossed the Potomac at Shepherdstown and threatened to seize the Confederate reserve artillery. Assigned the task of protecting the army's rear guard, Brig. Gen. William Nelson Pendleton proved utterly incapable of decisive leadership—yet retained his position as chief of artillery under Lee for the remainder of the conflict. This chapter uses the debacle at Shepherdstown as a point of departure to evaluate the artillerist's role during the Maryland campaign and in the broader history of the Army of Northern Virginia. Why did Lee retain in high position a man so obviously lacking key attributes of command? Part of the answer can be found in Pendleton's warm relationship with Jefferson Davis, who supported and protected his friend throughout the war.

Keywords:   Civil War, Maryland campaign, Northern Virginia, artillerists, Jefferson Davis

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