Three Cigars Change History

The 13th of September is a day that should remind folks that smoking is bad for your health. It was on this day in 1862 the a couple of soldiers from company F of the 27th Indiana found Gen. Lee’s Special Order No. 191 that set the stage for the bloodiest day in the Civil War.

Sergeant John Bloss and Corporal Barton Mitchell were looking around an area formerly used as a Confederate camp when Corporal Mitchell spotted three cigars wrapped in paper. That paper was a copy of Special Order No.191, Headquarter, Army of Northern Virginia address to General D. H. Hill.

The found orders were quickly turned over and made their way up the chain of command to Gen. McClellan giving him the location, direction of march and objectives of Gen. Lee’s entire army. “Here is a paper with which if I cannot whip ‘Bobbie Lee’ I will be willing to go home” McClellan said. He then telegraphed President Lincoln “I have all the plans of the rebels and will catch them in their own trap. Will send you trophies.”

McClellan, although having the advantage, is too slow to act and Gen. Lee pulled his forces together and the two armies meet at Antietam. There were no trophies, there were however almost 4,000 dead and 18,000 wounded.

Although the battle was tactically a draw, it was declared a Union victory because Lee’s advance into Maryland was stopped. Lincoln used this to issues the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln also later relived McClellan of command of the army for failing to follow up with another attack on Lee before he crossed the Potomac.

All because of three cigars wrapped in paper found on the ground on this date in history.

© Copyright: September 14 2009 Timesnews

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