Jacob Rohrbach Inn (Sharpsburg, Maryland)

Categories

Archives

“The Last Army of the Republic: the Myth of the Unused Reserves at the Battle of Antietam.”

July 4th, 2018 by jacobrohrbach

Steve Stotelmyer

Civil War Summer Lecture Series

Always interested in local history, especially South Mountain and Antietam, Mr. Stotelmyer was a founding member of the Central Maryland Heritage League in 1989. The league gained a modest amount of success in preserving some of the lands of the South Mountain Battlefield. From 1989 through 1994 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a volunteer at the Antietam National Battlefield. In 1992 he published The Bivouacs of the Dead: The Story of Those Who Died at Antietam and South Mountain, Toomey Press, Baltimore Maryland. From 2000 through 2005 Mr. Stotelmyer served as a part-time volunteer and historical consultant for the South Mountain State Battlefield. Steven currently enjoys being a National Park Service Certified Antietam and South Mountain Tour Guide.

It is another one of those familiar stories about Antietam that has been told so many times that it is accepted as fact. Allegedly, Gen. George B. McClellan stood idly near the end of the battle while thousands of reserve troops did nothing. In most versions, the reserve troops belonged to McClellan’s most trusted corps commander, Gen. Fitz-John Porter. For a brief moment McClellan seemed ready to commit these reserves and looked to Porter, his most trusted subordinate. Porter is said to have slowly shaken his head with disapproval and is purported to have said to. McClellan, “Remember, General! I command the last reserve of the last army of the Republic. In truth, this accusation against McClellan is a complete fabrication rooted in the intrigues of partisan politics rather than historical fact. Gen. Porter, was not only a hapless victim of the debacle at Second Manassas three weeks before, but also bears the responsibility for McClellan’s less than decisive victory at Antietam. The elephant in the room that remains unacknowledged is that Porter was unreasonably punished in both battles not for his military actions, but rather for his political affiliation and friendship with McClellan. It is my hope that this talk not only debunks the myth of the unused reserves, but also contributes to the redemption of Fitz-John Porter who was quite likely the most unjustly persecuted military figure in our nation’s history.

On Wednesday, August 1st,  Steve will present his talk, “The Last Army of the Republic: the Myth of the Unused Reserves at the Battle of Antietam”.

Come join leading historians and Antietam Battlefield Guides as they discuss intriguing topics of the Maryland Campaign of 1862 and the Civil War during our Civil War Summer Lecture Series.

These outdoors programs will be held at the Jacob Rohrbach Inn on Wednesday evenings at 7:oo p.m.   To ensure adequate seating, please bring a chair.  In case of inclement weather, lectures will be held at the Sharpsburg Christ Reformed Church of Christ.  Parking is available on Main and Hall Streets.  For updates and a full schedule of presenters & topics check our Facebook page.

»