Replying to a letter from D.H.Hill, in 1869, inquiring about how the lost order was found, Mac said: I have no recollection as to the particulars of the manner in which the order came into my possession; it was brought to me by my adjutant general as having been found by one of the troops, or found vacated by the camps of General Lee's army, verifying Gen. Chilton's signature. I was satisfied in regard to the genuineness of the order and made no further inquiry."
Replying to a letter from a citizen, in 1868, inquirying about his purpose in entering Maryland, Lee said: "In crossing the Potomac I did not propose to invade the North, for I did not believe that the Army was strong enough for the purpose, nor was I in any degree influenced by popular expectation. My movement was simply intended to threaten Washington, call the Federal army north of the Potomac, relieve our territory and enable us to subsist our army as I could not have maintained it in Fairfax County, so barren was it of subsistence and so devoid were we of transportation."
Exhibit Documents Collected by Joseph Ryan
The Battle of Antietam did not happen by accident, it was carefully planned, which turns the focus on Lee himself, the kind of man, general, that he was. He didn't wander around in confusion. He had a purpose, a mindset, an objective which he realized through maneuver.
If McClellan had seen through the ruse and had the courage, he would have raced straight for Crampton's Gap and Harper's Ferry, determined to wipe out McLaws's two divisions in Pleasant Valley and try to get between Lee and the Potomac, crushing Lee before he can reunite with Jackson.
If nothing else was certain, the movement would certainly have forced Lee to race for Williamsport and get back into Virginia. At which point, using the Ferry as his base, McClellan (if he had courage) would move toward Winchester to engage Jackson and Lee.......... AuthorPosition Paper