Following the Road to Special Order #191 Itinerary

A 2019 BGES Day of History Program

October 6, 2019

In September 1862, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia entered Maryland and encamped around the city of Frederick, Maryland, along the banks of the Monocacy River. Disappointed by the Marylanders’ lukewarm indifference to Lee’s Army of Liberation, the Confederate chieftain regrouped and planned an operation to enter Pennsylvania. Sitting on his critical lines of communication was a substantial Union garrison at Harpers Ferry. Before going north, he had to clear that threat. Special Orders #191 was drafted and promulgated to implement that instruction. As Lee moved out, a copy of the orders was lost in a campsite and found by a Union soldier. The resulting campaign has always been colored by the impact of that discovery on the actions of the Federal army and its commander. This program traces the armies as they move to the fateful discovery.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

8:30 AM. For many years, historian Gloria Swift has been fascinated by the presence of the campsite on the Monocacy National Battlefield. Former historian for the site of the battle of Monocacy, this incident from September 1862 has loomed large in her research. Meet in the Monocacy National Battlefield parking lot as we head back to the banks of the Potomac to follow Lee’s army as it enters Maryland and moves to its campsites. Following lunch, we will head to the departure points for McClellan’s newly reconstituted army and move toward the same campsites. We will conclude at the site where the orders were most likely found and enjoy some stories and a discussion of the theories of the discovery of the paper as well as its real impact on the 1862 Maryland Campaign. All from a historian who has held the actual order in her hands. A great single day themed program with an engaging and connected historian. While in Frederick, you might like to head north on U.S. 15 approximately 20 minutes to Catoctin Mountain Orchard and bring home a fresh baked pie, cider, fruit preserves, or a bag of mountain apples. A great day out as the leaves are turning.

About the Faculty

Gloria Swift is a retired National Park Service historian and museum curator. She was the first historian for the new Monocacy National Battlefield and has done extensive work on Maj. General Lew Wallace and other activities in and around the battlefield. Gloria currently serves as the BGES Membership Coordinator, newsletter editor, and as a Tour Manager. A first-rate historian whom you will enjoy immensely.

Hotel Information

This one-day program does not require a hotel. Should you want a hotel, we usually stay at the Hampton Inn on Buckeystown Pike in Frederick.


The servicing airport is Washington Dulles (IAD) Dulles, Washington National (DCA), and Washington-Baltimore (BWI), all served by Southwest Airlines. The departure point will be the Monocacy Battlefield Visitor’s Center, centrally located and easily accessible via I-270, I-70, and US-15.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with a handout upon arrival.

The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only on this purchase but others you may make at other times.

Joseph L. Harsh: Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862
D. Scott Hartwig: To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of September 1862
Steven Stotelmyer: Too Useful to Sacrifice: Reconsidering George B. McClellan’s Generalship in the Maryland Campaign from South Mountain to Antietam

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link

Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: Following the Road to Special Order #191