McClellan, Mosby and Rectortown Station

McClellan’s Demise, Mosby’s Raffle

On November 5, 1862, several weeks after a tainted victory at Antietam, the Army of the Potomac’s Commander-in-Chief Gen. George Brinton McClellan established his headquarters here. That same day President Abraham Lincoln wrote the orders relieving McClellan of command. On the snowy evening of November 7, Gen. C.P. Buckingham arrived at McClellan’s tent with Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Buckingham handed McClellan the dispatch. When he finished reading, McClellan declared, “General Burnside, you are now in command of the Army.” After bidding farewell to his troops in nearby Warrenton on Nov. 10, Gen. McClellan returned to civilian life. In 1864 he ran against Lincoln as the Democratic Party candidate for president.

Rectortown was also the site of a deadly raffle on November 6, 1864. Because Col. John S. Mosby’s men attributed the execution of seven of his Confederate rangers to Union Gen. George Custer, Mosby ordered the execution of an equal number of Federals, to be selected by lot from among 27 prisoners. Two drummer boys were among the prisoners, and one of them drew a fatal slip. When Mosby was informed of the circumstances he heeded the plea of a young artillery officer to allow a second drawing for a substitute. Ironically, the death lot was drawn by the officer who made the request. Ultimately, that officer and three others survived. Three were hanged.

The depot at this site was in use during the war and the building which houses farm equipment was one of Mosby’s headquarters. The stone building in front of you was used as a Federal prison and still has traces of graffiti drawn by prisoners.


General McClellan is relieved of his command at his Rectorstown headquarters by Gen. Burnside.  Drawing by A.R. Waud in Harper’s Weekly.

The Battle of Antietam in HDR

As lovers of  American History and our Civil War History, our photography travels have sent us all over the United States to capture those historical places and battlefield parks which were instrumental in the building of America.  In our university studies, we were intrigued by the American Civil War and set out to capture it in modern photography.   We have captured all of the major battlefield parks in the US in both film and digital as well as Civil War reenactments from those battles.*  These parks are not only beautiful, historical and sacred ground but offer amazing scenes for landscape photographers.  This is especially so at Antietam National Battlefield Park in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  The cherished time to photograph is the fall when breathtaking color abounds and the pastoral landscape is perfection.

“The Bloodiest One Day Battle in American History

“23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia’s first invasion into the North and led to Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.”**

Slideshow:  Images by Jay&Jacy Photography, National Archives, Kern Collection

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Visit the Antietam National Battlefield Park for history, images, maps and to download their history .pdf.

* Image shot w/Minolta SLR, film, slide scanned to digital, processed HDR from single image in Photomatix Pro, Efex Pro, texture overlay.

** Antietam National Battlefield Park

See our posts/images from Cedar Creek Battlefield Park & Reenactment; Abraham Lincoln and other battles under “Categories” in our Archives.