Could it be that the
Civil War's greatest piece of intelligence, Lee's Special Orders 191, was deliberately
passed into Union hands?
Such is the thesis of the -- and it is just that -- a thesis based upon intriguing facts and events that are postulated to stimulate a discussion around this controversial and most important event.
Welcome to the Lost Order Mystery
Website where the circumstances surrounding the pivotal event of the American Civil War
are analyzed, discussed, and developed with the assistance of you, the Internet visitor.
Travel back in time as we explore this most significant and mysterious episode of
The story of Special Orders 191 became of particular interest to me when I
discovered that the characters involved its writing, discovery, and verification (Robert
Chilton, Alpheus Williams and Samuel Pittman) all knew each other in Detroit (my home
city) in the 1850's.
That such a crucial piece of
information, upon which the fate of the United States hung, should coincidentally happen to fall into the
hands of friends who could immediately and positively identify the signature of its writer
struck me as both highly unlikely and suspicious.
These suspicions led me to
first examine the many references to the incident, which in turn
caused me to more closely examine the signer of the order, Robert
Hall Chilton, by looking up all references to him in Freeman's monumental study of
Southern Command, Lee's Lieutenants.
What I found was not
complimentary. In fact, every instance where he
makes an appearance, his actions have negative results for the South thus deepening my