Retreat From Gettysburg (American Civil War Documentary) | Timeline

for three furious days during the sweltering summer of 1863 General Robert E Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia slammed into General George Gordon meets Union Army of the Potomac across the rolling fields ridges and Hills near Gettysburg Pennsylvania Lee first struck Meade's advance Corps on the early morning of July 1st west of Gettysburg but the Union troops though defeated withdrew to the heights east and south of the town by evening Lee struck the left than the right flanks of Meade's army on July 2nd but met with only limited success the fighting had been Savage losses had been appalling finally Lee struck the Union Center on the afternoon of July 3rd nearly three full divisions had advanced across almost a mile of open fields in the face of horrific small-arms in our Tillery fire mercilessly shredding the Confederate ranks by the time the attack fell upon the Union Center there was too little left of the attacking Confederate divisions to carry it the Battle of Gettysburg had been decided but the struggle to save Lee shattered army was just beginning the blooded survivors of the divisions of generals Pickett Pettigrew and Trimble streamed back down the forward slopes of Cemetery Ridge across the Emmitsburg Road and into these fields here some were using their muskets as crutches others were being carried by their comrades the losses had been absolutely appalling of the 10,500 men and officers who entered the attack some 6700 were casualties killed wounded captured and missing of Pickett's brigade commanders all of them were down Brigadier General Lewis Armistead was mortally wounded Brigadier General Richard Brooke Garnett was killed in his body not recovered Brigadier General James Lawson Kemper was dangerously wounded a bullet having entered his groin and ranged up his spinal column of the 15 regimental commanders in Pickett's division alone 13 were killed wounded captured or missing of the lieutenant Colonel's three were killed and eight were wounded dangerously in Pettigrew's command these losses continued Pettigrew himself being wounded his own Colonel of his brigade Colonel James Keith Marshall was dead two bullets having hit his head simultaneously 3,500 of Pettigrew's and Trimble's officers and men were down losses in some of these regiments were just unbelievable in the eleventh Mississippi 87 percent of the men were killed wounded you're missing of the University greys of the 11th Mississippi 100% of them were lost as were 100% of the color company of the 38 North Carolina General Lee rode out into these fields here we're only 50 minutes before his attack had been launched he tried to console his men as they screamed back towards seminary Ridge but generally was facing the most ominous task of any commander and that is to retreat an army after a lost battle for Lee he would have to move out of Gettysburg 50,000 officers and men more than 20,000 non-combatants support personnel more than 10,000 critically wounded and sick he would have to move 57 miles of quartermaster subsistence ordnance and ambulance trains all this he would have to move 50 miles to the Potomac River and cross a mountain range the passes of which were 400 feet above the valley floors he would do this with an enemy victorious chasing him and trying to move in for the kill it would be aided by two more Union armies moving into the area and Lee would face 10 consecutive days of torrential rains Lee was indeed embarking upon an operation that was one of the most difficult he would face in his military career it would be the retreat from Gettysburg general robert e lee was 56 years old he was robust but had been weakened by a heart attack the previous spring and more recently dysentery he was exactly what lee faced on the late afternoon of july 3rd was dawn the two armies suffered combined casualties that totaled at least 51,000 in three days of combat the whole battlefield wrote one observer was one trodden miring waste with corpses at every step the official count of casualties in Lee's army read twenty thousand four hundred killed wounded missing and captured wounded were taken off the battlefields on litters carried by drummers musicians convalescent soldiers and african-american slaves of officers and enlisted men many of whom were the distinctive badges of the ambulance corps wounded were brought to the division hospitals as quickly as the transportation equipment allowed surgeons and assistant surgeons on the battlefield and an ambulance depots provided the necessary triage while their counterparts at the division hospitals worked feverishly to save critical cases by means of amputation or resection there were 10 division hospitals behind Lee six mile long lines at Gettysburg each of them had been established by the Corps and division quartermasters in consultation with the medical director of the Corps and the chief surgeon of the division as each division moved on to the battlefields the size of the quartermaster and subsistence trains gathered around each division hospital told the story of the purpose behind Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania although Lee had one significant victories at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville in the months preceding his armies movement across the Potomac River they were not enough to bring the war to an end rather they had seriously depleted Lee's army between June 1 1862 and the daily launched his invasion of Pennsylvania his army had suffered more than 60,000 casualties added to that Virginia had been fought over for two years Northern Virginia that area between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers was a wasteland it had been stripped of all livestock and crops and a serious drought in the fall of 1862 had only worsened the problem li entered pennsylvania to forage his army he needed to feed his more than 40,000 horses and mules and he needed food and equipment for the men from the moment Lee's army entered Maryland and Pennsylvania the troops scoured the countryside and organized quartermaster and subsistence teams purchasing impressing and even confiscating everything they could find it was useful to the army quartermaster records still extent in the collections of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond Virginia illustrate how systematic the foraging was indeed items needed were written the top large grids all pre-prepared that were filled in by quartermasters as those items were found although Lee had admonished his men not to pillage or otherwise harm private property his general order number 72 issued in late June 1863 actually instructed quartermasters and commissaries of subsistence to organize teams to obtain the necessary supplies and livestock his hungry men foraged for themselves in spite of the general order it is estimated that Lee's army purchased impressed and confiscated nearly fifty thousand head of cattle nearly fifty thousand head of sheep thousands of hogs and at least twenty thousand horses and mules many of them were herded south to the Army's supply base at Winchester Virginia while the army was still marching into Pennsylvania illustrative of how thorough was the acquisition of quartermaster and subsistence supplies Lee's wagon trains by July 3rd 1863 were altogether more than 57 miles in length the quartermaster and subsistence wagon trains together with herds of livestock were found around each division hospital site as Lieutenant General Richard s Mules Corps advanced into Pennsylvania ahead of Lee's remaining Corps and had forage for more than two weeks prior to it entering the fighting at Gettysburg on July 1 each of its three division trains of quartermaster subsistence and ordnance stores and ambulances extended for nearly seven miles making the Corps train nearly 21 miles in length Yul's Corps had also collected supplies for the army in general Major General Edward Allegheny Johnson's division of you'll score had brought to Gettysburg not only its own division wagon trains but a reserve train of purchased impressed and confiscated stores that by July 3rd was nearly 20 miles in length it was parked 8 miles behind Lee's battle lines along the road between Cashtown and Fairfield lieutenant generals Ambrose pal Hills and James Longstreet score had not foraged in Pennsylvania as long as general eul's troops consequently the wagon trains parked around their division hospitals were not as lengthy as those in you'll see visions nevertheless each of their division wagon trains extended for at least three miles making their Corps trains each nearly ten miles in length the cavalry division of Lee's army commanded by Major General je B Stewart established its own division hospitals along the hunter's Town Road in and near the village of hunters town on Lee's left flank was eul's Corps its left was held by Johnson's division whose division hospital was made up of a cluster of Brigade hospitals all located out the York Turnpike and the hunters town road the Henry a-pickin farm and schoolhouse the Alexander Bueller and W Henry and Catherine Montfort Martin Schaller and Elizabeth Weibull farms formed the division Hospital site ambulance depots had been established along the Hanover Road at the Christian and Susan Benner farm just below cults hill and the Daniel lady farm nearby Major General Jubal a Early's division established its hospital site in wagon park using a cluster of farms and farmhouses along the Harrisburg and Carlisle roads north of Gettysburg under the direction of chief surgeon dr. Samuel B Morrison the John S Crawford house and farm Josiah Benner house and Bank barn the William Ross house and Jacob chyme house and farm along with the dormitory of Pennsylvania College formed the division Hospital site the division Hospital site of Major General Robert erodes his division was located out the MoMA's burg road behind the divisions July 1 battle lines at the Jacob Hankey and David Shriver farms Ewell's hospitals were all under the direction of his medical director dr. Hunter McGuire and his chief quartermaster Major John Alexander Harmon general Hills hospitals were mostly situated behind his battle lines established along the Chambersburg pike during the first days fighting the hospitals of both major generals Henry Heath and William Dorsey Pender's divisions were located out the Chambersburg pike around the village of seven stars the Samuel Laura farm Andrew heinzelman tavern and David Whistler farm form the site of the two combined division hospitals Major General Richard H Anderson s division hospital was established on the atom but farm along the her Ridge Road three miles behind its battle lines formed on July 2nd all of the division Hospital sites for the divisions of James Longstreet score were found along and south of the Fairfield Road the hospital of Major General George Pickett division was located at a cluster of farms along Marsh Creek south of the Fairfield Road chief surgeon dr. Magnum Lewis oversaw the divisions three Brigade hospitals established at the Frances Bream mineral and flour mill the nearby farm house of William E Myers and the John F corn star Major General Lafayette mclaws's division hospital sites were found in a cluster of Brigade sites located near the hospital of Pickett's division Frances Bream's Black Horse Tavern on the north side of the Fairfield Road along with the houses and farms of John S Crawford and Samuel Jones along Marsh Creek south of the Fairfield Road were used by the surgeons of mclaws's brigades we're here at the Frances Bream house otherwise known as the Black Horse Tavern on the afternoon of July 2nd Frances Bream's home and the barn and farm complex were selected by the chief quartermaster of mclaws's division to be the hospital site for Kershaw's Brigade and it was here that dr. Simon Baruch of the 3rd South Carolina battalion served his troops in the barn here and in the surgery center inside the house the Division Hospital site chosen by the chief surgeon of Major General John Bell hoods division dr. John Thompson Darby and hoods chief quartermaster was the John Edward plunked farm located along the Willoughby Run Road we're here at the Johnny plank farm about four miles south of Gettysburg and three miles behind the main Confederate lines assaulting the base of Little Round Top and Devil's Den back here more than 1,500 critically wounded cases were brought they were operated on in the lower floor of the plank house and after their operations mostly amputations they were brought out into the fields where they rested under shelter halves that were pitched in these fields north of the house and if you can just imagine this hospital site now was like every other of Lee's ten division hospitals behind this building were all the quartermaster and subsistence trains of hoods division those trains amounted to more than three miles of wagons and therefore horse or six horse teams so you could just picture not only all the surgery going on all the wounded cases all the burials of those who died under the operating knife but hundreds of wagons and therefore in six horse teams parked behind it around the house on July 5th this hospital was evacuated and those critically wounded cases who could still ambulate were instructed to do so and to move out into the lines of retreat those wounded cases who could not walk were lifted into ambulances and taken out of here and more than 500 15 of hood soldiers – desperately wounded to go on were left here to fall into the hands of the enemy the numbers of wounded were not Lee's only concerned gathered near the hospital sites of Heath's and Pender's divisions and mclaws's and Pickett's divisions along Marsh Creek on either side of the Fairfield Road were more and four thousand Union prisoners of war Li would offer to exchange them but General George Gordon Meade would decline due to War Department directives cutting off exchanges Li would have to take those prisoners back to Virginia the task of withdrawing his army given its enormity and the numbers and conditions of its wounded and the numbers of prisoners of war in his care presented General Lee with one of the greatest challenges of his military career ten miles to his rear was the south mountain range that rose 700 feet above the plain where his army rested the two roads Lee protected the Chambersburg Pike in the Fairfield Road wound their ways through passes that were three hundred feet below the mountain summits from there Lee's army had to reach the Potomac River more than 50 miles distant after Lee determined that an immediate counter-attack was unlikely and that the center of his lines was capable of resisting an attack he rode to his headquarters 10-on seminary Ridge across the Chambersburg Pike the Sun was setting there he rested briefly and solidified his own plans for a retreat back to Virginia by 10 o'clock in the evening Li was back down seminary Ridge at the headquarters 10 of general ap Hill at the Emmanuel Pitzer house there with the light of a flickering candle Li and Hill discussed the retreat they were soon joined by lieutenant generals James Longstreet and Richard s you'll Hills core occupied the center of the Confederate lines and Lee determined it should lead any retreat using the Fairfield Road Lee recognized his army was ill situated to begin it withdrawal its lines extended for nearly six miles following the contours of the defense lines established by general Meade's Union Army Lee's army unlike Meade's was operating on exterior lines making communication difficult Meade on the other hand was operating on interior lines the first order of business for Lee was to correct his Army's positions he first looked to you'll score the divisions of which occupied ground below Culp's and Cemetery Hills south and east of Gettysburg and in the town of Gettysburg below Cemetery Hill he ordered them to withdraw to seminary and Oak Ridges and come into line with hills and Longstreet's Corps to accomplish the movement you will ordered his medical director major Hunter McGuire to oversee the evacuation of all sick and wounded from the division hospitals behind Early's and Johnston's divisions and those Depot's of Rhoda's division in the town of Gettysburg those sick and wounded capable of making the journey back to Virginia would be placed in ambulances or other wagons commandeered for such a purpose and driven out the moombas burg rode in Chambersburg Pike to the Herr Ridge Road they would then be driven down the Herr Ridge Road to the Fairfield Road where they would continue to positions on either side of the Fairfield Road where they would wait for instructions to begin the movement toward the Potomac River Lee ordered eul's core to evacuate those positions promptly Rhoads his division holding a line in town and below Cemetery Hill was to literally about-face and March west to seminary Ridge occupying the summit of the ridge between the Chambersburg pike and the Fairfield Road Early's and Johnson's divisions were directed to evacuate their positions below cemetery and cult's Hills and march out the mumma's Berg Road in the Chambersburg Pike Johnson filling a line along Oak Ridge between the Chambersburg pike in the mumma's Berg road and early occupying McPherson's Ridge in reserve on either side of the Chambersburg Pike behind roses and Johnston's divisions Lee directed Hill's Corps occupying the center of the Confederate line to remain where it was strengthening the line so as to resist any attack Longstreet's Corps was directed to about-face and marched back over the fields it had won on July 2nd and returned to seminary Ridge refusing its far right flank in order to resist any attempts on the part of the enemy to attack the line in that direction Lee instructed Ewell hill and Longstreet to order their men to construct heavy breastworks along the defense line from Oak Ridge on the left all the way to the right flank on seminary Ridge near the Emmitsburg Road within hours a new line began to take shape fences were stripped of rails and barns and outbuildings were dismantled for log beams that form the breastworks that were constructed such as those shown in the famous picture of three captured Confederates sitting and standing alongside the breastworks constructed by Rhodes division along seminary Ridge Lee continued to plan the retreat all along he had carefully positioned his army to protect the approaches to to principle passes through the south mountain range Cashtown pass and Monterey pass the Cashtown pass carried the Chambersburg Pike through 700 foot high mountain range gradually Monterey Pass on the other hand was steep the Chambersburg Pike was macadam eyes the Fairfield Road in the Mariah furnace Road to Monterey were not both of those routes had served as essential elements of Lee's lines of support and communication that extended all the way down the Cumberland Valley to the Shenandoah some 200 miles to Staunton Virginia on the Virginia Central Railroad a rail line which ran 100 miles east from Stanton to Richmond along that line Lee communicated with his President and Secretary of War his army forwarded and received supplies and even forwarded and received mail throughout the entire campaign Lee would fall back upon the very line of support and communication he had so carefully protected throughout the campaign and the ensuing battles at Gettysburg léa determined that the wagon and ambulance trains of the army would lead the retrograde movement hills and Longstreet's Corps trains along with Stuart's cavalry division trains would assemble on the Chambersburg pike and move toward the Cumberland Valley in the Potomac River by means of the Cashtown pass and near roads connecting the Chambersburg Pike with the Cumberland Valley Turnpike to Williamsport Maryland on the Potomac River Lee directed General John D Imboden and his independent cavalry Brigade to guide and protect those wagon and ambulance trains of hills and Longstreet's Corps and Stuart's cavalry division the wagon and ambulance trains of eul's Freda visions as well as the reserve wagon train assembled by eul's Corps and parked eight miles in lee's rear between Fairfield and Cashtown would lead the army on the fairfield road to the mariah furnace road and over monterey pass to Hagerstown and finally Williamsport protecting nearly 40 miles of those trains would be the chief quartermaster of eul's Corps Major John Alexander Harmon general Ewell went up to Harmon and pointing his index finger at Harmons nose he said I want you to get those trains across the Potomac River or I don't want to see your face in this army again Hill's Corps would follow eul's wagon and ambulance trains as Hill's Corps evacuated the center of the defense lines long streets and eul's Corps would evacuate their positions on the right and left respectively Yul's troops would serve as the screening force protecting Longstreet's Corps as it marched into line behind Hill once all of Longstreet's Corps was on the march up the Fairfield Road Yul's Corps would then begin its retrograde movement as in all movements of these armies the roadways would be occupied only by artillery battalions and those wagon trains accompanying the troops the infantryman would march in columns on either side of the roads pioneer teams would advance ahead of the marching troops tearing down fences and obstructions to allow the infantryman to pass without impediment to add even more difficulty to the operation Lee's pontoon train and bridge situated 50 miles to his rear at falling waters on the Potomac River was attacked at the very same time Lee was engaged in planning the retreat as the wounded soldiers were lifted into ambulances in all the hospitals behind Lee's lines there were goodbyes many were final goodbyes the ambulances of you'll score arrived at sites along and on either side of the Fairfield Road in the early morning hours of July 4 even the lifeless body of Colonel Isaac ei 'very of the six North Carolina remained in a quartermaster wagon placed there the previous evening by his slave who wanted the Colonel's remains buried in North Carolina before he died Irwin had penned a note to his wounded regimental major that read tell father I died with my face to the enemy the senior surgeon in you'll score who had been instructed to remain behind was dr. John M Hays of the 26th Alabama even as the ambulances were being loaded dr. Hayes was occupied at the co bean house along the Carlisle Road along with dr. Harvey black of the 4th Virginia and the 2nd Corps field hospital amputating the left leg of general Isaac R Trimble who had fallen at the climax of the picket Pettigrew and Trimble attack on July 3rd ambulances are being filled in Hill's Corps Hospital sites also among the prominent officers placed in ambulances were generals William Dorsey Pender and Alfred more scales of North Carolina who were laid side by side in one ambulance with their aides and slaves more of the same was visible in the hospitals of Longstreet's three divisions General John Bell hood was placed in an ambulance at the plank farm he was accompanied by his longtime surgeon dr. Darby Darby would actually direct at the badly wounded General Wade Hampton be transferred to hoods ambulance as Darby had been Hampton surgeon throughout the time that Hamptons Legion was part of hoods old Texas Brigade dr. John SD Cullen Longstreet's medical director oversaw the assembling of the ambulance trains of Longstreet's three divisions in all Lee's medical officers were able to evacuate more than 9,000 critically wounded and sick officers and men along the Chambersburg pike from Cashtown all the way back to her Ridge Road general Imboden assembled the wagon and ambulance trains of hills and Longstreet's Corps and Stuart's cavalry division assigned to Imboden by General William Nelson Pendleton please chief of artillery were elements of artillery batteries from hills and long streets battalions as well as the Stewart horse artillery brigades when combined with the four guns of Captain John McClanahan's Virginia battery in Imboden zone brigade he would have a total of 20 pieces of artillery to protect the wagon and ambulance trains under his protection general Fitz Ulis and Colonel Lawrence Baker's cavalry brigades formerly Wade Hamptons would follow in Boden's trains screening their rear and right flank at 3 o'clock in the morning of July 4 and less than two hours after his departure from Lee's counsel at general Hill's headquarters major Harmon got the immense reserve wagon train of quartermaster and subsistence stores underway on the or Tanna road toward Fairfield ahead of the reserve train road major Ridgley Browns first Maryland cavalry accompanied by the four guns of the Courtney Virginia artillery protecting the approaches to the wagon trains moving through Fairfield from the direction of Emmitsburg were the cavalry brigades of General William II grumble Jones and general Beverly Robertson along with choose Virginia battery situated at the junction of the Moriah furnace road and the Jax Mountain Road accompanied by five to seven thousand cattle and nearly the same number of sheep the train rumbled through Fairfield all during the morning hours of July 4 as the roads were generally dry the wagon train made good speed the daylight brought intermittent showers by early afternoon the showers became steady anticipating that the immense reserve train would clear Fairfield by mid-afternoon surgeon's assistant surgeons nurses and stewards in all of the temporary hospitals established by Yule three divisions on either side of the Fairfield Road began lifting those critically wounded soldiers who had been taken out of the ambulances for emergency treatment back into the vehicles some had died and they were buried in the fields alongside the temporary hospital sites some were too critical to move any farther and were left to fall into the hands of the enemy by two o'clock in the afternoon of July for the last elements of the reserve train began passing through Fairfield it had taken 11 hours major Harmon then called upon the wagon and ambulance train of the rear division in line that of general roads to move on to the Fairfield Road toward Fairfield and into line behind the reserve train by 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon the very windows of heaven opened up and rain fell in blinding sheets as the last of roads is wagons entered fairfield general Early's wagon and ambulance trains were directed into life they were followed by general Johnston's division trains late at night when fully stretched out on the road the wagon and ambulance trains under major Harmons command extended for more than forty miles as major Hartmann began the movement of the division trains of eul's core on the Fairfield Road general Imboden set in motion the wagon and ambulance trains of generals hills and Longstreet's Corps and general jdb Stuart's cavalry division on the Chambersburg Pike Imboden directed his immense wagon and ambulance trains up the Chambersburg Pike through the Cashtown pass and onto the walnut bottom and pine stump roads rain poured down in sheets wind blew the canvas covers of the wagons and ambulances off their moorings exposing everyone in them the roads selected for Imboden wagon and ambulance trains were among the worst in the region they were hilly rocky and it was said by a local resident muddy and swampy during heavy rains general Imboden left a remarkable description of the wagon and ambulance trains he directed my orders he recalled had been peremptory that there should be no halt for any cause whatsoever if an accident should happen to any vehicle it was immediately to be put out of the road and abandoned the column moved rapidly considering the rough roads and darkness and from almost every wagon for many miles issued heart-rending wails of a nagging for four hours I hurried forward on my way to the front and in all that time I was never out of hearing of a screams and cries of the wounded and died scarcely one in a hundred had received adequate surgical aid owing to the demands on the hard-working surgeons from still worse cases that had been left behind many of the wounded in the wagons had been without food for 36 hours their torn and bloody clothing matted and Harden was rasping the tender inflamed and still oozing wounds very few and the wagons had even a layer of straw in them and all were without Springs the road was rough and rocky from the heavy washing of the preceding day the jolting was enough to have killed strong men if long exposed to it from nearly every wagon is the team's trotted on urged by whip and shout came such cries and shrieks as these Oh God why can't I die my god will no one have mercy and kill me stop oh for God's sake stop for just one minute take me out and leave me to die on the roadside I'm dying I'm dying my poor wife my dear children what will become of you and finally stretched out on the road in Boden's columns of wagons and ambulances extended for more than 17 miles as the journey continued in the mud the column would eventually stretch out until it reached over 30 miles in length when major Harmons and general Imboden wagon and ambulance trains were fully on the roads they together extended for more than 57 miles General George Gordon Meade the commander of the Army of the Potomac was not idle with only scant information from his signal stations atop the Adams County Courthouse and Little Round Top lead was able to learn of the immense wagon trains gathering along the Chambersburg Pike in Fairfield Road General Meade directed the cavalry Brigade of General J Ervin Greg of the 2nd Cavalry Division to move around what he understood to be the Confederate left flank and to try to intercept any wagons moving through the Cashtown Pass toward Chambersburg General Meade then sent orders to General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick to move his third cavalry division from its position on the Baltimore Pike near Littlestown in to taverns toward Emmitsburg and Monterey Pass looking at his map Meade knew that Lee's wagon trains would have to negotiate Monterey Pass if they were moving along the Fairfield Road Kilpatrick was directed to not only strike those trains if he could but send information to Army Headquarters of Lee's movements to General John Buford whose 1st Cavalry Division was then at Westminster feeding and reshoe in its forces and feeding the men orders came from general Meade's headquarters directing him to move out at once toward Frederick Maryland he instructed Buford to put his division into position to strike Lee's trains in the Cumberland Valley by moving through Turner paths Gregg's Brigade Kilpatrick's division and Buford's division got underway on the afternoon of July 4 no sooner had they started than the rain fell in sheeps slowing their movement many of the horses in the men and those cavalry commands had not been fed for days making their lengthy movements over rough terrain exceedingly difficult behind major Harmons immense wagon and ambulance trains lead directed his troops to begin their long and difficult trek back to Virginia General Hill's Corps holding the center of Lee's defense lines at Gettysburg was ordered to move into line first as Hills men bloodied and thinned from battle losses moved into lines pioneer teams using coal oil set fire to their hastily constructed log breastworks Lee would use the dense smoke to partly obscure the movement of his troops general Longstreet columns filled the fields on either side of the Willoughby Run Road waiting to get into line behind Hill's columns the weight by Longstreet's men was exasperating the pace of the immense columns of wagons ambulances and hills marching troops was exceedingly slow the rain poured long streets dense columns of troops waited without any shelter all through the night as long streets core waited on the Willoughby run road you'll score after evacuating its breastworks along Oak and Seminary ridges marched down the her Ridge Road to the Fairfield Road and formed battle lines on either side of the Fairfield Road to protect the columns marching toward Fairfield and to protect those Longstreet's Corps waiting to get into law the retreat of Lee's army was not conducted without some difficulties protecting Maj Harmons wagon and ambulance trains at Monterey pass in the dark rainy night of July 4 were only two companies of the first Maryland cavalry and one artillery piece from the Courtney Virginia artillery that one gun had it appears only about twelve rounds of ammunition in its limber chest the remaining three guns of the Courtney Virginia artillery continued on protecting the head of the reserve train along with the remaining companies of the 1st Maryland cavalry protecting the enormous trains from being attacked from the east at Monterey pass was Company B of the 1st Maryland cavalry commanded by captain George Malcolm eMac a native of Beltsville Maryland eMac positioned his company midway down the slope of the eastern face of South Mountain on either side of the Emmitsburg Waynesboro Turnpike just below the Monterey House a popular mountain resort hotel the one artillery piece occupied the center of Emax lines Company A of the 1st Maryland occupied a position on either side of the Turnpike along the western face of the Mount then galloping up the Emmitsburg Waynesboro turnpike toward Monterey Pass was the Division of Union cavalry commanded by General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick 4200 strong with three batteries of regular United States Horse Artillery in the lead of Kilpatrick's column was the brigade of five Michigan cavalry regiments commanded by none other than newly commissioned Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer the rain continued to fall in blinding sheets lightning bolts exploded in the darkness the Patricks columns exhausted due to almost ceaseless duty cautiously rode up the turnpike then just past fountain Dale the first Michigan troopers came across a little girl was no more than 12 years old by the name of Hedy Zeilinger whose family lived on the summit of Monterey pass near the Monterey House Hotel the troopers asked Hedy if she knew what was ahead pointing to the summit of Monterey Pass she told them there were Confederate cavalry and an artillery piece protecting a huge wagon train they asked her if she would lead them up the steep road she agreed the column of 4200 cavalrymen with three batteries of artillery were led through the darkness by the directions of a twelve-year-old girl as Kilpatrick scoopers reached a point about 1/4 of a mile ahead and 50 feet below the position of captain Emax dismounted cavalry men and their one-hour Killary piece The Virginian cannoneers pull the lanyard on their one gun and it's deafening report echoed through the darkness while its canister word through the air some Union cavalry man half asleep were so startled they fell out of their saddle soon though the Michigan cavalry Brigade accompanied by the 18th Pennsylvania cavalry dismounted and advanced against Emax position Kilpatrick's division pressed forward until Emax troopers in their lone artillery piece took up a position six hundred yards to the rear at the intersection of the Emmitsburg Waynesboro Turnpike and the Mariah furnace road behind Emax position the huge wagon trains continue to rumble up the Mariah furnace road and onto the Emmitsburg Waynesboro turnpike toward Waterloo and Waynesboro Kilpatrick's Union columns formed around the Monterey House Hotel General Custer directed the 5th and 6th Michigan cavalry to advance dismounted toward Emax Confederate defenders rifle fire erupted all along the summit just then grumble Jones appeared on horseback behind emac demanding that the wagon trains be started again Jones promised eMac he would bring up what reinforcements he could at all they would amount to only a few hundred troopers of the sixth Virginia cavalry and the fourth North Carolina cavalry Michigan regiments fought their way closer to email Custer directed two of keptin Penningtons rifle guns to unlimber and fire explosive shell toward the passing wagon and ambulance trains he then directed the first West Virginia cavalry and Company A of the first Ohio cavalry to draw their sabers an attack captain Emacs in lines on horseback in one of the most dramatic moments of the Civil War Custer led his mounted commands directly into Emacs lines while lightning bolts flashed overhead briefly the fighting in front of the wagon trains was hand-to-hand kept an emic fell with multiple saber blows to his head shoulders and arms and his horse was killed the heavy Union columns broke through the Confederate defenders and soon the entire division of Union cavalry was galloping down the long column of wagons and ambulances of Rhoda's division between the summit of Monterey pass in Waterloo capturing more than 250 wagons and nearly 1300 prisoners mostly wounded officers and men and African American Teamsters laborers and slaves among those captured were the wounded Colonel Thomas s Keenan of the 43rd North Carolina and major Charles E Blackmun all of the 23rd North Carolina narrowly escaping capture was major black Knowles commander Colonel Daniel Harvey Christie all of the African American slaves and cooks of the 3rd company of the Richmond howitzers were taken by Kilpatrick's troopers also seized was the payroll of General Junius Daniel's Brigade quartermaster Kilpatrick though was in a difficult position his entire division was now west of the South mountain range he suspected that elements of Lee's army were hurrying to Monterey Pass indeed they were Lee's infantry columns were on the march toward Fairfield and the south mountain range once in the Cumberland Valley general Imboden immense wagon and ambulance trains continued their slow journey toward Williamsport through the driving rain and deep mud passing through new Franklin Marion and Green Castle Pennsylvania they headed due south on the Cumberland Valley Turnpike attacked once just below Green castle on the morning of July 5th by a roving cavalry command under captain Ulrich Dahlgren Imboden personally called up elements of his four regiments protecting the wagon and ambulance trains and beat back the attackers by late afternoon July 5th as the leading elements of Imboden strains were just then entering Williamsport the long column extending then nearly 31 miles was struck again this time the attackers were elements of the first New York and 12th Pennsylvania cavalry regiments that had fled to bloody run in Bedford County Pennsylvania in mid-june when general you'll score attacked an overwhelmed General Robert aged Mill Roy's Union occupational forces at Winchester Virginia and Martinsburg West Virginia under the command of captain Abram Jones of the 1st New York the Union cavalry having approached Imboden strains from Mercersburg Pennsylvania struck them at a place called Cunningham's crossroads inflicting serious damage on the wagon and ambulance trains of Hill's Corps and taking more than 650 prisoners in excess of 300 of whom were badly wounded among the prisoners was the wounded Colonel Khalid Levin Thorpe of the 11th North Carolina after beating back the attackers in Boden's wagon and ambulance trains continued on to Williamsport in the wee hours of July 5th John Harmons 40 mile long wagon train began to arrive in Williamsport the rain was pouring down in Torrance that train was directed down here to the bottom lands in attempts to try to get as many of those wagons across the Potomac River as possible the river was rapidly rising with the falling rains and soon the Ford was completely obliterated and all that was left to transport those wagons across the Potomac River was a ferry that ran on a cable from the Maryland side to the West Virginia side operated by a man named Robert lemon whose house Maidstone on the Potomac is still standing on the West Virginia side those wagons continued to pour in here over the next 46 hours on the afternoon of July 5th the leading elements of John in Boden's 17 mile long train of wagons began to move into Williamsport to those trains were also directed down here and soon by the end of that day there were nearly 5,000 wagons in these bottom lands with all their four and six horse and mule teams accompanied by all the cattle all the sheep all the Hogs and other subsistence carried along by this army one veteran of Pickett's division looking at this wrote in his diary that looking at this spectacle that he thought was so incredible it reminded him more of the Mormon Exodus than it did of a military operation with no bridge at falling waters Lee's wagon trains carrying the stores his army had seized in Pennsylvania were trapped canal boats were then lifted out of the CNO canal and launched in the Potomac River connected to the two shores by means of ropes the canal boats hauled wagons and ambulances across the river around-the-clock Williamsport became a vast hospital on either side of Potomac Street and along all the cross streets from the canal basin to the Toll House on the Hagerstown Turnpike long streets Yul's and Hills core set up temporary hospitals for those sick and wounded in desperate need of medical and surgical attention to protect the immense wagon and ambulance trains gathering in the town Imboden collected all the armed forces at his disposal and developed a defense line along a ridge about one mile east and north of town protecting the approaches from those two directions his own independent cavalry Brigade form the center of those lines all dismounted the better parts of two infantry regiments the 31st and 58th Virginia that had protected the Williamsport Ford throughout Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania were added to Imboden defenses in addition Captain William Pegram company F 21st Virginia infantry was ferried across the river from its bivouac site near Maidstone on the Potomac by mid-afternoon July 5th the 54th North Carolina infantry appeared on the West Virginia shore of the Potomac River it had arrived there escorting Lee's long overdue wagon train of reserve ammunition all the way from Richmond Virginia to Staunton and down the Shenandoah Valley to the Potomac River wounded officers in the ambulance trains like Colonel William Delanie of Cobbs Legion and Colonel William pilot of the 53rd Virginia organized companies of wounded soldiers armed them from weapons found in the quartermaster trains and sent them to the defense lines using two gun sections Imboden director the placement of artillery in positions from the Cumberland Valley Turnpike all the way to below the Williamsport Boonesboro Road the whole success of the invasion in fact the life of the army itself depended upon the successful defense of the wagon trains that jammed in Williamsport and along the bottom land between the canal in the Potomac River as general Kilpatrick's weary columns galloped along the western face of the south mountain range toward Boonesboro in the early morning hours of July 5th general Buford's 1st Cavalry Division headed toward Frederick through driving rains in an effort to get across the south mountain range in order to intercept Lee's enormous wagon trains not far from Emmitsburg Buford added General Wesley Merritt's reserve Brigade to his columns the men and horses were weary and hungry so desperate were their needs that merits troopers lost over 200 horses due to lack of forage and shoes during the journey between Emmitsburg and Frederick once in Frederick Buford was informed by a civilian observer of the tremendous wagon trains with its herds of livestock that had been moving through Hagerstown and heading toward Williamsport all through the night of July 5th knowing the Potomac River was swollen and Lee's pontoon bridge had been destroyed Buford determined to strike the wagon trains in Williamsport the next morning he was confident of success as informants told him the trains were protected only by a small contingent of cavalry and some inferior artillery Buford's troopers awoke early in the morning of July 6th to the sound of boots and saddles they mounted their horses and headed up the National Road present-day u.s. forty a toward Middletown and Turner pass late in the morning Buford's long columns met elements of Kilpatrick's division just west of Boonesboro there Kilpatrick told Buford of the vast wagon trains he had broken at Monterey Pass Buford informed Kilpatrick of the intelligence he had received at frederick the night before those wagon trains were still rumbling through Hagerstown Kilpatrick reported and his division was in a position to strike them in Hagerstown Hill Patrick and Buford decided on a two-pronged attack Kilpatrick would proceed up the National Road through funks town and strike the wagon train still moving through the streets of Hagerstown Buford would move west up the Williamsport Boonesboro Road and strike the wagon trains that were backed up in Williamsport waiting to cross the Potomac River though Patrick's movements were not unnoticed by the Confederates protecting the immense wagon trains moving through Hagerstown elements of Colonel John R Chambliss as grey cavalry Brigade had reached the town Colonel James Lucius Davis of the 10th Virginia cavalry was alerted a screen of vedettes from Colonel rlt Beals 9th Virginia cavalry posted just north of funks town observed Kilpatrick's approach Colonel Davis received word of the massive Union columns heading toward Hagerstown he ordered his troopers to hurriedly construct a barricade along South Potomac Street just south of st. John's Lutheran Church skirmish fire broke out in the early afternoon between the Confederate vedettes and general Kilpatrick skirmishers the heavy blue columns past Eggers mill just southeast of Hagerstown gunfire intensified in the open field south of Hagerstown Kilpatrick masked his troopers riding up to Kilpatrick was captain Ulrich Dahlgren who had found his way around Lee's trains Dahlgren asked Kilpatrick if he could lead an attack of Potomac Street Kilpatrick heartily agreed calling up squadrons of the 18th Pennsylvania cavalry the first West Virginia cavalry in the first Vermont cavalry all from Colonel Nathaniel Richmond's Brigade Dahlgren advanced them up South Potomac Street toward the Confederate defenders then yelling for his men to charge Dahlgren led the blue squadrons directly toward Colonel Davis's barricade at a gallop from behind the barricade and from building windows heavy small-arms fire dismounted some of dahlgren's troopers soon the whole southern suburbs of the town exploded in rifle fire Dahlgren let his galloping columns into and over the barricade overwhelming the advance lines of the 9th and 10th Virginia cavalry regiments at the barricade Dahlgren led his columns to the center square of Hagerstown there the Virginians rally elements of general Beverly Robertson's brigade of North Carolinians just entering the town on North Potomac Street hurried to the aid of the Virginians the battle in the streets of Hagerstown was severe the cutting and slashing wrote one Pennsylvania trooper was beyond description slowly the Confederates were forced back from the town square on Church Street among the tombstones of and around Zion Reformed Church the Confederate resistance stiffened meanwhile in the eastern suburbs of the town Colonel Milton J Ferguson's Brigade with choose Virginia battery arrived choose guns unlimbered and began shelling the Union attackers in Hagerstown to beat the threat Kilpatrick ordered the 5th New York cavalry along with a squadron of the 1st Vermont and elders United States battery to hold off the Confederate advance east of town the battle for the possession of Hagerstown intensified it was after four o'clock in the afternoon moving down the Turnpike and into North Potomac Street was General Alfred M Iverson's little brigade of North Carolina infantry their presence would turn the tide I versus men filtered into the thin Confederate defenses along Church Street they unleashed several infantry volleys and then in battle formation advanced south forcing the Union troopers some mounted some dismounted to give ground in the fighting captain Delrin felt badly wounded he was taken back to an ambulance south of town as the gunfire grew in intensity in Hagerstown Buford's three brigades galloped up the Williamsport Boonesboro Road closer to Williamsport Buford push forward still believing that Williamsport was virtually undefended and that the vast wagon trains congregating there were his for the taking when Buford reached the downs Ville Hagerstown Road he called for his two advanced brigades to dismount Merritt's Brigade would attack Williamsport on the north side of the Williamsport Boonesboro Road while Colonel William Gamble's Brigade would attack south of the road Colonel Thomas Devin's Brigade mounted was held in reserve skirmishes were ordered ahead on foot as the cavalry men all dismounted approach the Confederate defenses in columns as though they were infantry each brigade was supported by a battery of rifle guns that unlimbered and fired into the Confederate defenses merits attack north of the road was making progress general Imboden believed his hard-pressed Confederates could not hold out much longer south of the road Captain William Pegram advanced his little company along the downs Mill Road and into the fields of Arthur Williams farm just north and west of the impressive Williams house known as Rose Hill advancing against Pegram were elements of the 8th Illinois Cavalry led by Major William Medill buck Miller brought forward his two guns of the third company of the Washington artillery of New Orleans and shell Gamble's columns the fighting south of the Williamsport Boonesboro Road became ferocious pilgrim was killed the major modèle fell from his horse mortally wounded Imboden ordered all of his troops north of the Williamsport Boonesboro Road to advance one to gun section of the Washington artillery of New Orleans Captain Charles Squires guns was advanced out the Williamsport Hagerstown Turnpike and began shelling Merritt's right flank just them Imboden observed heavy columns of mounted troops advancing toward his left flank it was general Fitz ulis Confederate cavalry Brigade it had just arrived following the rear of em Boden's long wagon and ambulance trains Merritt's troopers suddenly halted general merritt called upon his regimental commanders to withdraw their commands Lee's Brigade sabers drawn descended upon merits right flank some of these troopers galloped toward Hagerstown where they collided with elements of Custer's Michigan Brigade just then moving to the aid of merit from Kilpatrick's position south of Hagerstown as merit withdrew so did gamble in minutes what it appeared to be a union breakthrough was now a union route as Buford's division withdrew east toward Jones's crossroads Kilpatrick's division was being pushed out of Hagerstown and was falling back toward Jones's crossroads from the north well into the darkness the fighting continued along the Hagerstown Sharpsburg Turnpike as one Confederate attack after another slammed into Kilpatrick's retreating columns one Confederate attack mounted by grumble Jones's Brigade struck Kilpatrick from the direction of funks town by midnight two Union divisions both in near disarray jam the fields around Jones's crossroads the battles of Hagerstown and Williamsport were over Kilpatrick's and Buford's divisions had been badly beaten lee's immense wagon and ambulance trains and all the purchased impressed and confiscated stores and vast herds of livestock were safe meanwhile back at Gettysburg please infantry columns moved under the Fairfield Road all through the morning of July 5th long streets weary and rain-soaked troops logged their way up the Willoughby run road and into position behind Hill's slow-moving Corps in the midst of Longstreet's Corps Pickett's division assigned to guard the prisoners of war brought the more than 4,000 Union prisoners onto the Fairfield Road in the midst of the enormous columns moving toward Fairfield and Monterey Pass as the last of Longstreet's troops entered the fairfield road the long columns of eul's core filtered onto the road leaving behind the georgia brigade of general john beat gordon along with the Louisiana Guard artillery the commands designated as the rearguard of Lee's retreating army the rear was screened by Colonel Elisha V White's 35th battalion of Virginia cavalry that spread out in a long line behind the retreating infantry columns fully aware of Lee's withdrawal up the Fairfield Road toward the south mountain range general Meade put his own army in motion he directed General John Sedgwick to move his sixth Corps on to Lee's rear and follow it to the mountains Sedgewick's mission was explicit he was ordered not to bring on an engagement with Lee but rather to uncover Lee's intentions many of Meade's senior commanders were convinced that Lee was withdrawing to the south mountain range in order to fortify a position there Meade however was not convinced at first he believed Lee was in full retreat toward Virginia and he acted on that belief he directed all of his corps to march as quickly as possible to Frederick in Middletown Maryland there the army would advance through Turner's foxes and cramped ins passes and into the Cumberland Valley to hopefully intercept Lee before he could cross the river on the morning of July 5th dr. Simon Baruch and dr. J F Pierce were seated out here on the lawn and they were roasting a peacock that they had found the first meal they had had in days all morning long they had seen the columns of Lee's retreating army move up the Fairfield Road as dr. Baruch looked up on to the ridge he saw an entire column of Union cavalry with Sabres drawn flashing in the Sun as that cavalry moved down into this yard behind them came literally endless columns of general Horatio Rights Division of General John Sedgwick 6th Corps Corps that General Meade had sent out to pursue Lee's army as it retreated up the Fairfield Road a captain came up to dr. Baruch and asked him are there any Confederates around here and he said no only wounded ones and so the 6th Corps moved on into Lee's rear pressuring him all the way to Fairfield Lee's rear guard periodically halted for battle lines unlimbered the flock and opened a blistering fire on Cedric's advancing troops with virtually all of his army in a position to aid his rearguard Lee constantly offered Sedgwick opportunities to attack draw the enemy to us Lee sent two generals Ewell in early and then smash them Sedgwick was not about to take the bait darkness fell on the afternoon of July 5th with you'll score at the base of the south mountain range on either side of the Moriah furnace Road Longstreet's Corps had reached the base of the south mountain range at Monterey gap on either side of the Emmitsburg Waynesboro Turnpike both Ewell and Longstreet directed their troops to construct breastworks along a military crest of the mountains axes and shovels were heard all through the night in the pouring rain bonfires were lighted behind the log and earthen breastworks making it appear Lee's men were there to stay this is the Moriah furnace road leading to the entrance to Monterey pass and as darkness fell Lee had all of those troops in you'll score build breastworks and light fires along the base of the south mountain range and as General John Sedgwick 6th Corps came to this site after fighting a series of spirited engagements with General John Gordon's rearguard of Lee's army he reached this site and saw all the fires and his advanced cavalry noted that there were breastworks being built so John Sedgwick sends a message to General George Gordon Meade telling him that he believes that Lee is fortifying the mountains when that message reaches General Meade General Meade cancels all the orders he had issued for the army to move toward Frederick and Middletown and he would wait here for fear of moving his base of supply at Westminster to precipitate Lee so forth thirty hours the Army of the Potomac waits until they determine whether or not Lee is actually fortifying the mountains here or whether he is actually going to retreat across these mountains to the Cumberland Valley it wasn't until July 6 late in the afternoon that John mackintoshes Cavalry Brigade moved into that pass and discovered that those breastworks had been abandoned messages were quickly relayed to general Sedgwick and Warren they in turn sent gallopers to general Meade Lee continued to move his immense wagon trains all through the night of July 5th and the morning of July 6th Lee's wagon and ambulance trains rumbled toward Williamsport orders were issued on the early morning of July 6th for the army to begin its movement across the mountains and into the Cumberland Valley Longstreet's Corps move first followed by Hills and then mules on receiving Sedgwick's and Warren's message Meade reissued the orders he had canceled 30 hours before he directed all seven of his Corps to march to Frederick and Middletown it was now a race to the potomac river meade immediately ordered his base of supply chains from westminster on the Western Maryland railroad to Frederick on the B&O with rain pouring down and the roads deep in mud Meade's hungry army its horses and mules starved for forage and in desperate need of shoes slogged its way to middletown west of the south mountain range Lee's army was rapidly moving toward Hagerstown as Lee's army was now on macadam eyes roads all the way to Hagerstown it picked up speed Meade was not to be outdone in an incredible two days Meade's army reached Middletown and began its movement across the south mountain range through Turner's foxes and cramped ins passes the same passes made famous in the battles of south on September 14 1862 so desperate for fodder were Medes horses and mules that many could not make the ascent up the National Road from Middletown to Turner's and Fox's passage they could not pull the field artillery at cramped ins past the 12th Corps was slowed by weakened animals so bad was Meade's situation that between Gettysburg and Middletown his army lost 15,000 horses and mules to breakdown and death they literally littered the roadways Lee and his engineers along with Colonel Porter Alexander rode along the ridges and hills between Hagerstown and the Potomac River in an effort to identify the best defensive line by the evening of July 9 Lee and his engineers had identified a defense line they chose a broken Ridgeline that ran from just west of Hagerstown all the way to downs ville known locally as Salisbury Ridge Lee director general jev Stewart to move his cavalry brigades out the National Road toward Beaver Creek and Boonesboro and out the Williamsport Boonesboro Road to Boonsboro he had modest his cavalry chief that his troopers were – at all costs hold back any enemy advance up those roads toward Hagerstown and Williamsport until the defense lines could be completed and filled with the troops Lee then ordered his corps commanders to direct large details of infantryman artillerymen and non-combatants including many of the african-american slaves accompanying the wagon and ambulance trains to prepare breastworks and gun emplacements along Salisbury Ridge in accordance with the plans drawn up for the defenses by the engineers work began on July 9 and continued throughout the night and all through July 10 all through that time Stuart's horsemen battled Meade's cavalry advance trying desperately to buy time general Meade's Union troops were on the move advancing up the National Road from Boonesboro was General John Buford's cavalry division behind it was General John Sedgwick 6th Corps Stuart battled Buford all the way back up the National Road Stuart withdrew to funks town and there in the afternoon of July 10 he directed one more concerted effort to buy more time for Lee's army to finish the Salisbury Ridge defense lines and to fill them in command east of funks town was general Fitz Uli he called upon Colonel William white commanding the wounded General George T Anderson's Brigade of hoods division to hurry his Georgians across the stone bridge over Antietam Creek marched through funks town and come to the aid of his weary cavalry men in the rolling fields east of the town they were brought into line just as Buford's Union artillery batteries opened fire behind White's Georgians fit solely directed Colonel goody Bryan's Georgia Brigade formally commanded by General Paul Jones Simms who had been wounded at Gettysburg to extend the Confederate line east of Fung's town the Confederate line extended between the stone breaker barn on the left and the Huq barn along the National Road on the right the fighting intensified as general Sedgewick's leading brigade the Vermonters under Colonel Lewis a grant came into line alongside Buford's dismounted troopers among those who felt badly wounded in the fighting east of funks town was Colonel Henry Dickerson McDaniel of the 11th Georgia would survive the war become governor of Georgia while Stuart's cavalry brigades battle general Meade's advancing Union 6th Corps on the National Road east of funks town and on the Williamsport Boonesboro Road on July 10 Lee's troops began to fill the trench lines as evening fell Stuart and Fitz uli withdrew the Confederate troops back out of funks town and across Antietam Creek from positions north of Hagerstown Yul's Corps had filtered into the defense lines west of the city roads his division occupying the left flank Early's division occupying the center and Johnston's division occupying the right flank and connecting with the left flank of Hill's Corps Pender's division of Hill's Corps occupied the left extending to a brick schoolhouse heath division occupied Hill Center and Anderson's division held Hills right overlooking st. James College Longstreet's Corps held the right flank of the defense lines mclaws's division holding the left with its left flank touching the right flank of Anderson's division of Hill's Corps on the Williamsport Boonesboro Road hoods division held the extreme right extending the Confederate lines to below downs Ville not far from the Potomac River Lee's defense lines were nine miles long at critical points along the entire defense line gun emplacements were built because the ridge on which the defense line was constructed was very broken along its entire length Lee's engineers were able to install gun emplacements that not only were able to fire directly into an advancing line but also into the flanks of any enemy column that approached the positions beyond the superiority of position with respect to an enemy attack Lee's defenses were also constructed in front of a network of roads that allowed all the elements of the army to quickly move in support of one another and to allow them to evacuate the lines with considerable speed and efficiency connecting Lee's left flank Yul's core with the probable River crossing site at Williamsport was the Williamsport Hagerstown Turnpike now us 11 connecting Hills core holding the center of the defense lines with Williamsport and the falling waters road to the river crossing at falling waters was the Williamsport Boonesboro Road present-day route 68 behind Longstreet's Corps was the Downs Ville Road that intersected the falling waters road about two miles from the river crossing at falling waters the Hagerstown Downs Ville Road connected the right flank of Lee's lines with the left and center the road actually terminated at the site of the toll gate on the Williamsport Hagerstown Turnpike that Lee had been using as his field headquarters between Williamsport and the river crossing at falling waters three miles downstream ran the towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal a necessary connector between the two prospective river crossing sites Lee consequently positioned his army n via bleah it was on ground at least fifty feet higher than its enemy and all units could rapidly move to the support of one another as well the lines could be readily evacuated when the time came Lee's army had developed what became known as the downs ville line Meade's army pursued Lee as closely as the undulating countryside would permit up the National Road marks the 6th Corps followed by the 11th Corps in the 1st Corps pouring into funks town and even entering Hagerstown up the Williamsport Boonesboro Road marched the 5th Corps followed by the 2nd Corps in the 12th Corps the 3rd Corps followed behind Meade's troops moved as far as the Hagerstown Sharpsburg Turnpike where they came under fire of the enemy skirmish lines in front of Lee's defenses along Salisbury Ridge along to Hagerstown Sharpsburg turnpike from funks town to just below Jones's crossroads Meade aligned his army facing lead on the right was general Oliver Otis Howard 11th Corps two bits left was General John Newton's first Corps then Sedgwick's six general George Sykes his fifth core followed and to its left came General William Hayes's second Corps with general Henry W Slocum's 12th Corps anchoring the left the third Corps commanded by General William French was held in reserve near Jones's crossroads along with the artillery reserve between Meade's lines on the Hagerstown Sharpsburg Turnpike and Lee's defense lines ran Marsh run a small stream that because of the incessant rains had already reached anywhere from five to six feet in depth in places making any attack by Meade's of army upon Lee's lines utterly suicidal using church steeples in Hagerstown in funks town as well as abandoned houses between the two contending lines need establish signal stations here the Signal Corps set up telescopic observation posts they continually scanned Lee's lines to determine any movements in them or openings for an attack when Lee's troops finished constructing the trench lines between Hagerstown and downs Ville east of Williamsport on July 10 Lee directed his engineers along with pioneer teams to reconstruct a pontoon bridge here at falling waters connecting the Maryland in the West Virginia shores to do that Lee needed 26 pontoons he needed trestle work and bridging to cover a span of eight hundred feet to bridge this this area of the river the process began on July 10 most of the pontoons were constructed in Williamsport and floated three miles downstream to this site one by one they were put in place upon their arrival at falling waters and attached with intricate wooden trestle work simultaneously they were held in place in the Swift currents of the Potomac River by means of makeshift anchors made out of large wooden boxes filled with rocks and attached to the pontoons by ropes in an incredible 68 hours these engineers constructed 26 pontoons 800 feet of bridge work and trestle work and laid it across here and by July 12 a pontoon bridge was here at falling waters no sooner had that bridge been constructed than all of Lee's ambulance trains quartermaster trains subsistence trains moved off of the CNO canal onto this bridge and reached the West Virginia Shore on the night of July 12 Lee learned that the Potomac River had fallen where it had been nearly 13 feet in depth two days before it was now just about five feet deep at the Ford at Williamsport Lee now saw the opportunity to quickly evacuate the defense lines he would use both the bridge and the Ford he issued explicit orders to all of his Corps commander Li's orders for the evacuation of the defense lines in front of Williamsport were relatively simple in the empty gun emplacements up and down the nine mile-long defense line Lee's men placed logs cut and painted to resemble artillery barrels over those Quaker guns flapped flags made of large square cloth painted red at dawn Union observers would see what appeared to be Confederate flags flying over occupied gun emplacements Lee directed thousands of campfires to remain lighted so it would appear in the darkness that Lee's troops still remained in the trenches Lee would evacuate the trenches under cover of darkness and heavy smoke in the evening darkness of July 13 Yul's Corps began its evacuation of the defense line on the left flank behind Hagerstown this entire Army Corps moved out of the trenches west of Hagerstown move to Williamsport and actually came down to the canal to wade through this aqueduct the soldiers holding their muskets and cartridge boxes above their heads until they reached the West Bank there they moved down to the Potomac River on the west bank of the Konica cheek Creek and cross the Potomac River at nighttime holding their muskets above their heads across the river and it was lighted only by bonfires on the West Virginia side all of the quartermaster and subsistence trains traveling with Ulen were directed by Corley to Ford the river using all the Ford sights in front of and upstream from Williamsport large numbers of wagons were directed onto the tow path of the CNO canal upstream to forge more than a mile from Williamsport on the right flank of the defense lines Longstreet's Corps withdrew at the same time as eul's Longstreet's men marched along the Hagerstown downs ville and falling waters roads toward the pontoon bridge mclaws's division on the left move first followed by hoods torches and burning piles of fence rails lighted the Hagerstown downs Ville and falling waters roads all the way to the river one soldier in James Longstreet score vowels of the fourth Texas infantry remembered this scene in the late dark hours of July 13 he was marching across this bridge he remembered the Lightning playing atop old South Mountain as he said and he came to the bridge on the Maryland side and there he saw robert e lee seated on traveller he said he was a veritable clay bank but he sat there sipping a cup of coffee his troops moved down onto the bridge and as they did the regimental band struck up the tune dixie and the soldiers began to pick up the cadence and as they did the bridge swayed back and forth until the officers hollered out for the men to stop but the troops marched on as Val Giles said in rags and hope later that night Hill's Corps began its movement toward the river Anderson's division evacuated its trenches overlooking st. James College and headed down the Hagerstown Downs Ville Road then west on the Williamsport Boonesboro Road just east of Williamsport the division was directed onto the falling waters road Pender's division followed by Heath general Meade was unable to launch an attack visibility from all his signal stations along Marsh run was extraordinarily limited due to the heavy smoke rain and fog moreover the ground over which any attack would have to be directed was so saturated with rain that Marsh run was at places five to six feet deep Meade's cavalry probes around Lee's flanks had also proved discouraging to him general Meade nevertheless called a council of war at his headquarters at Jones's crossroad although he voiced support for an attack of some kind his corps commanders demurred most believing it could never succeed on the morning of July 14 general Kilpatrick moved his cavalry division forward he received virtually no resistance as he approached Lee's defense lines he found no resistance Lee's army had abandoned them Kilpatrick's division soon galloped into Williamsport finding the town empty save for the desperately wounded left behind in the makeshift hospitals along with surgical teams and stragglers Kilpatrick directed his division toward falling waters after hearing that Lee's army had passed that way to cross the river general Hills core of Lee's army was just then crossing the pontoon bridge general Richard H Anderson s division was on the bridge Pender's division under general Lane was behind it and he Steve isn't one and a half miles back up the falling waters Road Manning breastworks it was the rearguard of the bridge crossing the tired and muddy soldiers of his division had stacked their muskets on the road around the JM downy house was general Pettigrew's Brigade along with the mostly Tennessee Brigade formally commanded by General James J Archer who had been captured at Gettysburg General John broken Burroughs and General Joseph Davis's brigades formed on the right of the road extending along a dominant Ridge as Kilpatrick's Union division reached a point about 1/4 of a mile in front of Heath's rear guard around the downy house Maj Peter Webber of the 6th Michigan cavalry volunteered to lead a battalion of his regiment against the Confederate defenders he believed them to be small in number and generally too weak to resist an attack in a moment Weber's troopers galloped through the fog and haze toward the Confederate rearguard because of the lay of the land the attack became directed toward the right flank of the Confederate line Brock and burrows and Davis's brigades the union horsemen struck the Confederate lines before the defenders were able to fully organize battle lines there was an initial breakthrough across the road from the downy house general Pettigrew whose brigade was hardly touched by the attack fell mortally wounded near the downy barn the result of a well aimed pistol shot from a dismounted Michigan trooper on the Confederate right where the full force of the attack was felt the resistance quickly stiffened once the Michiganders broke through Heath's division they ran into Pender's full division drawn up in battle formation the fighting was over in minutes weber was killed and his troopers beaten back with considerable loss and finally Pender's division followed by heath marched across the pontoon bridge at falling waters the last regiment to cross the bridge was the 26th North Carolina the very regiment that played such a remarkable role in the opening of the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1 the pontoon bridge was dismantled and its pontoons and bridge work placed upon wagons Lee's army would use them again Lee's army marched a Bunker Hill West Virginia between Winchester Virginia and Martinsburg West Virginia there the army went into bivouac along one of the few streams that had not been polluted by the occupation of Winchester there also general Pettigrew died on July 17 from Martinsburg the sick and wounded who could continue the journey were sent to Winchester in ambulance trains those who could walk were ordered to do so Winchester was a receiving hospital for the Shenandoah Valley the sick were mostly directed to the makeshift hospital set up at Jordan White Sulphur Springs east of town dr. Harvey black of the 4th Virginia was ordered to oversee that facility the wounded were sent to the town of Winchester they are Major John Bridgeford of the 1st Virginia Irish battalion commanded the town more than 9,000 sick and wounded poured into the town of Winchester and Jordan White Sulphur Springs at Winchester Colonel Daniel Harvey Christie of the 23rd North Carolina who had been badly wounded on July 1 died after his harrowing journey from Gettysburg using ambulance trains made up of army ambulances civilian wagons and even stage coaches the sick and wounded were sent south up the valley Turnpike the ambulance trains left the Taylor hotel in courthouse on regular scheduled runs 50 miles south of Winchester the ambulance train stopped at Mount Jackson a wayside hospital directed during Lee's retreat from Gettysburg by doctor Robert Baldwin of Winchester in all more than 600 were left behind at Mount Jackson under the care of dr. Baldwin and his assistant surgeon stewards and nurses on up the valley Turnpike the ambulance trains rumbled those able to walk hobbled alongside the trains they passed through Harrisonburg where the brave artillery commander Major Joseph Latimer was left behind and died finally the ambulance trains entered Staunton the site of the General Hospital of the Shenandoah Valley ambulance trains would arrive at Stanton around the clock for the next two to three weeks there the wounded were received at the American Hotel the receiving hospital located at the foot of new and Augusta Street a structure that still stands the sick and wounded were then assigned to wards in the buildings of the Virginia School for the Deaf dumb and blind the principal structures of which also still stand and all just under 9,000 sick and wounded Confederates were received at Stanton in July 1863 General William Dorsey Pender's arrived at Stanton in the ambulance with General Alfred M scales although Pender's wound was considered less life threatening than scales 'as Pender died at Stanton on July 19 scales was sent on to Richmond where he survived the wounded Colonel William Dabney Stewart of the 56th Virginia a native of Stanton died in his own home he had been badly wounded in the Pickett pettigrew Trimble attack on July 3rd as the conditions of the sick and wounded permitted they were put on the trains of the Virginia Central Railroad and transported 100 miles east to the great General Hospital's in Richmond like the Confederate sick and wounded the 4,000 Union prisoners of war guarded from the Potomac River by General in Boden's Cavalry Brigade were marched up the valley Turnpike to Staunton and then put on trains of the Virginia Central Railroad to the prisons in Richmond we use the valley Turnpike for one other aspect of his operation all of the livestock seized by the army while in Pennsylvania and not actually herded along by the troops for their immediate needs were driven up the Shenandoah Valley to Mount Jackson along with the giant reserve quartermaster and subsistence trains of the army in all nearly 26,000 head of cattle and 26,000 head of sheep were taken to Mount Jackson after Lee's army left Bunker Hill it crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains near Front Royal and marched to orange courthouse general Meade's Union Army crossed the Potomac River at Berlin Maryland and Sandy Hook Maryland near Harpers Ferry Meade had to cross the Potomac east of the Blue Ridge Mountains in order to better protect Washington always his principal mission in ten days Lee had gotten across the Potomac River an army of more than 50 thousand combatants and 20,000 non-combatants support personnel all 69 artillery batteries and more than 57 miles of quartermaster subsistence ordnance and ambulance trains filled with purchased impressed and confiscated stores the retreat from Gettysburg was not only a successful military operation it indeed restored the balance of power between the two contending armies in the East though a tactical defeat the Battle of Gettysburg was hardly the turning point of the Civil War it cannot now be argued that it was even the turning point of the war in the east instead the bloody contest would go on for the better part of two more years

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