After the Battle of Gettysburg: The Movements of the Fifth Corps

On July 4th, after the Battle of Gettysburg, the Fifth Corps remained in position upon the battlefield. Skirmishers were sent out to reconnaissance the position of the Confederate army. Once ascertained that an attack would not be made, the Fifth Corps began performing several tasks that had to be done. One task such task was the burial of the dead. Other tasks included collecting the arms lying across the battlefield, and see to the care of the wounded.

As July 5th dawned, it was certain that the Confederate army was in full retreat. General George Meade issued orders to his army to begin the pursuit of the retreating Confederate army. Meade’s plan called for an immediate march following parallel to that of the Confederate army, using the eastern side of the Catoctin Mountain, and pouring into the Middletown Valley by way of Hamburg Pass, High Knob, Shookstown Pass and Braddock’s Gap. At around 5:00 p.m. that evening, the Fifth Corps was put into motion and encamped on the road that night.

On July 6th, at 6:00 a.m. the Fifth Corps was again put into motion. Their destination was Emmitsburg, Maryland. Upon reaching Marsh Creek, three miles north of Emmitsburg at 12:00 p.m. they were forced to bivouac, having marched only three miles. The next day at 6:00 a.m. the Fifth Corps marched through Emmitsburg and took Old Frederick Road, passing through Creagerstown. They encamped near Utica, five miles north of Frederick, at around 6:00 p.m., covering a total distance of about twenty-miles. The march and encampment was a miserable one. The rain kept falling in torrents and the men were soaked to the bone. With marching orders being light, the soldiers did not have many of the conveniences such as their shelter tents. Most of that was packed in the quartermaster wagons.

At day break, the Fifth Corps broke camp and began its march to High Knob Pass. The road leading to High Knob is narrow and very steep. The Fifth Corps finally made it to Middletown at around 4:00 p.m. By nightfall, the Fifth Corps was encamped near South Mountain. Since July 5th, they had marched about fifty-five miles. The next day, the Fifth Corps crossed over South Mountain at Fox’s Gap, encamping along the old Sharpsburg Road.

On July 10th, the men broke camp early in the morning and marched toward Boonsboro. As Union cavalry and portions of the Sixth Corps were fighting it out in Funkstown, portions of the Fifth Corps formed a line of battle near Boonsboro, but no such attack came. Soon afterwards, they proceeded to Jones’ Crossroads and eventually encamped near Delaware Mills, arriving there around 3:00 p.m. The wagon train carrying the supplies of the Fifth Corps remained stationary at Turner’s Gap.

On July 11th, the Fifth Corps began marching toward Funsktown, then changing direction, began advancing toward Pleasant Valley. The following day, the Fifth Corps continued its line of march on the Hagerstown and Sharpsburg Pike and traveled toward Hagerstown. The Fifth Corps spend the day of July 13th, doing picket duty, maneuvering, and building breastworks in preparation of a Confederate attack that would never come. On July 14th, the Fifth Corps moved toward Williamsport and encamped at Roxbury Mills along the Antietam Creek for the night.

At 4:00 a.m. on July 15th, the Fifth Corps marched back toward Jones’ Crossroads and directly to Keedysville, using the Upper Bridge of the Antietam Creek. They crossed South Mountain at Fox’s Gap and marched to Burkittsville, arriving there at 5:00 p.m. where they would encamp for the night. The next day, the Fifth Corps marched to Berlin where they crossed the Potomac River on July 17th.

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