A Timeline of Events in Maryland & Pennsylvania 1863

During the 150 Commemoration of the Invasion of Pennsylvania, I had researched a more in depth day by day timeline of events in Maryland and Pennsylvania. These day by day events were very popular with the supporters of the Friends of the Monterey Pass Battlefield, Inc. So, a year later, I decided to include this timeline on my blog to share with my followers. The information was taken from many, many resources.

June 15, 1863

The Confederate Army begins its invasion, crossing the Potomac River near Williamsport, Maryland. Lincoln calls for militia to serve during the invasion of the Confederate army.

June 16, 1863

Observations at Washington Monument located near Turner’s Gap watch Confederate wagons moving up and down the Cumberland Valley.

June 18, 1863

Union Major General Joseph Hooker requested that a signal station be built at Crampton’s Gap on South Mountain, as well as requesting cavalry support from Harper’s Ferry to seize all mountain gaps from Maryland Heights to Boonsboro. General Robert C. Schenck fulfills Hooker’s request.

June 19, 1863

General Hooker ordered General Samuel P. Heintzelman, who was at Poolesville, to help General Schenck seize the mountain gaps on South Mountain. General Heintzelman’s force consisted of 1,600 infantry, one battery of artillery and five troops of cavalry.

June 21, 1863

A portion of the 8th New York State National Guard moves into Chambersburg.

June 22, 1863

The 8th and portion of the 71st Regiments, New York S.N.G. were ordered to fall back toward Scotland in the face of the advancing Confederate army. By evening, they were ordered to retire to Carlisle by train.

A skirmish erupted at Monterey Pass when Company D, 14th Virginia Cavalry attacked portions of Union cavalry under the command of Captain Robert Bell, Captain Samuel Randall, and several members of the Gettysburg Home Guard. The Confederate skirmishers scoured the woods on foot along the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike, forcing the militia to retreat toward Fairfield, using Maria Furnace Road, where the chase ended at dusk.

Also at Greencastle, a sharp skirmish was fought in which 1st New York Cavalryman, Corporal William Rihl was killed. He was considered the first Union soldier to be killed on Pennsylvania soil during the Pennsylvania Campaign. Two of the three divisions of General Richard Ewell’s Corps (General Edward Johnson and General Robert Rodes) marched over the Mason Dixon Line and encamped near Greencastle. General Albert Jenkins’ cavalry led the way.

June 23, 1863

Members of the 14th Virginia Cavalry captured several horses in the Cashtown area. By 2:00 pm in the afternoon, this detachment headed to Caledonia Iron Works. They were pursuing a small detachment of Union troops. Roughly two miles past Caledonia, the detachment of Confederate cavalry saw that the Federal troops had blockaded the road with minor skirmishing occurring.

Upon hearing rumors of a large Confederate force headed to Waynesboro, civilians begin to flee. The road leading to Monterey Pass is blocked by the refugees. Several Waynesboro citizens are forced to stay behind. By afternoon, Waynesboro is occupied by Confederate General Jubal Early’s Division.

General George Steuart’s Brigade is ordered to McConnellsburg to guard the Confederate left flank. General Albert Jenkins begins his movements to Shippensburg. Advancements of Confederate soldiers occupy Chambersburg, while the two divisions of Ewell’s Corps are located near Greencastle.

New York S.N.G. and Pennsylvania Militia units are still working on the defenses of Harrisburg. The 8th and portions of the 71st New York S.N.G. are at Carlisle, keeping Jenkins’ cavalry in check and buying time for Harrisburg to prepare the defenses.

In Maryland, General William French was in charge of the South Mountain operations as Union scouts were overlooking and watching the Cumberland Valley and Pleasant Valley while the Confederate Army concentrate in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

June 24, 1863

Still in Virginia, Union General Joseph Hooker and the Army of the Potomac is moving toward the Potomac River and by night fall is preparing to cross at Edward’s Ferry.

Confederate General Richard Ewell Corps enters into Chambersburg. Rachel Cormany writes “At 10 A.M. the infantry commenced to come & for 3 hours they just marched on as fast as they could. It is supposed that about 15,000 have already passed through, & there are still more coming. Ewel’s brigade has pas. I do not know what others. Longstreet & Hill are expected this way too. It is thought by many that a desperate battle will be fought at Harisburg. This P.M. the Rebs are plundering the stores. Some of our merchants will be almost if not entirely ruined.”

General Jubal Early and his division march out of Waynesboro to Black Gap. Confederate foraging wagons will run from Chambersburg to Winchester offloading supplies that are taken from Pennsylvania.

Confederate General Albert Jenkins is still moving toward Harrisburg. The New York S.N.G. and home guards were placed on the road leading into Carlisle. Colonel Trafford (71st NYSNG) ordered the men to dig rifle pits and entrenchments and prepare to the worst. At sunset, the NYSNG slept on their arms that night.

June 25, 1863

Confederate General Albert Jenkins’ Brigade marched though Shippensburg as they moved to Carlisle. National Guard General Knipe issued orders for the National Guardsmen to move forward and take possession of a ridgeline known as Rocky Ridge, near Carlisle to hold Jenkins in place. Two guns of Miller’s PA Battery were placed in the road, masked by trees. The 8th New York S.N.G. had positioned themselves at Walnut Bottom Road. As daylight gave to darkness, orders were issued for the militia force of New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians to withdraw and retreat toward Kingston, twelve miles from Harrisburg.

There is also a skirmish at McConnellsburg.

The 11th, 1st and 3rd Corps of the Army of the Potomac move across the Potomac River. The 11th Corps under the command of General Oliver O. Howard are the first to cross the Potomac doing so at 3:45am. He will encamp near Jefferson, Maryland. General John Reynolds ordered General Oliver O. Howard to send a brigade of infantry along with a battery of rifled guns to report to General Stahel and his cavalry at Crampton’s Gap.

Union General Julies Stahel reported to General Reynolds through a dispatch that the whole Confederate Army had passed through Hagerstown and was now in [Greencastle area] Pennsylvania. General Anderson’s Division of General A.P. Hill Corps had passed through Boonsboro around 6am.

Following behind is the 1st Corps and they will encamp near Poolesville/Barnesville. The 3rd Corps will cross the Potomac River north of Edwards Ferry near the mouth of the Monocacy River and march toward Jefferson, Maryland and encamp.

June 26, 1863

At 1am, the 8th and 71st New York S.N.G. encamped in the woods near Kingston during a rainstorm. Many of the men were without blankets and other items as they were sent back on the train to Harrisburg. They were still holding Jenkins’ Confederate Cavalry Brigade in check and buying time for the defenses of Harrisburg.

General A.P. Hill’s Corps is at Chambersburg. General George Pickett is bringing up the rear of General James Longstreet Corps and encamped near Greencastle. General Early’s Division burns the Iron Works of Thaddeus Stevens located at the western base of South Mountain near Cashtown Gap. As his division traveled through the South Mountain pass of Cashtown on June 26th, local citizens shot a Confederate soldier. General Early became outraged by this act and ordered the bushwhackers to be hunted down. He even threatened to burn the town of Cashtown in order to bring justice for the shooting of one of his men. Brigadier General John B. Gordon’s brigade of 2,800 men advanced through the town of Gettysburg where they repulsed a detachment of the 26th Pennsylvania Militia at Rock Creek.

Union General Stahel’s deployment was stretched all across South Mountain. He had one brigade and a section of artillery posted at Crampton’s Gap as well as a brigade and two sections of artillery from General Howard’s Corps. Stahel had one regiment at Turner’s Gap and one brigade and two sections of artillery at Middletown.

The 2nd Corps, 3rd Corps, 5th Corps and the 12th Corps of the Union Army of the Potomac cross the Potomac River and is now fully established on Maryland soil.

General Oliver O. Howard’s 11th Corps began to occupy the mountain gaps along South Mountain. General Howard posted one brigade at Crampton’s Gap, one at Turner’s Gap, another brigade on the road to Burkittsville and the final brigade on the Hagerstown Road. During the evening General Howard sent a dispatch to General Reynolds that stated that no Confederate force was reported to have been seen at Crampton’s Gap. General John Reynolds led his 1st Corps to Jefferson, Maryland.

June 27, 1863

Confederate General Albert Jenkins’ Brigade moved on to Carlisle. Skirmishing broke out with New York S.N.G. when they neared the town of Carlisle. General Knipe’s New York S.N.G. Brigade was in danger of being out flanked by the Confederate force, was ordered to fall back to Oyster Point. Arriving there, members of the 71st and 8th New York S.N.G. regiments were greeted by the 11th and 23rd New York S.N.G. regiments who were bivouacked there.

Portions of the 7th New York S.N.G. are protecting Baltimore at Fort Federal Hill and Fort McHenry by picketing the roads leading to the city.

Confederate General AP Hill moves his corps near Fayettville, while General James Longstreet moves to Chambersburg. General George Pickett’s Division arrived in Chambersburg and began guarding the wagon train and tearing up the vital Cumberland Railroad in Scotland and Chambersburg.

The Army of the Potomac is now fully concentrated in Maryland. 1st Corps marches to Middletown and South Mountain, the 2nd Corps marched to Knoxville and the 3rd Corps marches to Middletown. General Birnery was ordered by General Reynolds to send one infantry brigade and a battery of rifled guns to Crampton’s Gap to relieve the forces of General Howard once he arrived in the neighborhood of Jefferson and Burkittsville. While General Howard’s men at Crampton’s Gap were waiting to be relieved, Colonel William D. Mann commanding the 7th Michigan Cavalry occupied Turner’s Gap and sent patrols throughout the valley toward Hagerstown.

The 5th Corps marches toward Frederick, the 6th Corps marches across the Potomac River to near Poolesville and the 12th Corps marches toward Pleasant Valley covering the western base of South Mountain to the eastern base of Elk Ridge.

A portion of General Joshua Copeland’s Brigade of Michigan Cavalry (5th and 6th regiments) was ordered toward Emmitsburg encamping just south at the old tollgate and St. Joseph’s Valley.

June 28, 1863

Confederate General Jeb Stuart enters Rockville and then to Cooksville where his division captures 150 wagons loaded with supplies.

Moving from Boonsoboro to Waynesboro, a detachment of Cole’s Cavalry, Company C will move toward Monterey Pass. Upon descending Monterey Pass nearing Fountaindale, they spotted a 25 man detail of Confederate artillery soldiers foraging and taking horses at a nearby church. The Skirmish of Fountaindale will ensue resulting in most if not all of the Confederate soldiers to be taken prisoner. From Fountaindale, the detachment of Cole’s Cavalry, Company C will then move to Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Upon General Joseph Hooker’s resignation, General George Meade is appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac. He orders all of his army corps to concentrate at Frederick. The 6th corps will encamp at Hyatstown, while the rest of the Army of the Potomac moves onward to Frederick City.

The 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered by Colonel Trafford to advance and deploy into battle lines to meet the Confederate troops at Oyster Point, near Harrisburg. The 8th New York and 11th New York S.N.G. was ordered to fall back to Fort Washington. As the 71st New York S.N.G. deployed, Confederate General Jenkins’ artillery began to fire. Colonel Trafford sent out four companies to picket under fire. The remaining six companies were ordered to fall back to the rifle pits as the Confederate artillery was shelling the woods. The 71st New York S.N.G. had one soldier wounded and were forced to remain in position for the night.

Confederate General John Gordon skirmish at Wrightsville, Pa. General Jubal Early occupies York, PA.

General Robert E. Lee receives word from General Longstreet’s scout that General George Meade is commanding the Army of the Potomac and Lee issues orders for movements and the concentration of his army at Gettysburg. It will take several days for this to be completed.

June 29, 1863

The Skirmish of Westminster, Maryland and by evening Stuart’s cavalry encamped at Union Mills.

Also there are skirmishes at McConnellsburg

Confederate General Albert Jenkins is joined by some of General Ewell’s engineers to overlook fortifications of Harrisburg. During the day more skirmishing erupts at Oyster Point.

General AP Hill moves his corps to Cashtown and Longstreet’s Corps to Greenwood.

The 1st Corps begins marching to Emmitsburg, Maryland from Frederick at 4am in the morning and will arrive around 4-6pm, encamping at Saint Josephs. The 11th Corps taking a parallel road will encamp near Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg. The 2nd Corps marches to Libertytown, the 3rd Corps to Taneytown, 5th Corps to Libertytown. The 6th Corps to New Windsor and the 12th Corps to Bruceville.

General John Buford and his cavalry division set out from Middletown, Maryland and head toward Waynesboro, PA. Skirting the town, Buford heads to Monterey Pass where he observes the dust being kicked up in the distance of Confederate soldiers marching. He will order his troopers to Fountaindale while he observes Confederate activity near Jacks Mountain. He will enter into Fairfield with his division and from there march to Emmitsburg.

General Wesley Merrit and his cavalry ordered to guard Harman’s Pass on the Catoctin Mountain and monitor Wolf’s Tavern Pass on South Mountain.

June 30, 1863

Confederate General JEB Stuart and Union General Judson Kilpatrick fight in the streets during the Battle of Hanover, Pennsylvania.

The 1st Corps moves out of Emmitsburg and encamps near Marsh Creek north of the Mason Dixon Line. The 11th Corps still at Emmitsburg while the 3rd Corps moves to Bridgeport along the Carroll and Frederick County Line. General David Birney’s Division will move from Bridgeport to Emmitsburg and encamp at St. Josephs. 2nd Corps moved to Uniontown. The 5th Corps to Union Mills. The 6th Corps to Manchester and the 12th Corps to Littlestown.

The bulk of the Confederate army is east of Chambersburg. General A.P. Hill’s Corps east of South Mountain, General James Longstreet’s Corps still west of South Mountain and General Richard Ewell’s command still north of Gettysburg. After receiving General Lee’s orders, General Albert Jenkins started to withdraw from Mechanicsburg during the morning, leaving behind a rearguard with orders to rip up the railroad tracks before withdrawing.

General Knipe’s New York S.N.G. Brigade was ordered to begin picketing the northern passes South Mountain near Carlisle. The 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered to Silver Creek, near Hampton. Arriving there, they would bivouac for the night. They heard the firing of guns and saw the flames coming from Carlisle. This was the fire started by the Confederates at the barracks.

July 1, 1863

General Meade issues orders for the Pipe Creek Line or Circular. However due to several events that would unfold at Gettysburg; the plan is not carried out mainly with the death of General John Reynolds. The 1st Corps moved to assist Buford’s Cavalrymen, the 11th Corps move out of Emmitsburg, the 3rd Corps moved into Emmitsburg and will arrive late in the evening at Gettysburg. The other Union Corps begin their movements toward Gettysburg from Union Mills, Manchester, Taneytown and Two Taverns.

AP Hill’s Corps begins the Battle of Gettysburg. Longstreet’s Corps moved east of South Mountain leaving Pickett’s men behind at Chambersburg. Ewell’s Corps is marching toward Gettysburg and will arrive during the evening. General Jenkins’ men were in the saddle moving toward Gettysburg arriving near 5pm.

General Knipe’s New York State National Guard Brigade began marching to the South Mountain pass called Mount Holly Gap. After a seven to eight mile march, many arrived near the banks of the Conegogeramit Creek where they bivouacked for the night. These Union soldiers of gray would witness the Carlisle Barracks being burned.

Confederate General Beverly Robertson’s NC Cavalry Brigade crosses the Potomac River at Williamsport and encamps at Greencastle. General Grumble Jones’ Cavalry Brigade crosses the Potomac and encamps near Greencastle. General John Imboden is also in Pennsylvania.

July 2, 1863

While the Battle of Gettysburg was underway, there is a sharp engagement at Hunterstown. There is also a small skirmish at Chambersburg. To the south at Greencastle, Union Captain Ulric Dahlgren captured a few Confederate couriers en-route to Gettysburg. General Wesley Merritt’s Cavalry Brigade moves to Emmitsburg, MD.

Confederate Generals Beverly Robertson and William Jones’ Brigades moved from Greencastle to Chambersburg. Confederate General John Imboden relieves General George Pickett just after midnight at Chambersburg. Pickett’s men assembled and begin to march to Gettysburg.

July 3, 1863

While the Battle of Gettysburg was underway, the Confederate brigades of Jones, Robertson and Imboden are in or near the Cashtown area. Union General Wesley Merritt and his cavalry is ordered to Gettysburg. The 6th US Cavalry is detached from Merritt’s brigade and is sent to Fairfield. The Battle of Fairfield erupts. The Confederate army is defeated at Gettysburg. Late in the night, General Robert E. Lee begins preparations for the long journey to Virginia.

July 4, 1863

General John Imboden is assigned to escort a wagon train carrying wounded through Cashtown Gap. The wagon trains of AP Hill and Longstreet are near Cashtown. Major John Harman’s reserve train is ordered to Fairfield and move through Monterey Pass along with General Richard Ewell’s wagon train and a small portion of AP Hill’s wagons will also move behind Ewell’s wagons.

A major thunderstorm hits the area, turning many roads into quagmires. General Judson Kilpatrick is ordered to find the Confederate wagon train that is moving through South Mountain and cut it in half via Emmitsburg. The end result, the Battle Monterey Pass erupts at night and continues through July 5th.

The Confederate army after moving back to a defensive position prepares to withdraw from Gettysburg and retreat through Monterey Pass.

The Army of the Potomac spent the day caring for the wounded, burying the dead, and reconnaissance of the Confederate army. General Ruger’s brigade of infantry moved forward and found that the Confederate positions were abandoned. Details of men were sent out, collecting arms, and burying the dead.

The New York National Guard division under General William Smith is ordered to picket the northern passes of South Mountain, preventing the Confederate army from retreating through them. The New Yorker National Guardsmen and Pennsylvania Militia will push through the mountain toward Cashtown.

July 5, 1863

The Battle of Monterey Pass comes to an end at 7am at Ringgold. The action (side action of Monterey Pass) erupts at Leitersburg. The skirmish of Emmitsburg and by afternoon, General JEB Stuart cuts though the Catoctin and South Mountains to Smithsburg. The engagement of Smithsburg occurs and Kilpatrick withdraws to Turner’s Gap.

General George Meade issued orders to his corps commanders for a withdraw from Gettysburg to pursue the Confederate army. All reports that came to General Meade stated that the Confederate army had already retreated from Gettysburg and was on the road heading in the direction of South Mountain. The 2nd Corps marches to Two Taverns. The 6th Corps is ordered to follow the rear of the retreating Confederate army. The remainder of the Union army is still at Gettysburg.

The Confederate army begins ascending the South Mountain range via Fairfield. General James Longstreet’s Corps will march on Jacks Mountain Road to Monterey Pass. General A.P. Hill will march through Fairfield Gap to Monterey Pass followed by General Richard Ewell’s Corps. Longstreet’s Corps and Hill’s Corps will encamp during the night at Monterey Pass and surrounding area.

The 7th New York S.N.G. was ordered to proceed to Frederick, Maryland without delay. They would be assigned to the Provisional Brigade, under the command of General Henry Briggs, part of General William French’s command.

The brigade of General Knipes who had rested near Laurel Forge marched to Pine Grove. With orders to move onto Newman’s Cut, the march proved difficult following the up and down movements of the mountain ridge. The recent rains had made the mountain roads a muddy mess. Several New York National Guardsmen encamped in the area of Bendersville.

July 6, 1863

The Confederate army continues to march into the Cumberland Valley via Monterey Pass. General James Longstreet’s Corps will assume the lead after bivouacking at Monterey Pass, followed by General AP Hill’s Corps and finally General Richard Ewell’s Corps. By evening, the Confederate army is encamped in or around the Mason Dixon Line via Waynesboro and Leitersburg.

General Judson Kilpatrick along with General John Buford attack Confederate cavalry at Hagerstown and Williamsport. The Battle of Hagerstown is devastating to Kilpatrick’s right wing. Buford and Kilpatrick fall back to Boonsboro.

General Knipe’s brigade of New York National Guardsmen is ordered to march to Cashtown Gap and encamps there for the night. General Knipe receives orders to march toward the Mason Dixon Line via Waynesboro.

The 7th New York State National Guard begins arriving at Monocacy Junction and will begin assuming picketing duties.

The Army of the Potomac begins it’s pursuit of the Confederate army.

The Second Corps bivouacked in the fields surrounding Two Taverns.

The First Corps is ordered to Emmitsburg and encamps at Marsh Creek.

The Third Corps is put into motion but halted a short way from Gettysburg, on their way to Emmitsburg. Some reports state that the Third Corps returned to their original position.

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 Sixth Corps is marching behind the rearguard of the Confederate army. They are ordered to Emmitsburg, Maryland. General Thomas Neill’s Brigade is detached with McIntosh’s Brigade of cavalry. They will follow the rear of the Confederate infantry.

The Eleventh Corps marches to Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The Twelfth Corps began its line of march toward Bruceville. The leading elements arrived near Littlestown and encamped for there the night.

July 7, 1863

The New York S.N.G. troops marched to Mont Alto, where they encamped for the night. Another brigade of New York National Guardsmen are ordered from Harrisburg to Carlisle.

The 7th New York S.N.G. would fully concentrate at Frederick and assume picketing duties of the various roads leading to the city.

Army of the Potomac:

A party of signal officers under the charge of Captain William J. L. Nicodemus, arrived from Washington for the purpose of working in conjunction with the signal corps of the Union Army. Using the mountain passes of Turner’s and Crampton’s Gaps, a string of signal and observation posts were established.

Third Corps began its march to Emmitsburg.

At 4:00 a.m. the Twelfth Corps began it’s long trek that would take them to the banks of the Monocacy River, roughly thirty miles away.

At 5a.m., the Second Corps began their march to Taneytown, where they would encamp near the road that would take them directly to Frederick.

The Eleventh Corps marches to Middletown from Emmitsburg.

The First Corps marched into Emmitsburg, where they were met by the Sisters of Charity who shared their contents of food, that was contained in several wagons, with the men in blue.

The majority of the Sixth Corps marches over the Catoctin Mountain and dubbed it as “Sedgwick’s Pass”. Neill’s Brigade is in Waynesboro, PA.

The Confederate army is still marching toward Hagerstown.

July 8, 1863

The Battle of Boonsboro erupts. Singalists who arrived from Washington will occupy Washington Monument using the old ruins as the core of communications to the Union army including General John Buford who is fighting at Boonsboro. The Battle of Boonsboro buys time for the Confederate army to concentrate at Hagerstown.

By early evening, the New York National Guardsmen under the command of General William Smith enter Waynesboro, PA where they are met by General Thomas Neill’s brigade of infantry from the Sixth Corps.

General Yates’ Brigade of New York National Guardsmen enters Shippensburg and will continue their march toward Chambersburg.

Union General William French, who was in command of a force at Frederick received word that he was to pull most of his troops out and take command of the Union Third Corps since their commander General Daniel Sickles was wounded at Gettysburg. General William French turned over the city of Frederick to Colonel Marshall Lefferts, commanding the 7th New York S.N.G.

The First Corps had penetrated into the Middletown Valley, passing through the small towns of Bellsville and Harmony. The Second Corps took up their line of march on the road that led directly to Frederick. The Third Corps resumed their line of march toward Frederick. The Fifth Corps broke camp and began its march to High Knob Pass. The Sixth Corps marched to Middletown. The Eleventh Corps occupied Turner’s Gap. The Twelth Corps marched to Jefferson and Burkettsville, via Middletown.

July 9, 1863

The New York National Guard under General William Smith who are in Waynesboro spend the day picketing the roads leading into Waynesboro. General Dana’s Division of New York National Guard and Pennsylvania Militia are located around the Shippensburg/Greenville areas. The 7th New York National Guard remains in control of Frederick City.

General George Meade orders the Army of the Potomac to cross South Mountain and occupy Pleasant and Cumberland Valleys. The First, Sixth and Eleventh Corps would march through Turner’s Gap. The Third and Fifth Corps would march through Fox’s Gap. The Second and Twelfth Corps would march through Crampton’s Gap. That evening Meade would establish his headquarters near the Devil’s Backbone, located along the Antietam Creek.

Confederate General JEB Stuart positioned himself east of Funkstown, and was attacked early in the evening by Union General John Buford’s Union Cavalry. General Stuart was pushed back toward Funkstown. This would set the stage for the Second Battle of Funkstown.

The Confederate army is working on a series of entrenchments at Hagerstown and Williamsport.

July 10, 1863

Portions of General William Smith’s New York National Guard Division prepared to move out of Waynesboro. They ford the Antietam Creek along the Leitersburg Turnpike since the Confederate rear guard burned the bridge that spanned the creek. From there they would march toward Leitersburg, Maryland, where they would operate for several days.

The Army of the Potomac will begin to close in on the Confederate army. The First Corps marched toward Beaver Creek and Wagner’s Crossroads. The Second Battle of Funkstown occurs. Stuart is buying the Confederate army more time to work on their defensive lines. The Third Corps marched toward the Antietam Creek began. The soldiers passed through Keedysville, and halted near General Meade’s headquarters near the Devil’s Backbone. The Fifth Corps broke camp early in the morning and marched toward Boonsboro. From there they proceeded to Jones’ Crossroads and eventually encamped near Delaware Mills, arriving there around 3:00 p.m.

The Sixth Corps marched toward Funkstown, taking position beyond Beaver Creek, about four miles west of Boonsboro and three miles south of Hagerstown. General Neill’s expeditions from a point on Franklin’s Cliff, South Mountain Range, near Leitersburg, discovered the numbers and position of the enemy in and around Hagerstown. The Eleventh Corps moves to Beaver Creek. The Twelfth Corps marched from Rohrersville to Bakersville via Keedysville,

July 11, 1863

The First Corps remained stationary near Beaver Creek. The Second Corps formed a battle line near Saint James College. The Third Corps support the Fifth Corps. The Sixth Corps marched toward Funkstown taking position near Beaver Creek. The Eleventh Corps marched toward Beaver Creek near Funkstown. The Twelfth Corps marched toward the positions of the Second Corps. A small group of Federal soldiers led by Captain William G. McCreary went to Black Rock, a bare and elevated rock on the South Mountain Range between Boonsboro and Smithsburg.

The New York National Guard movements on this day. General Charles Yates Second New York State National Guard Brigade marched into Chambersburg. At Frederick, MD, the 7th New York State National Guard is relieved of command as Inspector General Edmund Schriver arrived from Washington. Smith’s Division moves to Cavetown.

July 12, 1863

Major General William Smith’s Division of New York National Guard moves toward Smithsburg and Cavetown. The First Corps moved onto the heights of Funkstown, where it deployed a line of battle. The Second Corps moved about three-quarters of a mile near St. James. The Third Corps remained in the same position. The Sixth Corps take Funkstown. The Eleventh Corps pushed ahead of the First Corps near Funkstown. The Twelfth Corps realigns their position. By days end, the Army of the Potomac was west of the Antietam Creek. Cavetown was reached by the New York National Guardsmen and the rest of Smith’s Division. General George Meade held a council of war during the night. Most of his Corps commanders voted NO for an all out assault.

July 13, 1863

The Army of the Potomac spent much of the day realigning their position. Their lines ran from Funkstown to Jones’ Cross Roads. The Confederate positions ran from near Hagerstown to Downsville. Smith’s Division of New York National Guards marches toward Boonsboro.

July 14, 1863

The Pennsylvania Campaign (2nd Maryland Campaign) is coming to a close in Maryland. During the early morning, the Confederate infantry corps of Generals Longstreet and Hill began crossing the Potomac River into Falling Waters. The Battle of Falling Waters on the Maryland shore of the Potomac River breaks out when Union cavalry engage the rear of the Confederate army. General Ewell’s Corps will ford the Potomac at Williamsport.

Portions of the Union army move toward Williamsport to find that Lee has escaped. Union General George Meade issued marching orders to his corps commanders to fall back toward Pleasant Valley where the Union army will cross the Potomac River a few days later. By the end of the day all Union signal operations and observation stations are discontinued.

General William Smith’s Division of the New York National Guard marches to Beaver Creek where they encamp for the night. General Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana’s Division of Militia and National Guardsmen marches from Chambersburg toward Greencastle. The 7th New York National Guard is preparing to leave Maryland to put down the New York Riots. ALL New York National Guardsmen will receive orders to march onward to Monocacy Junction during the night.

July 15, 1863

The New York National Guardsmen were ordered back to New York due to the riots that had broken out. The Army of the Potomac will begin moving toward South Mountain and Pleasant Valley. The First Corps was ordered toward Crampton’s Gap, encamping at Rohersville in Pleasant Valley for the night. The Second Corps was ordered to Sandy Hook. Many of the men marched from Williamsport, passing through Downsville to Sharpsburg, and encamped near Harper’s Ferry that night along the C&O Canal. The Third Corps marched from Williamsport to Sharpsburg. After passing through Sharpsburg, the Third Corps crossed over what had become Burnside’s Bridge, marching about a half of a mile and were bivouacked at 1:00 p.m. The Sixth Corps was ordered back to Boonsboro where they would encamp for the night. The Eleventh Corps was ordered to move to Funkstown, cross Turner’s Gap, and march to Middletown where they would encamp. The Twelfth Corps marched through Downsville, Bakersville, and Sharpsburg. Upon reaching the Antietam Iron Works the Twelfth Corps took River Road toward Harper’s Ferry, encamping on the high grounds in Pleasant Valley near Sandy Hook.

July 16, 1863

The Army of the Potomac is on the move. The First Corps was ordered to Berlin, Maryland. The Second Corps continued its line of march to Sandy Hook where in Pleasant Valley it received new uniforms and rations. The Third Corps marched into Pleasant Valley taking position along the western base of South Mountain at Brownsville, Maryland. The Sixth Corps marched through South Mountain at Turner’s Gap. Arriving at Middletown, it began to march toward Berlin, MD. The Eleventh Corps would march toward Jefferson from Middletown and by afternoon they would reach Berlin, MD. The Twelfth Corps continued its line of march to Sandy Hook where it would receive new uniforms and rations.

July 17, 1863

The Army of the Potomac remains idle on the northern side of the Potomac River near Pleasant Valley and Harper’s Ferry. Late in the day, the Third Corps marched to Harper’s Ferry, crossing the Potomac River on pontoons into Virginia. From there they marched another five miles before encamping for the night.

July 18, 1863

The Army of the Potomac closes in on the Potomac River; the First Corps will cross into Virginia at Berlin (Brunswick), MD. The Second Corps also crosses the Potomac River into Virginia via Sandy Hook, MD. The Third Corps continue its line of march toward Hillsborough, VA.

July 19-25, 1863

The Sixth, Eleventh and Twelfth Corps began crossing the Potomac River into Virginia. By the end of the day, the entire Army of the Potomac is in Virginia. During Meade’s pursuit on July 23rd, a pitched battle is fought at Manassas Gap, but the Confederate army gets away. Most of the Union army will march to Front Royal and Warrenton, Virginia. By July 25th, the Pennsylvania Campaign for the most part is over and the Confederate army is beyond reach of the Union army. The Confederate army will regroup in Luray Valley.


200th Anniversary of the Burning of Washington D.C.

2014, marks a year of importance in American history. First, you have the 150th commemoration of the Civil War, which I have been writing about this year as it pertains to the 1864 Confederate Raid on Washington. This year also marks the 100th commemoration of the Great War, or World War One, which began on July 28, 1914. However, I want to concentrate on the year 1814. America had been at war for two years with Britain, which had been at war with France since 1803. Although the War of 1812 occurred during the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, America’s war on Britain was not part of that war.

On June 1, 1812, President James Madison went before Congress asking for a declaration of war against England. President Madison stated that Britain had illegally boarded U.S. ships and pressed American men into British service. This was due to Britain’s war with France causing manpower on board British Naval Ships to run low. The British declared it was to find navy deserters who may have taken a job with American merchants. In 1807, the British actually fired upon an American ship and boarded it, taking three Americans and one British deserter. This became known as the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair. Another reason was for the economy. Britain forbade neutral countries to trade with European countries at war with England, and the British Navy enforced this order. Britain blockaded U.S. ports. Last but not least, tension with the Native Americans on the Western Frontier with Britain began encouraging the violence. There were other issues, but these were the four biggest, and with a 19 to13 vote, the Senate voted in favor of war on June 18, 1812.

As the war in France ended with Napoleon in 1814, the British decided to take a closer look at the war being waged against the United States. The decision was made to send more troops to America. Up until 1814, most of the fighting had taken place on the Atlantic Ocean, along the border of Canada, and the western frontier with Native Americans.  The British did control the Chesapeake Bay for almost a year, but without sufficient numbers, they were unable to launch a full scale attack. The U.S. began looking at their own defenses along the Chesapeake Bay, which resulted in some minor skirmishes.

Cartoon of the Burning of Washington

Leading up to August 1814, attempts to defend Washington were shot down by the U.S.  Congress, and the threats of the British of attacking Washington were not taken seriously. With the exception of a new military district being created and commanded by Brigadier General William H. Winder, not much went into fortifying Washington. U.S. Secretary of War John Armstrong did not believe that Washington would be targeted by the British simply because it was unimportant, both commercially and strategically. If the British were to attack any city near the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore was a more likely target.

The British commanders, Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane, Major General Robert Ross, and Rear Admiral George Cockburn all studied the maps of the Chesapeake Bay. Rear Admiral Cockburn was in favor of attacking Washington, whereas Ross was worried about the condition of his troops, since they had been confined on the ships for three months. But both commanders agreed, however Vice Admiral Cochrane had the final decision since he was in command of the Royal Navy American Station.

The attack on Washington was a three prong plan. While Vice Admiral Cochrane remained at Benedict, Maj. Gen. Ross would march by land, while Rear Admiral Cockburn sailed up the Patuxent River covering the British infantry’s right flank. A small squadron of the British Navy had sailed into the mouth of the Potomac River to raid Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. Commodore Joshua Barney’s flotilla, which was rumored to be in the area, needed to be found and destroyed. A diversion toward Baltimore would keep troops there rather than sending them to Washington.

On August 18, a massive British fleet had sailed into the Patuxent River.  A day later, the British had landed at Benedict, Maryland. By August 21, Ross’ troops had moved into Nottingham. Major General Ross wanted to keep marching until he reached Upper Marlboro, where he could threaten Baltimore or Washington, depending on the route he wanted to take.

On August 24, the route to Washington lay on two roads. The first would take the British by way of Woodyard, but if the bridges over the Potomac River were destroyed it could delay the British advance. The other way to Washington was to move east via Bladensburg. Major General Ross would start off south, by way of toward Woodyard, and then move to Bladensburg. The British force was estimated to about 4,500 men, three cannon, and sixty frames of the Congreve rockets.

By late morning, the American and British armies began their march to Bladensburg. The day was hot, and the temperature would max out at 100 degrees. Fatigue quickly sat in on the armies. Francis Scott Key and Brigadier General Walter Smith had arrived at Bladensburg ahead of the American army. There, they scouted out positions on a high piece of ground overlooking a ravine, Bladensburg, and the Eastern Branch.

Soon, the American army arrived and began taking up positions. They would eventually deploy into three lines as the British advanced from the south. Across the Eastern Branch laid a bridge, which no one destroyed. By the time that the American army would be fully concentrated, their numbers would be estimated at about 5,900 men, mostly militia, Marines, and Regulars.  The Americans, too, had about twenty-two pieces of artillery that would be positioned along the Washington and Georgetown Roads. President James Madison arrived to watch the impending battle.

By noon, after seeing that Bladensburg was abandoned, Rear Admiral Cockburn and Maj. Gen. Ross debated the American defenses, and Ross quickly ordered the attack. The American battle lines appeared strong although they lacked supporting distance. With two other brigades about one to two miles behind, the British Light Infantry began to cross the Eastern Branch when the American artillery opened. The British, suffering many casualties, began to deploy their lines on the other side of the bridge and used the landscape to try and conceal themselves from the American artillery.

The British brought up the Congreve rockets and placed them into action. The sound would be enough to bring fear into the first line. President Madison even got a chance to hear these famous rockets fly through the air, although, they were not very accurate in hitting their intended target. Supported by the Congreve rockets, more British soldiers poured over the Eastern Branch from Bladensburg, causing the American front line to fall apart. Brig. Gen. Winder tried desperately to reform the battle line, but the sound of the rockets was enough to cause panic in the ranks.

As even more British troops arrived on the field, and began marching over the Eastern Branch, there, they would press the American flanks. It wasn’t long before the second battle line collapsed. As the third line of defense formed and came under attack, Commodore Barney’s artillery poured deadly fire into the British ranks. The British charged several times, but the third line would not break. They kept pouring deadly fire from artillery into their ranks, as well as volley after volley of musketry. But with the other two battle lines gone, Commodore Barney and his Marines and sailors were forced to retreat once Brig. Gen. Winder gave the order.

The British army took the field of battle, but at a deadly cost. They lost 309 men killed, wounded, or captured. The American army lost 220 men killed, wounded, or missing. The British would rest their troops, then pick up the road, and march directly to Washington.

Back at Washington, civilians were already fleeing, grabbing what they could carry. First Lady Dolly Madison began packing things up that she could take with her, when at 3:00 p.m. she received a message “to quit the city.” She left the Capital by 3:30 p.m. One of the items she managed to save was a portrait of George Washington. She would have burned it if she couldn’t take it, to keep it from the British. So she ordered one of her servants to take the painting of Washington.

Major General Ross allowed his fatigued army to rest for about two hours before moving to Washington. After seeing to the wounded, Maj. Gen. Ross formed up a brigade of able bodied men, and along with Rear Admiral Cockburn, marched for the capital six miles away. Marching at dusk, under moonlight, along Maryland Avenue, the British, under a white flag entered Washington. The advance of the British army was met by a volley of musketry, with one of the shots striking Maj. Gen. Ross’ horse, the third horse of the day for Ross. After searching a nearby house, they found it emptied. The house was set on fire, as this is where the shots came from.

Drawing of the British Burning the White House

After waiting for an American official to come out to talk about the surrender of the capital, at about 8:20 p.m., Ross and Cockburn saw flames coming from the Naval Yard, which the Americans had burned. With no one to meet for the parley, as Washington, for the most part was abandoned, Ross and Cockburn discussed the next step. Rear Admiral Cockburn wanted to burn the entire city, but Maj. Gen. Ross settled for the destruction of firing the public buildings. The Capital building, Treasury Department, State Department, and the War Department were all set on fire. After eating a fine dinner in the White House, the British set fire to it. During the night, as Washington burned, a storm moved in, putting most of the fires out.

As the morning of August 25 dawned, Maj. Gen. Ross ordered the buildings to be re-fired. During the morning and early afternoon, the British took inventory of all the stores of supplies that were left behind. By late afternoon, another severe storm blew in. The storm battered the British army bivouacked on Capital Hill, causing many soldiers to run for cover in the near by houses. It poured for two hours. During the climax of the storm, the winds were strong enough to knock down buildings, lift roofs off, and move some houses off their foundation. The wind was violent, as one British officer recalled:  “that two pieces of cannon which stood upon the eminence were fairly lifted from the ground and borne several yards to the rear.” Some weather experts believe a tornado hit Washington during the British occupation.

Congress Building Aftermath

With rumors of a large American force marching to Washington, Maj. Gen. Ross ordered the army to begin its withdrawal. During the night, the British kept the camp fires burning bright, and quietly marched off on the road to Bladensburg. Since his army was so fatigued from being aboard the ships that brought them to America, being exhausted from marching in the heat of summer, and fighting a battle at Bladensburg, Maj. Gen. Ross didn’t want to take the chance of meeting the American army again.

The British reached Bladensburg around midnight on August 26, where Maj. Gen. Ross halted for an hour. The dead still littered the ground from the battlefield that occurred there two days prior. Major General Ross would leave the dead for the Americans to bury, and those wounded who were able to travel on carts and wagons were loaded up to move with the column. Those men who were critical would remain behind.

Burning of the Naval Yard

The British moved onward toward upper Marlboro and by 7:00 a.m., another halt was ordered. Back on the march, Upper Marlboro was reached by noon. The soldiers quickly broke ranks and rested. Some of others went about town plundering, and taking anything of value such as food that would fit into a knapsack. Doctor William Beanes and some locals had placed a few British stragglers in jail when they moved through the town earlier on the march to Washington. The British learned about these arrests and went to Doctor Beanes’ house, and arrested him and two others.

While the British were in Upper Marlboro, the Presidential party returned to Washington. It was important for the President to begin the rebuilding process of the town. But then an alarm was heard, cannonading coming from the direction of the Potomac River. At 6:00 p.m., a squadron of British vessels under the command of Captain James Gordon, was making its way up the Potomac River, to the community of Alexandria.

Approaching Fort Warburton (later renamed Fort Washington), the British cannons opened fire, bombarding the fort for nearly two and a half hours before a massive explosion occurred, destroying the fort. The fort however was vacant. The Americans had over 3,000 pounds of black powder in the powder magazine with trails of black powder leading from it. When one of the British bombs landed near it, a spark sat it ablaze and it blew.

The next morning, Maj. Gen. Ross marched out of Upper Marlboro, and would continue his movements until he reached Benedict at around noon on August 28, encamping there for the night. By August 30, Maj. Gen. Ross’ soldiers had boarded their ships.

Meanwhile, on August 28, the Common Council of Alexandria greeted the British vessels on the Potomac River, after sailing down the Potomac River for about six miles. Captain Gordon offered no terms to the councilmen, but stated that as long as no harm came to his ships, no harm would come to the town. Meanwhile, back at Washington and at Georgetown, panic once again set in. But if they must fall under the British flag, they will follow Alexandria’s example. After the British invasion, many communities would brand Alexandria as cowards.

By 10:00 a.m., on August 29, Alexandria was given terms of surrender by Captain Gordon. He gave the council one hour to review the terms ordering all supplies to be handed over such as armaments, merchandise and ships. After that time, Alexandria surrendered. The British took 21 vessels, 15,000 barrels of flour, 800 hogshead of tobacco, and thousands of dollars of other merchandise.

On August 31, another British vessel arrived at Alexandria with orders for Gordon to withdrawal. The British vessel came under attack at various points along the way including a makeshift battery at White House Bluffs. Gordon sent two vessels ahead to attack the battery at the White House Bluffs, with hopes of dislodging the battery. For four days, the British bombarded the position while Gordon waited for the winds to change direction to hurry down the Potomac River.

On September 5, as Gordon’s ships made their way back down the Potomac River, they attacked the American position of White House Bluffs. After slipping by with little damage, the British sailed toward Indian Head. They were again attacked, but sailed right on through with very little damage. By September 9, Gordon’s Expedition had ended right where it had started at the Chesapeake Bay. From there, the British would turn to attack Baltimore, Maryland.


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Gleig, George Robert (1827), The Campaigns of the British Army at Washington and New Orleans, 1814-1815, London: J. Murray,

Herrick, Carole. August 24, 1814 Washington in Flames. Falls Church, VA: Higher Education Publishing, 2005.

Ingraham, Edward D. A Sketch of the Events Which Preceded the Capture of Washington by the British on the Twenty Fourth of August, 1814. Philadelphia, PA: 1849.

Lord, Walter. The Dawn’s Early Light. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1972.

Muller, Charles C. The Darkest Day. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

Pitch, Anthony S. The Burning of Washington. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1998.

Sheads, Scott S. The Chesapeake Campaigns 1813-1815. Oxford OX, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2014.

Snow, Peter. When the Britain Burned The White House. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 2014. 

Vogel, Steve. Through the Perilous Flight Six Weeks that Saved a Antion. New York: Random House, 2013.

Whittehorne, Joesph.  The Battle for Baltimore 1814. Baltimore: The National & Aviation Publishing Company of America, 1997.

The Navy Department Library, “The Defenses and Burning of Washington in 1814: Naval Documents of the War of 1812.” Accessed July 11, 2014. http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/burning_washington.html.