Monterey Pass: It Was A Night To Remember

During the evening of July 3, 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his command staff met to determine how they would withdraw from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Studying maps, General Lee determined that his Confederate army would retreat using the road leading from Gettysburg, over South Mountain at Monterey Pass, to Williamsport, Maryland. General Lee’s plan called for Lieutenant General A. P. Hill’s infantry corps to lead the army, followed by Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Corps. Bringing up the rear would be Lieutenant General Richard Ewell’s Corps. 1

But before the Confederate infantry could retreat from Gettysburg, General Lee had to allow his supply wagons to move out of Pennsylvania first. Parked near Gettysburg and Cashtown were the supply wagons of Lt. Gen. Hill and Longstreet’s Corps. Strung out in a line, these two wagon trains were about 40 miles in length. Also included were Major General J. E. B. Stuart’s Cavalry Division wagon train that was about 10 miles in length, and the wagon train of wounded soldiers that stretched out for about 17 miles in length. This created upwards of almost 70 miles worth of wagons that were parked near Cashtown and Gettysburg. General Lee ordered the supply wagons to be commanded by their respective quartermaster officers, who were to proceed to the Potomac River as soon as they could get moving. After midnight, General Lee met with Brigadier General John Imboden and ordered that his cavalry brigade escort and oversee the Cashtown operations of the retreat, especially the wagon train of wounded. 2

A Standard Quartermaster Train

Major John Harman, whose reserve wagon train was estimated to be about 20-22 miles in length, was located close to Cashtown. Major Harman was ordered to relocate the reserve wagon train to Fairfield, where the wagons of Lt. Gen. Ewell’s Corps were ordered to follow behind.  Lt. Gen. Ewell’s wagon train was estimated to be about 17-20 miles in length and were strung out to the north and northwest of Gettysburg. Escorting these two wagon trains, under the direction of Major Harman, were Brigadier Generals William Jones and Beverly Robertson, both being instructed to lead the wagons back into the safety of Virginia through Monterey Pass.  Infantry would be assigned to guard the wagon trains of Lt. Gen. Ewell’s Corps, while some of Hill’s wagons would also take this route to relieve some of the congestion at Cashtown. Intermixed with these wagons were several thousand head of livestock and several freed blacks that were being sent back to the south, all via Monterey Pass. 3

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Why did General Lee choose Monterey Pass for the majority of the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg? The road that led through Monterey Pass was an established Pennsylvania highway that led directly to Williamsport, Maryland. During the mid 1700’s, this was one of two wagon roads that led to the south, into Appalachia. On a map, the Hagerstown Road, locally known as the Fairfield Road, was the shortest and most direct route to the safety of the Potomac River. At Monterey Pass, several roads converge, forming a hub, this hub was anchored by the tollgate house. No other South Mountain gap had this characteristic. Whoever controlled Monterey Pass controlled the flow of traffic whether it was to the north, east, south or west, and Gen. Lee desperately needed to control this area if he wished for his army to reach the safety of Virginia. 4

Around 9:00 a.m., Union signal corps reported the movements of wagons moving westward along Fairfield Road. The information was reported to the Union command. Major General Alfred Pleasonton, commanding the Army of the Potomac Cavalry Corps ordered out Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick’s Third Cavalry Division to locate and harass the retreating wagons. Leaving Gettysburg at around 10:00 a.m., Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick and the brigades of Brigadier General George A. Custer and Colonel Nathaniel Richmond moved south to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where they would be reinforced by Colonel Pennock Huey’s brigade of cavalry. 5

Union Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick

While Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick was on the move, Brig. Gen. Jones’ command began picketing the network of roads leading past Fairfield to Monterey Pass, to the western base of South Mountain, near modern day Rouzerville. His command consisted of Brig. Gen. Robertson’s Brigade of the 4th and 5th North Carolina Cavalry that picketed Fairfield Gap; the 36th Virginia Cavalry of Brigadier General Albert Jenkins Brigade picketed the western base of South Mountain at Waterloo. The 1st Maryland Cavalry, minus Company A, of Brigadier General Fitz Lee’s Brigade picketed several areas, leaving Company B at Monterey Pass under Captain George Emack. Brigadier General Jones had two regiments from his own command, the 6th and 11th Virginia Cavalry to use at his disposal. Chew’s Battery and Mooreman’s Battery were the artillery support, along with one cannon from Captain William Tanner’s Battery. 6

As Captain Emack’s company of the 1st Maryland Cavalry picketed Monterey Pass, they quickly gathered up area citizens and housed them at the Monterey Inn. The Monterey Inn was established as an inn in 1820. The male civilians were allowed to move about, but had to check in every fifteen minutes with the Confederate cavalry, to ensure no escapes would be made. 7

The Confederate wagon trains moved along Maria Furnace Road, onto the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike at the tollgate house, and then moved westward to Waterloo (modern day Rouzerville), crossing the Mason Dixon Line near Ringgold, MD.  The road continued until Confederate wagons moved onto the Leitersburg and Hagerstown Turnpike at the small town of Leitersburg, MD. From there, it was a straight road to Williamsport, MD. 8

Brigadier General Kilpatrick’s cavalry division entered Emmitsburg, MD at noon. There, Colonel Huey joined Kilpatrick’s command, bringing his division up to about 5,000 mounted soldiers and sixteen pieces of rifled artillery. By 3:00 p.m., Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick moved out of Emmitsburg, heading westward along the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike toward South Mountain. 9

During the late afternoon, dark clouds came in from the west and the peaceful landscape became a violent scene, as a severe thunderstorm swept through. The rain poured over the landscape, causing the mountain clay roads to become a muddy mess for the wagons and those animals pulling them. Many Confederate accounts state that the road leading to Monterey Pass quickly became a quagmire. 10

At Monterey Pass, a message was sent through the Confederate guards and made it’s way to Charles Buhrman, a local farmer whose farm was once located at the eastern base of South Mountain, along the turnpike. Once he received the message, he mounted his horse, dashed through a small Confederate picket line, and rode for help. Nearing Fountaindale, about five miles east of Monterey Pass, he came in contact with the advance of Brig. Gen. Custer’s brigade. The information containing the Confederate’s position was reported to Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick. 11

At Fountaindale, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick ordered Brig. Gen. Custer to send a detachment of the 5th Michigan Cavalry down Jacks Mountain Road to protect Kilpatrick’s right flank. Moving westward, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick found himself skirmishing with a few Confederate pickets near Buhrman’s farm, and knew it was only a matter of time until he came in contact with Confederate cavalry. 12

Arriving at the Buhrman Farm, Kilpatrick met seventeen year old Hetty Zeilinger, who informed him that at the top of the mountain the Confederates had a cannon, commanding the road. Brushing the warning off, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick continued to move up the narrow defile that led to Monterey Pass, finding himself surrounded by deep ravines on his left and a steep incline to his right. At about 9:00 p.m., with weather conditions worsening, Custer’s brigade led the advance to the top of the summit, when the Confederate cannon fired. 13

After the Confederate cannon fired, about two dozen Marylanders, under Captain Emack, charged the Union advance; Brigadier General Kilpatrick found what he was looking for. After a short skirmish, the Confederate cavalry fell back to the Monterey Inn, and waited for the Union cavalry to makes its next appearance. Brigadier General Kilpatrick will reorganize his force for the next attack, sending the majority of Custer’s brigade up the turnpike to hit the Confederate front and right flank. He will also order the 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry to move along Furnace Road, and then head into the woods and hit the Confederate left flank. 14

By 10:00 p.m., the Union cavalry moved again. In between lightning strikes, Captain Emack sees the Union movements, and orders his company to fall back to Red Run, where reinforcements could easily be had. As Captain Tanner was withdrawing, the Pennsylvanians come out of the woods and captured the limber. The Confederate cannoneers managed to save the cannon and redeployed their gun to support the Confederate cavalry at Red Run. They would use ammunition from the wagon trains as they approached the Monterey tollgate house. 15

As Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick gained the eastern summit, he quickly studied the network of roads looking over a few area maps. He knew as the wagon train entered Monterey Pass, it would come off the mountain in the Cumberland Valley; therefore, he wanted to send a small force to get in front of it, preventing it from advancing any further. He also knew that the wagons were coming from the direction of Fairfield and would send a small detachment to block the gap and prevent their movements into Monterey Pass. Finally, he knew that if he sent a portion of his division to the actual pass of Monterey, he could cut the wagon train in half. After talking with locals, including Charles Buhrman, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick began dividing his cavalry. 16

Monterey Pass Overview Map FINAL.jpg
Battle of Monterey Pass, Britt Isenger

Near midnight, Charles Buhrman guided the 1st Vermont Cavalry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Addison Preston, into the Cumberland Valley via Raven Rock. This mountain pass was located to the south of Monterey Pass, where the small town of Smithsburg is located. Arriving at Smithsburg, the 1st Vermont Cavalry moved to Leitersburg, where the main road led directly into Hagerstown and Williamsport. 17

Arriving at Leitersburg at 5:00 a.m., the 1st Vermont Cavalry immediately began attacking a portion of the wagon train. The scene was wild as cattle, soldiers, horses, and wagons crowded the road. As soon as the revolvers and carbines cracked, several mules began running away with their wagons still attached. Most of these wagons contained wounded Confederate soldiers. One Union trooper recalled hearing the screams of those who were in pain. Several of the wagon drivers were shot by the Vermonters. 18

Realizing that the head of the wagon train was still moving toward Hagerstown, Lt. Col. Preston divided his regiment. He led the majority of his men toward Hagerstown to cut off the head of the opposing force before it got there. With Buhrman as their escort, the other detachment was ordered to meet back up with Kilpatrick at Ringgold, MD. The 1st Vermont Cavalry captured 100 Confederate soldiers, three miles of wagons, and a large herd of cattle. The Vermonters inventoried the wagons, removed all wounded men from inside, and either burned the wagons or busted the wooden spokes of the wheels in order to render them useless. 19

Meanwhile back at Monterey Pass, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick ordered a squadron of the 1st Michigan Cavalry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Peter Stagg, to Fairfield Gap in order to block the wagons entering Monterey Pass and possibly turn the Confederate right flank. This small gap is located one mile to the northeast of Monterey Pass. Using Hetty Zeilinger as their guide, they will proceed down Furnace Road, passing her farm house. As the wagons moved through Fairfield Gap, they traveled about one mile until Monterey Pass was reached, and the road turns onto the turnpike by the Monterey tollgate house. Brigadier General Kilpatrick ordered Brig. Gen. Custer to move his brigade forward to Monterey Pass in order to cut the wagon train in half. 20

Shortly after midnight, Lt. Col. Stagg comes into contact with Mooreman’s Battery and two companies of the 11th Virginia Cavalry, who were supported by the 5th North Carolina Cavalry. The Fairfield Gap attack is a failure, and within a few hours the remnants of the 1st Michigan squadron fell back to the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike. 21

Union Brigadier General George A. Custer

Brigadier General Custer’s brigade was deployed mostly on the right of the Emmitsburg and Waynesboro Turnpike. As they moved through the thick woods toward Red Run, fighting became fierce. With darkness and heavy rain, one had to be guided by sound and senses rather than sight. Both Union and Confederate cavalrymen who were dismounted in the woods literally had seconds to distinguish objects in their front after a flash of lightning or small arms fire illuminated the landscape. 22

By 3:30 a.m., after several hours of hard fighting, Colonel Russell Alger of the 5th Michigan cavalry, supported by artillery, led a charge across the bridge spanning Red Run. He quickly deploys, forming a makeshift battle line. The Confederate cavalry, now reinforced by additional units, began deploying at the Monterey tollgate house. Confederate reinforcements are arriving from Fairfield Gap, as well as from Waterloo. 23

Brigadier General Custer, after pleading for additional reinforcements, receives the 1st West Virginia Cavalry and Company A of the 1st Ohio Cavalry. Orders were soon given to charge the Confederate positions, and the two reinforcing units charged across the bridge and began taking on prisoners and seizing wagons. The people of Waynesboro saw the fires of the wagons stretching all of down the mountain moving into Maryland; it was a fourth of July spectacle they would never witness the likes of again. Confederate cavalry deploying on both sides of the turnpike tried to stop the charging Union cavalry with no success. 24

Brigadier General Kilpatrick’s cavalry reserves began moving up and deployed near the tollgate house.  They were supported by artillery. The Confederate provost guard deployed on Maria Furnace Road and began moving forward to retake the tollgate house. Not long afterward, Brigadier General Alfred Iverson’s North Carolina brigade reached Monterey Pass and deployed. Chew’s Battery also came up from Fairfield and deployed. A short distance behind was Brigadier General Ambrose Wright’s Georgia Brigade. Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick realized that even though he once outnumbered the Confederates, he, himself, is now outnumbered.  With his command scattered all along the Mason Dixon Line, Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick orders the remainder of his cavalry westward to Maryland. By dawn of July 5, the Union cavalry reaches Ringgold and halts. 25

In the wake of the Battle of Monterey Pass, about nine miles worth of wagons had been captured or destroyed. Upwards of 1,300 Confederate prisoners were taken, and several dozen were wounded and killed. For the Union cavalry, upwards of100 men were captured, wounded, or killed. 26

With the withdrawal of Brig. Gen. Kilpatrick’s cavalry, Monterey Pass is still in possession of the Confederate army. During that evening, the infantry corps of Lt. Gen. Hill and Longstreet bivouacs at Monterey Pass. The next morning, the Confederate army continues to march to Hagerstown, and Williamsport. Bringing up the rear was Lt. Gen. Ewell’s Corps, with the last Confederate soldier marching through Monterey Pass during the afternoon of July 6.  For the next several days, the Cumberland Valley will become one vast battlefield. Fighting occurred everyday up to July 14, when the Confederate army, after waiting for the waters of the Potomac River to recede, began making their way into West Virginia, and to the safety of Virginia. 27

Notes and Citations:

  1. Long, A. L. Memoirs of Robert E. Lee. Edison, NJ: Blue and Grey Press, 1983. 294-296., Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox. New York, NY: Mallard Press, 1991. 426-427.
  2. Large, George. Battle of Gettysburg, the Official History by the Gettysburg National Military Park Commission. Shippensburg, PA: Burd Street Press, 1999. 282-283., Imboden, John. “The Retreat from Gettysburg.” Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Vol. 3. New York: Centaury, 1884. 420. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, vol. 27, part I, II and III (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1889). Cited OR
  3. Brown, Kent Masterson. Retreat from Gettysburg. Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2005. 93, 95-97, 103.
  4. The old Wagon Road today would make up the following modern day roads. From Gettysburg, it was the Fairfield Road (Route 116) to Iron Springs Road, west of Fairfield into South Mountain to Gum Springs Road, through Fairfield Gap, onto Maria Furnace Road, and would have connected to Old Waynesboro Road. From there, it ran west of the mountain, sidestepping Waynesboro, continuing to Hagerstown, and ended at Williamsport. Many historians state that Iron Springs Road was used during the Confederate retreat, however, no road past the current intersection of modern day Gum Springs Road exists on any Civil War period maps. Iron Springs Road from Gum Springs Road that leads to Old Waynesboro Road today, was established in the late 1860’s when copper was discovered in the mountain. The earliest map that shows the Monterey Pass area and the Great Wagon Road was first surveyed in 1751 by Colonel Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson and was known as Nicholson Gap.
  5. Brown, Kent Masterson. Retreat from Gettysburg. 123-124
  6. This information is based off of the official Order of Battle from the Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum archives.
  7. The Baer family recorded the actions of July 4, 1863. The manuscript states that all of the male civilians living on and near Monterey Pass were gathered up as prisoners and housed at the Monterey Hotel which was an inn during the battle. Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum archives.
  8. Stoner, Jacob. Historical Papers of Franklin County and the Cumberland Valley. Chambersburg, PA: The Craft Press, 1947. 456-457.
  9. Urwin, Gregory J. W. Custer Victorious. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska, 1983. 87.
  10. Hopkins, Luther. From Bull Run to Appomattox: A Boy’s View. Baltimore, MD: Fleet-McGinley, 1908. 104. Kidd, James Harvey. Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman with Custer’s Michigan Cavalry. Ionia, MI: Sentinel, Printing 1908. 166-168.
  11. Bates, Samuel. Fraise, Richard. History of Franklin County. Chicago IL: Warner, Beers & Co., 1975. 379.
  12. Ibid
  13. Ibid. Many other first hand accounts published in 1880-1900 by members of the 1st West Virginia Cavalry and 5th Michigan Cavalry mention the narrow road leading up to Monterey Pass. On their left was a steep ravine which is still visible today on Old Waynesboro Road, and to their right, a high mountain peak known as Monterey Peak.
  14. Rodenbough, Theophilus Francis, Grier Thomas J. History of the Eighteenth regiment of cavalry, Pennsylvania volunteers. New York, NY: 1909. 84.
  15. Manuscript, letter from Captain George Emack. Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum archives.
  16. Buhrman during the Battle of Monterey Pass. Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum Archives.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Ibid.
  19. Bates, Samuel. Fraise, Richard. History of Franklin County. Chicago IL: Warner, Beers & Co., 1975. 379.
  20. Manuscript of letters from members of the 1st Michigan Cavalry to Hetty Zeilinger talk in detail about the movements to Fairfield Gap. Fairfield Gap is a misunderstood portion of the Battle of Monterey Pass and is often separated out from the Battle of Monterey Pass. Many historians claim that Fairfield Gap is located on Jacks Mountain. The problem is that many of those who fought at Monterey Pass also called it the Battle of Jacks Mountain or South Mountain. Other historians claimed that Fairfield Gap is on Iron Springs Road. Fairfield Gap is located on Furnace Road and it is where Maria Furnace Road forks from Furnace Road.
  21. OR. Series I, vol. 27, part 2. 763-764. Official report of Colonel L. L. Lomax, 11th Virginia Cavalry. O.R. Series I., Vol. 27, Part 3, Page 741. Official report of General George Custer.
  22. Kidd, James Harvey. Personal Recollections of a Cavalryman with Custer’s Michigan Cavalry. 168-171.
  23. Manuscript of Russell Alger during the Battle of Monterey Pass. Monterey Pass Battlefield Park and Museum archives.
  24. Lesage, Joseph A. “NARROW ESCAPES.” Ironton Register 22 Dec. 1887, Manuscript ed., Interesting War Experiences NO. 58 sec. Print.
  25. OR. Series I, vol. 27, part I. 581. General Iverson’s account of his actions during the early dawn hours of July 5, as his brigade helps to push Kilpatrick’s cavalry out of Monterey Pass. Ibid. 625. General Ambrose Wright’s official account on July 4, 1863.
  26. At Monterey Pass, there is a state marker that states the Confederate casualties, including wounded, killed, or captured. It also states that nine miles of wagons were captured. Going through all of the Union regimental histories for those engaged at Monterey Pass, the names of almost 100 men have surfaced. Kilpatrick in his own O.R. stated his losses were about two dozen.
  27. Long, A. L. Memoirs of Robert E. Lee. Edison, NJ: Blue and Grey Press, 1983. 294-296., Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox. New York, NY: Mallard Press, 1991. 426-427.

13th New York State National Guard during the Pennsylvania Campaign

On June 18th, 1863, the 496 men of the 13th New York State National Guard were ordered to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania during the Confederate invasion. They were commanded by Colonel John Woodward. The men were ordered to pack knapsacks and wear their grey fatigue uniform. Their grey uniform was very similar in appearance to the famous 7th New York State National Guard’s uniform. As the men marched through Brooklyn for their second campaign of the Civil War, they were hailed by its citizens. Arriving at the train depot, the men traveled in cattle cars to Philadelphia and from there to Harrisburg.

On June 20th, the 13th New York SNG arrived at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where they were mustered into U.S. military service.  By June 23rd, the 13th New York SNG began working on the defenses of FortWashington. They put down their muskets and picked up axes, shovels and picks, and began clearing the woods surrounding FortWashington to prevent them from providing shelter or cover for the approaching Confederate army. As the soldiers worked on the entrenchments of Fort Washington, they saw thousands of refugees fleeing into the city in the wake of the approaching Confederates.

As the 13th New York SNG worked on the fort, their camp was located along the crown of a high hill, which overlooked the Susquehanna River. The hill sloped toward the bank of the river. The camp of the 23rd New York State National Guard was located next to the 13th SNG, and those men cut a pad into the side of the hill to level their tents. However, Colonel Woodward recalled his regiment’s camp:  “Tents are therefore uncomfortably slanting, and the men are obliged to dig their toe-nails in deep to keep themselves from sliding out of their tents at night.”

Just as many other New York National Guard regiments serving in Pennsylvania, the 13th New York SNG was viewed as the invader rather than the defenders of the city. The negative feeling that they were unskilled and inefficient soldiers was viewed by many, however, the prompt and vigorous soldiers would prove themselves as effective men during the Pennsylvania Campaign.

On June 25th, the 13th New York SNG was ordered out to Camp Crook at Fenwick, several miles from Fort Washington for picket duty. By 8:15 pm, the men were under arms with one wool blanket, and one rubber gum blanket, and had moved out of Fort Washington. By 10:30 pm, they reached their designation. They were told that General Charles Yates was engaged and getting “pounded,” but upon arrival, the general was sleeping. When he awoke, he was surprised and had no idea of what to do with another regiment. The 13th New York SNG was ordered into the cattle cars of the train and went to sleep for the night.

The next day, the men awoke with no rations. They sent out foraging parties to the local farms in the area and brought back what little food  they could find. By 11:00 am, the men were ordered to the picket line. There, they remained all day in the woods. Upon relief, they marched back to their camp, where soldiers of the 12th New York State National Guard provided them with some rations. By 4:00 pm, Colonel Woodward was ordered back to Harrisburg for supplies for his regiment. He was given six wagons, which were loaded up with rations and supplies. Due to the lack of room, he was forced to leave the regiment’s knapsacks behind. He started out for Fenwick. Upon arrival, he found his regiment back on the picket line at the edge of a wooded area.

During the night, rain had fallen and the soldiers were soaked to the bone. Tents and shelter halves were still about a mile behind the colonel, leaving the regiment exposed to the cold rain that fell during the night.

By daylight of June 27th, Colonel Woodward began issuing shelter halves to his regiment. The men made their camp in the wooded plot as the rain fell during the day. All the run-off of the rain made the area a mud hole. Colonel Woodward recalled:   “The tents improved our condition only as would an umbrella that of a man in a bath-tub with the shower-bath turned on.” To help dry out their clothes, the 13th New York SNG built bon-fires that burned all day. By 6:00 pm, the rain slacked off to a drizzle. By night fall, worn out from the day, the men quickly fell asleep, but the conditions of the ground they slept upon was much like a swamp. Sometime during the day, the wagon containing the men’s knapsacks and overcoats had arrived from Fort Washington.

By 8:00 am of the morning of the 28th, Colonel Woodward addressed his regiment for an outstanding job. Since arriving in Pennsylvania, not one man had complained. The regiment had been in a line of battle for about forty hours resting in short doses before being ordered for another task.

As the sun shined during the late morning, Colonel Woodward scouted the area while his regiment dried their clothes. The men were wearing a mix batch of their messmates clothing due to the heavy rain that fell during the day before. Once tattoo was sounded, and after cleaning themselves up, the men went into their tents for a good night’s rest.

At 11:30 pm, the 13th New York SNG was awoken and ordered to General Yates’ headquarters. The men were ordered on detach duty for the night. One company was ordered to garrison an earthwork made of railroad ties and sandbags. Two other companies were ordered to garrison an earthenwork composed of piles of rocks on a high hill commanding a back road. By 2:00 am of the 29th, Colonel Woodward and a guide was ordered out with two companies to obstruct a side road leading through Miller’s Gap, west of Harrisburg.

The march up Blue Mountain was steep and already obstructed. The tired detachment of men under Colonel Woodward was exhausted and could no longer keep up with him. Colonel Woodward ordered his men to halt while he and the guide rode ahead. The men were unable to keep up because of three nights worth of picket duty, and another assignment given by General Yates.

After halting his men and riding ahead, with no luck on finding this road through Miller’s Gap, Colonel Woodward turned to his guide and gave him “a dose” of tongue lashing. The colonel turned around and headed back to where he left his men. Upon arrival, he found the men fast asleep in the roadway. He got them up and headed back to CampFenwick, arriving there around 6:00 am. By 7:00 am, the colonel found General Yates still sleeping in his headquarters. Colonel Woodward took personal charge and responsibility of ordering his exhausted regiment back to CampCrook, Fenwick. The men spent the rest of the day resting and were left undisturbed by General Yates.

On June 30th, there were no signs of the Confederate army near, or coming to Fenwick. All the mountain gaps located along the northern tier of South Mountain and Blue Mountain, near Harrisburg, were barricaded by blasting rocks and felling trees along the roadways. For any Confederate force moving toward Harrisburg along these roads it would be a slow and tedious process. However, sounds of cannonading at Oyster Point were heard by the soldiers of the 13th New York SNG as Confederate General Albert Jenkins and his brigade of cavalry skirmished with portions of General Ewan’s brigade of militia. This Confederate force, along with General Richard Ewell’s Corps was ordered to withdraw from this area of south-central Pennsylvania and begin moving to Gettysburg, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee wanted to concentrate his army. The next day, the Battle of Gettysburg would erupt.

As the first day’s battle at Gettysburg raged, the men of the 13th New York SNG cleaned up the camp. During the day, they held company drills and ended their day with dress parade. During the afternoon, General JEB Stuart and his cavalry were in the area of Carlisle. During the evening, the Confederates sent a dispatch to General William Smith to surrender the town. General Smith refused and the Confederate artillery opened fire. However, Stuart learned that a battle near Gettysburg had erupted earlier that day, and withdrew from Carlisle after torching the barracks.

While there was Confederate activity in the area, several portions of the New York State National Guard were detailed out. At Fenwick, Colonel Woodward received orders at 11:00 pm to break camp and march back to FortWashington. By 12:30 am on July 2nd, the 13th New York SNG began their march, and by early morning reached Fort Washington. The men broke ranks and by 6:30 am, were sound asleep using the tents of the 23rd New York SNG, who were detached to Carlisle.

As morning came on July 3rd, the 13th New York SNG awoke and cleaned up their camps. Colonel Woodward anticipated that orders would be issued by nightfall to move out. During the day, he ordered Company E to detach service in light marching orders and well armed. They were to march to the railroad and protect the workers while they made repairs to the tracks.

By 11:00 pm, orders from headquarters came. They stated that the 13th New York SNG was to prepare to move out in light marching orders. The men were to carry one blanket, haversack of available rations, and their canteens. They were to be ready to move out by 2:00 am to the railroad bound for Carlisle.

The 13th New York SNG arrived in Carlisle just after 7:00 am. About five hours later, they were ordered to move through South Mountain via Mount Holly Springs. During the day, the march was easily made toward Mount Holly Springs until a terrible rainstorm blew in from the west. Soon the rain fell in torrents. The men marched a few miles and took refuge inside of a large barn. Staying there for a few moments, orders came to move on. After marching a few miles, the men took refuge in the woods surrounding the mountain. By 10:00 pm, orders to bivouac were issued and the men were forced to sleep in the muddy road as the rain fell all night. Colonel Woodward sarcastically wrote home in a letter on July 6th, “I slept very well, never better.” The rainstorm that occurred during the night of July 4th-5th, would be a topic written in great detail by the New York State National Guard in several unit histories.

The next morning on July 5th, the march resumed around 9:00 am with no rations. The march brought them to Pine Grove Forge. There they were halted and the men wasted no time in finding food. They confiscated flour from the locality there and mixed it with water. Soon after a paste was made, they baked it on their tin plates and ate that for breakfast.

At 2:00 pm, orders were issued to move out. They would take the road leading toward Bendersville and from there to Newman’s Gap, near Cashtown Gap. After a grueling five mile march, the 13th New York SNG was ordered to halt. The men took to the woods and bivouacked there for the night. During the evening, the rain again picked up, making the conditions even worse.

By 7:00 am the next morning, the 13th New York SNG was on the march. The weather had begun to clear, and the roads began to dry out. As the men marched, more and more Confederate deserters were found and taken prisoner. Colonel Woodward even escorted a few to headquarters. For being in the wilderness, cold and wet, and without any food, the men of the 13th New York SNG were in good spirits. However, Colonel Woodward recalled feeling ill since leaving Pine Grove Forge, and took time to show his feelings toward the conditions in which he was in. He wrote, “Am now well, never felt better in my life, hungry, wet as a rat; having forded a dozen streams boots hang tight to my legs, overcoat weighs fifty pounds.”  The march continued throughout the day. By 10:00 pm, a halt was ordered and the men soon fell out. They found a plot of woods and fell asleep after an exhausting day.

On the morning of July 7th, the 13th New York SNG woke up and by 8:00 am, they began a ten mile march. After marching for five miles, they came to Newman’s Gap, situated on the Chambersburg Pike. The men were given one day’s rations consisting of hardtack. Soon a steer was butchered and the men were given a meat ration to eat as well.

By 3:00 pm, the 13thNew York began their march again, descending down SouthMountain toward Caledonia and Greenwood. Once they arrived at Greenwood, they marched due south on the Waynesboro Road to Mont Alto. There, the soldiers were ordered to camp and broke ranks. The men were exhausted.

The 13th New York SNG bivouacked in the woods near the West Branch of the Antietam Creek. By 10:00 pm, the rain began to fall in torrents. The saturated ground could not hold back the water flow and soon the banks of the Antietam Creek began to overflow. It washed out fire pits and nearly drowned several sleeping members of the 13th New York SNG. Needless to say, the night was hideous and miserable.

During the morning of July 8th, the rain continued to fall until 11:00 am. By 12:00 pm, as skies began to clear, the men began to march toward Waynesboro, where the rear of the Confederate army had passed a day before. By 7:00 pm, the 13th New York SNG had made its way into Waynesboro. Once there, they were ordered to the south to establish camp on a high hill facing toward Leitersburg, Maryland and the Mason Dixon Line. The area consisted of open fields and woods. The 13thNew York, while in battle line, was supported by a battery. As they made their camp, they were located toward the rear of their division under the command of General William Smith.  It was a pleasant place for a camp.

For the next two days, the men of the 13th New York SNG remained stationary. The quartermaster arrived with their baggage. While enjoying the down time, many of the men took time to clean themselves up while others performed camp duties or looked for food. No passes were issued to any of the men to head into Waynesboro. About two miles to their front was the Antietam Creek, and the charred remains of a wooden bridge that the rearguard of Confederate army had burned. The Confederate army was only a few miles to their front near Leitersburg, Maryland.

On July 11th, the 13th New York SNG was still encamped near Waynesboro. During the day, the men received full rations for the first time since July 3rd. Up until July 11th, the men had to “beg or buy” whatever food they could find. Colonel Woodward noted that his men were in poor condition for another march. However, in the same paragraph to a letter to his father, wrote, “Health of the regiment is not good as it was, but it is not bad.”

Orders came, and by 8:00 pm, the men began to march toward Leitersburg, fording the Antietam Creek, and marching over the Mason Dixon Line.  By 10:30 pm, a halt was made near Leitersburg. The New York State National Guard would spend the night bivouacked in a clover field.

At 4:00 am, on July 12th, the 13th New York SNG was up and on the march. They counter marched back to Leitersburg and took the road leading to Cavetown. The men were rationless. During the afternoon, the skies began to show signs of bad weather moving in, and this storm was going to be severe. As the men were marching during the day, straggling became a huge issue for Colonel Woodward. Just moments before the storm hit, he recalled marching with about seventy-five of his men. The rest were located in front and in rear of the column. Seeing an open clover field with a small brook running through, Colonel Woodward ordered a halt.

Shortly, after 2:00 pm the storm hit with intense lightning, thunder, wind, and rain. Whatever soldiers Colonel Woodward had left, quickly buttoned shelter halves together and the men pitched their tents and took refuge under them. Unfortunately, that was of little use as the rain blew into the tents from the open sides, and the men quickly wrapped their rubber gum blankets around themselves and squatted on the ground trying to keep dry.

As the storm raged, the majority of the New York State National Guardsmen of General William Smith’s Division was about a half mile ahead, just outside of Cavetown. General Smith sent couriers back to Colonel Woodward and ordered him to bring up his regiment, but his regiment was scattered all about. Located in the open field were about twenty-five men. Colonel Woodward decided to wait out the storm, or at least the worst of it before concentrating his regiment and moving onward. He later found out that some of his regiment made it to Cavetown, and were “buying or stealing food.”

By early evening the storm subsided, and many of the men of the 13th New York SNG made their way into Cavetown, although their camp was located just outside of town limits. The New Yorkers saw few secessionists, and many of the New Yorkers were “growling” about their treatment. “Darn militia are not worth anything anyhow” wrote Colonel Woodward during his experience there. In the same letter to his father, Colonel Woodward recalled: “However, it does seem hard to make as many sacrifices as we have and then, when here, to be snubbed and maltreated. The three-years’ troops who are all here have everything.” It seemed as the colonel began to force blame onto Cavetown for the malnourished troops under his command.

Upon leaving Waynesboro, another issue came into play. The men carried everything in their knapsacks strung upon their backs during these long grueling marches and counter marches. They carried a canteen and eating utensils in their haversacks with no rations in them. The lack of food began to break down discipline. During the evening as Colonel Woodward waited out the storm, he noted that the lack of camp guards allowed the men to come and go as freely as they pleased.

Colonel Woodward also penned about his brigade commander General Joseph Knipe. The colonel seems to take up issue, as did many other New Yorkers under the brigade commander’s command. Colonel Woodward even saw General Knipe strike down a teamster upon the wagon. Colonel Woodward noted that General Kinpe had some sort of grudge against the New Yorkers. He had threatened to give them hell, and Colonel Woodward, as well as other New York regimental commanders, all agreed that he had succeeded. As night came, with the ground being wet, and the soldiers cold from being wet, they began to tear down the worm fences for firewood.

By 8:00 am on July 13th, the men of the 13thNew York began their march to Boonsboro. Rain, again, fell during the day. The men halted between Boonsboro and Cavetown, and went into camp. They built fires anticipating rations being issued, but none came.

By 6:00 pm, the 13th New York SNG was ordered, along with its brigade, to march to Boonsboro. By 10:00 pm, the men halted a short distance beyond town and made their camp in an open “stony” field. As the men looked upon the area, they quickly realized that they were surrounded by the campfires of the veteran soldiers of the Army of the Potomac.

The next morning, the 13th New York SNG was issued small portions of beef and one barrel of flour. By 11:00 am, General Knipe’s brigade was on the march, heading toward Hagerstown. Soon orders came to halt the column. By early evening, Colonel Woodward heard that the Confederate army had made its escape across the Potomac River. As the evening wore on, rumors of the draft riots in New York were heard and the men began anticipating orders for a return to their home state.

Early in the morning on July 15th, all New York State National Guardsmen serving in the Army of the Potomac were ordered to march to Frederick, Maryland at once. The 13th New York SNG began marching toward SouthMountain, and crossed at Turner’s Gap into MiddletownValley. From there, they would march through Middletown, and up, and over the CatoctinMountain at Braddock’s Gap to enter Frederick in the late evening. There, they were ordered to Monocacy Junction, where they would bivouac for the night.

The next morning, the men waited on the train that would take them to Baltimore, Maryland, and then homeward bound. By the 17th of July, the men were in Baltimore and waited for the train to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. By July 21st, the men were officially mustered out of U.S. military service, ending their campaign in Pennsylvania and Maryland.


Kennedy, Elijah, R. John B. Woodward, a biographical memoir, by Elijah R. Kennedy. New York: De Vinne Press, 1897.

The 71st New York State National Guard During The Pennsylvania Campaign

On June 16th, 1863, in response to President Abraham Lincoln’s call for manpower, the 71st Regiment, New York State National Guard was assembled. The terms of enlistment were not to exceed ninety-days in what would become known as the Pennsylvania Campaign, or Gettysburg Campaign as it is often called. The soldiers of the National Guard assembled in full fatigue dress, with black belts, overcoats rolled upon their knapsacks, canteen, and one days ration in the haversack.

71st_nysngThe 71st New York S.N.G. was commanded by Colonel Benjamin L. Trafford, and wore uniforms of blue rather than gray as many of the National Guard units did. They wore a dark blue shell jacket, most likely the New York State jacket, dark blue fatigue cap, with sky-blue trousers and white belts. Their knapsacks were the hard pack militia style. While preparing to leave for Pennsylvania, there was some confusion upon what accouterments were to be worn and Colonel Trafford went to straighten the mess up. Upon his return, more than 550 soldiers were ready to depart New York bound for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

On June 17th, the 71st New York S.N.G. boarded the vessel called the Red Jacket at 10:00pm and left New York. They were en-route to Elizabethport, and by 2:00am on June 18th they boarded the train for Harrisburg. The men were packed into cattle cars, some even riding on top of the cars. They reached Harrisburg during the evening, and the 71st New York S.N.G. along with the 8th New York S.N.G. were among the first organized troops in the Harrisburg area.

Offloading the train cars, the 71st New York S.N.G. marched into Camp Curtin where they were issued rations. After receiving those rations, they loaded up on the train cars and rode across the Susquehanna River to Bridgeport. Arriving there during a major rain storm, the men slept inside the cattle cars until daylight.

By daylight on June 19th, the 71st New York S.N.G. offloaded the train and marched into Fort Washington. Colonel Trafford reported to General Darius Couch for orders. By 7:00pm, the 71st and the 8th New York S.N.G. took the train and headed to Shippensburg. General Couch ordered these men to hold in check the advancing Confederate army, stalling their movements to buy Harrisburg time for their defenses to be completed. The 71st New York S.N.G. and the rest of their brigade arrived at Shippensburg at dark, and were again ordered to remain on the train until daylight.

At daylight on June 20th, the 71st New York S.N.G. and other units were deployed covering the roads leading from Chambersburg and Scotland. Arriving, at Scotland, General Joseph F. Knipe assumed command of the brigade at 11:00pm.

officers 71stBy June 21st, the 71st New York S.N.G. had marched to Green Village, and then onward to Scotland Bridge, arriving there at 3:00pm. The 71st New York S.N.G. saw first hand the destruction of the bridge caused by the Confederate cavalry. General Knipe had orders to repair the bridge, and upon completion they were to march to Chambersburg. The 71st New York S.N.G. bivouacked at Scotland Bridge for the night.

At 8:00am on June 22nd, the 71st New York S.N.G. began marching to Chambersburg and arrived in the city at 11:00am. They were ordered to take up positions two miles south of the town on the Waynesboro Road. Rachel Cormany, a civilian of Chambersburg recalled how safe she felt when the 71st New York S.N.G. entered town. She also heard that the Confederates were about eight miles from town. Later, orders came for the right wing of the 71st New York S.N.G. to reinforce the 8th New York S.N.G. on the Greencastle Road, just south of Chambersburg.

At about 5:00pm, orders were again issued for the right wing and the 8th New York S.N.G. to push ahead another two more miles and halt where some skirmishing had occurred. The left wing of the 71st New York S.N.G. had not received any orders to move out and remained in place. Soon another set of orders came to march Knipe’s Brigade back to Scotland Bridge and board the train to head directly to Carlisle. The New Yorkers complied with the order in such haste, that many left behind their tents, extra clothing and a few weapons. The brigade had arrived at Carlisle at 2:00am, when it was realized that the left wing under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William Coles had been left behind at Chambersburg.

After seeking General Knipe’s permission, Colonel Trafford hopped a train and headed as far as Shippensburg to look for Lieutenant Colonel Coles. By 2:00am, Lieutenant Colonel Coles was encamped at the fairgrounds at Shippensburg. He had heard of the order to fall back, but by the time he received the order it was too late. Upon reaching finding the other half of his command, the men were ready to move out. However, since there were no more empty train cars headed to Carlisle, the officers pleaded with the locality for wagons and horses in order to get the men moving.

Marching along the road, and trying to move his weary men after a day’s worth of long grueling marches was taking its toll on the men. Soon the men were marching along side the railroad tracks when a train slowed down and allowed the men to board. They made it to Carlisle by 10:00pm on June 23rd and encamped at the fairgrounds. Knipe’s small brigade was again fully united.

On June 24th, the Confederate advance was still moving toward Harrisburg. The 71st New York S.N.G. was placed on the road leading into Carlisle. Colonel Trafford ordered the men to dig rifle pits and entrenchments, and prepare for the worst. Knipe’s Brigade consisted of the 8th New York S.N.G., the 71st New York S.N.G., and Miller’s Philadelphia Battery. Supporting them were 200 armed citizens who were ready to fight. As the sun set, the men slept on their arms that night.

The next morning, orders were issued for the two National Guard units to move ahead and take possession of Rocky Ridge. Miller’s Battery deployed two howitzers commanding the road, and was covered by the trees along its edges. The men remained in position throughout the day. Finally, darkness fell upon the landscape and the weary soldiers began to fall asleep. By 9:00pm, General Knipe ordered Colonel Trafford to withdraw his men from the front and begin to march toward Harrisburg. Within five minutes of the order, the columns of the 71st New York S.N.G. along with the rest of the small brigade were up and marching. The men retreated to Kingston, twelve miles south from Harrisburg.

By 1:00am, the 71st New York S.N.G. had reached the woods just outside of Kingston, and bivouacked there during the early morning hours of June 26th. A major rainstorm had occurred and during the storm, many soldiers tried to find shelter from the elements. Many of the soldiers found an old country church and took refuge there, trying to stay dry. They had no blankets as their knapsacks containing their blankets were sent ahead to Harrisburg on the train cars.

On June 27th, the 71st New York S.N.G. was in danger of being out flanked by a Confederate force. They were ordered to fall back to Oyster Point. Arriving there, they were greeted by the 11th and 23rd New York S.N.G. units, who were bivouacked there. Oyster Point is situated at the intersection of the Harrisburg and Carlisle Pike and Trindle Road, present day 30th and Market Streets in Camp Hill. At the point was a tavern named for the Oyster family. The 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered to bivouac there for the night.

On June 28th, the 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered by Colonel Trafford to advance and deploy into battle lines to meet the Confederate troops. The 8th New York and 11th New York S.N.G. were ordered to fall back to Fort Washington. As the 71st New York S.N.G. deployed, the Confederate artillery began to fire. Colonel Trafford reported to Colonel Brisbane, who commanded a brigade of Pennsylvania Militia. Colonel Trafford was ordered to send 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.

The next morning, the Confederate artillery again shelled the 71st New York S.N.G. pickets for over an hour before the 11th New York S.N.G. relieved them. Colonel Trafford was ordered to fall back to Fort Washington. While the Confederates attacked, Confederate General Albert Jenkins and other officers from General Richard Ewell’s Corps rode to the higher hills and observed Harrisburg’s defenses. The Confederates advanced as far as 28th Street, skirmishing with some of the National Guardsmen, but soon fell back. Arriving at Fort Washington and staying the night, the men of the 71st New York S.N.G. received the best sleep it had during the last ten days.

On June 30th, the 71st New York S.N.G. was officially mustered into U.S. service with a total of 538 enlisted men and officers in the ranks. After mustering in, a new command was put together under General Knipe. His brigade received much needed reinforcements when the 8th, 23rd, 52nd, 56th, 68th, and the 71st New York S.N.G. along with Miller’s Battery were brigaded under the command of General Knipe. This brigade was assigned to General William “Baldy” Smith’s Division, Army of the Susquehanna, and attached to the Army of the Potomac.

Upon mustering in, Colonel Varian, being a senior officer, addressed the soldiers of the 7th and 8th New York S.N.G. Colonel Varian relayed congratulations from General Darius Couch on a job well done. The two New York S.N.G. regiments had accomplished everything that was asked of them since arriving in Pennsylvania. The two regiments had advanced fifty-two miles beyond Harrisburg to the south, and held the Confederate advance in check for six days. This bought time for the defenses of Harrisburg to be built or improved upon, and this also gave the farmers plenty of time to hide their livestock in the wake of the Confederate invasion in the Cumberland Valley.

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

On July 1st, the 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered with the rest of Knipe’s brigade to begin marching to the South Mountain pass called Mount Holly Gap. After a seven to eight mile march, the 71st New York S.N.G. was ordered into an open field along the banks of the Conegogeramit Creek, where they bivouacked for the night. The next day, the 71st New York S.N.G. remained under arms until it was ordered to fall back toward the Mechanicsburg, where they halted near the Rupp House and bivouacked for the night.

Reveille was sounded at 5:00am on July 3rd and within minutes the soldiers were on the march. There was no time to eat breakfast, and the 71st New York S.N.G. marched three miles to Uniontown, where the men tried to seek food. After a brief stay, they were on the march again. By 10:00am, they arrived at Kinston, where many of the soldiers quickly made breakfast. Not staying long, the 71st New York S.N.G., along with their brigade, marched toward Carlisle. By the afternoon, the sun was hot and fatigue began to set in on the tired soldiers, some suffered heat exhaustion. By 7:00pm, the brigade arrived at Carlisle and encamped around the ruins of the barracks.

P1010984At 5:00am on July 4th, the 71st New York S.N.G. and the rest of Knipe’s Brigade marched along Mount Holly road. They were ordered into South Mountain via Mount Holly Gap. By 10:00am, they marched through Papertown. Their destination was Pine Grove Forge. As they neared South Mountain, dark clouds were on the horizon and soon afterward, they ascended the western base of South Mountain. The rain came pouring in and the peaceful landscape turned into a quagmire.

The road leading through the South Mountain followed the mountain side which was on the right of the 71st New York S.N.G. The mountain stream was to their left and supplied many of the paper mills. As darkness set in, it became difficult for the soldiers to distinguish where the road was located. The mountain stream soon became almost impassable. The rain forced the mountain streams to overflow their banks, spilling the contents on the road.

The 71st New York S.N.G. marched through several areas of flooded roadways, in some areas the water was almost knee deep. They followed close behind one another to avoid being swept away by the raging current. An adjutant mounted on his horse soon became dismounted and was swept away when his horse stepped into a hole. It was reported that several of the men had lost their knapsacks and blankets and many were washed away.

P1010991Upon arriving at Pine Grove Forge, there was no shelter left in any of the barns or buildings since the various units of the Pennsylvania Militia took refuge with its own people. Many of the New Yorkers were forced to sleep outside in the rain. The commissary wagons were stalled because of several bridges being washed away. They would have to wait for the water to recede before fording the streams. Many of those bridges took forty-eight hours to rebuild. Because of the commissary wagons being unable to cross the flooded stream, rations were in short supply. Luckily, the Confederates did not hit this area during the invasion and many of the National Guardsmen were able to forage food while they bivouacked for the night.

The following day, the soldiers began to dry out. The quartermaster wagons managed to catch up to the 71st New York S.N.G. and news about the Confederate retreat and the Union victory at Gettysburg lifted their spirits. However, the commissary wagons still had not made their way to Pine Grove Forge. The soldiers of the 71st New York S.N.G. also learned why it was necessary for them to march into South Mountain. This movement was to keep the Confederate army from using the northern most South Mountain gaps for their retreat. This forced the Confederate army to use Cashtown Gap to its south and Monterey Pass along the Mason Dixon Line. The National Guardsmen marched to Bendersville and halted there for the night.

On July 6th, the soldiers of the 71st New York S.N.G. had received fresh beef which had been purchased by the quartermaster and then slaughtered. Company B of the 71st New York S.N.G. decided to save their ration of beef for dinner and fixed breakfast by other means. During the afternoon, the messmates of Company B decided to fix stew and after purchasing vegetables, they placed everything into the pot. Within minutes of being cooked, orders were issued to the men. They were to fall in and prepare to march. Within minutes, they were marching and the stew was left behind.

During their march, it began to rain and by 9:00am, the 71st New York S.N.G. arrived at Caledonia Forge. The men, exhausted, fell out and sought the driest ground for the night. The soldiers had accomplished a sixteen mile march that day.

On July 7th, the spirits of the 71st New York S.N.G. was lifted by the site of the commissary wagons. Rations were issued and the soldiers had prepared and eaten a good breakfast. By 11:00am, the 71st New York S.N.G. made their way to the Chambersburg Pike and took the road leading to Waynesboro.

Nearing Mont Alto, the soldiers were ordered to the side of the road to make room for some two to three thousand Confederate prisoners marching under guard. Colonel Trafford ordered the men to make no demonstration toward the Confederate soldiers. Upon seeing the condition of the Confederate prisoner, which was ragged, hatless and shoeless, compassion set in with the men. It was reported that as soon as the Confederates had marched past, there was not one ounce of tobacco left in the regiment. The soldiers handed it all out to the weary Confederates.

After marching eleven miles, the 71st New York S.N.G. made their way to Mont Alto. There, in a grove north of town, the 71st New York S.N.G. made their camp for the night by Antietam Creek. During the night another storm blew in and the rain fell in torrents. The pleasant little grove by the western branch of the Antietam Creek had turned into a swamp.

As morning dawned on July 8th, it was still raining pretty hard. At 7:00am, orders were issued to strike shelter halves. No time was allowed for the men to cook rations, and to those who needed rations, none were issued. However, hot coffee was issued to the National Guardsmen.

By 11:00am, the 71st New York S.N.G. began marching toward Waynesboro. By 5:00pm, Waynesboro was reached. Seeing portions of General Thomas Neill’s Brigade of the Sixth Corps, the soldiers began fraternizing with one another. Soon, orders were issued and a march of two miles ensued. The 71st New York halted in another grove that overlooked the Leitersburg Road and Greencastle Road. They were ordered to bivouac and by 7:00pm, rations were issued.

On July 9th, breakfast was served at 5:00am. By 10:00am, the men of the 71st were ordered to fall in for inspection. Afterward, the soldiers took it easy in camp as passes to Waynesboro were not issued. By 8:00pm, orders were issued to draw rations and prepare them. They were to be ready for the march the next day.

Early in the morning on July 10th, the soldiers of the 71st New York S.N.G. were ordered to fall in and prepare to move out. They, along with the 22nd New York S.N.G., were ordered to move toward Hagerstown, Maryland. They were to reconnaissance the Confederate army as they concentrated near Williamsport. Nearing Hagerstown, the two regiments of the National Guard were ordered to bivouac for the night.

On July 11th, the two regiments remained in camp until 6:00pm, when they were ordered to counter march back to Leitersburg. They found the bridge there spanning the Antietam Creek had been burned by the rear of the Confederate army. As they forded the creek, it was reported that the Confederate pickets were about a mile away from their position. They came near the Mason Dixon Line that night.

The next morning, the 71st New York S.N.G. again countermarched back to Leitersburg, struck the turnpike to Smithsburg, and marched directly onto Cavetown. Passing through Cavetown, the 71st New York S.N.G. halted just outside of town when a thunderstorm hit. During the hard rain, the men pitched their shelter halves and made camp. It was reported that a neighboring regiment, the 56th New York S.N.G., had several soldiers injured when a bolt of lightning stuck their tent. The lightning killed one soldier and wounded four others.

On July 13th, the 71st New York S.N.G. fell in at daylight in the rain. They began to march, taking the road leading to Boonsboro. They marched past the small towns of Smoketown and Mount Pleasant, where they halted two miles beyond, at 8:00pm. To make matters worse, the soldiers of the 71st New York S.N.G. had no rations issued to them since July 11th and they would have to forage for food in order to feed themselves.

Reveille was sounded at 4:30am on July 14th. Orders were issued to cook two days rations, even though many of the soldiers had none to cook. Throughout the day, cannonading was heard in the direction of Williamsport. There was some anticipation among the soldiers to meet the combat veterans of the Confederate army on the battlefield. As they marched closer toward Beaver Creek, the soldiers saw firsthand the destruction of vehicles such as wagons and caissons. They also saw several dead horses and the smell was unbearable. Toward evening, rumors were passed around that riots had broken out in New York due to the draft. That night, the 71st New York S.N.G. encamped near Beaver Creek.

On July 15th, orders were issued to march to Frederick, board the trains there, and head home in order to put down the riots. At 7:30am, the twenty-five mile march ensued. The soldiers would strike the National Road at Boonsboro, cross over South Mountain at Turner’s Gap. From there they proceeded to Middletown and crossed the Catoctin Mountain at Braddock’s Gap, and from there to Frederick city. There they marched to Monocacy Junction arriving at 8:00pm. Upon reaching that point, the exhausted men dropped to the ground and slept where they stood without setting up tents. The men had made this march without anything to eat.

The next morning, the men awoke at 5:00am and remained at Monocacy Junction until 11:00pm, when they were ordered to board the train enroute to Baltimore. They arrived at Baltimore at 7:00am on July 17th. By 8:00pm that night, they were in Philadelphia. The 71st New York S.N.G. left Philadelphia around midnight and arrived in New York by 7:30am on July 18th. They had officially been in the field for thirty days. They were officially mustered out of U.S. service on July 22nd, 1863.

History of the 71st Regiment, N.G., N.Y., By the Veterans Association 71st Regiment, N.Y.N.G., New York City, 1919
Civil War Harrisburg, A Guide to Capital Area Sites, Incidents and Personalities, Edited Lawrence Kenner-Farley and James E. Schmick, 2000
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.
Union Blue and Militia Gray: The Role of the New York State Militia in the Civil War, by Gustav Person.
Photos LOC