Battle of Falling Waters

Battle of Falling Waters (HM13EG)

Location: Martinsburg, WV 25404 Berkeley County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 32.577', W 77° 54.422'

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Harper's 5th Virginia Infantry

On the morning of July 2, 1861, Federal troops under General Robert Patterson crossed the Potomac River from Maryland and marched toward Martinsburg. Confederate Colonel Thomas J. Jackson's command marched from Camp Stephens, four miles north of town, to block them. General Joseph E. Johnston had directed Jackson to determine whether the Federals were in force and to retire if they were. Outnumbered, Jackson fought a brief delaying action and then fell back toward Martinsburg. Patterson eventually occupied the city but was discharged at the end of the month for his slowness.

Jackson placed Colonel Kenton Harper's 5th Virginia Infantry astride the Valley Turnpike near here to meet the advancing Federals. Harper established his main battle line along Hammonds Mill Road but also sent three companies forward to occupy the Porterfield House and farm buildings. Although the 380 Confederates delayed the Northern advance, they were soon in danger of being surrounded, so Jackson ordered Harper to withdraw his unit.

The Fifth Virginia Infantry was composed of several Shenandoah Valley militia units. One of them, designated Company K, was first named the Continental Morgan Guards, after Revolutionary War General Daniel Morgan. In the antebellum period, the unit adopted a uniform resembling that of Continental soldier. Instead of wearing gray, these Confederates fought at Falling Waters in blue coats, ruffled shirts, and tri-corner hats. The company soon adopted the regulation uniform pattern to identify itself more obviously as a Confederate unit.

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The youngest member of the 5th Virginia Infantry at Falling Waters was Charles W. "Little Charley" Turner, who had turned 15 years old less than a month before the battle. The Staunton Spectator reported that Turner "made one of the enemy bite the dust." He then served briefly as Jackson's orderly but soon entered the Virginia Military Institute. Turner fought in the Corp of Cadets at the Battle of New Market. He graduated in the class of 1867 and then moved to Montana and served as adjutant general.
HM NumberHM13EG
Series This marker is part of the West Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByWest Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 1:17am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 250189 N 4381067
Decimal Degrees39.54295000, -77.90703333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 32.577', W 77° 54.422'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 32' 34.62" N, 77° 54' 25.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5453 Williamsport Pike, Martinsburg WV 25404, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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