Battle of Falling Waters

Battle of Falling Waters (HM13EI)

Location: Martinsburg, WV 25404 Berkeley County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 32.672', W 77° 54.384'

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Four Apostles of the 1st Rockbridge Artillery

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.

Captain William Nelson Pendleton, commanding the first Rockbridge Artillery, placed one gun in the center of the Valley Turnpike (now U.S. Route 11) in front of you at Hammonds Mill Road to support Jackson. The 51-year-old Pendleton was an Episcopal rector from Lexington, Virginia, and college-educated young men comprised his battery. In tribute to their commander, the young gunners named their four pieces Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, supposedly because "they spoke a powerful language."

Holding his fire until Federal cavalrymen drew close enough on the turnpike to threaten the Southern infantry, Pendleton finally gave the order to fire: "Aim low, men! And may God have mercy on their souls." Although Federal sources claim the shot was high, according to Jackson, the "first ball cleared the road." The lone gun (allegedly Luke) fired only eight times before withdrawing in the face of overwhelming Union forces.

Pendleton was promoted to brigadier general in 1862. He commanded General Robert E. Lee's artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia for the rest of the war, mostly as an administrator.

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The Four Apostles that the First Rockbridge Artillery employed here consisted of one regular-weight six-pounder (supposedly the gun named Luke), one regular twelve-pounder howitzer, and two light-weight brass "cadet" guns with red carriages from Virginia Military Institute. After the war, the cadet guns were returned to VMI, where they stand today beneath Jackson's statue with two others that saw service during the war. Since then, all four have taken on the Apostles' names.
HM NumberHM13EI
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 Friday, October 10th, 2014 at 11:08am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 250249 N 4381241
Decimal Degrees39.54453333, -77.90640000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 32.672', W 77° 54.384'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 32' 40.32" N, 77° 54' 23.04" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5567 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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