Edwards Ferry

Edwards Ferry (HM17AY)

Location: Lansdowne, VA 20176 Loudoun County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 5.91', W 77° 29.67'

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An Eighty-Mile-Long Column

— Gettysburg Campaign —

After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, he led the Army of Northern Virginia west to the Shenandoah Valley, then north through central Maryland and across the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. Union Gen. George G. Meade, who replaced Gen. Joseph Hooker on June 28, led the Army of the Potomac in pursuit. Confederate cavalry commander Gen. J.E.B. Stuart cut Federal communications and rail lines and captured supplies. The armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14.

In mid-June 1863, Union Gen. Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac marched into northern Virginia in response to movements by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. On June 18, Union Gen. Henry W. Slocum's XII Corps arrived in Leesburg. The next day, in a report to Hooker, Slocum requested a bridge over the Potomac River at Edwards Ferry. "I think the bridge should be built at Edwards Ferry to supply us." Slocum intended to draw supplies from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal on the Maryland side of the river to avoid Confederate irregulars operating in Loudoun County.

Hooker approved this request. Federal engineers completed the first pontoon bridge on June 21, with a landing upstream of the mouth of Goose Creek on the norther bank, about a mile down the trail from this point. Shortly afterward, engineers ran a span across Goose Creek near its mouth.

With news that Lee's army had entered Pennsylvania, Hooker needed to cross the Potomac rapidly. He chose to cross at Edwards Ferry. On June 25 engineers placed a second bridge with a landing downstream of the mouth of Goose Creek. On the morning of June 25, the army began moving across. Over three days, nearly 80,000 infantrymen, 12,000 cavalrymen, 370 artillery pieces, and 3,000 supply wagons - a column estimated at 80 miles long - crossed the Potomac at Edwards Ferry. Most of the Federal force that fought at Gettysburg crossed the river here.

(Sidebar): Kephart Mills and Bridge
George Kephart purchased a mill (previously known as Elizabeth's Mill) here on Goose Creek in 1841. The mill also sat on the Goose Creek Canal, only partially completed before the Civil War. A bridge spanned Goose Creek at this point. Although the Confederates burned the bridge early in 1862, its stone abutments still stand today along the trail.
HM NumberHM17AY
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2013
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 8:57am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284282 N 4330669
Decimal Degrees39.09850000, -77.49450000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 5.91', W 77° 29.67'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 5' 54.60" N, 77° 29' 40.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 540, 571
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 43944 Riverpoint Dr, Lansdowne VA 20176, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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