Since the war's onset John T. Best had grown accustomed to seeing Union and Confederate soldiers on his farm, but the morning of July 9, 1864, was different. Shots rang out on the farm and a battle ensued. Confederate artillery moved into the fields, exchanging fire with Union artillery on the heights. Union infantrymen were easy targets for Confederate sharpshooters hidden in Best's barn until a Union artillerist spied puffs of smoke from the sharpshooters' rifles. Union artillery pounded the barn, setting it on fire and destroying it along with tools, harvested crops, and hay.
The second shot burst inside the barn, and so did the third, and the fourth; the barn was soon on fire....
Private Frederick Wild, Alexander's Baltimore Battery
(lower left) Best Farm was a crossroads of war. Armies from both sides frequently camped here throughout the Civil War, like these soldiers posing for a camp side photo.
(upper right) John and Margaret Best hid in the house with their children during the battle. The Bests filed claims against the Federal government after the war for property that Union soldiers stole or destroyed in 1862. No claims are known for the 1864 destruction.
(lower right) These fragments of dishes, broken during the 1864 battle, were found buried near the farmhouse.