Following the Battle of Gettysburg, the retreating Confederate troops and ambulance train occupied Williamsport, trapped by the impassible Potomac. Expecting an attack, Brigadier General John D. Imboden set up defensive positions along the crest of a ridge about one-half mile from Williamsport.
Late in the afternoon of July 6, 1863, Union cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John Buford arrived east of Williamsport, flanking the town. To bolster the number of Confederate troops and wounded that were fighting, Imboden asked his wagoners (wagon drivers) to join the fight and over 600 readily volunteered. Fighting continued into the evening, with Imboden fooling his enemy by advancing a line of infantry about 100 yards beyond the crest of the ridge and then slowly pulling the men back out of sight.
At sundown Union Brigadier General George A. Custer and his Michigan "Wolverines" arrived to fight but were quickly withdrawn by Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick and retreated with Buford's men. This signaled the end of the fight.
Losses of Battle
Federal (includes horse artillery)
1st Cavalry Division, Brig. Gen. John Buford (Strength 3,983, 175 losses)
3rd Cavalry Division including one brigade of 2nd Cavalry Division, Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick (Strength
4,633, 75 losses)
Cavalry Division includes horse artillery (Strength 5,607, 150 losses)
Mixed Defenses — artillery, infantry, teamsters etc. (Strength 1,900, 125 loses)
Courtesy of Authors J.D. Petruzzi, Steven Stanley and their book The Gettysburg Campaign in Numbers and Losses