Second Battle of Hagerstown

Second Battle of Hagerstown (HM3WP)

Location: Hagerstown, MD 21740 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 38.565', W 77° 43.19'

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Custer Captures the Town

— Gettysburg Campaign —

Six days had passed since the Federals had failed in their first attempt to seize Hagerstown as they pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate army retreating to Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg. On Sunday morning, July 12, 1863, a decisive event occurred - the Union army determined to secure its northern flank. The mission to capture Hagerstown was assigned to Gen. George Armstrong Custer and his Michigan cavalry brigade.

Custer's Wolverines rode into town from the east, scattering and capturing stunned Confederates, seizing almost 100 prisoners, and setting free nearly 40 Federal soldiers, missing after the fighting of July 6. Local citizens sympathetic to the Union cause has been sheltering these men.

After the victorious Custer led his column through town, doffing his hat to handkerchief-waving ladies, XI Corps commander Gen. Oliver O. Howard climbed into a church steeple and for the first time viewed the extensive Confederate fortifications located west and south of town. Difficult days remained ahead.

"[Hagerstown was] a hornet's nest of sharpshooters armed with telescopic rifles, who could pick a man's ear off half a mile away. The bullets from their guns had a peculiar sound, something like the buzz of a bumble bee, and the troopers' horses would stop, prick up their ears and gaze in the direction whence the hum of those invisible messengers could be heard."
- Capt. James Kidd, Custer's Michigan Cavalry Brigade.

Tuesday, July 14: "Sunday (July 12) was a day of intense anxiety. The Yankees came and took possession of the town. The Rebels had all gone. Yesterday all the streets were crowded with horse and no one could go near the door as the street was used as a stable. ... It is reported that the Rebels have crossed the river but we know nothing. Oh this dreadful suspense. ... I fear we've seen the very last of the Rebels." Louise Kealhofer diary
HM NumberHM3WP
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 8:49pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 266614 N 4391642
Decimal Degrees39.64275000, -77.71983333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 38.565', W 77° 43.19'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 38' 33.90" N, 77° 43' 11.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)240, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 45-99 MD-65, Hagerstown MD 21740, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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