Occoquan (HM4YI)

Location: Occoquan, VA 22125 Prince William County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 41.135', W 77° 15.731'

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Bridge Between North and South

— 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. The armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle that neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14.

Occoquan, which grew around a mill constructed in 1755, was the site of an important river crossing for troops during the Civil War, as the principal road between Alexandria and Fredericksburg passed through the town. From this point a pontoon bridge stretched across the Occoquan River in June 1863. Union Gen. Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac crossed the river here and at fords west of town to pursue Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Corp. Newton T. Hartshorn, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wrote in his diary on June 14, "Moved up to Occoquan Village, five miles from the mouth [of Occoquan River]. ? Returned from fixing the road from the bridge over the hill. ? The bridge is finished and contains 121 boats and is 300 feet long. This is a beautiful place." ? Pvt. Ralph O. Sturtevant, 13th Vermont Regiment, later wrote: "The van of General Hooker's army arrives on the 14th and crosses the Occoquan on a pontoon bridge laid across at Occoquan Village near our camp. We assist in laying the bridge and then for a number of days sit on the bank and watch the moving army, infantry, cavalry and artillery; a whole army corps cross here."

(lower right sidebar) Earlier, in December 1862, Confederate Gens. Wade Hampton and J.E.B. Stuart raided through Occoquan after the Southern victory at Fredericksburg. On December 18, Hampton surprised Union supply wagons as they were ferried across the river, capturing 20 wagons while his troopers kept Union soldiers at bay from the riverbank. Stuart drove the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry from Occoquan ten days later, capturing Federal wagons and soldiers with his 1,200-man force on a cavalry raid into northern Virginia.

(caption under the small picture in the lower left) "Army beef swimming the Occoquan River," by Alfred A. Waud, 1863, Harper's Weekly

(caption under the large picture in the upper right) Occoquan from the opposite bank, ca. 1880s, whereHooker's army crossed on pontoon bridges and ferryboats - Courtesy Historic Occoquan, Inc.
HM NumberHM4YI
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2007
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 4:23am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 303238 N 4284314
Decimal Degrees38.68558333, -77.26218333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 41.135', W 77° 15.731'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 41' 8.10" N, 77° 15' 43.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 308 Mill St, Occoquan VA 22125, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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