War Returns to South Mountain

War Returns to South Mountain (HMKRN)

Location: Highfield-Cascade, MD Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 43.023', W 77° 30.549'

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Battle of Monterey Pass

— Gettysburg Campaign —

(Preface):After a stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia through Maryland into Pennsylvania, marching next to threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. The Army of the Potomac marched north from the capital, searching for Lee. On July 1-3, the armies collided at Gettysburg in one of the pivotal battles of the Civil War. The Confederates retraced their steps to Virginia after a bloody defeat.

During the Battle of Gettysburg, detachments of Gen. Robert E. Lee's army occupied key roads and gaps in South Mountain behind the Confederate line. Monterey Pass, just north of here was one of those vital gaps. On the night of July 3, defeated at Gettysburg, Lee ordered his supply and ambulance trains through the gaps to clear the roads for the army's retreat.

The next night, probing between the Confederate army and South Mountain, Union Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry division caught up with the Confederate wagon train and its defenders at Monterey Pass. He attacked Capt. George H. Emack's Co. B, 1st Maryland Battalion, which Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones had reinforced with two cavalry regiments and an artillery battery. In pitch dark and pouring rain, a chaotic, vicious fight began around 9 P.M., illuminated by cannon fire, small-arms fire, and lightning bolts. It raged for more than five hours until Kilpatrick's force broke through the defenders and headed in this direction while the Confederates continued their retreat.

Kilpatrick ordered the 1st Vermont Cavalry to pursue the wagon trains to your left along the western base of South Mountain in the valley below. Local resident C.H. Burman guided the regiment through Raven Rock Pass to Smithsburg (to your left). After capturing several wagons at Leitersburg, the Vermonters rejoined Kilpatrick at Ringgold and rode south to Smithsburg. Soon the division was in another fight, this time with part of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry corps.

(Sidebar): The Confederate ambulances, supply wagons, artillery caravans, and herds of cattle, sheep, and hogs stretched for more than 50 miles along Pennsylvania's roads. Adding to the misery of the thousands of wounded men who moaned or screamed at every jolt of the wagons, the heavens opened and rain turned the dirt roads to muddy soup.
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Historical Period19th Century
Historical PlaceBattlefield
Marker TypeOther
Marker ClassHistorical Marker
Marker StyleInterpretative Marker / Sign
Placed ByMaryland Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 6:40am PDT -07:00
Photo Credits: [1] DOUGLAS MOWEN  
Locationbig map
Location DescriptionMarker is in the Pen Mar Park. Near the lookout over the Cumberland Valley
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 284925 N 4399363
Decimal Degrees39.71705000, -77.50915000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 43.023', W 77° 30.549'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 43' 1.3800" N, 77° 30' 32.9400" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Can be seen from road?No
Is marker in the median?No
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Appalachian Trail, Highfield-Cascade MD , US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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