The Wagoners' Fight

The Wagoners' Fight (HMNC)

Location: Williamsport, MD 21795 Washington County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 34.764', W 77° 48.492'

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Teamsters Help Save the Army

More bad news arrived for the Confederates retreating from Gettysburg on July 6, 1863—Union cavalry was in hot pursuit. With the flooded Potomac River preventing Gen. John D. Imboden's escape at Williamsport, and lacking Gen. Robert E. Lee's main infantry column (still miles away) and significant Confederate cavalry support, Imboden had to make a stand along.

Improvising reinforcements, Imboden organized about 700 of his wagoners into infantry companies under wounded officers, and commissaries and quartermasters. He positioned these makeshift soldiers on his right and left flanks and then bolstered the center of his line with 2,100 dismounted cavalrymen and 24 cannons, establishing a three-mile perimeter on a crescent-shaped ridge a half-mile west of Williamsport.

Meanwhile, two Union cavalry divisions almost 7,000 strong, galloped toward Williamsport to destroy the wagon train and cut off the Confederate escape route. Gen. John Buford's division arrived first and attacked along this road at 4 p.m. For the next five hours, Buford probed Imboden's line with carbine and artillery fire but failed to dislodge it. As darkness neared, word passed that Confederate cavalry reinforcements were arriving, and the Federals then retreated. The "Wagoners' Fight" had prevented the capture of 4,000 Confederate wagons and 10,000 animals and had kept open the Army of Northern Virginia's path of retreat.

"As we could not retreat further, it was at once made known to the troops, that unless we should repel the threatened attack we should all become prisoners, and that the loss of his whole transportation would probably ruin General Lee" —Gen. John D. Imboden
Series This marker is part of the Maryland Civil War Trails series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 2:12pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 258810 N 4384844
Decimal Degrees39.57940000, -77.80820000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 34.764', W 77° 48.492'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 34' 45.84" N, 77° 48' 29.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)301, 240
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 16129 Lappans Rd, Williamsport MD 21795, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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