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Near Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
A Dangerous Position
 
A Dangerous Position Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
1. A Dangerous Position Marker
 
Inscription. On the dark, moonless night of September 14, 1862, 100 men from the 126th New York Regiment established a skirmish line here. These men were new to the war, having only been in uniform for a few short weeks. After surviving a terrifying afternoon of relentless Confederate artillery fire, these young men were thrust into a dangerous and vulnerable position on the front line. If the Confederates wanted to attack this location, this was a good time to do it.

"On Sunday evening, the second day of our fight, I was ordered out in front of our camp to skirmish as the Rebs were getting rather thick. Now just keep in mind that I had been up for three nights before. You can imagine how pleasantly I must have felt. It was a dangerous position, but I felt as if I did not care whether the Rebs had me or not. Our hundred men were detailed and put under Lt. Munson & myself. You ought to have seen us hunting our way down Bolivar Heights for the front of our camp. At last we reached our position."
Lieutenant George York, Company I, 126th New York Regiment, from a letter to his father.
 
Erected by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 39° 19.371′ N, 77° 
 
Battle Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
2. Battle Map
Note the north seeking arrow pointing to the right and the "you are here" tag indicating the location of the marker.
 
46.064′ W. Marker is near Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Bakerton Road (County Route 27), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located along the Union Skirmish Line Trail, in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Position Strong by Nature (about 400 feet away); We Began Firing At Will: The 111th New York Regiment (about 800 feet away); Battle of Harpers Ferry / Jackson Arrives (approx. 0.2 miles away); Union Skirmish Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Skirmish Line to Burial Ground (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Confederate Perspective (approx. 0.3 miles away); Five Rounds into the Darkness (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a map showing the combatant positions and location of the skirmish line. On the right is "The flag of the 126th Regiment New York State Volunteers."
 
Also see . . .  1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. National Park Service summary of the battle. (Submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Marker Standing along the Fence next to Bakerton Road Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, September 22, 2007
3. Marker Standing along the Fence next to Bakerton Road
The skirmish line position was near the road nearly half way between School House Ridge (in the background) and Bolivar Heights.
 
 
126th New York Regimental Flag Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, January 24, 2009
4. 126th New York Regimental Flag
The regimental flag (photo on the right side of the marker)is preserved in one of the downtown museum exhibits at Harpers Ferry:
The raw recruits of the 126th New York Volunteers surrendered their regimental flag at Harpers Ferry on September 15, 1862. The Confederate victors kept the flag as a trophy of war in Richmond, Virginia, until the city fell in 1865. Then the United States War Department stored the flag in Washington, D.C., until 1879, when Colonel Ephraim Whitaker returned the flag to New York for a reunion of the veterans from the 126th.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,211 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on May 16, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
 
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