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Great Falls in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Rowser's Ford

5,000 Confederate Cavalrymen Crossed

 

—Gettysburg Campaign —

 
Rowser's Ford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2012
1. Rowser's Ford Marker
Inscription. (Preface): After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's stunning victory at Chancellorsvile 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. Confederate cavalry under Gen. J.E.B. Stuart cut Federal communication and rail lines and captured supplies. 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.

On the evening of June 27, 1863, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart passed by here en route to Rowser's Ford (named for the Rowzee family), a little-known and treacherous river crossing at the bottom of this hill. About 5,000 men followed Stuart. They included his best three cavalry brigades under Gen. Wade Hampton, Gen. Fitzhugh Lee, and Gen. John Chambliss (replacing the wounded Gen. W.H.F. "Rooney" Lee), and six pieces of horse artillery under Capt. James Breathed.

Having been diverted from his initial route by the Union II Corps at Haymarket, Stuart took a new circuitous path north to Fairfax Court House early on June 27. There, he skirmished
Map of Stuart's Ride image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2012
2. Map of Stuart's Ride
with the 11th New York Cavalry (Scott's Nine Hundred) and then halted his column for a few hours to rest and refresh his men and horses. Finding an ample bounty of supplies in the village, Stuart realized that it had been the Army of the Potomac's headquarters under the command of Gen. Joseph Hooker, who had departed the previous day.

From the courthouse, Stuart and most of his command took Hunter Mill Road to Dranesville and then crossed the Potomac River here en route to Pennsylvania, while Hooker and his army crossed miles upriver at Edward's Ferry. Ironically, both movements ended in disaster for each commander. Hooker resigned his command the following day and Stuart missed the opening two days of the war's defining battle, Gettysburg.
 
Erected 2012 by Virginia Civl War Trails.
 
Location. 39° 3.1′ N, 77° 20.04′ W. Marker is in Great Falls, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is on Seneca Road, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Great Falls VA 22066, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Crossing the Potomac at Rowser's Ford (here, next to this marker); Washington's Canal (approx. half a mile away); Watering the Canal
Generals Stuart and Hooker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2012
3. Generals Stuart and Hooker
(approx. 1.1 miles away in Maryland); Seneca (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); The Seneca Aqueduct (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); a different marker also named Rowser’s Ford (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); a different marker also named Rowser’s Ford (approx. 1.7 miles away in Maryland); Life During Encampment in Montgomery County (approx. 1.9 miles away in Maryland). Click for a list of all markers in Great Falls.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
"Wing" Map on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2012
4. "Wing" Map on the Marker
Markers at the Trailhead image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 9, 2012
5. Markers at the Trailhead
Stuart's Crossing image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 6, 2010
6. Stuart's Crossing
The most likely place where Stuart's cavalry crossed is pictured here. A skirting canal/mill race runs along the Virginia shoreline here, photographed when the river was running high. Several islands, the first of which is on the right of this frame, stand in the Potomac River at this point.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 358 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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