“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leesburg in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Edwards Ferry

An Eighty-Mile-Long Column


—Gettysburg Campaign —

Edwards Ferry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 13, 2013
1. Edwards Ferry Marker
Inscription. 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. Confederate cavalry commander Gen. J.E.B. Stuart cut Federal communications and rail lines and captured supplies. The armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14.

In mid-June 1863, Union Gen. Joseph Hooker's Army of the Potomac marched into northern Virginia in response to movements by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. On June 18, Union Gen. Henry W. Slocum's XII Corps arrived in Leesburg. The next day, in a report to Hooker, Slocum requested a bridge over the Potomac River at Edwards Ferry. "I think the bridge should be built at Edwards Ferry to supply us." Slocum intended to draw supplies from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal on the Maryland side of the river to avoid Confederate irregulars operating in Loudoun County.

Hooker approved this request. Federal engineers completed
Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 16, 2013
2. Map on Marker
The map misspells "Poolesville".
the first pontoon bridge on June 21, with a landing upstream of the mouth of Goose Creek on the norther bank, about a mile down the trail from this point. Shortly afterward, engineers ran a span across Goose Creek near its mouth.

With news that Lee's army had entered Pennsylvania, Hooker needed to cross the Potomac rapidly. He chose to cross at Edwards Ferry. On June 25 engineers placed a second bridge with a landing downstream of the mouth of Goose Creek. On the morning of June 25, the army began moving across. Over three days, nearly 80,000 infantrymen, 12,000 cavalrymen, 370 artillery pieces, and 3,000 supply wagons - a column estimated at 80 miles long - crossed the Potomac at Edwards Ferry. Most of the Federal force that fought at Gettysburg crossed the river here.

(Sidebar): Kephart Mills and Bridge
George Kephart purchased a mill (previously known as Elizabeth's Mill) here on Goose Creek in 1841. The mill also sat on the Goose Creek Canal, only partially completed before the Civil War. A bridge spanned Goose Creek at this point. Although the Confederates burned the bridge early in 1862, its stone abutments still stand today along the trail.
Erected 2013 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Trailhead at Kepharts Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 13, 2013
3. Trailhead at Kepharts Bridge

Location. 39° 5.91′ N, 77° 29.67′ W. Marker is in Leesburg, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker can be reached from Riverpoint Drive, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. The marker is located in the Kephart Bridge Landing at Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park. Marker is in this post office area: Leesburg VA 20176, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Edwards Ferry (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); An Ideal Crossing (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland but has been reported missing); At the Junction of War and Peace: (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); Ice House (approx. 1.2 miles away); Carriage House (approx. 1.3 miles away); a different marker also named Edward’s Ferry (approx. 1.3 miles away in Maryland); Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park (approx. 1.3 miles away); Two-Chambered Granary (approx. 1.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Leesburg.
Also see . . .  The Edwards Ferry Crossing. A collection of blog posts detailing the crossing. (Submitted on March 13, 2013, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
The Mouth of Goose Creek image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 17, 2007
4. The Mouth of Goose Creek
The first pontoon bridge went across the Potomac from the north side of Goose Creek, seen here.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 700 times since then and 173 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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