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Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

First Battle of Hagerstown

Vicious Fighting in the Streets

 

—Gettysburg Campaign —

 
First Battle of Hagerstown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 23, 2008
1. First Battle of Hagerstown Marker
Inscription. Combat raged here in the town square and in adjoining city blocks for six hours on Monday, July 6, 1863. Holding Hagerstown was crucial to Gen. Robert E. Lee's retreat to Virginia after the Battle of Gettysburg. If the Confederates lost this crossroads town, Lee's access to the Potomac River would be seriously hampered. The Federals recognized Hagertown's importance, and just before noon Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry division galloped north on Potomac Street. It charged into three Virginia brigades, and each side fed reinforcements into what became a wild melee of mounted charges and dismounted duels.

The fighting lurched from street corner to street corner, and ultimately into dismounted assaults from house to house, yard to yard, doorway to doorway, churchyard to churchyard, and gravestone to gravestone. The arrival of Confederate infantry - Gen. Alfred Iverson's North Carolina brigade - finally compelled the Federals to abandon their efford to seize Hagerstown.

Monday, July 6: "Afternoon. At this moment fighting is going on in our very own town and the balls are whizzing through the streets. ... Oh God, of Heaven, have mercy upon us and deliver us from this terrible war." - Louise Kealhofer diary

"The cutting and slashing was beyond description; here right before and underneath us the deadly
The "Wing" Map on the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 5, 2009
2. The "Wing" Map on the Marker
The map indicates locations of other related Civil War Trails markers.
conflict was waged in a hand to hand combat, with the steel blades circling, waving, parrying, thrusting, and cutting, some reflecting the bright sunlight, others crimsoned with human gore; while the discharge of pistols and carbines was terrific, and the smoke through which we now gazed down through and on the scene below, the screams and yells of the wounded and dying, mingled with cheers and commands, the crashing together of the horses and firey flashes of small arms presented a scene such as words cannot portray."

-W.W. Jacobs, civilian eyewitness
 
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 38.563′ N, 77° 43.191′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on North Potomac Street (Maryland Route 65), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Second Battle of Hagerstown (here, next to this marker); Treatment of the Wounded (a few steps from this marker); Hagerstown (within shouting distance of this marker);
First and Second Battles of Hagerstown Markers image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 23, 2008
3. First and Second Battles of Hagerstown Markers
Gettysburg Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); A City Divided (within shouting distance of this marker); Ransom of Hagerstown (within shouting distance of this marker); Hagerstown Ransomed (within shouting distance of this marker); Military Occupation (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Click for a list of all markers in Hagerstown.
 
Also see . . .  The Gettysburg Campaign. Civil War Traveler page detailing other sites on the Virginia-Maryland-Pennsylvania Gettysburg Campaign Civil War Trails system. (Submitted on July 12, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Location of markers image. Click for full size.
By Christopher Busta-Peck, March 23, 2008
4. Location of markers
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,945 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio.   2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Christopher Busta-Peck of Shaker Heights, Ohio. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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