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

Assessing the Obstacle

Assessing the Obstacle Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 5, 2008
1. Assessing the Obstacle Marker
Inscription. Never had "Stonewall" Jackson faced a stronger enemy position. Arriving here on Schoolhouse Ridge on the first day of the battle, Jackson scanned Bolivar Heights (the lower ridge in front of you) and saw a dangerous enemy - 7,000 Union infantry and dozens of cannon stretched across the ridge, ready for battle. He realized a frontal assault would be deadly.

After securing Schoolhouse Ridge with his artillery and 14,000 infantry, Jackson labored to open communications with his officers on Maryland and Loudoun heights. Meanwhile, he devised a plan of deception and surprise.
Erected by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park - National Park Service - U.S. Department of the Interior.
Location. 39° 19.335′ N, 77° 46.71′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is on Bakerton Road (County Route 27), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located in the north section of the School House Ridge unit of the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. The marker is along a walking trail just north of the William L. Wilson Freeway (US 340). The trail is best reached from the parking area on Bakerton Road (CR 27). Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
The Marker and Trail Wayside image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 5, 2008
2. The Marker and Trail Wayside
The Assessing the Obstacle marker stands along the trail, which is simply a mown section of the field at this point. The Confederates Converge and Fake Attack - September 14th markers are seen in the distance. Beyond the tree line on the right is US 340, bisecting Bolivar Heights.
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederates Converge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Destined for Antietam (about 500 feet away); Fake Attack - September 14th (about 700 feet away); Flag Talk (approx. 0.4 miles away); Battle of Harpers Ferry (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Dangerous Position (approx. 0.6 miles away); The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line (approx. 0.6 miles away); A Position Strong by Nature (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a panoramic depiction of what Jackson's view of Bolivar Heights would have looked like on September 13, 1862. Confederate artillery stands in the foreground. In the background, Union soldiers prepare to defend Harpers Ferry from Confederate assault.
Also see . . .  1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. National Park Service summary of the battle. (Submitted on May 21, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Jackson's View of the Federal Positions image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, April 5, 2008
3. Jackson's View of the Federal Positions
Looking at Bolivar Heights in a similar view to that represented on the marker. Bolivar Heights runs the fill width of the photograph, on the other side of the fields and Bakerton Road. In the distant left is Maryland Heights, where McLaws' Confederates soon occupied a commanding position overlooking the town of Harpers Ferry. In the distant right is Loudoun Heights where Confederates under General Walker occupied similar positions overlooking the city.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,015 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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