Bluemont in Clarke County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Col. George D. Wells Leads the Way
Battle of Cool Spring
— Early's 1864 Attack on Washington —
In June 1864, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee detached Gen. Jubal A. Early's corps from the Richmond battlefields and dispatched it to the Shenandoah Valley to counter Union Gen. David Hunter's army. After driving Hunter into West Virginia, Early launched an incursion through Maryland against Washington, D.C., to draw Union troops from Richmond and to release Confederate prisoners held at Point Lookout. On July 9, Early detached Gen. Bradley T. Johnson's cavalry brigade, including Maj. Harry Gilmor and his cavalry to raid eastward toward Baltimore. Union Gen. Lew Wallace delayed Early at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, as Federal reinforcements strengthened the capitals defenses. Early probed them briefly on July 11-12 and then withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley, where he stopped the Federal pursuit at Cool Spring on July 17-18. Despite failing to take Washington, Early's invasion succeeded in diverting Federal resources.
Here at Island (Parker's) Ford, at about 3:30 P.M. on July 18, 1864, Union Col. George D. Wells's brigade, the vanguard of Col. Joseph Thoburn's division, splashed
When Thoburn's superior, Gen. George Crook, learned from the captured Confederates that Early's entire force was nearby, he pleaded with the overall Union commander, Gen. Horatio G. Wright, to withdraw Thoburn's regiments immediately. Wright refused and instead ordered Gen. James B. Ricketts's division to support Thoburn. Although Ricketts arrived around 6:00 P.M., he never crossed the river, as both he and Wright believed the battle lost. Ricketts's failure to support Thoburn became something that many of Thoburn's veterans could never forgive, even decades after the war's end.
Erected by Shenandoah University, Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 8.254′ N, 77° 52.229′ W. Marker Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bluemont VA 20135, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Cool Spring (was a few steps from this marker but has been reported missing. ); Confederate Counterattack and Union Retreat (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (about 500 feet away); Judge Parker's “Retreat” & the Battle of Cool Spring (about 600 feet away); Thoburn’s Rescue (approx. one mile away); The Retreat (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bluemont.
Also see . . . Touring the Battle of Cool Spring. (PDF) This marker is No. 3 on the Walking Tour. (Submitted on May 1, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
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Credits. This page was last revised on May 2, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 1, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 97 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 1, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.