Shepherdstown in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
Spirit of 1775
Beeline March to Cambridge
On 11 June 1775, the Second Continental Congress authorized the raising of ten companies of riflemen in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia to aid General George Washington at the British siege of Boston. The Berkeley County Committee of Safety selected Captain Hugh Stephenson to command and recruit one of the two Virginia companies. Within a week in the Shepherdstown area, Stephenson had raised 98 men. These riflemen were the first continental or regular troops of the rebelling colonies. Mustered by 22 June but delayed by acquisition of arms, the men drilled and organized for their trek. At his spring on 10 July, William Morgan gave a barbeque for the company. On 17 July, Stephenson's company rallied at Morgan's Spring and began the 600-mile beeline march to Cambridge. Covering the distance in 25 days, they arrived at Cambridge on 11 August. Before the Revolution ended in 1783, seven companies from the Shepherdstown area had served in the war. About 100 soldiers were from the town. At a gala barbeque fifty years later at Morgan's Spring, two of the five who survived from Stephenson's company attended.
(John E. Stealey III,
"… at the base of the hill…, a glorious spring leaps out into the sunlight… flowering over the smooth sides of an artificial reservoir, it runs rippling along, making merry music as it tumbles over its rocky bed into the placid waters of the lake… this is 'Morgan's Spring' "
My Ride to the Barbeque, 1860, Alexander Boteler)
Boating and fishing were pastimes until the railroad was completed in 1879. Its gravel bed severed and covered portions of the marl marsh, affecting the flow of many springs that fed the lake. Today, Morgan's Spring still flows, only into a large pond, which is on private property.
…each soldier furnished his own uniform of 'homespun' hunting shirt made of two linen, fringed around the neck and front, leather leggings, and mocassins. Each wore a bucktail in his hat, and had a tomahawk and scalping knife in his belt. 'Liberty or Death' was embroidered on the front of the hunting shirt.
"They (riflemen) use a peculiar kind of musket called a rifle. It has a circular pattern of grooves within the barrel and carries a ball with a great exactness to great distance. They are the most accurate marksmen in the world."
The Sheetz Rifle Company, on King Street, was located behind the present day corner restaurant. Three generations, from the late 1700s to the 1830s made these rifles. A drill ground for the riflemen was close to the present day Episcopal Church.
In 1932 the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, N.S.D.A.R., erected a monument to commemorate the Virginia Riflemen. Located on SR 480 beside the 1730's entrance to Richard Morgan's plantation Falling Spring. It was located at the nearest access to the springs where Hugh Stephenson's soldiers started their 600 mile trek to Boston. "Morgan Springs was the popular name for Falling Spring among the soldiers and their descendants."
Pack Horse Ford Chapter, NSDAR 1932 program brochure
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #02 John Adams series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 11, 1775.
Location. 39° 25.869′ N, 77° 48.346′ W. Marker is in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker is on S King Street (County Route 480/2) near W German Street, on the right when travelingTouch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shepherdstown WV 25443, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. R.D. Shepherds Town Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Shepherd State Teachers College (within shouting distance of this marker); Shepherdstown (within shouting distance of this marker); 1862 Antietam Campaign (within shouting distance of this marker); McMurran Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); Moulder Hall (within shouting distance of this marker); American Revolutionary War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); War Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shepherdstown.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. more 1775 Bee Line March
Also see . . . The "Bee Line" March, From the History of Shepherdstown by Millard Bushong, 1941. ...In spite of their unprepossessing appearance, the Virginians proved themselves to be among the best marksmen in Washington's camp. Many persons marveled at their ability to hit a mark seven inches in diameter at a distance of 250 yards, even while they were advancing. Other demonstrations of expert shooting were equally sensational. ... (Submitted on September 5, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
1. Virginia Riflemen - Gen. Washington's Home Colony
History of Shepherdstown ; Shepherdstown Information Network
Captain Hugh Stephenson filled the ranks of his company in Shepherdstown and it has been heralded as the first unit of the United States Army.
— Submitted August 1, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 12, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 1, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,070 times since then and 17 times this year. Last updated on September 5, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on October 12, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 2. submitted on August 1, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. 3, 4. submitted on September 5, 2018, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.