Near Bolivar in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
"The Rebels were all around us and our only refuge was the open canopy of heaven."
Sgt. Charles E. Smith
32nd Ohio Infantry
September 14, 1862
Thousands of Federal soldiers huddled in ravines on Bolivar Heights to escape the Confederate shells of September 14, 1862. By evening, the Federals were demoralized. Pvt. Louis B. Hull of the 60th Ohio Infantry wrote in his diary at sunset: "All seem to think that we will have to surrender or be cut to pieces."
By 8:00 a.m. on September 15, the situation had worsened for the surrounded and outnumbered Federals. During the night, Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill's division of 3,000 Confederates had turned the Federal left flank on the south end of Bolivar Heights. With Union artillery ammunition exhausted, the situation appeared hopeless.
About 9:00 a.m., Col. Dixon S. Miles, Union commander, decided to surrender his forces. Moments later, a Confederate shell fragment wounded the Colonel. He died the next day, leaving many unanswered questions about the Federal disaster at Harpers Ferry.
An unconditional surrender accepted
Jackson reviewed the captured Federal garrison on Bolivar Heights on the afternoon of September 15. One Union soldier recalled: "There we were on the hill, our arms stacked before us, and waiting. Soon the celebrated 'Stonewall' Jackson rode along our lines with his staff. He rode a cream colored horse and was plainly dressed in ... a grey dingy suit."Another soldier shouted, "Boys, he's not much for looks, but if we'd had him we wouldn't have been caught in this trap!"
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1781.
Location. 39° 19.361′ N, 77° 45.682′ W. Marker is near Bolivar, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Prospect Avenue. Located on the Bolivar Heights trail in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Union Predicament (here, next to this marker); Casualties of War (within shouting distance of this marker); Rats in a Cage (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Year of WarClosing the Doors (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Facing the Enemy (about 300 feet away); Historic Heights (about 400 feet away); Bolivar Heights Trail (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bolivar.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a portrait of Col. Miles. In the center is a depiction of Jackson reviewing the surrendered Federals.
A duplicate to this marker stands near the park visitor center.
Also see . . . 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. National Park Service summary of the battle. (Submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 21, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,498 times since then and 17 times this year. Last updated on September 6, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on May 21, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3. submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.