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Near Bolivar in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

A Position Strong by Nature

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

 

— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —

 
A Position Strong by Nature Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
1. A Position Strong by Nature Marker
Inscription.  
In 1862 Union Colonel Dixon Miles thought that the ridge in front of you, Bolivar Heights, was the perfect place to defend Harpers Ferry. However, in September of '62, Colonel Miles and 14,000 Union soldiers found themselves surrounded by 24,000 Confederates led by "Stonewall" Jackson. From the Confederate position behind you on School House Ridge, one of Jackson's officers described Bolivar Heights as "a position strong by nature." Jackson agreed. He had no time for a siege and did not want to risk an attack up the steep slope of Bolivar Heights. Jackson planned a fake attack here on the southern end of Bolivar Heights. Following a full afternoon of artillery bombardment on September 14, the Confederate plan began to unfold.

"In the afternoon, General Hill was ordered to move along the left bank of the Shenandoah, turn the enemy's left, and enter Harper's Ferry....General J.R. Jones was directed to make a demonstration against the enemy's right."

"Stonewall" Jackson
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this
Battle Map Showing Confederate and Federal Positions image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
2. Battle Map Showing Confederate and Federal Positions
Note the north seeking arrow points to the left of the map. A "you are here" pin indicates the marker location.
topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 39° 19.375′ N, 77° 45.988′ W. Marker is near Bolivar, West Virginia, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from Bakerton Road (County Route 27), on the right when traveling north. Located along the Union Skirmish Line 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. The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line (a few steps from this marker); A Dangerous Position (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); We Began Firing At Will: The 111th New York Regiment (about 700 feet away); Union Skirmish Line (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Skirmish Line to Burial Ground (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Harpers Ferry / Jackson Arrives (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Confederate Perspective (approx. ¼ mile away); Fortifying Bolivar Heights (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bolivar.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left are portraits of Col. Dixon Miles and Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson. On the right is a map detailing the Confederate positions surrounding Harpers Ferry, and those of the Federal defenders.
 
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.) 
 
From the Marker Location Looking South image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
3. From the Marker Location Looking South
The Federal main line was behind the tree line on the left atop the ridge line of Bolivar Heights.
School House Ridge from the Marker Location image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
4. School House Ridge from the Marker Location
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,423 times since then and 3 times this year. Last updated on September 6, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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Feb. 25, 2021