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Near Berkeley Springs in Morgan County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

Skirmish at Sir Johns Run

"We leveled our pieces and blazed away"

 

— Jackson's Bath-Romney Campaign —

 
Skirmish at Sir Johns Run Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, November 6, 2020
1. Skirmish at Sir Johns Run Marker
Inscription.  
On January 1, 1862, Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson led four brigades west from Winchester, Va., to secure Romney in the fertile South Branch Valley on the North Western Turnpike. He attacked and occupied Bath on January 4 and shelled Hancock, Md.; he marched into Romney on January 14. Despite atrocious winter weather, Jackson's men destroyed telegraph lines and 100 miles of Baltimore and Ohio Railroad track. Leaving Gen. William W. Loring's brigades in Romney, Jackson led the Stonewall Brigade back to Winchester on January 23, Loring followed on January 31, and the Federals reoccupied Romney on February 7.

After Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's force captured Bath (present-day Berkeley Springs) on January 4, 1862, the Federal garrison retreated here to escape across the Potomac River ford to Maryland. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station servicing Bath was located here at Sir Johns Run. The ford is directly in front of you, with a culvert under the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal across the river that allowed passage to a road leading to Hancock, Maryland.

At first, the 39th
Skirmish at Sir Johns Run Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones, November 6, 2020
2. Skirmish at Sir Johns Run Marker
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Illinois Infantry at the 84th and 110th Pennsylvania Infantry tried to make a stand against the Confederates after reinforcements arrived from the 13th Indiana Infantry, protected by the narrow defile through which the road to Sir Johns Run passed. But with night falling and ammunition low, a retreat was ordered. The Indiana regiment reboarded its train and headed west for Great Cacapon. The Pennsylvanians marched down the railroad to cross the Potomac downstream at Hancock. The Illinois men plunged into the ice-choke river here to cross, and during the long march to Hancock, soaking west uniforms froze on the suffering Union soldiers.

The 21st Virginia Infantry cautiously advanced into Sir Johns Run at nightfall, just missing Sgt. John Ripple and Capt. Joseph Hooker of the 39th Illinois, the last Union soldiers supervising the retreat. The Confederates tore up the river. A brief- fire-fight erupted as both sides exchanged shots.

The Confederate assault on Bath, while successful, did not satisfy Jackson since the Union garrison had escaped. After shelling Hancock the next day, Jackson marched his men back through Morgan County and then west to Romney.

"We leveled our pieces and blazed away as though we had thousands of backing. They dropped their bars and picks, returned the fire with a volley which made the hill look like lightning bugs,
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and rained the balls around us in the showers."

— Capt. Joseph Hooker, Co. E, 39th Illinois Infantry

 
Erected by West Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal, and the West Virginia Civil War Trails series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is January 1, 1862.
 
Location. 39° 38.959′ N, 78° 14.231′ W. Marker is near Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, in Morgan County. Marker is at the intersection of Sir Johns Run Road (County Road 3) and Slonaker Lane (County Road 3/1), on the left when traveling north on Sir Johns Run Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2083 Sir Johns Run Road, Berkeley Springs WV 25411, 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. The Apple Industry (approx. 0.7 miles away in Maryland); Joseph S. Wheat (approx. 1.3 miles away); Charles T. O'Ferrall (approx. 1.3 miles away); John Donovan (approx. 1.4 miles away); Joseph Booth (approx. 1½ miles away); Judiah Higgins (approx. 1½ miles away); John Donovan / Andrew Pearce / Andrew Pearce
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(approx. 1½ miles away); George Dick (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berkeley Springs.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 153 times since then and 47 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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May. 22, 2022