“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Williamsport in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Shielding the Army

Where are the Confederates?

— Gettysburg Campaign —

Shielding the Army Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert H. Moore, II, December 27, 2010
1. Shielding the Army Marker
Inscription.  The mountains provided Gen. Robert E. Lee with cover. As his army of 75,000 men and 272 pieces of artillery rumbled north through Washington County, the U.S. Army commander did not know his whereabouts because South Mountain, to the east, shielded the Confederates from observation. Many in Lee’s army were well into Pennsylvania while the Federal army was still crossing the Potomac nearly fifty miles to the east.

“We have outmaneuvered [Gen. Joseph] Hooker," exclaimed an optimistic Lee to Gen. Isaac R. Trimble, a Marylander. “He doesn’t know where we are or what our plans are. Our whole army will be in Pennsylvania… leaving the enemy far behind and obliged to follow us by forced marches. I hope with these advantages to accomplish some signal result and to end the war, if Providence favors us.”

Once it became apparent an invasion was underway, an alarmed Lincoln administration responded by calling for 100,000 militiamen from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia to respond to the emergency.

(Sidebar 1):
The mountains also sheltered local citizens who were afraid of the Confederates.
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Wagon trains of civilians fled west to North Mountain and beyond in “The Great Skedaddle,” herding cattle and horses, and traveling with personal property. African-Americans also ran for the hills, concerned they would be captured and turned south into slavery.

(Sidebar 2):
“All the country through which we passed today is beautiful and rich, splendid wheat, hay and corn crops. Nearly all the people are Union.” – Robin Berkeley, Confederate artilleryman.

(Sidebar 3):
Randolph Shotwell of Pickett’s Division later remembered the hardship of the long march: “By three o’clock we have traveled twenty miles, but now the sultry sun fairly scorches our blistered backs; our brains seem addled; and the weight of the heavy musket has worn first one shoulder then the other into a red heat blister under the saturated jacket and shirt; and our poor legs seem utterly unable to take another step!”
Erected by Maryland Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 39° 38.633′ N, 77° 48.222′ W. Marker
Shielding the Army Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert H. Moore, II, December 27, 2010
2. Shielding the Army Marker
is near Williamsport, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Greencastle Pike (Route 63), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsport MD 21795, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Wilson Bridge (approx. 2.4 miles away); General J. E. B. Stuart (approx. 2½ miles away); a different marker also named Wilson Bridge (approx. 2½ miles away); One of Lee’s Ammunition Trains (approx. 2.6 miles away); Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 2.7 miles away); Wilson’s Store (approx. 2.7 miles away); Springfield Farm (approx. 2.9 miles away); Williamsport (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsport.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2010, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,083 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 27, 2010, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 3, 2023