Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

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

The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

 

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

 
The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
1. The First Line of Defense: The Union Skirmish Line Marker
Inscription.  After sunset on September 14, 1862, the Confederate cannons across the road on School House Ridge vanished in the darkness. The features of the landscape began to blur as the shell-shocked Union soldiers on Bolivar Heights wondered if they could survive another day of artillery bombardment. The Union troops could not rest until tomorrow, however, because General "Stonewall" Jackson's Confederate Army might charge over School House Ridge at any moment. To guard against such an attack, the Union command established a human alarm system on this field in the form of a skirmish line. It was the first line of defense. If the Confederates advanced, the gunfire from the Union soldiers on the skirmish line would reveal the location of the attack. "Stonewall" Jackson was counting on it.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 39° 19.371′ N, 77° 45.992′ W. Marker is near Bolivar, West Virginia, in Jefferson County
School House Ridge from the Marker Location image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
2. School House Ridge from the Marker Location
. 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. A Position Strong by Nature (a few steps from this marker); A Dangerous Position (about 300 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); Battle of Harpers Ferry / Jackson Arrives (approx. 0.2 miles away); From Skirmish Line to Burial Ground (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fortifying Bolivar Heights (approx. ¼ mile away); The Confederate Perspective (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bolivar.
 
More about this marker. The background of the marker is a photograph of cannons in the sunset.
 
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.) 
 
Union Skirmish Line Trail image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
3. Union Skirmish Line Trail
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,547 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 14, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
Paid Advertisement
Feb. 28, 2021