Great Falls in Fairfax County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Crossing the Potomac at Rowser's Ford
J.E.B. Stuart's Most Difficult Achievement
Approaching Roswer's, a local citizen informed Hampton that the half-mile wide Potomac was two feet higher than normal, but still fordable. Early evening, Hampton's brigade slowly crossed the rock-strewn ford and reported to Stuart that fording artillery and ammunition would be utterly impossible.
About sunset, Fitz Lee's brigade arrived at Dranesvile and followed Chambliss's to Rowser's. Nearing the ford, the column slowed markedly. The ford was so treacherous that Stuart felt compelled to look for another crossing. After a dangerous search in the moonlight, Capt. Richard Kennon found another ford downstream but reported it impracticable from quicksand, rocks, and rugged banks. Thus, Stuart determined that his entire command would cross at Rowser's.
Around midnight, the moon began its
By pure determination, the entire command was safely on Maryland soil around 3 a.m. on the 28th. Miraculously, not a man was lost and the ammunition was dry. Maj. H.B. McClellan, aptly described the crossing, "No more difficult achievement was accomplished by the cavalry during the war."
Erected 2012 by Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the NOVA Parks series list. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1753.
Location. 39° 3.1′ N, 77° 20.04′ W. Marker is in Great Falls, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Great Falls VA 22066, 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. Rowser's Ford (here, next to this marker); Seneca Tract (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Potomac ConnectionsThe Kelley Home (about 400 feet away); Washington's Canal (approx. half a mile away); Watering the Canal (approx. 1.1 miles away in Maryland); Seneca (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland); The Seneca Aqueduct (approx. 1.2 miles away in Maryland). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Great Falls.
Credits. This page was last revised on July 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 22, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 675 times since then and 36 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on September 22, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.