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Smithsburg in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Respite at Smithsburg

“An Oasis in the Desert”

 
 
Respite at Smithsburg Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
1. Respite at Smithsburg Marker
Inscription. Gettysburg Campaign
Following a night of harassing the Confederate wagon train retreating from Gettysburg, Gen. H. Judson Kilpatrick’s Union cavalry division arrived here about 9 a.m. on July 5, 1963, escorting 1,360 prisoners. Wet, tired, hungry, and covered with mud, the Federal horsemen received a jubilant Sunday reception from the citizens. Tables suddenly appeared in the streets, covered with plates of fresh bread, jellies, spreads, meats, and pies. Soldiers butchered and barbecued a cow. Gen. George A. Custer enjoyed a bountiful dinner of chicken and all the trimmings. A local band played patriotic songs such as Hail Columbia and Yankee Doodle. “It was like an oasis in the desert,” reported one Federal soldier, “a green spot in the soldier’s life.”

Aware that Confederate cavalry lurked nearby, Kilpatrick placed guns and troopers on the three hills that commanded approaches to the town, with orders to watch the Raven Rock Road descending from South Mountain. When the van of Confederate J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry column appeared that afternoon, Stuart had to “dismount a large portion of the command, and fight from crag to crag of the mountains to dislodge the enemy.”

After driving off the skirmishers, Stuart set up artillery a mile from the town. A twenty-minute exchange
Close Up View of the Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
2. Close Up View of the Map
of cannon fire then ensued, and Confederate shells struck several houses in Smithsburg. The action ended at nightfall, with each side suffering few casualties. Kilpatrick withdrew south toward Boonsboro, while Stuart’s men fanned out to protect Confederate retreat routes leading to Williamsport and the Potomac River.
 
Location. 39° 39.182′ N, 77° 34.691′ W. Marker is in Smithsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from West Water Street (Maryland Route 66), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is on the left side of the Veterans Park entrance. Marker is in this post office area: Smithsburg MD 21783, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gettysburg Campaign (here, next to this marker); Officer Christopher Shane Nicholson (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 0.4 miles away); Retreat into Maryland (approx. 3.6 miles away); a different marker also named Gettysburg Campaign (approx. 3.6 miles away); Erected in Honor of the Boys (approx. 3.6 miles away); Leitersburg Bridge No. 2 (approx. 3.9 miles away); Old Forge Farm (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Smithsburg.
 
More about this marker.
Civil War Trails Markers in Veterans Park, Smithsburg image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 28, 2007
3. Civil War Trails Markers in Veterans Park, Smithsburg
The marker displays portraits of Gens. Kilpatrick and Stuart flanking a map of the action described.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,255 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 6, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
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