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

Battle of Maryland Heights

Maryland's First Civil War Battle

 

—Antietam Campaign 1862 —

 
Battle of Maryland Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
1. Battle of Maryland Heights Marker
Inscription. (Preface): After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's smashing victory over Union Gen. John Pope at the Second Battle of Manassas, Lee decided to invade the North to reap the fall harvest, gain Confederate recruits, earn foreign recognition, and perhaps compel the Union to sue for peace. The Army of Northern Virginia crossed the Potomac River on September 4, 1862. Lee divided his force, detaching Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's command to capture Harpers Ferry. At Antietam Creek on September 17, Gen. George B. McClellan's Army of the Potomac fought Lee's men to a bloody draw. Lee retreated to Virginia September 18-19.

On September 12-13, 1862, Maryland's first battle of the Civil War ranged on the mountain in front of you. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee had ordered Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson to capture or destroy the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry that threatened the Confederate line of supply and communication during Lee's first invasion of the North. Jackson's subordinate, Gen. Lafayette McLaws, received the difficult task of seizing this mountain.

Four miles to your left is the Potomac River and a gap in the mountains of the Blue Ridge, where Harpers Ferry is located. There, 14,000 Union soldiers threatened the Confederate flank, and the problem had to be eliminated for Lee's advance to continue. McLaws
Maps of the March to Harpers Ferry and Battle of Maryland Heights image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
2. Maps of the March to Harpers Ferry and Battle of Maryland Heights
and 8,000 Confederates marched into Pleasant Valley past this spot to help surround and attack Harpers Ferry from the north. When McLaws encountered the Union soldiers defending Maryland Heights on Friday, September 12, skirmishing commenced. McLaws directed Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw's South Carolina Brigade and Gen. William Barksdale's Mississippi Brigade to ascend Elk Ridge at Solomon's Gap (the gap in front of you). The Confederates then turned left, encountering stiff resistance until nightfall. At dawn on Saturday, September 13, the Confederates attacked with fury. They faced "a most obstinate resistance" and "a fierce fire" from Federals behind log breastworks. After nine hours and more than 300 Union and Confederate casualties, the Federals withdrew into Harpers Ferry. Two days later, they capitulated to Jackson in the largest surrender of U.S. troops during the war.

(Sidebar): The pacifist Anabaptist German religious sect nicknamed Dunkers for their form of baptism arrived in Pleasant Valley in the late 1700s. Generations were baptized here in Israel Creek, where they were submerged three times in honor of the Trinity. The battles of Maryland Heights and South Mountain interrupted their peaceful way of life, but their church and farms were not wrecked like those of the Antietam Dunkers. The Dunkers still thrive in Pleasant Valley, worshipping here at the Brownsville
General McLaws image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
3. General McLaws
Church of the Brethren (shown left as constructed in 1852).
 
Erected 2012 by Maryland Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Maryland Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 22.14′ N, 77° 40.201′ W. Marker is in Brownsville, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is on Rohrersville Road (State Highway 67), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Located at the exit from the Brownsville Church of the Brethren. Marker is in this post office area: Brownsville MD 21715, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Brownsville-Burkittsville Pass (approx. one mile away); Forest of Needwood (approx. 1.8 miles away); “Crampton Gap” (approx. 2.3 miles away); Confederate Retreat (approx. 2.3 miles away); John Brown (approx. 2.4 miles away); Kennedy Farm (approx. 2.5 miles away); Frederick County / Washington County (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brownsville.
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
Church of the Brethren image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
4. Church of the Brethren
Courtesy Brownsville Church of the Brethren.
Wing Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
5. Wing Map on Marker
Battle of Maryland Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
6. Battle of Maryland Heights Marker
Maryland Heights image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
7. Maryland Heights
Looking southwest from the marker location to the gap in the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry.
Solomon's Gap and Pleasant Valley image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 16, 2012
8. Solomon's Gap and Pleasant Valley
Looking from the marker location across Pleasant Valley at Solomon's Gap.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 19, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 996 times since then and 154 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on September 19, 2012, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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