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

Packhorse Ford

 
 
Packhorse Ford Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
1. Packhorse Ford Marker
Inscription. A day after the Battle of Antietam, Confederate General Robert E. Lee retreated to the safety of the West Virginia (then Virginia) bluffs across the river from here. This was the only good crossing on the river for many miles upstream or downstream. Some of Lee's artillery units were already in place on the bluffs. Pursued by 700 soldiers from the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry, the Confederates reacted by opening fire. This was the Pennsylvania boys' first taste of battle; they soon discovered their new Enfield rifles were defective and useless. Pushed to the bluff's edge, some fell to their death, while others were killed or wounded trying to escape back across the river.

Only 431 Pennsylvania soldiers returned to the safety and cover of Maryland soil. Lee's troops then withdrew, ending the Maryland Campaign.
 
Erected by Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park, National Park Service, U.S. Dept of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal marker series.
 
Location. 39° 25.887′ N, 77° 46.889′ W. Marker is near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from Canal Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map.
Marker along the Towpath image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
2. Marker along the Towpath
Located on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, to the east of lock number 38, near mile stone 72. Marker is in this post office area: Sharpsburg MD 21782, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 118th Pennsylvania Infantry (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia but has been reported missing); Botelerís Ford Tablet B. F. 1 (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia); Botelerís Ford Tablet B. F. 3 (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia); Botelerís Ford Tablet B. F. 2 (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia but has been reported missing); Barnes' Brigade (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia but has been reported missing); Pack Horse Ford (approx. 0.3 miles away in West Virginia); Ferry Hill Place (approx. 0.9 miles away); In Honor of James Rumsey (approx. 0.9 miles away in West Virginia).
 
More about this marker. The lower half of the marker is a drawing of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry preparing to cross the Potomac River at Packhorse Ford. From Harper's Weekly, October 11, 1862.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Packhorse Ford image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, March 29, 2008
3. Packhorse Ford
The line of rapids here is the old dam built to support Botelor's Mill, which stood on the West Virginia side of the Potomac. The river is still shallow enough, particularly during the summer months, to cross down stream of the dam.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 9, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,559 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 9, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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