(WHTM) Our Gettysburg Campaign Timeline continues, with the third full week of the Army of Northern Virginia and Army of the Potomac making moves and countermoves, and the responses of the Federal, State, and local governments to the developing emergency.
To view Part One, click here.
To view Part Two, click here.
The Army of Northern Virginia is now spread out over 100 miles in the Shenandoah and Cumberland Valleys.
Union and Confederate Cavalry fight at Aldie and Middleburg, Virginia.
Hearing rumors of a strong Union force approaching, Jenkins’ horsemen leave Chambersburg and return to Maryland.
Gordon moves to Shepherdstown along the Potomac River and prepares to cross over to Maryland.
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Elijah V. White’s 35th Virginia Cavalry Battalion crosses the Potomac and attacks the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad depot at Point of Rocks, Maryland. They destroy telegraph and rail lines, burn supply wagons, and capture a trainload of supplies meant for the Union garrison at Harper’s Ferry.
The 20th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia is organized in Harrisburg under the command of Colonel William Thomas. The Patapsco Guards, a volunteer company from Maryland, moves from York to Shippensburg. Couch assigns Major Granville Haller to organize the defenses of Adams and York counties.
Railroad workers begin constructing earthworks at Wrightsville to protect the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. The Lancaster County college companies receive their weapons and march to Columbia.
The college students turned soldiers switched weapons from muskets to shovels, and dig rifle pits to the west of Wrightsville.
Haller arrives in Wrightsville to inspect the defenses. In the afternoon, he boards a train and heads west to check on the situation in Gettysburg.
The fighting at Middleburg comes to an end, with the Union Cavalry forced to retreat without any new knowledge of Lee’s movements.
Gordon’s troops remain at Shepherdstown.
The First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by James Longstreet, enters the Shenandoah Valley and begins its march north.
Jenkin’s cavalry returns from Maryland and occupies Waynesboro.
Hooker’s Army of the Potomac halts for six days, which allows Lee to increase the gap between his army and the Union forces.
A group of Gettysburg civilians travels to Harrisburg, where they enlist and are formed into Company A of the 27th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia.
The First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry arrives in Harrisburg and is ordered to Gettysburg.
Brigadier General John Imboden’s “Northwestern Brigade” moves to the northwest. Part of his job is to find out where General Milroy is trying to pull his command back together. Along the way, he trashes the railroad infrastructure of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, then moves through Fulton and Bedford Counties in Pennsylvania. In the absence of reliable intelligence about Lee’s whereabouts, this raises the possibility that his actual target might be Altoona, home of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and/or the industrial center of Pittsburgh. Union forces have to stretch themselves that much thinner to cover the possibilities.
Railroad workers of the Northern Central Railroad, which links Baltimore, York, and Harrisburg, begin to move rolling stock across the Susquehanna to Harrisburg and Columbia.
Fort Case, erected to prevent Confederates from crossing the Susquehanna on a dam south of the bridge, is completed in Columbia, while work continues in Wrightsville, with engineers staking out more earthworks.
Couch reports that he has 499 men in Harrisburg, 419 in York, and 403 in Philadelphia. Ewell is approaching with 22,000 soldiers.
Haller swears Robert Bell’s Adams County Cavalry into state service. Bell, a Gettysburg farmer with military experience, had pulled together a group of 45 local men into a functional cavalry force. Not all have been soldiers, but all are experienced horsemen.
A cavalry battle erupts in Upperville, Virginia, as Federal cavalry attempt to penetrate the Confederate screen and find out how and where the Army of Northern Virginia is moving. The Union effort fails, and Lee continues northward, while the exact locations of his army remain unknown to the Federals.
Gordon’s stay in Shepherdstown drags out, as flooding of the Potomac prevents his brigade from crossing.
The First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry arrives in Gettysburg, to the relief of the citizens. They are the first troop of Union soldiers to appear at what is about to become a very famous place. They will spend the next few days patrolling roads in the area, observing and reporting on enemy activity.
An American flag is raised over Columbia’s newly constructed Fort Case, and the workers are treated to an ox roast.
The water levels finally drop, and Gordon’s brigade crosses the Potomac at Shepherdstown. They enter Maryland and pass by portions of the Sharpsburg (Antietam) battlefield. Some of the soldiers who survived the battle weep at the sight. (Antietam will end up being the single bloodiest day in the entire Civil War.)
William French’s 17th Virginia Cavalry joins Early near Hagerstown, Maryland.
Rodes enters Greencastle at about 12:30 p.m., the first Confederate infantry to march into Pennsylvania.
Jenkins skirmishes with Union cavalry near Greencastle. Corporal William H. Rihl of Philadelphia becomes both the first Union soldier, and the first Pennsylvania soldier, to be killed in Pennsylvania.
Jenkins retakes Chambersburg while Union troops withdraw to Harrisburg.
The 26th and 27th Militia regiments are organized in Harrisburg under Colonels William Jennings and Jacob Frick.
Haller sends civilians west of Gettysburg, ordering them to fell trees to block mountain passes. But Confederates, already at the gaps, fire on them and force them to fall back.
Stuart starts his ride around Hooker’s army. From the very beginning, it does not go well. He has to keep avoiding and going around Union troops, which pushes him farther east than he was planning to go.
Following slightly different routes, Gordon’s brigade and Early’s division enter Pennsylvania, arriving at Waynesboro. Early places the town under martial law, and the requisitions start.
Jenkins advances to Shippensburg, forcing the retreat of Captain William Boyd’s 1st New York Calvary. Jenkins spends two days there gathering “badly needed drugs and food.”
White’s cavalry crosses the Potomac at Shepherdstown.
The 26th & 27th Militia drill near Harrisburg.
To be continued…