Williamsport: The Beginning and the End

205 W. Potomac Street, Williamsport, MD 21795

Williamsport: The Beginning and the End

History: On June 15, 1863, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee invaded the North once again, as 2,000 of Gen. Albert G. Jenkins's infantrymen crossed the Potomac River here. Almost 50,000 soldiers under Generals James Longstreet and A.P. Hill entered Maryland at Williamsport over eleven days. Hungry Confederates occupied the town, and many residents welcomed them in the streets with milk, bread and meat. Less than a month later, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia returned, reeling from defeat at Gettysburg, but they were trapped here by the rain-swollen river. Williamsport became a hospital for the wounded. By July 14, most of the soldiers had left Maryland behind.

More to Explore: While in Williamsport, see the McMahon's Mill Civil War Military & American Heritage Museum, which displays memorabilia from the Civil War, World War I and World War II, as well as collections of coins, antique record players and more. Don't miss the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Visitor Center at the Cushwa Basin in Williamsport. Situated where the Conococheague Creek meets the Potomac River, this is the only place on the canal where you can see a lock house, turning basin, railroad lift bridge, aqueduct, and a Bollman Iron Truss Bridge, all within a half-mile re-watered section of the canal.

Photo Credits:

  1. "Confederate infantry crossing at Williamsport en route to Pennsylvania, June 1863."
  2. "Photograph of Confederate General W.D. Pender, an officer who remained optimistic of the South's cause until the bitter end, when he died at the Battle of Gettysburg."
  3. "Pencil drawing of a U.S. Army Signal Corps officer observing Confederates crossing the Potomac River into Virginia, July 12, 1863, sketched by Alfred Waud" Photos courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.