Confederate Invasion: Five Years Later

View of Maryland Heights
2406 Chestnut Grove Road, Sharpsburg, MD 21782

Confederate Invasion: Five Years Later

History: After abandoning his attempt to capture Harpers Ferry, Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early and his army crossed the Potomac River a few miles north of here at Blackford’s (Boteler’s) Ford near Shepherdstown, WV and spread out through the Maryland countryside. On July 6–8, 1864, the Confederates passed by this spot. Gen. John C. Breckinridge’s troops were the first to arrive here. A Southern army led by slaveholders marched by here en route to attack Washington.

Early’s invasion of Maryland was General Robert E. Lee’s desperate effort to divert Federal attention from the Confederate capital at Richmond to the U.S. capital 65 miles southeast of here. Five years prior, John Brown had come here to launch his invasion of the South and start a war against slavery. Brown had predicted civil war after his scheme failed at Harpers Ferry. In 1864, this same site used by Brown stood witness to his prophecy.

More to Explore: The Kennedy Farm, where this marker is located, is part of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Hike the trail on national park land to Maryland Heights for a stunning view of the valley to get the perspective the Federal troops had looking below at Early’s men.

The Harpers Ferry area is a mecca for outdoor adventure and heritage travelers. Raft or canoe the Potomac River with a guide, or explore Crystal Grottoes Caverns near Boonsboro. Then discover the historical treasures of these downtowns, which offer antiques and specialty shops and a variety of restaurants for a special treat.

Photo Credits:

  1. “Confederate General John C. Breckenridge.” Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.
  2. “Long range guns at nearby Maryland Heights shelled Early’s men near here.” Image courtesy of Dennis E. Frye, Harpers Ferry Under Fire (2012)
  3. “The U.S. Marines under Robert E. Lee capture John Brown in Harpers Ferry on October 16, 1859.” Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.