Falling Waters Battlefield

White Flint Bill

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While visiting the Sharpsburg area last week, I tried to find the Falling Water Battlefield. This sign is all I found:

064.jpg


There were no interpretive markers and no way to tour the battlefield (at least that I could see). Several of the homes on this road had signs out front saying things like, "This is not a tourism site," "No photographs" an "No Trespassing." I gathered that there must be some tension about promoting the battlefield.

Anyone have any information about this site and what is happening there?
 

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James N.

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While visiting the Sharpsburg area last week, I tried to find the Falling Water Battlefield...
There were no interpretive markers and no way to tour the battlefield (at least that I could see). Several of the homes on this road had signs out front saying things like, "This is not a tourism site," "No photographs" an "No Trespassing." I gathered that there must be some tension about promoting the battlefield.

Anyone have any information about this site and what is happening there?
Calling @Eric Wittenberg !
 

Coonewah Creek

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It deserves more recognition in my opinion. The remnants of the 2nd Mississippi were caught up in the rear-guard action there. My understanding from the accounts I have seen is that the fighting between the Federal cavalry and Confederate rear-guard was particularly brutal, hand-to-hand in many cases. The 2nd Mississippi suffered 20 or so killed, wounded and captured (most captured). That number was a large percentage of what was left of the already decimated regiment following the casualties at the Railroad Cut and Pickett's Charge. If I am not mistaken, the 2nd anchored the right of the Confederate perimeter. The 2nd Mississippi was *lucky* in having been involved in some of the first and last fighting of the Gettysburg Campaign.
 

White Flint Bill

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It deserves more recognition in my opinion. The remnants of the 2nd Mississippi were caught up in the rear-guard action there. My understanding from the accounts I have seen is that the fighting between the Federal cavalry and Confederate rear-guard was particularly brutal, hand-to-hand in many cases. The 2nd Mississippi suffered 20 or so killed, wounded and captured (most captured). That number was a large percentage of what was left of the already decimated regiment following the casualties at the Railroad Cut and Pickett's Charge. If I am not mistaken, the 2nd anchored the right of the Confederate perimeter. The 2nd Mississippi was *lucky* in having been involved in some of the first and last fighting of the Gettysburg Campaign.
Scales/Lowrance's Brigade was nearly wiped out in the Battle at Falling Waters.

The brigade arrived at 10 a.m. on the 14th, having marched all night. There they rested a few hours while the wagon trains and artillery crossed the river. Just as the brigade proceeded to commence crossing, Federal cavalry attacked and they were ordered to support the rearguard. The men were exhausted and starving, but they marched back to face the enemy. On the orders of General Heth, Lowrance formed his battered brigade on the extreme left of the line of the rearguard. Apparently Heth ordered his line to fall back, but the orders never made it to Lowrance’s Brigade. He discovered to his shock that the Confederates to his right were in full retreat, with the Federals already in his rear and between his men and the river. Lowrance ordered a retreat toward the river, which the men struck some ¾ of a mile above the bridge. As they marched toward the bridge that could carry them to Virginia, and safety, they found that the Federals were waiting in the woods through which they had to pass. They were forced to fight their way through. Many of the men were too exhausted to proceed, or unwilling to try, and about 200 were captured. Probably the entire Brigade would have been captured if not for the defensive stand of Pettigrew’s Brigade, which drove back the Federals in a stand that cost General Pettigrew his life.

The 13th North Carolina was decimated in the Pennsylvania campaign. After their horrific losses on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, there were probably no more 45 men available in the entire regiment for duty on the day of the disastrous charge on day three. Twenty-three of the remaining men were killed, wounded or captured in that charge, and half of those who survived (only 22 men, under the command of a Captain) were captured at Falling Waters. A mere 11 men remained in the regiment when it reached the other side of the Potomac.
 

Coonewah Creek

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The 13th North Carolina was decimated in the Pennsylvania campaign. After their horrific losses on the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, there were probably no more 45 men available in the entire regiment for duty on the day of the disastrous charge on day three. Twenty-three of the remaining men were killed, wounded or captured in that charge, and half of those who survived (only 22 men, under the command of a Captain) were captured at Falling Waters. A mere 11 men remained in the regiment when it reached the other side of the Potomac.
Sounds similar to the fate of the 2nd Mississippi and the other regiments in Davis's brigade.
 

trice

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While visiting the Sharpsburg area last week, I tried to find the Falling Water Battlefield. This sign is all I found:

View attachment 307171

There were no interpretive markers and no way to tour the battlefield (at least that I could see). Several of the homes on this road had signs out front saying things like, "This is not a tourism site," "No photographs" an "No Trespassing." I gathered that there must be some tension about promoting the battlefield.

Anyone have any information about this site and what is happening there?
I don't have any current knowledge, but if you are down there again you might look for some of the sites mentioned here.

I did find the site of the Wagoners Fight in Williamsport, MD when I was passing through there once. Glad there was a marker, but the marker is in the parking lot of Red Men Lodge #84.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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There are four acres that have been purchased by the organization to date. They are sandwiched between hostile neighbors and my good friend George Franks' house. I suspect that George's house--the Daniel Donnelly house, where Pettigrew was mortally wounded, will eventually be sold to the American Battlefield Trust. I believe George has had preliminary discussions with the Trust about it. George is the head of the Foundation and is extremely involved in trying to preserve the battlefield.

The neighbors on the other side of George's house and on the other side of the Falling Waters Road are extremely hostile. They're the ones who have posted the unpleasant signs referenced above. They are afraid of the gubment taking their land. That's why they are so outwardly hostile.

There's a great deal of tension between those interested in preserving the battlefield and those who are selfish ____________ (feel free to fill-in the blank with the insult of your choice; they're all appropriate).
 

Lubliner

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There are four acres that have been purchased by the organization to date. They are sandwiched between hostile neighbors and my good friend George Franks' house. I suspect that George's house--the Daniel Donnelly house, where Pettigrew was mortally wounded, will eventually be sold to the American Battlefield Trust. I believe George has had preliminary discussions with the Trust about it. George is the head of the Foundation and is extremely involved in trying to preserve the battlefield.

The neighbors on the other side of George's house and on the other side of the Falling Waters Road are extremely hostile. They're the ones who have posted the unpleasant signs referenced above. They are afraid of the gubment taking their land. That's why they are so outwardly hostile.

There's a great deal of tension between those interested in preserving the battlefield and those who are selfish ____________ (feel free to fill-in the blank with the insult of your choice; they're all appropriate).
Mainly from curiosity, is their expression of fear and hostility over land passed down to them through generations, or are they recent transplants that have a fear of losing everything, like McClain did at Bull Run and Appomattox?
Thanks, Lubliner.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Mainly from curiosity, is their expression of fear and hostility over land passed down to them through generations, or are they recent transplants that have a fear of losing everything, like McClain did at Bull Run and Appomattox?
Thanks, Lubliner.
I wish I could answer your question, but I don't know.
 

James N.

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While visiting the Sharpsburg area last week, I tried to find the Falling Water Battlefield. This sign is all I found:

View attachment 307171

There were no interpretive markers and no way to tour the battlefield (at least that I could see). Several of the homes on this road had signs out front saying things like, "This is not a tourism site," "No photographs" an "No Trespassing." I gathered that there must be some tension about promoting the battlefield.

Anyone have any information about this site and what is happening there?
That's more than I've see of it, and I am in Falling Waters every week for cub scouts!
I summoned Eric to this thread because the battlefield was featured on our bus tour of Lee's Retreat from Gettysburg which was the highlight of our 2017 CWT September to Remember Gathering, and I knew he could explain the situation better than I! While there, I bought from the Donnelly House's owner George Franks a booklet about the battle he had written; I recommend it to you (and @ami!) as a brief resource on the affair.
 
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J. D. Stevens

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In early June, the Hood's Texas Brigade Association Re-activated (HTBAR) will be touring Gettysburg, Sharpsburg, and Harper's Ferry. An extra day will be taken for my son and I to follow the retreat from Gettysburg driving tour found in the back of "One Continuous Fight" by Wittenberg, Petruzzi, and Nugent. The driving tour gives directions to locate and follow the old road down to the Falling Water crossing.

Per the book, it would probably require two days to follow the entire tour. Since we only have one day, my focus on following Custer's Brigade of Kilpatrick's Division beginning at the Michigan Monument in the East Cavalry Field. My great grandfather was in the 5th Michigan Cavalry, his brother in the 7th Michigan Cavalry, and a brother-in-law was in the 6th Michigan Calvary. It will be a family reunion following Custer's route.
 

Eric Wittenberg

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Per the book, it would probably require two days to follow the entire tour. Since we only have one day, my focus on following Custer's Brigade of Kilpatrick's Division beginning at the Michigan Monument in the East Cavalry Field. My great grandfather was in the 5th Michigan Cavalry, his brother in the 7th Michigan Cavalry, and a brother-in-law was in the 6th Michigan Calvary. It will be a family reunion following Custer's route.
Actually, you could do the entire retreat route in one day. If you want to follow the Wagon Train of Wounded tour, then yes, it's two days. But you can follow the route of the fighting in one good day, provided you get an early start.
 


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