Falling Waters Battlefield


May 3, 2019
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.

Sounds like what happened to the 34th North Carolina. They suffered too at Gettysburg as a part of Lowrance's Brigade. My G-G-G grandfather fought at Falling Waters too.

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