Battle of Harpers Ferry
The Battle of Harpers Ferry was fought September
12-15, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the US Civil War.
As Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate army invaded Maryland, a
portion of his army under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
surrounded, bombarded, and captured the Union garrison at Harpers
Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), a major victory at relatively
What do you know about The Battle of
Harpers Ferry? Try this Civil War History Made Easy Quiz. "Check
Your Answers" at the end of the page.
1) Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
commands the Confederate forces. Who commands the Union forces at
- Maj. Gen. Zachary C. Taylor
- Brig. Gen. Quentin Reynolds
- Col. Justin Case
- Col. Dixon S. Miles
2) The town is virtually indefensible, dominated
on all sides by higher ground. What is NOT a high point around
- Bolivar Heights, a plateau 668 feet high
- Loudoun Heights overlooks from 1,180 feet
- Maryland Heights at 1,476-foot-high
- Lowndes Hill reaches 2,528 feet
3) The Union commander insists on keeping most
of the troops near the town instead of taking up commanding
positions on the surrounding heights. He apparently is
interpreting literally his orders to hold the town. The defenses
of the most important position is designed to fight off raiders,
but not to hold the heights themselves.
4) The Union commander assigns Col. Thomas H.
Ford of the 32nd Ohio Infantry to command parts of four regiments,
1,600 men. Some of these men, including those of the 126th New
York, have been in the Army only 21 days and lack basic combat
skills. They erect primitive breastworks and send skirmishers a
quarter-mile in the direction of the Confederates. On September 12
they encounter the approaching men from a South Carolina brigade,
who have been moving slowly through the very difficult terrain on
the ridges around Harpers Ferry. Who commands the Confederate
South Carolina brigade.
- Brig. Gen. Joseph Ironsides
- Brig. Gen. Ira Lykens
- Brig. Gen. John Q. Jones
- Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw
5) Col. Ford, feels ill on the morning of
September 13 and stays back two miles behind the lines, leaving
the fighting to , the second-ranking officer. Sherrill is wounded
by a bullet through the cheek and tongue while rallying his men
and has to be carried from the field, making the green troops grow
panicky. As Barksdale's Mississippians approach on the flank, the
New Yorkers break and flee rearward. Who is Ford�s second in
- Col. Chris Bodie
- Col. George M. Baker
- Col. Ezra Hartmanner
- Col. Eliakim Sherrill
6) The Union commander exclaims, "I am ordered
to hold this place and God damn my soul to hell if I don't."
7) On September 14, who does Jackson order to
move down the west bank of the Shenandoah in preparation for a
flank attack on the Federal left the next morning?
- JEB Stuart
- A.P. Hill
- Grumble P. Jones
- Ralph Knotts
8) Col. Benjamin F. "Grimes" Davis proposes to
to the Union commander that his troopers of the 12th Illinois
Cavalry, the Loudoun Rangers, and some smaller units from Maryland
and Rhode Island, attempt to break out. Cavalry forces are
essentially useless in the defense of the town. Davis and Col.
Amos Voss led their 1,400 cavalrymen out of Harpers Ferry on a
pontoon bridge across the Potomac, turning left onto a narrow road
that wind to the west around the base of Maryland Heights in the
north toward Sharpsburg. They are able to trick the wagoneers into
following them in another direction and they repulse the
Confederate cavalry escort in the rear of the column. Capturing
more than 40 enemy ordnance wagons, Davis has lost not a single
man in combat, the first great cavalry exploit of the war for the
Army of the Potomac.
9) Jackson had wins a great victory at minor
expense. The Confederate Army sustain 286 casualties (39 killed,
247 wounded), while the Union Army sustain 217 (44 killed, 173
wounded) casualties. The Union garrison also surrender 12,419 men,
13,000 small arms, 200 wagons, and 73 artillery pieces. It is the
smallest surrender of Federal forces during the Civil War.
10) Who does Jackson send off a courier to with
the news, "Through God's blessing, Harper's Ferry and its garrison
are to be surrendered" ?
- Jermyn Johnson
- Robert E. Lee
- James Longstreet
- Jefferson Davis