Wednesday, July 23, 2014

End Of The Campaign

A part of Confederate General Robert E Lee’s retreat back into Virginia following the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Manassas Gap, or the Battle of Wapping Heights was fought July 23rd 1863 in Warren County, Virginia.

After the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia retreated to and crossed the Potomac River at Williamsport, Maryland. With the Union Army of the Potomac in pursuit, Union Major General George G Meade made a flanking move into the Loudoun Valley and the Confederates rear.  Meade ordered the Union III Corps commanded by Major General William H French to cut off the Confederate columns retreat at Front Royal, Virginia by forcing a passage through the Manassas Gap.

At dawn on July 23rd 1863 French ordered an attack against the troops of Confederate Brigadier General Ambrose R Wright’s Georgians, who were defending the Gap. With Union Brigadier General Francis B Spinola using his larger numbers the commander of the Excelsior Brigade pushed Wright’s men back through the Gap by the late afternoon. Wright was reinforced by Confederate Major General Robert E Rodes’ division.

As darkness fell the Union attack stalled out. During the night the Confederate troops withdrew into the Luray Valley.  The Union army occupied Front Royal, Virginia the next morning, but the Confederate army had moved beyond pursuit. This was the last action in the Gettysburg Campaign.