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Falling Waters

Williamsport

Washington County, MD  |  Jul 13 - 16, 1863

Retreating from Gettysburg after his defeat there, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Confederate infantry reached the Potomac River ford at Williamsport, Maryland on July 8 and 9, 1863. Lee’s men could not cross, due to the rain-swollen river and loss of a pontoon bridge at nearby Falling Waters to a Union cavalry raid. On July 11, Lee entrenched in a line protecting both river crossings and waited for Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s pursuing army to attack. On July 12, Meade reached the vicinity and probed the Confederate position. Skirmishing was heavy along the lines as Meade readied his forces for an attack. That evening, Meade held a council of war in which his corps commanders advised against moving against Lee’s formidable defenses. In the meantime, the river had fallen enough to allow the construction of a new pontoon bridge at Falling Waters, and Lee’s army began crossing the river after dark on July 13. The next morning, two Union cavalry divisions attacked the rearguard division of Brig. Gen. Henry Heth still on the east bank, taking more than 500 prisoners. Confederate Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew was mortally wounded in the fight. Lee's army was safely back in Virginia. Meade had let his best chance to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia slip away. In Washington, a frustrated Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, "We had them within our grasp." The war in Virginia would go on nearly two more years.

All battles of the Gettysburg Campaign

Brandy Station
Culpeper County, VA  |  Jun 9, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 1,299
Union: 866
Confederate: 433
Second Winchester
Frederick County, VA  |  Jun 13 - 15, 1863
Result: Confederate Victory
Est. Casualties: 4,709
Union: 4,443
Confederate: 266
Aldie
Loudoun County, VA  |  Jun 17, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 415
Union: 305
Confederate: 110
Middleburg
Loudoun County, VA  |  Jun 17 - 19, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 390
Union: 350
Confederate: 40
Upperville
Loudoun County, VA  |  Jun 21, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 389
Union: 209
Confederate: 180
Gettysburg
Adams County, PA  |  Jul 1 - 3, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 51,112
Union: 23,049
Confederate: 28,063
La batalla de Gettysburg
Adams County, PA  |  Jul 1 - 3, 1863
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 51,112
Union: 23,049
Confederate: 28,063
Falling Waters
Washington County, MD  |  Jul 13 - 16, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Est. Casualties: 1,760

Related Battles

Williamsport, MD | July 13, 1863
Result: Inconclusive
Commanders