SHARE:
Photograph of the train and bridge at Harper's Ferry
Library of Congress

Harpers Ferry

Jefferson County, WV  |  Sep 12 - 15, 1862

As his Army of Northern Virginia advanced into Maryland in early September 1862, General Robert E. Lee made plans to capture the vital Union garrison at Harpers Ferry in the rear of his invading force. Although Maj. Gen. George McClellan's Army of the Potomac was in pursuit, Lee divided his army, sending three columns under Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson to Harpers Ferry while the rest of the army marched towards Hagerstown, Maryland. Surrounded on three sides by steep heights, the terrain surrounding the town made it nearly impossible to defend, a problem made worse by the Union commander, Colonel Dixon S. Miles, who lacked experience leading troops. For three days, Jackson placed artillery on the heights above Harpers Ferry, and on the morning of September 15 ordered an artillery barrage that bombarded the town, followed by an infantry assault by Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill's division. As surrender was debated, Miles was struck by a shell that shattered his left leg, a wound that proved fatal. Jackson took possession of Harpers Ferry before joining the rest of Lee’s army at Sharpsburg, leaving Hill’s division to process the parole of 12,000 prisoners.

All battles of the Maryland Campaign

Civil War  |  Battle
Harpers Ferry
Jefferson County, WV  |  Sep 12 - 15, 1862
Result: Confederate Victory
Est. Casualties: 12,922
Union: 12,636
Confederate: 286
Civil War  |  Battle
South Mountain
Frederick County and Washington County, MD  |  Sep 14, 1862
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 5,010
Union: 2,325
Confederate: 2,685
Civil War  |  Battle
Antietam
Washington County, MD  |  Sep 16 - 18, 1862
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 22,717
Union: 12,401
Confederate: 10,316
Civil War  |  Battle
La batalla de Antietam
Washington County, MD  |  Sep 16 - 18, 1862
Result: Union Victory
Est. Casualties: 22,717
Union: 12,401
Confederate: 10,316
Civil War  |  Battle
Shepherdstown
Town of Shepherdstown, WV  |  Sep 19 - 20, 1862
Result: Confederate Victory
Est. Casualties: 622
Union: 361
Confederate: 261

Related Battles

Harpers Ferry, WV | September 12, 1862
Result: Confederate Victory
Forces Engaged
44,000
Union
14,000
Confed.
30,000
Estimated Casualties
12,922
Union
12,636
Confed.
286