By Preservation Maryland
Preservation, Planning, and Consensus-building at Falling Waters
In July 1863, a tired and defeated Army of Northern Virginia arrived at the banks of the Potomac River at Williamsport, Maryland. Its invasion of the North, its second in two years, had met a bloody end at the Battle of Gettysburg in nearby Pennsylvania. Now it limped back towards Virginia, pursued by the battered but victorious Army of the Potomac. As the Confederates attempted to make their escape across the river, the two sides clashed at the Battle of Falling Waters. During the fighting, General J. Johnston Pettigrew, who only a few days earlier had survived Pickett’s Charge, was mortally wounded. The rearguard action by the Confederates allowed General Lee’s Army to escape across the river. The Army of the Potomac and the Army of Northern Virginia would continue to fight until the surrender at Appomattox in April 1865. With the battle over, residents moved on, and the battlefield was mostly forgotten.