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Cavalry Action Historic District proposed

Richard Fulton

(2/15) The Hamiltonban Township Board of Supervisors is hoping to establish a historic district dedicated to the commemoration of the Battle of Fairfield, fought on July 3, 1863, as the Battle of Gettysburg raged on a few miles to the east.

The battle took place after Confederate General Robert E. Lee ordered several Virginia cavalry units to secure passage of the Hagerstown Road, leading to their arrival in Fairfield on a collision course with the 6th U.S. Cavalry.

The U.S. Cavalry was in the process of reconnoitering to verify reports that Confederate wagon trains had been reported in-motion in the area.

The battle produced a decisive Confederate victory just outside the village, with Union forces suffering 232 casualties (more than 50 percent of their forces. Confederate casualties consisted of eight killed, 21 wounded, and five missing.

The engagement, while centered within Fairfield Borough, spilled into the surrounding areas as well.

The Fairfield Cavalry Action Historic District was incorporated in an ordinance adopted by the supervisors at their February 5 meeting passed in conjunction with establishing an official township map.

"Conserving the landscape within this deemed eligible area is critical to the interpretation of the cavalry activity in this setting, specifically .as it relates to the overall military activities associated with the Battle of Gettysburg," the supervisors stated.

Some lands within the township are already primed for inclusion in a historic preservation effort.

"All or portions of three properties along Carroll's Tract Road just south of Orrtanna Village have been deemed eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a Historic District," the supervisors reported in a narrative along with the map ordinance. "These properties collectively formed the focal point of cavalry action between Union and Confederate forces in 1863..."

Officials from neighboring Fairfield Borough have not been approached with the concept since its adoption at the township’s meeting.

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