Shortly after dark on July 4th, the Confederate Infantry began
to move from Gettysburg to Fairfield. For many weary soldiers it
was a case of hurry up and wait. The order of retreat went as
follows: General Hill's men traveled through Fairfield to Monterey
Gap followed by General Ewell's Corps in Fairfield. General
Longstreet's Corps marched on the eastern side of Jacks Mountain
and took the lead as it marched down the mountain to Waynesboro.
But the retreat was not so simple. Weather conditions, roadways,
and the battle of Monterey had almost stalled the Confederate Army
as it tried to clear Fairfield. During the mid morning on July
5th, General Ewell's, General Longstreet's and General Hill's
Corps of Infantry still had not moved. The Union Cavalry kept up
it’s operations to destroy the valued supplies in the wagons. With
all these problems, General Lee some how managed to avoid another
major battle in Southern Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The troops of General A. P. Hill's Corps resumed their former
positions of July 3rd, and remained there until the night of the
4th. When the order to march was given the men of A. P. Hill's
Corps would travel toward Hagerstown, by way of Fairfield and
Waynesboro. During the afternoon, General Hill's Corps began
marching out of Fairfield taking the same route that General
Ewell's wagon supply trains took a day earlier. The road was badly
torn up which made the march grind to a slow pace. It was almost 1
a.m. on July 6th, when General Hill's men approached the mountain
pass near Monterey. Sergeant Gochenour recorded the march from
Gettysburg. On July 4th the Danville Artillery was ordered to
retreat moving roughly 5 miles within twenty-four hours. They
moved up to Monterey during the night of the 5th and was ordered
to deploy on a hill two and half miles from Maryland overlooking
Waynesboro. They were stationed there until late July 6th and then
ordered to march to Waynesboro. The Danville Artillery entered
Waynesboro near 8 P.M. that evening.
On the night of July 4th, General Longstreet's Corps was
ordered to march to Hagerstown following behind the troops of A.
P. Hill's Corps. During the day of July 5th, General Longstreet's
First Corp were struggling to cross over Jack's Mountain.
Longstreet's Corps was en route on the Waynesboro Pike traveling
from Fairfield. They passed through the little village of Fountain
Dale reaching the summit of the mountain and succeeded in reaching
the top of the mountain early that night. Longstreet's Corp had
passed by Monterey Springs, on the summit of the mountain where it
crossed over to Waynesboro. Shortly before midnight the first
parts of Longstreet's Corps began marching toward Waterloo (modern
day Rouzerville) taking the lead as it traveled to Hagerstown. His
men encamped near Monterey along the Waynesboro and Emmitsburg
Pike for the night.
With Longstreet’s Corps were General Pickett and Colonel Porter
Alexander who were in charge of prisoner detail. There during the
night the two men spoke briefly about the shattered remains of
Pickett's' Division. So sad was General Pickett that he never
recovered from the loss of his men during the famous charge on
July 3rd known as Pickett's Charge.
During the afternoon, British observer Colonel Fremantle
rejoined General Longstreet on the road to the top of the South
Mountain. At 4:00 p.m., they stopped on the western slope of the
mountain where the road forked, one heading to Emmitsburg, the
other to Hagerstown. Near the intersection, they noticed an old
farmhouse. Colonel Fremantle and Major Moses entered the farmhouse
where they found several wounded Yankees, and one who had died.
They had been wounded in the action of Monterey. The women in this
house were great abolitionists. When Major Fairfax rode up, he
asked whether the corpse was that of a Confederate or Yankee. The
body was in the veranda, covered with a white sheet. The woman
replied shaking her foot saying, "If there was a Confederate in
here he wouldn’t be here long."
Colonel Fremantle the British observer speaks about the
beginning phase of the march:
"The night was very bad thunder and lightning, torrents of
rain the road knee deep in mud and water, and often blocked up
with wagons "come to grief." I pitied the wretched plight of the
unfortunate soldiers who were to follow us. Our progress was
naturally very slow indeed, and we took eight hours to go as
many miles. At 8 am. we halted a little beyond the village of
Fairfield, near the entrance to a mountain pass. No sooner had
we done so and lit a fire, than an alarm was spread that Yankee
cavalry were upon us. Several shots flew over our heads, but we
never could discover from whence they came. News also arrived of
the capture of the whole of Ewell's beautiful wagons. These
reports created a regular stampede amongst the wagoners, and
Longstreet's drivers started off as fast as they could go. Our
medical trio, however, firmly declined to budge, and came to
this wise conclusion, partly urged by the pangs of hunger, and
partly from the consideration that, if the Yankee cavalry did
come, the crowded state of the road in our rear would prevent
our escape. Soon afterwards, some Confederate cavalry were
pushed to the front, who cleared the pass after a slight
It was almost noon when General Ewell's Second Corps began
moving on the Fairfield Road. General Ewell's Corps reached
Fairfield by 4 P.M. The march was six to eight miles from Marsh
Creek near Gettysburg to Fairfield. The Lee Battery, part of
Johnson's Division followed the long road home leaving many of
it's wounded men behind. The 50th Virginia Infantry had heard the
news of the battle at Monterey and upon seeing the conditions
around them as they camped at Fairfield for the night made them
wonder if the battle of Gettysburg was worth the fight. Adding to
the problems, a band of Union Cavalry kept attacking the
Confederate rear like a wolf after its prey.
General Jubal Early's Division of Ewell's Corps arose at 2:00
a.m. on the 5th and began their march toward Virginia. Their main
objective was to act as the rear guard for General Ewell's Second
Corps, followed by General John Gordon's Infantry Brigade and
Colonel E. V. White's Cavalry. Upon entering Fairfield, General
Early found a traffic jam caused by too many wagons. General Early
who was not a very patient man and threatened to use blank
ammunition in an artillery piece in order to sort out the wagon
mess and get the teams of horses underway.
While General Early was attending the wagon situation, a
dispatch from Colonel White arrived stating Union soldiers was
coming. Wilbur Davis of the Charlottesville Artillery remembered
the incident. He later wrote that General Early had ordered
Colonel Pendleton to place a blank charge in one of his cannon and
fire it over the wagon train. Just about that time Union
Cavalrymen arrived near Early's Division. A soldier warned General
Early about the movements and General Early turned in his saddle
and looked toward the hill and saw nothing. Then a puff of smoke
was seen and a cannon shell landed near the Charlottesville
Artillery. It was followed by a few more shots, but did no damage.
As the Union troops approached General Gordon's flank, they
were met with artillery and small arms fire. General Ewell later
wrote in his report about this brief skirmish. He stated that the
enemy had been threatening the rear of his Corps and they had been
occasionally attacked by Union Artillery. The Federal unit
eventually deployed a line of skirmishers. The Union soldiers then
retreated as they were out manned. General Early reported during
this small affair, the Twenty-sixth Georgia regiment sustained a
loss of 11 wounded and missing.
Because of the situation with the wagons near Fairfield,
Early's Division was forced to encamp that night by order of
General Ewell. Early's Division was ordered to protect the trains,
which was parked a little farther west of Fairfield. After
repulsing Federal troops during the evening, General Gordon's men
spent the night at Fairfield.
The Amherst Artillery was forced to spend the night of the 4th
in the middle of the Fairfield Road in the pouring rain. By
evening they encamped near Fairfield making a 10 mile march from
Gettysburg as the rain and mud slowed traveling almost to a halt.
By the evening of the 6th, the starving men made their camp on a
farm near Waterloo where it obtained permission to feed on the
farmer's livestock. During the morning of the 7th, they passed the
wreckage of their supply wagons near Waterloo.
General Ewell's Corps marched into the mountain on Maria
Furnace Road following Hill's Corps. When Ewell's Corps cleared
Fairfield, they left behind severely wounded soldiers who were too
critical to be placed in Imboden's wagon train that had already
moved out of Cashtown. The rain and the dampness added to the
misery. The soldiers marched through water and mud that was knee
to ankle deep.
General Ewell recalled "We encamped for the night on a hill 1½
miles west of Fairfield, and next day, July 6, the Third Corps
moving by another road, we were still in the rear, Rodes' division
acting as rearguard, and repelling another attack of the enemy."
General Ewell then continues "Attacked the troops making the
summons, and drove them out of a wood in which they were posted.
The enemy did not follow much beyond Fairfield. The road was again
blocked till noon. That night we encamped near Waynesboro, and
reached Hagerstown about noon of July 7."
At dawn, General Early moved to the front of the Ewell's Corps
passing Monterey Springs where his Division crossed over to
Waynesboro and encamped for the night. By early next morning on
the 7th, Early's Division then moved on toward Hagerstown, by way
General Meade wrote to General Couch with concerns of the
Confederate Retreat. General Meade needed reliable intelligence of
the Confederate Armies movements. A captured rebel cavalry officer
stated General Longstreet was moving through Jack's Mountain, and
ordered him to picket roads to Emmitsburg.
Instead of the Majority of the Union Army moving behind to
catch up to the Confederate Army, General Meade followed parallel
on the Eastern side of the mountains in attempt to cut the
Confederate Army off near Hagerstown or Williamsport, Maryland.
General Oliver O. Howard was encamped at the Horner's Farm near
Gettysburg. His two Corps, the Fifth and the Eleventh was getting
ready to pursue the Confederate Army when he was ordered to stand
down by General Meade. He wrote to General Meade with concerns
that the Confederate Army might pass through Jack's Mountain to
Mechanicstown and then onward to Frederick, or that the
Confederate Army would travel toward Hagerstown. Because of this,
General Howard wanted to move his Corps to Emmitsburg as quickly
as possible to prevent any break through.
By 8:30 A.M. on July 6th, General Meade ordered General Howard
to move one of his Corps to Emmitsburg and the other Corps to be
posted on a road leading to Fairfield. According to General Meade
early on July 6th, after receiving information on the Confederate
Army's retreat route, all evidence showed that the principal
force was between Fairfield and Hagerstown moving toward the
By 9 a.m. the Confederate Infantry numbering about 80,000 men
was reported to have passed the Fairfield Road. General Meade
learned the Waynesboro road was empty when parts of his army
arrived. General Meade advised his Corps Commanders that he would
continue his flanking movement once the main Confederate Army had
retired from the mountain. With this plan he also directed General
Couch to move down the Cumberland Valley to threaten the
General Pleasanton ordered a brigade of Cavalry, under Colonel
McIntosh, to communicate the Confederate troop’s movements as his
Cavalry traveled toward Waynesboro. General George Sykes
commanding the Fifth Corps wrote to General Howard during the
evening, explaining his position. He was located near the junction
of the Emmitsburg pike and the Fairfield road. He had not heard
word from General Sedgwick on troop movements and had not received
orders from General Meade or from his Wing Commander, General
Howard. A sign of frustration along with the lack of communication
was taking it's toll on the Union Army.
The Union Army was slow moving and several of it's officers
thought that they had passed up the opportunity to end this war by
destroying what was left of General Lee's Army. The unanswered
question still remains. Could General Meade have destroyed what
remained of General Lee's Army?
General Meade gave his report on the retreat from Gettysburg on
October 1, 1863. He stated:
"On the morning of the 5th, it was ascertained the enemy was
in full retreat by the Fairfield and Cashtown roads. The Sixth
Corps was immediately sent in pursuit on the Fairfield road, and
the cavalry on the Cashtown road and by the Emmitsburg and
Monterey Passes. July 5 and 6 were employed in succoring the
wounded and burying the dead. Major General Sedgwick, commanding
the Sixth Corps, having pushed the pursuit of the enemy as far
as the Fairfield Pass, in the mountains, and reporting that the
pass was a very strong one, in which a small force of the enemy
could hold in check and delay for a considerable time any
pursuing force, I determined to follow the enemy by a flank
movement, and, accordingly, leaving McIntosh's brigade of
cavalry and Neill's brigade of infantry to continue harassing
the enemy, put the army in motion for Middletown, Md."
An article printed in the Emmitsburg Chronicle tells about the
Monterey Area sixteen years after the battle. On September 9,
1879, the column was written simply "One of the party":
"Dear Chronicle, a party of us left here about seven o'clock
one lovely morning in August, bound for Pennmar. Being in no
hurry, we had ample time to view the beauties of nature as we
moved along. The first object the true attention was our own
beautiful mountain, whose corpse shaped top cannot but attract
even an indifferent observer, the corpse with this sheet thrown
over, so perfect, that the hands folded across the breast or
perceptible to all. While looking around we found ourselves in
Pennsylvania, and before long had glimpses of art much talk of
Friends Creek, but soon or enhancement was disturbed by the halt
at the toll gate, were a little barefoot urchin took our pay.
Pushing onward we remarked the Creek on our right which was
flowing rapidly under the bridge on the road to Fairfield.
A great variety of ferns decked the roadside, but we could
not stop to pluck them. Fountain Dale was soon passed, not
far-off we saw a lake, clear as crystal which was very
suggestive of rowing. Soon we passed a house without any steps
in the front, the door was at least 8 ft. from the ground, we
know it was inhabited, for eight or 10 children were playing on
the grounds, we waive door kerchiefs to them, but they seem to
diffident to make reply.
Next appear to Clairmont, and winding around the hill we were
soon at Monterey, here we stopped whilst the wheels were
prepared to go down the Mountain as we rode along some places
seem to say "We hide goblins" so wild and dreary they looked,
but being a gay party we were not timorous. We soon passed Buena
Vista and shortly afterwards found ourselves in Frogtown. From
the number of mud puddles, I think they must have mirth
provoking concerts every evening. Looking to the left, high up
on the mountainside, the observatory on High Rock came into view
it seemed impossible we could ever get there, we rode on
however, up, up, up, until at last we came to Pennmar Park.
It was a happy thought to select the place for a summer
resort, for a lovelier spot could scarcely be found anywhere. We
do not stop long as we were anxious to get too High Rock, before
the excursion came from Baltimore. The site from the observatory
is to grant for description, the trees below look like little
bushes, so high were we above them, and there seemed no end to
the country, so far was it spread out before us, one of our
number saw Hagerstown, and we all saw clearly Waynesboro,
Smithsburg and a number of other towns around. We left
reluctantly, compelled by hunger to do so, and were soon on our
way back to Pennmar.
Much to the discomfort we met carriages bringing people up
from the train, the road was so narrow we had to stop to let
them pass fearing they would fall over the side of the
precipice, we got down safely however and were glad to rest upon
the sofas was so providently in hand. The park is elegantly
fitted up with a very large dining room, a dancing pavilion,
dressing rooms for ladies and gentlemen, and the photographer
has his place then there are swings croquet &c. Dinner was
hurriedly disposed of whilst a band of music discourse sweet
We left the park about four o'clock highly gratified by our
long ride up there. We call it at Buena Vista Springs as we came
home, and were pleased to observe how nicely and beautifully it
was kept. As we passed a house without steps, the children were
sitting quietly on the ground, we spoke to them where upon they
all arose and serenaded us with tin pans and imitated the
beating of drums with sticks on boards, and thus had bravely
gotten over the rustic timidity they displayed in the morning.
So ended the day full of joy to delighted with the wish that it
might soon be renewed."
This group of tourists taking a buggy ride took the same route
General Kilpatrick traveled to attack the Confederate Wagon Train.
The scars left behind from the battle quickly heeled. The area
itself became a tourist attraction as early as the late 1800's.
Many spring houses shaped like mansions were built on the
battlefield as the area prospered. The landscape of the Monterey
area changed forever when the railroad came through. Many roads
lost their appearance as copper mines dotted the area creating the
main roads that we see today. Intersections changed dramatically
when Old Waynesboro Pike was replaced with modern day Route 16.