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Antietam: The Battle of Harpers Ferry

Trivia powered by Prof. WalterThe Battle of Harpers Ferry was fought September 12-15, 1862, as part of the Maryland Campaign of the US Civil War. As Gen. Robert E. Lee's Confederate army invaded Maryland, a portion of his army under Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson surrounded, bombarded, and captured the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, Virginia (now West Virginia), a major victory at relatively minor cost.

What do you know about The Battle of Harpers Ferry? Try this Civil War History Made Easy Quiz. "Check Your Answers" at the end of the page.

1) Maj. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson commands the Confederate forces. Who commands the Union forces at Harpers Ferry?

  • Maj. Gen. Zachary C. Taylor
  • Brig. Gen. Quentin Reynolds
  • Col. Justin Case
  • Col. Dixon S. Miles

2) The town is virtually indefensible, dominated on all sides by higher ground. What is NOT a high point around Harper�s Ferry?

  • Bolivar Heights, a plateau 668 feet high
  • Loudoun Heights overlooks from 1,180 feet
  • Maryland Heights at 1,476-foot-high
  • Lowndes Hill reaches 2,528 feet

3) The Union commander insists on keeping most of the troops near the town instead of taking up commanding positions on the surrounding heights. He apparently is interpreting literally his orders to hold the town. The defenses of the most important position is designed to fight off raiders, but not to hold the heights themselves.

  • True or False?

4) The Union commander assigns Col. Thomas H. Ford of the 32nd Ohio Infantry to command parts of four regiments, 1,600 men. Some of these men, including those of the 126th New York, have been in the Army only 21 days and lack basic combat skills. They erect primitive breastworks and send skirmishers a quarter-mile in the direction of the Confederates. On September 12 they encounter the approaching men from a South Carolina brigade, who have been moving slowly through the very difficult terrain on the ridges around Harpers Ferry. Who commands the Confederate South Carolina brigade.

  • Brig. Gen. Joseph Ironsides
  • Brig. Gen. Ira Lykens
  • Brig. Gen. John Q. Jones
  • Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw

5) Col. Ford, feels ill on the morning of September 13 and stays back two miles behind the lines, leaving the fighting to , the second-ranking officer. Sherrill is wounded by a bullet through the cheek and tongue while rallying his men and has to be carried from the field, making the green troops grow panicky. As Barksdale's Mississippians approach on the flank, the New Yorkers break and flee rearward. Who is Ford�s second in command?

  • Col. Chris Bodie
  • Col. George M. Baker
  • Col. Ezra Hartmanner
  • Col. Eliakim Sherrill

6) The Union commander exclaims, "I am ordered to hold this place and God damn my soul to hell if I don't."

  • True or False.

7) On September 14, who does Jackson order to move down the west bank of the Shenandoah in preparation for a flank attack on the Federal left the next morning?

  • JEB Stuart
  • A.P. Hill
  • Grumble P. Jones
  • Ralph Knotts

8) Col. Benjamin F. "Grimes" Davis proposes to to the Union commander that his troopers of the 12th Illinois Cavalry, the Loudoun Rangers, and some smaller units from Maryland and Rhode Island, attempt to break out. Cavalry forces are essentially useless in the defense of the town. Davis and Col. Amos Voss led their 1,400 cavalrymen out of Harpers Ferry on a pontoon bridge across the Potomac, turning left onto a narrow road that wind to the west around the base of Maryland Heights in the north toward Sharpsburg. They are able to trick the wagoneers into following them in another direction and they repulse the Confederate cavalry escort in the rear of the column. Capturing more than 40 enemy ordnance wagons, Davis has lost not a single man in combat, the first great cavalry exploit of the war for the Army of the Potomac.

  • True or False?

9) Jackson had wins a great victory at minor expense. The Confederate Army sustain 286 casualties (39 killed, 247 wounded), while the Union Army sustain 217 (44 killed, 173 wounded) casualties. The Union garrison also surrender 12,419 men, 13,000 small arms, 200 wagons, and 73 artillery pieces. It is the smallest surrender of Federal forces during the Civil War.
True or False

10) Who does Jackson send off a courier to with the news, "Through God's blessing, Harper's Ferry and its garrison are to be surrendered" ?

  • Jermyn Johnson
  • Robert E. Lee
  • James Longstreet
  • Jefferson Davis

Check Your Answers


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