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Historic America

Boonsboro Battlefield in Washington County, Maryland

This cavalry brawl, largest since the Battle of Gettysburg, bought Robert E. Lee’s defeated army time to escape.

The Battle of Boonsboro was fought on July 8, 1863 between Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gens. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and John Buford and Confederate cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in Washington County, Maryland during the American Civil War. This inconclusive skirmish followed the Army of Northern Virginia’s retreat from Gettysburg and resulted in approximately 214 total casualties.

After three bloody days of fighting around Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee retreated southwest toward the Potomac River and Virginia. The main army settled into defensive works around Williamsport, Maryland, while a rearguard was stationed in Hagerstown and nearby Funkstown. Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was tasked with keeping the Union army at bay while Confederate forces found passage across the swollen river.

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