Historic America

Corbit’s Charge, Westminster, Maryland

In this small but dramatic Civil War action, a cavalry officer foolheartedly delayed J.E.B. Stuart at great personal risk.

The Skirmish at Westminster, Maryland (aka Corbit’s Charge) was fought on June 29, 1863 between elements of the 1st Delaware Cavalry Regiment commanded by Maj. Napoleon B. Knight and Cpt. Charles Corbit and Confederate cavalry commanded by Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee in Westminster, Carroll County, Maryland during the American Civil War. Though a Union defeat, the skirmish prompted Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart to bivouac his cavalry in Westminster for a night, delaying his reunion with the rest of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army in their invasion of Pennsylvania.

On June 29, 1863, Lee issued his fateful order to concentrate the Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg in southern Pennsylvania. His cavalry commander, Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, was still trying to link up with his army somewhere south of Harrisburg. Stuart’s goal was to disrupt Federal logistics behind the lines, so he sent Brig. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s brigade to the important railhead at Westminster, Maryland, ten miles from the Pennsylvania border.

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The churchyard where Lt. John William Murray is buried is located at 23 N Court Street. A stone marker commemorating Corbit’s Charge is at the nearby Carroll County Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the intersection of Willis Street and Court Place. And Civil War Trails signs are located along Main Street in front of 202 E. Main.

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