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Historic America Photography

Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware

Visit the final resting place of two Continental Congressmen, Civil War generals, and even a Cherokee chief.

Wilmington and Brandywine Cemetery, 701 Delaware Avenue in Wilmington, New Castle County, Delaware, is a small rural cemetery established in 1843. It encompasses a rectangular area of 25 acres, relatively flat on its western side with a steep eastern descent toward Brandywine Creek. It is the final resting place for over 21,000 former residents, including Richard Bassett, a signer of the U.S. Constitution, governors, congressmen, and even a Cherokee chief.

Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1747-1812)

Gunning Bedford, Jr. (1747-1812) was a member of the Continental Congress, Delaware’s State Attorney General, and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Bedford was born and raised in Philadelphia, then attended the College of New Jersey (aka Princeton University). He briefly served as an aid to George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

John McKinly (1721-1796)
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Historic America

Funkstown Battlefield in Washington County, Maryland

This small town could have witnessed a sequel to the Battle of Gettysburg, but the exhausted combatants had no stomach for another bloodbath.

The Battle of Funkstown was fought on July 10, 1863 between Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gen. John Buford and Confederate cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in and around Funkstown, Maryland during the American Civil War. The battle, which followed the Army of Northern Virginia’s retreat from Gettysburg, was a minor Confederate victory and resulted in approximately 381 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.

By July 10, the Union Army of the Potomac was located just west of Boonsboro, with Hagerstown and Funkstown on its right flank. The army could not advance with Confederate cavalry threatening its flank, so Brig. Gen. John Buford’s cavalry division rode north along the Old National Pike to attack J.E.B. Stuart’s crescent-shaped defensive line around Funkstown north of Antietam Creek. Buford hoped to drive them off, but Stuart’s troopers put up a spirited defense. 

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Historic America Photography

Convenience Lost

The old Market Basket convenience store, 7005 Blue Mountain Road outside Thurmont, Maryland. Now abandoned.

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Historic America

Yellow Tavern Battlefield in Henrico County, Virginia

Development has nearly erased this key Civil War battle, in which the South’s most famous cavalry commander was mortally wounded.

The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864 between Union cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and Confederate cavalry commanded by Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in Henrico County, Virginia during the American Civil War. This nominal Union victory, part of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, was notable mainly for the mortal wounding and death of J.E.B. Stuart, which deprived Robert E. Lee of his finest cavalry commander.

On May 9, 1864, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan rode south with 10,000 Union cavalry and 30 horse artillery to confront his Confederate counterpart, who had a reputation for invincibility. Stuart and his Confederates, however, could only muster around 4,500 troopers to confront him. Sheridan raided a supply depot at Beaver Dam Station on May 10 and continued south toward the Confederate capital of Richmond. On the morning of May 11, Stuart’s exhausted troopers arrived at the intersection of Telegraph and Mountain roads near an abandoned inn called Yellow Tavern.

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Historic America

Williamsport Battlefield in Washington County, Maryland

Visit the place where the Civil War could have ended two years early, when a desperate defense saved General Lee’s army from disaster.

The Battle of Williamsport was fought on July 6, 1863 between Union cavalry commanded by Brig. Gens. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick and John Buford and Confederate forces commanded by Brig. Gens. John D. Imboden and Fitzhugh Lee outside Williamsport, Maryland during the American Civil War. This minor Confederate victory followed the Army of Northern Virginia’s retreat from Gettysburg and resulted in approximately 350 total casualties.

After three bloody days of fighting at Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee retreated southwest toward the Potomac River and Virginia. As the main army staggered toward Williamsport, Brig. Gen. John D. Imboden was tasked with managing its wagon train of thousands of wounded soldiers from the Battle of Gettysburg. He placed artillery on strategic high ground around Williamsport while hundreds of wagons waited to cross the flooded Potomac River.

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Historic America

Thoroughfare Gap Battlefield in Prince William County, Virginia

Hike nature trails and visit the ruins of a Colonial-Era mill at this historic battlefield in the Bull Run Mountains.

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The Battle of Thoroughfare Gap (Chapman’s Mill) was fought on August 28, 1862 between Union forces commanded by Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts and Col. Percy Wyndham and Confederate forces commanded by Maj. Gen. James Longstreet in Fauquier and Prince William Counties, Virginia during the American Civil War. The battle was a Confederate victory, allowing two wings of the Confederate army to unite and win the Second Battle of Bull Run over the following three days. It resulted in 100 total casualties.

In late August 1862, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia squared off against Union Maj. Gen. John Pope’s Army of Virginia 40 miles from Washington, DC. Lee outmaneuvered Pope, sending Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s wing around Pope’s flank to destroy his supply depot at Manassas Junction. Confederate Maj. Gen. James Longstreet followed with the rest of the army. To reach Jackson, Longstreet had to pass through Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains.

To delay Longstreet and his 28,000-man force, Pope sent one brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts and a regiment of cavalry commanded by Col. Percy Wyndham, a British adventurer who volunteered to fight with the Union Army. Their force totaled approximately 5,000 men. On August 28, Wyndham was guarding the pass when Longstreet’s men began to march through. The cavalry retreated and sent for help, but Ricketts’ small brigade was severely outnumbered. By the time Ricketts arrived with reinforcements, Longstreet’s lead units held the high ground and easily fended off several Union attacks.

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Historic America

La Belle-Famille Battlefield in Youngstown, New York

This little-known British military victory along the Niagara River led to the French surrender of Fort Niagara, but historians are undecided about where it actually took place.

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The Battle of La Belle-Famille was fought on July 24, 1759 between French forces under the command of Col. François-Marie Le Marchand de Lignery and British forces under the command of Lt. Col. Eyre Massey and their American Indian allies along the Niagara River during the French and Indian War. The battle ended in complete British and Iroquois victory over the French, and the surrender of Fort Niagara two days later.

Approximately 3,500 British and Iroquois lay siege to Fort Niagara at the confluence of Lake Ontario and the Niagara River from July 6 to July 26, 1759. Trapped inside were 520 French regulars, militia, and their American Indian allies under the command of Captain Pierre Pouchot. Pouchot appealed to Col. François-Marie Le Marchand de Lignery for help, and Lignery marched from Fort Machault with 800 French regulars and militia and 500 native allies to relieve Fort Niagra’s garrison.

Lignery sent messengers ahead to notify Pouchot that relief was on its way, but unfortunately for them, the British also had advanced warning. Approximately 450 British soldiers and an equal number of Iroquois warriors set up a carefully laid ambush. Lignery compounded his earlier mistake by failing to properly screen his movement and French forces walked right into an open field, triggering the ambush.