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[TalkAntietam] Re: Fords: Botelers, Blackford, Packhorse

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  • Thomas Clemens
    Larry, IIRC, the ford Hampton used was difficult and the water level was high, too high to be used by infantry. Too often the term ford and a place where a
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 28 7:09 AM
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      Larry,
      IIRC, the "ford" Hampton used was difficult and the water level was high, too high to be used by infantry. Too often the term "ford" and a place where a body of water can be waded are conflated into the same thing. They are quite different. A ford for military usage must possess at least three distinct characteristics: shallow enough for infantry to cross without endangering wetting their cartridge boxes, and moderate current so as not to sweep them off their feet; a firm bottom, bedrock is best, but boulders will obstruct wagons injure horses, sand or mud will allow vehicles to become stuck; and banks low enough to provide ease of entrance and egress for infantry and horse-drawn vehicles. These are what makes a ford usable. There are otehr shallow places where men on horseback, or even on foot can, in small groups wade a stream or river, but that does not make it a ford. Fords were located where much civilian traffic crossed streams and rivers. I agree with Dennis and many other sources that there was one ford, approx. 1.4 miles south of Shepherdstown, but that there may be other places to wade the river.
      Steve, if you and others decide to wade at the ford, do not repeat the mistake of many people, who think that the remains of the Cement Mill dam is the ford, it is not. The ford is several hundred yards downstream.



      Dr. Thomas G. Clemens
      Professor of History
      Hagerstown Community College




      >>> "eighth_conn_inf" <eighth_conn_inf@...> 4/27/2008 7:12 PM >>>

      Thanks Stephen,

      I know most books say that these names (and others) are all for the
      same ford at the cement mill but at this point I remain unconvinced
      that there is only one useable ford in the Sheperdstown area since
      both Stuart and Hampton apparently used other fords on the 18th-19th.
      I saw in Dennis's book that statement on page 64. As we know, when
      the river is low, one may cross at many points but walking across is
      different than taking horses and wagons along.

      Larry

      --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Recker <recker@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > In Dennis Frye's book he says they are all the same ford. IIRC it
      was
      > called different things depending on which side of the river you
      were
      > on or during which historic period.
      >
      > Stephen
      >
      >
      > On Sunday, April 27, 2008, at 10:05 AM, eighth_conn_inf wrote:
      >
      > > I have a Potomac River map from GMCO Pro Series of the Upper
      Potomac
      > > River from Dam 4 to Great Falls. Its Shepherdstown section shows
      two
      > > fords, one called "Blackford Ford" at the Rumsey Bridge and the
      second
      > > named "Packhorse Ford" about 6,000' (1 mi. +) below the Rumsey
      Bridge.
      > > It also shows an "Old Cement Mill" about 11,000' (c. 2 mi.) below
      the
      > > bridge across the Potomac from Millers Sawmill Road.
      > >
      > > Were there three fords there in use in 1862: Blackfords at the
      bridge,
      > > Packhorse a mile downstream and Botelers three miles downstream?
      Or is
      > > this map wrong?
      > >
      > > I remember reading recently that Stuart and some of his troopers
      when
      > > they crossed on the 19th into Maryland crossed at a different
      ford from
      > > the rest of the army closer to Shepherdstown because of
      congestion—
      > > perhaps they crossed at Packhorse? I assume that the obscure ford
      which
      > > Blackford found at which Hampton crossed was described as being
      above
      > > Shepherdstown was none of these--where was it?
      > >
      > > Larry F.
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • eighth_conn_inf
      Thanks Tom, The map showing the other fords then is obviously wrong but maybe their locations as shallow areas is correct. They may be as you suggest just
      Message 2 of 9 , Apr 28 9:06 AM
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        Thanks Tom,

        The map showing the other "fords" then is obviously wrong but maybe
        their locations as shallow areas is correct. They may be as you
        suggest just shallow areas suitable for wading but not passing an
        army. So there are shallow places at the bridge and downstream before
        the "real" ford at the mill which troops and troopers used. If we
        have another dry summer, it would be instructive to do them all, yes?

        Same thing in WPort--one main "real" ford and some shallow places?
        Larry F.

        --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Clemens" <clemenst@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Larry,
        > IIRC, the "ford" Hampton used was difficult and the water level was
        high, too high to be used by infantry. Too often the term "ford" and
        a place where a body of water can be waded are conflated into the
        same thing. They are quite different. A ford for military usage
        must possess at least three distinct characteristics: shallow enough
        for infantry to cross without endangering wetting their cartridge
        boxes, and moderate current so as not to sweep them off their feet; a
        firm bottom, bedrock is best, but boulders will obstruct wagons
        injure horses, sand or mud will allow vehicles to become stuck; and
        banks low enough to provide ease of entrance and egress for infantry
        and horse-drawn vehicles. These are what makes a ford usable. There
        are otehr shallow places where men on horseback, or even on foot can,
        in small groups wade a stream or river, but that does not make it a
        ford. Fords were located where much civilian traffic crossed streams
        and rivers. I agree with Dennis and many other sources that there
        was one ford, approx. 1.4 miles south of Shepherdstown, but that
        there may be other places to wade the river.
        > Steve, if you and others decide to wade at the ford, do not repeat
        the mistake of many people, who think that the remains of the Cement
        Mill dam is the ford, it is not. The ford is several hundred yards
        downstream.
        >
        >
        >
        > Dr. Thomas G. Clemens
        > Professor of History
        > Hagerstown Community College
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > >>> "eighth_conn_inf" <eighth_conn_inf@...> 4/27/2008 7:12 PM >>>
        >
        > Thanks Stephen,
        >
        > I know most books say that these names (and others) are all for the
        > same ford at the cement mill but at this point I remain unconvinced
        > that there is only one useable ford in the Sheperdstown area since
        > both Stuart and Hampton apparently used other fords on the 18th-
        19th.
        > I saw in Dennis's book that statement on page 64. As we know, when
        > the river is low, one may cross at many points but walking across
        is
        > different than taking horses and wagons along.
        >
        > Larry
        >
        > --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Recker <recker@>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > In Dennis Frye's book he says they are all the same ford. IIRC it
        > was
        > > called different things depending on which side of the river you
        > were
        > > on or during which historic period.
        > >
        > > Stephen
        > >
        > >
        > > On Sunday, April 27, 2008, at 10:05 AM, eighth_conn_inf wrote:
        > >
        > > > I have a Potomac River map from GMCO Pro Series of the Upper
        > Potomac
        > > > River from Dam 4 to Great Falls. Its Shepherdstown section
        shows
        > two
        > > > fords, one called "Blackford Ford" at the Rumsey Bridge and the
        > second
        > > > named "Packhorse Ford" about 6,000' (1 mi. +) below the Rumsey
        > Bridge.
        > > > It also shows an "Old Cement Mill" about 11,000' (c. 2 mi.)
        below
        > the
        > > > bridge across the Potomac from Millers Sawmill Road.
        > > >
        > > > Were there three fords there in use in 1862: Blackfords at the
        > bridge,
        > > > Packhorse a mile downstream and Botelers three miles
        downstream?
        > Or is
        > > > this map wrong?
        > > >
        > > > I remember reading recently that Stuart and some of his
        troopers
        > when
        > > > they crossed on the 19th into Maryland crossed at a different
        > ford from
        > > > the rest of the army closer to Shepherdstown because of
        > congestion—
        > > > perhaps they crossed at Packhorse? I assume that the obscure
        ford
        > which
        > > > Blackford found at which Hampton crossed was described as being
        > above
        > > > Shepherdstown was none of these--where was it?
        > > >
        > > > Larry F.
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • Thomas Clemens
        Probably so, but I have not looked at the river in depth (please pardon that awful pun). It would be fun to do some wading in late summer when the water is
        Message 3 of 9 , Apr 28 10:12 AM
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          Probably so, but I have not looked at the river in depth (please pardon that awful pun). It would be fun to do some wading in late summer when the water is low and also warmer. Be sure to wear water shoes, some of the rocks are sharp, to say nothing of the trash that liters the bottom.


          >>> "eighth_conn_inf" <eighth_conn_inf@...> 4/28/2008 12:06 PM >>>

          Thanks Tom,

          The map showing the other "fords" then is obviously wrong but maybe
          their locations as shallow areas is correct. They may be as you
          suggest just shallow areas suitable for wading but not passing an
          army. So there are shallow places at the bridge and downstream before
          the "real" ford at the mill which troops and troopers used. If we
          have another dry summer, it would be instructive to do them all, yes?

          Same thing in WPort--one main "real" ford and some shallow places?
          Larry F.

          --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Clemens" <clemenst@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Larry,
          > IIRC, the "ford" Hampton used was difficult and the water level was
          high, too high to be used by infantry. Too often the term "ford" and
          a place where a body of water can be waded are conflated into the
          same thing. They are quite different. A ford for military usage
          must possess at least three distinct characteristics: shallow enough
          for infantry to cross without endangering wetting their cartridge
          boxes, and moderate current so as not to sweep them off their feet; a
          firm bottom, bedrock is best, but boulders will obstruct wagons
          injure horses, sand or mud will allow vehicles to become stuck; and
          banks low enough to provide ease of entrance and egress for infantry
          and horse-drawn vehicles. These are what makes a ford usable. There
          are otehr shallow places where men on horseback, or even on foot can,
          in small groups wade a stream or river, but that does not make it a
          ford. Fords were located where much civilian traffic crossed streams
          and rivers. I agree with Dennis and many other sources that there
          was one ford, approx. 1.4 miles south of Shepherdstown, but that
          there may be other places to wade the river.
          > Steve, if you and others decide to wade at the ford, do not repeat
          the mistake of many people, who think that the remains of the Cement
          Mill dam is the ford, it is not. The ford is several hundred yards
          downstream.
          >
          >
          >
          > Dr. Thomas G. Clemens
          > Professor of History
          > Hagerstown Community College
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > >>> "eighth_conn_inf" <eighth_conn_inf@...> 4/27/2008 7:12 PM >>>
          >
          > Thanks Stephen,
          >
          > I know most books say that these names (and others) are all for the
          > same ford at the cement mill but at this point I remain unconvinced
          > that there is only one useable ford in the Sheperdstown area since
          > both Stuart and Hampton apparently used other fords on the 18th-
          19th.
          > I saw in Dennis's book that statement on page 64. As we know, when
          > the river is low, one may cross at many points but walking across
          is
          > different than taking horses and wagons along.
          >
          > Larry
          >
          > --- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, Stephen Recker <recker@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > In Dennis Frye's book he says they are all the same ford. IIRC it
          > was
          > > called different things depending on which side of the river you
          > were
          > > on or during which historic period.
          > >
          > > Stephen
          > >
          > >
          > > On Sunday, April 27, 2008, at 10:05 AM, eighth_conn_inf wrote:
          > >
          > > > I have a Potomac River map from GMCO Pro Series of the Upper
          > Potomac
          > > > River from Dam 4 to Great Falls. Its Shepherdstown section
          shows
          > two
          > > > fords, one called "Blackford Ford" at the Rumsey Bridge and the
          > second
          > > > named "Packhorse Ford" about 6,000' (1 mi. +) below the Rumsey
          > Bridge.
          > > > It also shows an "Old Cement Mill" about 11,000' (c. 2 mi.)
          below
          > the
          > > > bridge across the Potomac from Millers Sawmill Road.
          > > >
          > > > Were there three fords there in use in 1862: Blackfords at the
          > bridge,
          > > > Packhorse a mile downstream and Botelers three miles
          downstream?
          > Or is
          > > > this map wrong?
          > > >
          > > > I remember reading recently that Stuart and some of his
          troopers
          > when
          > > > they crossed on the 19th into Maryland crossed at a different
          > ford from
          > > > the rest of the army closer to Shepherdstown because of
          > congestion—
          > > > perhaps they crossed at Packhorse? I assume that the obscure
          ford
          > which
          > > > Blackford found at which Hampton crossed was described as being
          > above
          > > > Shepherdstown was none of these--where was it?
          > > >
          > > > Larry F.
          > > >
          > > >
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Stephen Recker
          We won t make that mistake because you re coming with us, right!? Stephen
          Message 4 of 9 , Apr 28 2:10 PM
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            We won't make that mistake because you're coming with us, right!?

            Stephen

            On Monday, April 28, 2008, at 10:09 AM, Thomas Clemens wrote:

            > Steve, if you and others decide to wade at the ford, do not repeat the
            > mistake of many people, who think that the remains of the Cement Mill
            > dam is the ford, it is not. The ford is several hundred yards
            > downstream.
          • Thomas Clemens
            Yeah, if the timing works out, I d like to. Maybe even see if Bomber can wade across too. ... We won t make that mistake because you re coming with us,
            Message 5 of 9 , Apr 28 2:27 PM
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              Yeah, if the timing works out, I'd like to. Maybe even see if Bomber can wade across too.


              >>> Stephen Recker <recker@...> 4/28/2008 5:10 PM >>>

              We won't make that mistake because you're coming with us, right!?

              Stephen

              On Monday, April 28, 2008, at 10:09 AM, Thomas Clemens wrote:

              > Steve, if you and others decide to wade at the ford, do not repeat the
              > mistake of many people, who think that the remains of the Cement Mill
              > dam is the ford, it is not. The ford is several hundred yards
              > downstream.




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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