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C&O Canal during Maryland Campaign

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  • eighth_conn_inf
    From sources I ve read, the canal prism was empty from guard (feeder) lock three at mile 62.3 just above Harpers Ferry, up to guard four at mile 85.8, about
    Message 1 of 2 , May 11, 2010
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      From sources I've read, the canal prism was empty from guard (feeder) lock three at mile 62.3 just above Harpers Ferry, up to guard four at mile 85.8, about half way between Sharpsburg and Williamsport. Both these locks were destroyed by the Confederates before the 17th. Apparently there was water in the canal at Williamsport as Union cavalry burned coal-carrying boats there: "Shortly after the fighting began [on 17 September], General McClellan dispatched Captain Charles H. Russell with his company of the 1st Maryland Cavalry to Williamsport to burn the pivot bridge across the canal at Lock No. 44 and to destroy the Conococheague Aqueduct in an effort to cut one of Lee's avenues of retreat. With the aid of some Pennsylvania militiamen who were holding the town, Russell's men destroyed the pivot bridge, organized demolition teams, and burned eleven boats, nine of which were loaded with coal, that had been forced to tie up at Williamsport."

      The canal prism was used during the battle of Shepherdstown as cover for Union troops firing across the river so it appears to have been very dry at that time at that location. Does anyone have any sources showing the condition of the canal bed from Sharpsburg to Harpers Ferry in the middle of September? My interpretation of my sources, mainly Unrau's book (National Park Service, Historic Resource Study, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Harlan D. Unrau, 1976, 735-738, 747), is that it was dry between at least those two locations. If it were dry, it could have been used by the HF cavalry escape column in combination with the towpath--thoughts?

      FYI, link to Unrau's book: http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/choh/unrau_hrs.pdf


      Thank you,

      Larry
    • Ian Workman
      Larry, Unfortunately I wasn t smart enough at the time to save a letter on ebay. It talked about the Mass troops camping near the Antietam aqueduct and having
      Message 2 of 2 , May 11, 2010
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        Larry,

        Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough at the time to save a letter on ebay. It
        talked about the Mass troops camping near the Antietam aqueduct and having
        to walk through the canal to get to the river and ford at this location. I
        would presume that the canal was dry in OctoberNovember of 1862.

        Sincerely,
        Ian Workman

        On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 5:24 PM, eighth_conn_inf
        <eighth_conn_inf@...>wrote:

        >
        >
        > From sources I've read, the canal prism was empty from guard (feeder) lock
        > three at mile 62.3 just above Harpers Ferry, up to guard four at mile 85.8,
        > about half way between Sharpsburg and Williamsport. Both these locks were
        > destroyed by the Confederates before the 17th. Apparently there was water in
        > the canal at Williamsport as Union cavalry burned coal-carrying boats there:
        > "Shortly after the fighting began [on 17 September], General McClellan
        > dispatched Captain Charles H. Russell with his company of the 1st Maryland
        > Cavalry to Williamsport to burn the pivot bridge across the canal at Lock
        > No. 44 and to destroy the Conococheague Aqueduct in an effort to cut one of
        > Lee's avenues of retreat. With the aid of some Pennsylvania militiamen who
        > were holding the town, Russell's men destroyed the pivot bridge, organized
        > demolition teams, and burned eleven boats, nine of which were loaded with
        > coal, that had been forced to tie up at Williamsport."
        >
        > The canal prism was used during the battle of Shepherdstown as cover for
        > Union troops firing across the river so it appears to have been very dry at
        > that time at that location. Does anyone have any sources showing the
        > condition of the canal bed from Sharpsburg to Harpers Ferry in the middle of
        > September? My interpretation of my sources, mainly Unrau's book (National
        > Park Service, Historic Resource Study, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National
        > Historic Park, Harlan D. Unrau, 1976, 735-738, 747), is that it was dry
        > between at least those two locations. If it were dry, it could have been
        > used by the HF cavalry escape column in combination with the
        > towpath--thoughts?
        >
        > FYI, link to Unrau's book:
        > http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/choh/unrau_hrs.pdf
        >
        > Thank you,
        >
        > Larry
        >
        >
        >


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