Civil War buffs to commemorate forgotten battle

January 29, 2006|By JENNIFER FITCH


A mostly forgotten Civil War battle has found a place in the hearts of several residents in a small, mountaintop community in the South Mountain range.

An organization is seeking to bring attention to the Battle of Monterey, which they say was the second-largest battle fought in Pennsylvania during the Civil War and the only battle fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

John Miller, a Civil War historian for the Emmitsburg (Md.) Historical Society, said the tale of the battle largely was lost as the Blue Ridge Summit area was converted into a summer resort town, then became home to railroad activity and mining.

Now, Civil War buffs, including Miller, are joining with the One Mountain Foundation and a Pennsylvania tourism initiative to better highlight Blue Ridge Summit's role in the war.


"This is an undeveloped (battle) site," said Gary Muller, chairman of the One Mountain Foundation.

The group hopes to draw attention to the area by listing Blue Ridge Summit in promotional paperwork for a three-day Civil War Trails Discovery Weekend in Pennsylvania.

The borough will be host to a special church service Sunday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m. as part of the discovery weekend.

The service, at Hawley Memorial Presbyterian Church on Charmian Road off Pa. 16, is open to everyone. The Rev. Col. William Hammon will deliver a service traditional to the Civil War era.

Tickets for a church social afterward are $5 if not purchased as part of a discovery weekend package.

The community that surrounds and includes Blue Ridge Summit is divided among four counties in two states: Adams and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania and Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland.

Much of the Confederate army assembled in Fairfield, Pa., during the Battle of Gettysburg, Miller said.

A wagon train with ammunition, supplies and contraband left there during the early morning hours of July 4, 1863, he said.

"Anything with wheels they tried to get back first," Miller said.

The wagon train's travels were through harsh weather conditions, prompting one soldier to write that "it poured and poured, making of every rivulet a river and of every river and mountain stream a raging flood."

The wagons went through what was called Monterey Pass and onto the Rouzerville, Pa., area. The ascent up the mountain was complicated by the driving rain and thick mud that made sections of road impassable.

Miller said a Union cavalry left Emmitsburg to meet the wagon train.

Fighting broke out July 5 about 3 a.m. near the modern-day intersection of Pa. 16 and Charmian Road. The Union side reportedly captured more than 1,000 Confederate soldiers, Miller said.

When Confederate reinforcements began to arrive July 5, the Union retreated, using a number of roads.

Writings from the time say that during the battle, Confederate Gen. William "Grumble" Jones "started crisscrossing the Mason-Dixon line several times to the point where he didn't know where he was."

Miller said a lot of residents of Blue Ridge Summit don't know what was involved in the Battle of Monterey.

The One Mountain Foundation ( was founded in 2002 and today has about 30 members.

"The founders wanted to look at quality-of-life issues in the mountaintop community," Muller said.

Blue Ridge Summit is scheduled to participate in the discovery weekends for both Adams and Franklin counties.

Karen Justice, vice chairwoman of the One Mountain Foundation, said the group has guided walks scheduled for the first weekend in April and again in July. One walk will be filmed for PBS.

The battle sites also are becoming part of two Civil War trails in Maryland.

If you go


A three-day Civil War Trails Discovery Weekend in Franklin County, Pa.


Feb. 3-5


Events are planned in Chambersburg, Mercersburg, Greencastle, Waynesboro and Shippensburg.


Some events are free to the public, others require a ticket purchase. An $85 package deal includes admission to events and a meal voucher.


: Tickets and more information are available from any of the county Chambers of Commerce, the Chambersburg Heritage Center at 717-264-7101 or at
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