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Maryland's National Register Properties

Tour: Civil War (2 of 17)



Photo credit: Edith B. Wallace, 03/1998
Harpers Ferry National Historic Park
Inventory No.: WA-III-072
Date Listed: 10/15/1966
Location: Harpers Ferry Road , Knoxville & Maryland Heights, Washington County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1862
Description: The Harpers Ferry National Park comprises 763 acres in three states, encompassing the town of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and railroads, roads, bridges and islands that surround it. The park also includes the Elk Ridge promontory on the north side of the Potomac River, called Maryland Heights, which overlooks Harpers Ferry at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. Significance: Maryland Heights is significant for its association with early settlement and industry in the region, and for its Civil War history. The steep topography and rocky soils have limited the range of cultural resources on Maryland Heights. A few domestic sites reflect the presence of individuals whose circumstances denied them access to the more productive land in the valleys. An extensive system of road traces and charcoal hearths remain from the charcoaling operations connected with the Antietam Ironworks, which was in production from 1810 to 1843. Portions of seven Civil War fortifications, earth- and stoneworks constructed by Union soldiers in 1862-63, survive in the park. In this area of the Harpers Ferry battlefield, Confederate General Joseph Kershaw's brigade successfully advanced on the Union defenses of Colonel Sherrill, resulting in the capture of Maryland Heights on September 13, 1862. Evidence remains of Union breastworks completed just prior to the Confederate attack, and a seven-gun naval battery on the southwest slope of the ridge. Also on Maryland Heights are the sites of campgrounds which were occupied from May 1862 to July 1865, and the Unseld Farm which served as a Union command post throughout the Civil War.
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