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This is marker #14 in a series of obelisks erected in 1910 by the Jefferson County Camp, United Confederate Veterans to mark locations of engagements and other significant Civil War events in Jefferson County. On October 18, 1863 Confederate Gen. John Imboden attacked Charlestown in an attempt to dislodge the Union troops garrisoned there. The assault was successful and Imboden captured several hundred Union soldiers. Moving south along the Berryville Turnpike, Imboden was attacked by a union force that had advanced from Harpers Ferry. Imboden formed a line of defense just north of Rippon and succeeded in holding off the Union attack.

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On October 18, 1863 General Lee organized an attack on Charles Town and Harpers Ferry to be conducted by Major Generals John D. Imboden and J. E. B. Stuart. The Confederate forces were to meet at Berryville, VA to coordinate their movements; however, Stuart was unable to cross the Shenandoah River due to high water and was unable to reach Imboden at Berryville. Imboden decided to modify the plan to attack only Charles Town. With his force of around 1,000 men he felt confident that they could counter the Union force stationed there. Imboden’s force left Berryville during the night/early morning of October 18th and was able to surround Charles Town before the Union troops were aware of their presence. He ordered the Confederates to surround the town and cut off all possible escape routes, then demanded surrender from Colonel Benjamin L. Simpson whose 9th Maryland Infantry was stationed in town. Simpson asked for an hour to consider the surrender; Imboden gave him five minutes and Simpson’s response was “Take us if you can.”

Imboden ordered his artillery to shell the courthouse and other buildings in town where the Union men were stationed, which forced the Union troops into the street. Simpson’s men attempted to retreat towards Harpers Ferry, but found the way blocked by Imboden, the 8th Cavalry, and Gilmor’s battalion. Colonel Simpson and a few other officers who were mounted were able to break through and escape, but the rest of the Union force was entirely captured by Imboden’s men. The force at Charles Town consisted of the 9th Maryland and three companies of cavalry (around 400-500 men) and when Imboden completed a count of the prisoners on October 19th he had taken 434 prisoners.

Union reinforcements from Harpers Ferry arrived about two hours after Imboden first fired on Charles Town. This force consisted of one battery of artillery, cavalry under Major Cole, and infantry from the 34th Massachusetts and 10th Maryland under Colonel George D. Wells. Imboden sent his prisoners towards Berryville and fought the pursuing Union force along the route for several hours. The Confederates held off the Union force, preventing them from rescuing the captured men, and Imboden was able to reach and cross the Shenandoah to Front Royal the next morning. 

About the Monuments:

This series of monuments and accompanying tour pamphlet were part of an initiative from the Jefferson County Camp, United Confederate Veterans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil War. In 1910 Col. R. Preston Chew and the Jefferson County UCV raised the funds to place 25 concrete obelisks in Jefferson County to mark locations of engagement or other significant events. The following year the Camp published a pamphlet to accompany the obelisks and give more information about each location. This was Military Operations in Jefferson County, Virginia (Now West Virginia), 1861-1865 published in 1911. The pamphlet has been reprinted several times by the Henry Kyd Douglas Camp, No. 199 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Because the monuments and accompanying pamphlet were done by Confederate veterans it is likely that the locations and descriptions are biased towards or favor the Confederate view and experience of the war. 

Original Text from the 1911 Pamphlet:

"Marker Number Fourteen

Repulse of Federals by Imboden at Rippon—The Retreat

On the 18th of October, 1863 General Imboden after capturing Charles Town, retreated along the Berryville pike. He was hotly pursued by a large force of the enemy, and at Rippon was compelled to form a line of battle to protect his captures.

He had with him as prisoners the Ninth Maryland Infantry, eight or nine hundred.

The enemy advanced and commenced a serious attack. They were after a sharp engagement, repulsed by General Imboden and his command, and retreeated (sic) toward Charles Town. There were a number of killed and wounded on each side in this action.

Imboden then continued his retreat and made good his escape with his captures."

Bushong, Millard Kessler. A History of Jefferson County, West Virginia. Charles Town, WV: Jefferson Publishing Company, 1941.

Engle, Stephen Douglas. Thunder in the Hills: Military Operations in Jefferson County, West Virginia, During the American Civil War. Charleston, WV: Mountain State Press, 1989.

Military Operations in Jefferson County Virginia (and West Va.) 1861-1865. Published by Authority of Jefferson County Camp U.C.V. Farmers Advocate Print, 1911. Accessed January 20, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc2.ark:/13960/t4vh5gp6c&view=1up&seq=5.

Official Records, Series 1, Volume 29, Part 1, p. 485-92. Timeline of West Virginia: Civil War and Statehood October 22, 1863. Child of the Rebellion: An Archives and History Sesquicentennial Project. West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History. Accessed January 31, 2021. http://www.wvculture.org/history/sesquicentennial/18631018.html.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

"John D. Imboden." Wikipedia. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D._Imboden.

Hunt, Roger D. Colonels in Blue: Union Army Colonels of the Civil War, The Mid-Atlantic States, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2007. Image on page 230. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://books.google.com/books?id=7X97CKjWKLcC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.

"Touring the Battle of Cool Spring." Shenandoah University. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://www.su.edu/mcwi/touring-the-battle-of-cool-spring/.

"Harry Gilmor." Wikipedia. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Gilmor.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 485. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 486. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 487. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 488. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 489. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 490. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 491. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.

The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Series.1:vol.29:pt.1:Reports. p. 492. Accessed January 31, 2021. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924077699886&view=1up&seq=3.