Following the Route Today

I tried the follow the route of the escape earlier this summer. As best I can determine, the following directions will lead the interested traveler in the footsteps of the escaping cavalrymen.

While the pontoon bridge in Harper’s Ferry is gone, one can still visit the opening in the seawall and the ring bolts embedded in it where the bridge was anchored. Once across the river, Highway 65 still generally follows the route of the Harper’s Ferry–Sharpsburg road. One can see the place where the road rises in a steep climb to the top of Maryland Heights and picture troopers spurring their mounts up it in the dark.

At Sharpsburg, the route is lost for a while, as it is of course impossible to drive through the farmer’s fields from Sharpsburg north to near Tilghmanton. North of Tilghmanton, one picks up their path again on the old Boonsboro-Williamsport turnpike (Highway 68) at Lappans and follows it northeast to Williamsport.

Just north of Williamsport, turn onto the old Williamsport-Hagerstown turnpike (now Highway 60). A short distance to the northeast one can find the Maryland state historical marker erected on the site of the capture of Longstreet’s ammunition train.

After the capture of the wagon train, the route of the Greencastle road is most closely followed today by Highway 63 from Williamsport north to Greencastle, Pennsylvania.