Skirmish of Littlestown

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Skirmish of Littlestown
Part of Gettysburg Campaign
DateJune 30, 1863
Location39°44′31″N 77°04′37″W / 39.742°N 77.077°W / 39.742; -77.077Coordinates: 39°44′31″N 77°04′37″W / 39.742°N 77.077°W / 39.742; -77.077
Result union victory
United States USA (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
26th WI (Boebel)
2 other regiments
detachment of cavalry[1]
Geobox footnotes

The Skirmish of Littlestown was a Pennsylvania military engagement before the Battle of Gettysburg in which "a few companies of skirmishers" of Union infantry defeated a Confederate detachment of J.E.B. Stuart's Cavalry Division.[2]


On the night of June 29, 1863, the Army of the Potomac was deployed in the Pipe Creek defense in northern Maryland with cavalry divisions north of the state line at Fairfield and at Littlestown[3] (Farnsworth's Brigade [4] of Kilpatrick's Cavalry Division left Littlestown for Hanover in a light rain).[5] Stuart's Confederate cavalry had encamped just south of the Mason–Dixon line: "Before dawn on the last day of June, scouts returned with word that enemy cavalry was operating northwest of Union Mills just across the Pennsylvania line at Littletown" [sic],[6] and Stuart's forces"marched by crossroads to Hanover"--meeting the Union cavalry in the Battle of Hanover.


Behind the Confederate cavalry was Union infantry which when at Union Mills, identified a Confederate cavalry detachment at Littlestown.[2] Three brigades of the Union "Third brigade at the rear of the division" advanced through the Federal column to proceed ahead to Littlestown, where their skirmishers[when?] "brushed away"[2]/"warded off" the cavalry detachment.[7] (Also at Littlestown, Candy's Brigade of the XII Corps, 2nd Division, skirmished with Confederate Cavalry.)[8]

The 123rd NY Regiment of the Union XII Corps followed through Littlestown after 3 p.m. on June 30 [sic][verification needed] to encamp at Two Taverns, Pennsylvania, before engaging in the Battle of Gettysburg.[9]


  1. ^ perhaps a detachment of Fitzhugh Lee's brigade,[1] as the last Union cavalry from Littlestown en route to Hanover (Sixth Michigan) was attacked by Fitzhugh Lee's brigade.[2]
  2. ^ a b c History of The Third Regiment of the Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry (PDF). 1891. Retrieved 2011-10-28. William Dorsey Pender, CSA, 19th of 46 in West Point Class of 1854. Born 6 Feb 1834, severely wounded 2 Jul 1863 at Gettysburg, he died 8 Jul 1863 in Virginia. ... Thomas Casimer Devin, 10 Dec 1822 - 4 Apr 1878, it was Union cavalry under the command of Devin that kept the Confederates out of Gettysburg long enough for the Union army to arrive and force a showdown with Lee’s army. ... On the 30th we moved up across the state line to Littlestown, in Pennsylvania, about eight or nine miles southeast of Gettysburg and beyond. As we approached Littlestown a body of Confederate cavalry were in our front. The Third brigade was at the rear of the division, when it was halted; the three old regiments of the brigade were ordered to the front at double quick. The division broke ranks and cleared the road for us, as the three welltried regiments quickly and proudly advanced, and deploying a few companies of skirmishers brushed away the detachment of Stuart’s cavalry... Returning now to the Twelfth corps. It moved out from camp near Littlestown, on the morning of July 1st, to a place on the Baltimore and Gettysburg turnpike called Two Taverns. Here we halted for dinner.
  3. ^ Coddington, Edwin B (1968). The Gettysburg Campaign; a study in command (Google Books). New York: Scribner's. p. 230. ISBN 0-684-84569-5. Retrieved 2011-02-08. (Coddington footnote 100 cites "OR, XXVII, pt. 1, p. 144; pt. 3, p. 375.")
  4. ^ Rhodes, Charles Dudley (1900). History of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac: including that of the ... - Charles Dudley Rhodes - Google Books. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  5. ^ Longacre, Edward G. (2000). Lincoln's cavalrymen: a history of the mounted forces of The Army of the ... - Edward G. Longacre - Google Books. ISBN 9780811710497. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  6. ^ Bowden; Ward (2001). Last Chance For Victory (ebook @ p. 123. Retrieved 2011-11-11. Not in source: The quoted Bowden and Ward statement has the footnote number "98" which cites "OR 27, pt. 2, p. 696." However, the Official Records of the American Civil War pages 695-6 instead have a less-specific claim with a different time: "It was ascertained here that night by scouts that the enemys cavalry had reached Littlestown during the night, and encamped. Early next morning (June 30), we resumed the march dire".
  7. ^ "Confederate Strategy". The Nation. 106. Feb 7, 1918. Retrieved 2011-10-28. Warded off by Meade's cavalry [sic] at Littlestown and Hanover, and vainly searching for Lee at Carlisle, Stuart reached Gettysburg with jaded horses
  8. ^ Wittenberg, Eric J; Petruzzi, J. David (2006). Plenty of Blame to Go Around: Jeb Stuart's Controversial Ride to Gettysburg. New York: Savas Beatie. ISBN 1-932714-20-0.
  9. ^ "Littlestown Area Historical Society". Retrieved 2012-02-16.