2014-01-23 / Local & State

Historical Society Winter Meeting Jan. 31


Fulton County Historical Society will hold its winter general membership meeting at 7 p.m., January 31, at McConnellsburg United Presbyterian Church. The program for the evening will be a presentation by Steve M. French, author of “Imboden’s Brigade During the Gettysburg Campaign.” The meeting is open to the public.

French is a retired history teacher who spent 14 years researching Imboden’s role during this campaign, going over newspaper accounts, diaries, memoirs and traveling the roads that Imboden’s men traversed as they went from Virginia into Pennsylvania. He has also authored the book “Rebel Chronicles: Raiders, Scouts and Train Robbers of the Upper Potomac,” the monograph, “The Jones-Imboden Raid on the B&O Railroad at Rowlesburg, Virginia,” and edited “Four Years Along the Tilhance, the Civil War Diary of Elisha Manor.”

John Daniel Imboden, a native of Staunton, Va., taught school at the Virginia Institute for the Education of the Deaf, Dumb and Blind as well as practicing law in his hometown before the war. French’s book describes the initial orders from General Lee for Imboden to destroy bridges and rail tracks along the B&O Railroad and then to advance into Maryland and Pennsylvania to secure supplies. While Imboden’s Brigade was rarely involved in the heart of Lee’s movement into Pennsylvania, it played an important role in its assigned task of disrupting the Federal forces. One of the chapters is devoted to the events that transpired in Mc- Connellsburg during June 29 and 29, 1863. Imboden’s most significant contribution to the campaign, however, was the order by General Lee to guard the train of wounded Confederate soldiers in the retreat from Gettysburg. Prevented from crossing the Potomac River due to high waters, Imboden organized a defense using wagoneers and walking wounded, throwing back an attack by Union cavalry and artillery.

To find experts and information about Imboden’s efforts, French contacted historical societies along Imboden’s route from what is now Moorefield, W.Va., to McConnellsburg. Among those he called were family members of World War II Gen. George S. Patton, as Patton’s stepgrandfather, Col. George Hugh Smith, served under Imboden. He also obtained information from local historians Samuel Buterbaugh, Glenn Cordell and John Nelson.

Fulton County Heritage Days, June 14 and 15, 2014, will commemorate Imboden’s brigade’s incursion into Fulton County and the Last Confederate Bivouac above the Mason-Dixon Line just south of McConnellsburg, along with various living history and re-enactment events.

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