Battle of Hoke’s Run/Falling Waters

The Battle of Hoke’s Run (Falling Waters/Hainesville) was fought on Tuesday, July 2, 1861 between Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson and Confederate forces commanded by Col. Thomas J. Jackson in Berkeley County, West Virginia during the American Civil War. The battle was a tactical Union victory, though it allowed Confederate forces to concentrate and achieve victory at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21. Hoke’s Run resulted in 114 total casualties.

After the Commonwealth of Virginia formally seceded on May 23, 1861, Union troops moved to secure territory bordering Maryland and Washington, DC. Confederate Col. Thomas J. Jackson’s 4,000-man brigade was ordered to delay the Federal advance toward Martinsburg, then a town in Virginia (today, West Virginia). On July 2, 1861, Union Maj. Gen. Robert Patterson crossed the Potomac River with two brigades totaling approximately 8,000 men.

Jackson, who would go on to earn the nickname “Stonewall” and become one of the Confederacy’s most famous generals, deployed his men and four artillery pieces in Patterson’s path just south of Falling Waters. A brief fight erupted, Col. J. J. Abercrombie’s brigade turned Jackson’s right flank, and Jackson fell back. After two miles, Patterson broke off pursuit and ordered his men to make camp.

Though Jackson retreated and Union forces occupied Martinsburg, Jackson’s stubborn delay convinced Patterson he was outnumbered and he withdrew to Harpers Ferry several days later. Union forces lost nine killed, 17 wounded, and 50 captured to the Confederates’ 91 killed or wounded. The skirmish at Hoke’s Run allowed Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah to slip away and reinforce P.G.T. Beauregard on July 21st at the First Battle of Bull Run, which turned the tide of that battle in favor of the Confederates.

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