Battle of Manassas Gap

Description: After recrossing the Potomac River at Williamsport, Lee’s army withdrew up the Shenandoah Valley.

Meade crossed the Potomac River east of the Blue Ridge and followed Lee into Virginia. On July 23, Meade ordered the III Corps, under Maj. Gen. William. H. French to cut off the retreating Confederate columns at Front Royal by forcing passage through Manassas Gap. At first light, French began slowly pushing Walker’s Confederate brigade (Anderson’s division) back into the gap. About 4:30 pm, a strong Union attack drove Walker’s men until they were reinforced by Rodes’s division and artillery. By dusk, the poorly coordinated Union attacks were abandoned. During the night, Confederate forces withdrew into the Luray Valley. On July 24, the Union army occupied Front Royal, but Lee’s army was safely beyond pursuit.

The Battle of Manassas Gap, also known as the Battle of Wapping Heights, took place on July 23, 1863, in Warren County, Virginia, at the conclusion of General Robert E. Lee's retreat back to Virginia in the final days of the Gettysburg Campaign of the American Civil War. Union forces attempted to force passage across the Blue Ridge Mountains and attack the Confederate rear as it formed a defensive position in the upper Shenandoah Valley. Despite successfully forcing the passage at Manassas Gap, the Union force was unable to do so before Lee retreated further up the valley to safety, resulting in an inconclusive battle.