The following is a post by Valentine Brkich, RMU senior writer, who along with 27 other RMU staff members, students, alumni, and friends, is taking part in a 300-mile bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Over the next four days, leading up to and in honor of Memorial Day, Val will be writing about each stop along the way and its connection to the Civil War, which began 150 years ago…
Ohio Pyle (Pa.) to Cumberland (Md.)
Today my fellow RMU colleagues and I pedaled our way to Cumberland, Md., along the former towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which had its western terminus here. The city itself was built on the site of Fort Cumberland, which served as the starting point for British General Edward Braddock's ill-fated attack on Fort Duquesne (present-day Pittsburgh) during the French and Indian War.
The Battle of Folck's Mill, also known as the Battle of Cumberland, was a small cavalry battle fought August 1, 1864, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the Civil War.
After burning Chambersburg, Pa., on July 30, Confederate Gens. Bradley T. Johnson and John McCausland led their cavalry brigades towards Cumberland to disrupt the B&O Railroad. On August 1, Union Brig. Gen. Benjamin Kelly, leading a small force of soldiers and citizens, ambushed the Rebel cavalrymen near Folck’s Mill, just outside of town. After several hours of fighting, the Confederates were forced to withdraw. In the end, Kelley's stand saved the town of Cumberland and prevented further damage to the all-important railroads.
Check back tomorrow as we ride further down the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath to Hancock, Maryland…