Actual photo of Banks Ford in Virginia and very similar to
Beaver Creek State Park
Original survey map of Banks Ford
Beaver Creek State Park, Memorial Day weekend 2013: Battle of Banks Ford, Virginia: The Road to Gettysburg.
As the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States heads into 1863 arguably the most important year of the war, we invite you to join us at Beaver Creek State Park as we recreate a small but significant action that occurred at this time 150 years ago.
The battle of Chancellorsville is three weeks in the past. It was a tremendous but costly victory for General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. The battered and demoralized Army of the Potomac under General Hooker has retreated to the north side of the Rappahannock River. Both armies lick their wounds and plan strategy as they eye each other across the river. General Lee has met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis during these last two weeks. Two plans are on the table. One is to keep the Army of Northern Virginia in place above Richmond and send as many troops as possible to the western theater. The second plan, and Lee’s choice is to build up the troop strength of the A.N.V. and then strike a blow into Pennsylvania. General Lee's plan wins out based on the element of surprise.
The Rappahannock winds southeast from the Blue Ridge through the Virginia Piedmont and tumbles across the fall line at Fredericksburg and flows gently into the Chesapeake Bay. At that time there were several fords between Fredericksburg and the Orange and Alexandria Railroad bridge some 30 miles to the northwest. These important fords from south to north were Banks, United States, Richard’s, Ellis, Kemper, Kelly’s and Beverly.
At the end of May General Hooker ordered General Meade to move some of his troops towards the fords to repel any Confederate probes. At the same time General Lee ordered troops to block these fords to keep probing Federal troops from either starting a major engagement or detecting the build up and movements of the Confederate forces, either of which would foil his plans to invade Pennsylvania.
At the end of May such an event took place at Banks Ford outside Fredericksburg where Confederate troops drove back probing Federal troops. The result of this small engagement prompted General Lee to begin his move north which ultimately ended at Gettysburg, PA.
Join us as we recreate this little known but very significant Battle of Banks Ford, VA., that ultimately led to the largest battle in American history... Gettysburg.