Summit Point Battlefield Friends Group
August 21, 1864
On August 21, 1864, thousands of Confederate infantry marched along modern-day Route 51 towards Charles Town, where Union General Philip Sheridan had 20,000 men entrenched just outside of town. Confederate Generals Robert E. Rodes and General Stephen D. Ramsuer engaged Federal pickets pushing them back through the modern-day Locust Hill community to their entrenched lines outside of Charles Town. Had Commanding Confederate General Jubal Early continued his assault, the casualties and the extensiveness of the fighting would have been far greater.
Sheridan and his men took possession of the Packette estate in the summer of 1864, placing the Packette family along with servants and guests in the basement under guard. Sheridan used the house as his headquarters. On August 21st, Early sent word that the Packette house would be shelled and any civilians in residence should be removed at once. Early positioned a cannon near the Richwood Hall House and waited at the back of the stone fence separating Locust Hill from Sulgrave residence and its grounds.
Tired of waiting, Early's troops fired a cannon ball down the chimney and blew the stove to pieces as the family was leaving the kitchen under guard. Some of the Federal soldiers dressed themselves in clothes abandoned by the ladies and appeared at the windows, hoping that General Early and his men would think that the family was still in the main house. The scam was recognized and all were killed.
As Sheridan marched Northeast to Halltown, Early attacked Sheridan's mile-and-a half long position on the hills from about 9 A.M. until dusk. In Washington at 3 P.M., an anxious Lincoln telegraphed an officer in Harpers Ferry "What news now?".