Battle of Camp Hill
Part of War of Secession
Date 1862
Location Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
Result Confederate victory
Confederate States United States
Commanders and leaders
Robert E. Lee CSA.jpg
Army of Northern Virginia
George McClellan 34Stars.jpg
Army of the Potomac

Camp Hill is a borough in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, 2 miles (3.5 km) southwest of Harrisburg. It is part of the Harrisburg–Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 7,888 at the 2010 census.

Camp Hill in Southern Victory[]

Camp Hill was the site of the defining battle of the War of Secession. In September 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia invaded the North and was able to steal a march on Union General George McClellan's Army of the Potomac. This was due in part to McClellan's own sluggishness on the march and in part to the Union Army's Intelligence officers' failure to locate the major columns of the Army of Northern Virginia. (In fact, the Army was divided through much of the march. Had McClellan known this, and had he acted aggressively, he may well have been able to destroy Lee's army.)

Lee entered Pennsylvania and threatened Philadelphia (a campaign which later inspired Alfred von Schlieffen's own proposed plan for a German invasion of France). In desperation, McClellan made the ill-advised decision to offer Lee battle at Camp Hill.

James Longstreet held McClellan's forces in the center and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson outflanked them on the right. On McClellan's left, D.H. Hill's division under Jackson succeeded in rounding the flank. McClellan had made the disastrous choice of accepting battle in front of a river with only one bridge nearby as a line of retreat. Once Jackson's artillery were far enough forward they shelled the bridge, cutting off all possibility of Union escape.

It was the victory at Camp Hill that caused Britain and France to grant recognition to the CSA. With this development, the Union agreed to Confederate independence soon after, ending the war.[1]

In 1941, to underscore the gravity of the situation facing his country, US US President Al Smith chose Camp Hill as the location from which he broadcast to the nation the news that CS President Jake Featherston had sent troops into the recently reoccupied state of Kentucky, in violation of the agreement the two had signed in Richmond the year before.


  1. American Front, pgs. 3-9, HC.