|The burned bridge with Harper's Ferry in the background|
|The same bridge pillars today|
Harper's Ferry was a very strategic point in the Civil War. It was at the junction of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, and it is at the head of the Shenadoah Valley. It changed hands eight times during the Civil War. It was abandoned by the Union troops and occupied by Johnston, and now he was retreating in the face of Patterson's superior forces.