On the north side of Rock Creek, along the Harrisburg Road, sits the Josiah Benner Farm. The farm was used as a hospital for wounded from Brigadier General Francis Barlow’s 11th Corps Division, as well as a divisional field hospital for Major General Jubal Early’s Confederate Division.
The farmhouse, barn and springhouse saw action as Early’s division rolled down the Harrisburg Road toward Blocher’s Knoll. Four companies of the 17th Connecticut Infantry were deployed in and around the farm buildings, and to the right of the Harrisburg Road. These four companies constituted Barlow’s forward right flank. The remaining six companies of the 17th Ct. moved to the top of Blocher’s Knoll. Their commander, Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Fowler, was shot through the head atop the knoll. A flagpole was erected by survivors of the regiment to denote the approximate location of Fowler’s death.
The four companies at the Benner Farm were overwhelmed by Early’s attack. Brigadier General John Gordon’s Georgia Brigade and elements of Brigadier General Harry Hays’ Louisiana Brigade swept the Connecticut men from the field.
After the action died down around the farm the temporary field hospitals were erected. Barlow was taken to the shade of some trees, from the top of the knoll, by one of Early’s staff officers. Barlow was later moved by some of his captured men to the second floor of the Benner Farm.
To reach the Benner Farm, drive north from the square along Carlisle Street. At the red light at East Lincoln Avenue turn right and follow the street for two blocks. At the Y bear to the left along the Harrisburg Road, following it 1 mile from that Y. After crossing Rock Creek the farm will be on your left hand side. The farm is in possession of the National Park Service, parking is available near the barn. (This Benner farm should not be confused with the Benner’s Farm along the Hanover Road. That area will be discussed in future posts.)