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Bee Line March

In June 1775, the Continental Congress ordered the formation of two companies of Virginia riflemen to march to the aid of George Washington’s forces at Boston. Washington recommended that Hugh Stephenson and Daniel Morgan command the two companies. Stephenson raised his company in the Shepherdstown area, while Morgan raised his around Winchester. As the companies were being raised, a rivalry ensued between the two commanders. Each wanted the privilege of leading the way, an honor to be given to the first to fill his company. Within a week both companies were filled, and after six weeks of preparation both were ready and eager to get to Boston. Stephenson and Morgan agreed that the two companies would rendezvous at nearby Frederick, Maryland, and march together to Boston. Stephenson arrived at Frederick only to find that Morgan, wanting to arrive at Boston first, had stolen a day’s march. Stephenson’s 98-man company left on July 17 and attempted to overtake their rivals, often marching 30 to 36 miles in a day, but were unable to do so. After marching 600 miles in 24 days, Stephenson’s riflemen arrived at Cambridge, Massachusetts, and were placed in the defense of Roxbury. Morgan had arrived five days before. The extraordinary journey of the Virginians became known as the Bee Line March.

Written by Lee R. Maddex


  1. Bushong, Millard Kessler. Historic Jefferson County. Boyce, VA: Carr Pub., 1972.

  2. Dandridge, Danske. Historic Shepherdstown. Charlottesville: Michie Pub., 1910.