Rector's Crossroads

Rector's Crossroads (HM17A)

Location: Marshall, VA 20115 Fauquier County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 58.534', W 77° 48.471'

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They Did Their Job

— Gettysburg Campaign —

(Preface): After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, he led the Army of Northern Virginia west to the Shenandoah Valley, then north through central Maryland and across the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. Union Gen. George G. Meade, who replaced Gen. Joseph Hooker on June 26, led the Army of the Potomac in pursuit. Their armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle that neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14.

In 1863, the Ashby's Gap Turnpike bisected Rector's Crossroads (modern-day Atoka), to your left. The hamlet became a hotbed of activity as Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart screened Gen. Robert E. Lee's forces, moving north in the Shenandoah Valley, from the Federals. On the morning of June 21, the day's fighting began two ridgelines east of here, to your right. After Union cavalry, along with Col. Strong Vincent's infantry brigade, drove Stuart westward from the first ridge and then the second, Stuart established his third position west of Goose Creek Bridge, just west of Rector's Crossroads. He detached a rear guard of 200 troopers under Capt. Angus P. Brown, 1st South Carolina Cavalry, to delay the Federals here while the rest of Stuart's men crossed the narrow span. Brown's men skirmished briefly near here before falling back to the high ground on your left. Holding off the Federals until ordered to retire, Brown and several of his men were wounded, but they did their job, enabling Stuart to establish a strong position across the bridge. On June 24, Stuart returned here and met with Maj. John Singleton Mosby to discuss Stuart's route across the Potomac River, to begin what would become his much-debated ride to Gettysburg.

(Sidebar): In the parlor of the stone house to your far left, on June 10, 1863, Confederate Maj. John S. Mosby first wrote orders for his famous 43rd Battalion, Partisan Rangers, while his men waited in a grove nearby. Years after the war, Mosby knocked at the door and asked Mrs. Rector if he could sit in the parlor for a few minutes. When she later returned, she saw tears running down his cheeks. Mosby seldom attended Ranger reunions, as he found them emotionally wrenching.
HM NumberHM17A
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 1:43pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 256759 N 4317815
Decimal Degrees38.97556667, -77.80785000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 58.534', W 77° 48.471'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 58' 32.04" N, 77° 48' 28.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1461 Atoka Rd, Marshall VA 20115, US
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