The Bridges

The Bridges (HM1CK)

Location: Front Royal, VA 22630 Warren County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 56.515', W 78° 11.654'

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"Torch the Bridges!"

— Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —

Flanked out of his position on Richardson's Hill, Union Col. John R. Kenly hurried his command north to the bridges spanning the forks of the Shenandoah River. At this spot on the South Fork stood the Front Royal Turnpike Bridge, and the Manassas Gap Railroad bridge was located just east. Another bridge led over the North Fork.

As the Federals crossed the bridges, the 1st Maryland Infantry (CSA) pressed the Union rear and the Louisianans attacked the flanks. Kenly's troops burned their tents and supplies, as well as Kenly's headquarters at the Vannort house to the west. Kenly ordered the bridges burned to thwart the Confederate pursuit. He also deployed the 5th New York Cavalry and his cannons on Guard Hill, across the forks, to protect his retreat route.

The Federal attempt to burn the bridges failed when the Louisianans, led by Gen. Richard Taylor, charged into the flames to beat them out.

The North Fork Bridge was damaged enough, however, that it and the cannon and musket fire from Guard Hill slowed the Confederate crossing. The Federal advantage evaporated when Lt. Col. Thomas S. Flournoy's 6th Virginia Cavalry swam the rain-swollen river and formed for the pursuit.

(Lower Left Sidebar): Medal of Honor at Front Royal
Although Col. John R. Kenly ordered the bridges over the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River to be burned, the Confederates succeeded in putting out the flames. Thanks to the determination of Sgt. William Taylor, Co. H, 1st Maryland Infantry (USA), however, Kenly's goal was partially accomplished. Taylor was painfully wounded in the process, but he single-handedly destroyed enough of the North Folk Bridge that the Southerners could not use it. On Aug. 2, 1897, Taylor received the nation's highest award for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for his courage above and beyond the call of duty at Front Royal.
HM NumberHM1CK
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 9:23am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 743175 N 4314075
Decimal Degrees38.94191667, -78.19423333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 56.515', W 78° 11.654'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 56' 30.90" N, 78° 11' 39.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2098 N Royal Ave, Front Royal VA 22630, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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