Third Battle of Winchester Historical

Third Battle of Winchester Historical (HM1T8N)

Location: Winchester, VA 22601
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 11.16', W 78° 9.631'

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"Whirling through Winchester:" The Confederate Retreat

—1864 Valley Campaign —

About 5 P.M. on September 19, 1864, the final, chaotic stages of the Third Battle of Winchester engulfed this area. After a day of combat east and north of the city, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early's outnumbered men were flanked, broken, and forced to retreat through these streets with Union Gen. Philip Sheridan's army in hot pursuit. Sketch artist James Taylor described the "dramatic spectacle" of the "whirling mass of Gray madly pouring through the streets of Winchester amid shells shrieking and moaning their death cry."

Confederate officers attempted to hold back the Federals—and their own fleeing troops. Gen. Stephen Ramseur established defensive positions in Mount Hebron Cemetery. Resident Mary Greenhow Lee recalled that Confederate Gen. John Gordon "seized a flag & called to the running soldiers to rally & follow him. We shouted & cheered & implored the men to follow their leader, but to purpose." Even Gordon's wife, Fanny tried to stem the tide. "[She} rallied a party of near two hundred and sent them back to the field [but] the Yankee cavalry made a charge on this mob [and] went right through them," wrote Louisiana Capt. George Ring.

"I never ran so fast in all my life [and] I had good company," admitted Sgt. Sam Collier of the 2nd North Carolina. Pvt. Richard
Waldrop of the 21st Virginia wrote that, "The road was filled with fugitives." As the day ended combatant George Peyton said that he "could see Yanks by the thousands marching towards town, while cheer upon cheer rent the air." That night, Sheridan's chief of staff Col. James Forsyth reported that "we just sent them a whirling through Winchester." Control of the city had passed permanently into Union hands.

Union officers Gen. Philip Sheridan, Col. James William Forsyth, Chief of Staff Gen. Wesley Merritt, Gen. Thomas C. Devin, and Gen. George Armstrong Custer Courtesy Library of Congress

James Taylor sketch of Confederate retreat through Winchester Courtesy The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
HM NumberHM1T8N
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 1:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 745251 N 4341259
Decimal Degrees39.18600000, -78.16051667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 11.16', W 78° 9.631'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 11' 9.6" N, 78° 9' 37.86" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 247 E Fairfax Ln, Winchester VA 22601, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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