Asbury Chapel

Asbury Chapel (HM1U6)

Location: Front Royal, VA 22630 Warren County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 52.839', W 78° 14.798'

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"1st Maryland to the Front!"

— Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —

Early on the morning of Friday, May 23, 1862, Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson paused here at Asbury Chapel well in advance of his 16,000-man army. Although he was familiar with the main roads to Front Royal, Jackson knew that the terrain through which they passed would restrict his troop-deployment options. He also wanted to find a route concealed from his Union adversary at Strasburg, Gen. Nathaniel Banks, who still thought Jackson was in the main part of the Shenandoah Valley to the west of the Massanutten Mountain. In fact, the Confederate army stretched for twelve miles south of here on the Lurray and Front Royal Turnpike (present-day U.S. 340), which passed the western side of the church in 1862.

Jackson noticed Col. Isaac King, a church leader, sitting on a fence here. King informed Jackson that Lt. Samuel J. Simpson, a Warren County native, was in his army and knew the area like a book. Simpson soon arrived and told Jackson that a road just south of the church (today's Rocky Lane) led northeast to Gooney Manor Road (now Browntown Road) and Front Royal, with good ground for deployment.

Jackson ordered the 1st Maryland to the front to lead his army as it veered off the turnpike onto Rocky Lane. He also sent Col. Turner Ashby ahead to cross the Shenandoah River at McCoy's Ford and ride west to Buckton Station on the Manassas Gap Railroad. His orders were to cut communications between Front Royal and Strasburg. The attack on Front Royal had begun.

After winning a battle at McDowell May 8, 1862, Jackson crossed the Massanutten Mountain and marched north towards Front Royal hoping to outflank a Union army in Strasburg.

(Sidebar): Asbury Chapel (now Asbury United Methodist Church) was built in 1848 and named for Bishop Francis Asbury; who evangelized throughout the Shenandoah Valley from 1783 to 1805. During the Civil War, the congregation met irregularly, and the church was used as a hospital, probably after the Battle of Front Royal.

In 1916, the building was dismantled, revealing bloodstained floorboards. Using original materials when possible and following a similar design, the congregation completed the present structure the next year. The reconstructed church was dedicated on the fourth Sunday in October 1917.
HM NumberHM1U6
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 12:35pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 738838 N 4307136
Decimal Degrees38.88065000, -78.24663333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 52.839', W 78° 14.798'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 52' 50.34" N, 78° 14' 47.88" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7973 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Front Royal VA 22630, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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