Thoroughfare Gap

Thoroughfare Gap (HM3JL)

Location: Broad Run, VA 20137 Fauquier County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 49.411', W 77° 42.653'

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A "Dark, Gloomy Cleft"

— Mosby's Confederacy and Second Manassas Campaign —

The gap to your left between Biscuit Mountain (the northern promontory of Pond Mountain) on the south and Mother Leathercoat Mountain on the north, described as "that dark, gloomy cleft" in an 1862 issue of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, was the site of several Civil War skirmishes. The most significant action, August 26-29, 1862, is described on the adjacent markers and illustrated on the map. Although technically a Confederate victory, the confrontation illustrated for the Federals the strategic importance of the gap and the rail line in the movement of troops and supplies. For the remainder of the war the Federals occupied the gap whenever Lee's infantry was thought to be in the area. In spite of Federal surveillance, Col. John Singleton Mosby and his raiders frequently camped in the area and used their intimate knowledge of the difficult terrain to stage surprise raids or evade capture.

Chapman's Mill (now Beverley's Mill), located directly across I-66, also played a role in the August 1862 action and in subsequent skirmishes. Built in 1759 and enlarged to five stories in 1858, its upper floor windows were used by sharpshooters from both sides to attack or defend the pass. The mill survived the 1862 action with only minor damage but by 1864 it was little more than a shell. Mill owner John Chapman filed suit against the U.S. to recover $5,194.59 for damage suffered in July and October 1863, which rendered the mill inoperable and destroyed the business. Chapman never recovered from his losses. He was committed by his family to the lunatic asylum in 1864 and died in 1866. The mill was bought and restored in 1870 by Col. Robert Beverley and continued in operation until 1951.

Sidebar under picture: A view of the gap, looking west, as it appeared in the late 1800s with the mill in the clef, the original farm-to-market road through the gap on the left and the rail line on the right. (Photo courtesy of the Manassas National Battlefield Park)

Sidebar under map: Map courtesy of Terrence Haney, Cartographer, and Civil War, The Magazine of the Civil War Society, Berryville, Virginia.
HM NumberHM3JL
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 1:59pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 264658 N 4300684
Decimal Degrees38.82351667, -77.71088333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 49.411', W 77° 42.653'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 49' 24.66" N, 77° 42' 39.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 17588-17680 VA-55, Broad Run VA 20137, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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