White House Bridge

White House Bridge (HM4ZQ)

Location: Luray, VA 22835 Page County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 38.858', W 78° 31.873'

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Critical Crossing

— 1862 Valley Campaign —

On May 21, 1862. Confederate Gen. Thomas J."Stonewall" Jackson's Valley Army plodded northalong this road to threaten Front Royal and outflank Union Gen. Nathaniel Bank's position at Strasburg. With the addition of Gen. Richard S.Ewell's division, Jackson's command numberednearly 17,000 men and 50 guns. Philip Kauffman,a young man at the time, remembered the Confederates as they crossed the Shenandoah Riveron the White House Bridge and: "...Stonewallhimself as he ran the gauntlet, with bared head,through the marching columns of his ?foot cavalry.'His faded gray uniform with stars on the collar,his black beard and uncovered head, as he lopedby the White House on Old Sorrel, are as freshin my mind as on that day."

Jackson's Valley Army reached Front RoyalMay 23. There, aided by spy Belle Boyd, it overwhelmed Banks' 1,000-man detachment andcontinued toward Winchester to attack the mainUnion army, now in full retreat from Strasburg.Jackson's success was complete. He had defeatedand driven Banks from the Valley and alarmedthe Lincoln administration. In response to Jackson's bold moves, a two-pronged Federal advancewas to converge at Strasburg in an attempt tocut off Jackson's line of withdrawal south.

Jackson marched south to escape. TwoFederal columns followed in close pursuit—Gen.John C. Fremont on the Valley Pike and Gen.James Shields in the Page Valley. If Shields couldmarch quickly enough to overtake Jackson's forcein the main Valley. he and Fremont could uniteand attack with a superior force. To prevent thiscombination, Jackson ordered his cavalry commander, Turner Ashby, to destroy both the WhiteHouse and Columbia bridges. Ashby dispatchedCapt. Samuel Coyner's Page County Companywhich rode through "one of the most dreadfulthunderstorms" in time to burn the White HouseBridge at 4 a.m. on June 2—only one hour beforeShields' advance guard reached the swollen river.Shields, delayed for three days by the rising river,was forced to abandon his plan to join Fremontat New Market. Jackson defeated Fremont's andShields' commands separately at Cross Keys andPort Republic June 8-9.

White House Bridge takes its name fromthe small building immediately north of thepresent-day bridge. This early structure was thefirst home of pioneer Martin Kauffman. For a timeit served as a meeting house where, as a minister,Kauffman served a Mennonite congregation.
HM NumberHM4ZQ
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 16th, 2014 at 1:31am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 714847 N 4280567
Decimal Degrees38.64763333, -78.53121667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 38.858', W 78° 31.873'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 38' 51.48" N, 78° 31' 52.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3601 Lee Highway, Luray VA 22835, US
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