Death of Lt. Meigs

Death of Lt. Meigs (HM9TB)

Location: Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Buy Virginia State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 38° 25.441', W 78° 55.32'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites

The Heavy Hand of War

— 1864 Valley Campaigns —

The death of Union Lt. John R. Meigs, near the granite marker on the hill in front of you, unleashed a firestorm of retaliation. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, erroneously told that civilian "bushwhackers" had killed Meigs, reported to Gen. U.S. Grant four days later that "for this atrocious act all the houses within an area of five miles were burned." The affected area initially was to include "Tunkerville, Bridgewater and Dayton."

On October 4-5, the 5th New York Cavalry of Gen. George A. Custer's division began displacing local families and burning their homes to the ground. Some residents went to live with more fortunate family members and friends. Others joined a 400-wagon-long train of refugees that left Harrisonburg on October 5 for the North. The Northern press noted that "the general devastation of the country has obliged the people to remove."

Ironically, most of the refugees were pacifist and antislavery Mennonites and Brethren, commonly called Dunkards or Tunkers. Union soldiers here wrote of the inhabitants' productive farms and of how well they treated the Federals. Quartermaster Sergeant Ezra Walker, of the 116th Ohio Infantry, bivouacked in Dayton, later wrote of returning to camp from one of the farms "with a bucketful of honey, one of apple butter, bread, sweet potatoes, cabbage, chickens ? a pretty good haul for one day." He also wrote that he paid for what he took. Others were not as considerate, and a great deal of looting occurred. After the war, Mennonites and Brethren went from farm to farm, rebuilding barns, mills, and - in the case of this area - houses.

Thirty-year-old Samuel Coffman had just been called to be the bishop of the Middle District of the Mennonite Church when the war began. He adhered to the strict principles of his church: adult baptism, opposition to slavery, and pacifism. In front of Confederate enrolling officers, he told his men to hide or flee rather than be conscripted into military service. His life was later threatened because he was true to his conscience.
HM NumberHM9TB
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2007
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 6th, 2014 at 11:11pm PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 681396 N 4254907
Decimal Degrees38.42401667, -78.92200000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 25.441', W 78° 55.32'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 25' 26.46" N, 78° 55' 19.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 597-599 State Rte 713, Harrisonburg VA 22801, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. What historical period does the marker represent?
  2. What historical place does the marker represent?
  3. What type of marker is it?
  4. What class is the marker?
  5. What style is the marker?
  6. Does the marker have a number?
  7. This marker needs at least one picture.
  8. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  9. Is the marker in the median?