Mill Creek Church

Mill Creek Church (HMALX)

Location: Port Republic, VA 24471 Rockingham County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 20.252', W 78° 49.193'

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War Strikes Peaceful Homes and Fields

This church, Mill Creek Church of the Brethren, stands on the site of an antebellum house of worship that, during the Battle of Cross Keys on June 8, 1862, was used as a hospital. Amputated arms and legs were dropped outside from a window and piled up until they finally reached the sill. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson came here and asked a wounded staff officer about the progress of the battle.

On September 30, 1864, this became the center of a wide area in which barns and mills were destroyed by order of Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan to deny food to the Confederate army. Brethren Church members had farmed here since the 18th century. They were called "Dunkers" because of their belief in adult baptism. Their articles of faith forbade them from taking another man's life, holding slaves, or rebelling against established authority. After Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861, young men who could not prove that they had been members of the church before that date were liable for military service. Some who attempted to flee the state were captured and imprisoned in Richmond. The state and then the Confederate government eventually passed temporary exemption acts. Dunkers and other conscientious objectors were excused from service if they confirmed their church membership and paid a fee of fine. Late in 1864, as Southern enlistments declined, the act was discontinued. Throughout the war, Brethren farmers who refused to sell their produce to army agents were in danger of having their goods confiscated, thereby handicapping their operations. They were prodigious cultivators of the land, as they are today, and helped make the Shenandoah Valley the "breadbasket of the Confederacy."
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByShenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and Virginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 6th, 2014 at 1:13pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 690538 N 4245515
Decimal Degrees38.33753333, -78.81988333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 20.252', W 78° 49.193'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 20' 15.12" N, 78° 49' 11.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 7809 Port Republic Rd, Port Republic VA 24471, US
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