You are standing in the middle of what was once Fort Edward Johnson. Confederate soldiers built this fort in 1862 under the command of Brigadier general Edward Johnson, a career officer from Virginia.
Look to your right, and then left across the highway for what remains of the mile of trench and breastworks. They were built by Confederate soldiers to defend the Shenandoah Valley from an invasion by Union Troops marching from the west.
In the early spring of 1862, this fort was garrisoned by 3,000 troops, primarily from the 12th Georgia Regiment. Most of these troops were stationed four miles to the east at Camp Shenandoah, where there was good drinking water and pasture for their horses.
By May of 1862, General John C. Fremont's Union Army, under General Robert Milroy, was moving toward the fort from the west. "Stonewall" Jackson's Confederate Army retreated out of the Shenandoah Valley leaving a chance that the fort would be cut off from the rear by Union forces. General Johnson's troops evacuated the fort. They moved toward Staunton only to find Jackson's army had returned to Staunton in a lightening move that surprised both the Union generals, and Jackson's own staff. General Johnson's men joined Jackson's Army and marched back through the fort, which had been occupied by advance Union troops. The combined Confederate Army continued its march through these mountains on the Parkersburg Turnpike until it reached the small village of McDowell, Virginia, where the main Union Army was encamped. On May 8th "Stonewall" Jackson's Army, after suffering heavy losses, sent the Union forces into full retreat and relieved the threat to Staunton.