Chapman's Mill

Chapman's Mill (HMKYF)

Location: Broad Run, VA 20137 Prince William County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 49.483', W 77° 42.401'

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Heart of the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap

Beginning late in 1861, the Confederate Subsistence Department used this mill for a meat curing and distribution center and surrounded it with livestock pens. On March 9, 1862, as the Confederate army evacuated northern Virginia to protect Richmond, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston ordered the destruction of two million pounds of meat stockpiled here to prevent its falling into Union hands. Passing troops and local residents were allowed to take what they could, but the bulk of it went up in flames for lack of transportation.

On August 28, 1862, during the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap, the mill changed hands three times and suffered extensive damage as Confederate forces pushed their way through the gap from the west. Skirmishers from both armies alternately gained the mills upper windows and fired on their adversaries. Confederate Gen. James Longstreet's wing defeated Union Gen. James B. Rickett's smaller division here. This victory enabled Longstreet's wing to unite with that of Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson near Manassas Junction, where Gen. Robert E. Lee subsequently defeated Union Gen. John Pope in the Second Battle of Manassas.

The Beverley family restored the mill by 1878, and it remained in operation under successive owners until 1951. An arson fire in 1998 reduced it once more to ruins. Chapman's Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

(Sidebar): Jonathan Chapman and his son, Nathaniel, constructed Chapman's Mill between 1737 and 1742. The mill's ideal location between the fertile Shenandoah Valley and the ports of Georgetown and Alexandria encouraged small farmers growing corn and oats to settle in the Valley instead of slaveholding plantation owners growing single crops. Capitalizing on the construction of the Manassas Gap Railroad through the gap in the 1850s, John Chapman expanded the mill from three to seven stories by 1858, making it the tallest stacked-stone building in the country. Ruined economically, physically, and emotionally by the mill's wartime destruction, Chapman suffered a mental breakdown in 1862. His family committed him in 1864 to the Western Lunatic Asylum in Staunton, where he died on December 4, 1866. His widow, Ellen Thornton Chapman, died in 1916 at the Louise Home in Washington, D.C., which William Corcoran established as a refuge for "gentlewomen" reduced by misfortune.
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 6:56pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 265027 N 4300806
Decimal Degrees38.82471667, -77.70668333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 49.483', W 77° 42.401'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 49' 28.98" N, 77° 42' 24.06" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 17405 Beverley Mill Dr, Broad Run VA 20137, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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