Third Battle of Winchester

Third Battle of Winchester (HMRX8)

Location: Winchester, VA 22603
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 13.802', W 78° 6.589'

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"One Moving Mass of Glittering Sabers"

— 1864 Valley Campaigns —

On September 19, 1864, Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah routed Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's Valley Army at the Third Battle of Winchester (also called Opequon) in the bloodiest and largest battle in the Shenandoah Valley. The opening action was several miles to the east, where opposing infantry divisions slugged it out at the mouth of Berryville Canyon and over the plain of First Woods, Middle Field and Second Woods. The crushing end of the battle began here, where about 6,000 Federal cavalrymen made one of the grandest charges in United States history along the Valley Turnpike (present-day U.S. Rte. 11).

Crossing the Opequon Creek fords early in the morning, Union Gen. Wesley Merritt's and Gen. William W. Averell's cavalry divisions probed Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge's defenses at several points. After several Federal assaults, Early readjusted his forces in the afternoon north of Winchester, folding back his line on an east-west axis. Merritt and Averell patiently waited for the right opportunity, and it finally arrived. Their cavalrymen, formed in a mile-long line three ranks deep, advanced first at a trot then charged in a furious onslaught of horses and sabers that smashed through the Confederate lines. The charge engulfed two redoubts, Star Fort and Fort Collier, as the tidal wave of blue rolled forward, sending Early's force "whirling through Winchester" in retreat. One veteran later wrote, "Winchester was the first battle in the war in which the cavalry was properly handled in cooperations with the infantry."
HM NumberHMRX8
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 13th, 2014 at 2:24am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 749475 N 4346285
Decimal Degrees39.23003333, -78.10981667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 13.802', W 78° 6.589'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 13' 48.12" N, 78° 6' 35.34" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 398 State Rte 662, Winchester VA 22603, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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