Gaines's Crossroads

Gaines's Crossroads (HMXD3)

Location: Amissville, VA 20106 Rappahannock County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 43.14', W 78° 4.029'

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"The Animal Must Be Very Slim"

— Gettysburg Campaign —

(Preface): After Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's stunning victory at Chancellorsville in May 1863, he led the Army of Northern Virginia west to the Shenandoah Valley, then north through central Maryland and across the Mason-Dixon Line into Pennsylvania. Union Gen. George G. Meade, who replaced Gen. Joseph Hooker on Jun 28, led the Army of the Potomac in pursuit. The armies collided at Gettysburg on July 1, starting a battle that neither general planned to fight there. Three days later, the defeated Confederates retreated, crossing the Potomac River into Virginia on July 14.

On June 14, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln wrote to Union Gen. Joseph Hooker, "If the head of [Gen. Robert E.] Lee's army is at Martinsburg [present-day West Virginia] and the tail of it ? between Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere. Could you not break him?"

Here at Gaines's Crossroads "the animal"—the Army of Northern Virginia—was indeed "slim." Marching to Pennsylvania June 11-20, Lee's 70,000 infantrymen, plus artillery and supply wagons, moved in slender columns through this intersection past the Ben Venue mansion, visible just north. The Blue Ridge gaps and the security of the Shenandoah Valley lay ahead.

Many notable Confederate officers passed by here, including Lee. On June 11, Gen. Edward "Allegheny" Johnson's division of Gen. Richard S. Ewell's corps stopped while Ewell made his headquarters at Ben Venue. Gen. Jubal A. Early's division bivouacked just west and marched by here the next morning. Gen. George E. Pickett's division of Gen. James Longstreet's and Gen. W. Dorsey Pender's division of Gen. A.P. Hill's corps bivouacked here on June 16.

After the Battle of Gettysburg, Lee, Longstreet, and Hill passed through the crossroads marching south on July 23-24, and many units again camped nearby. On July 23, Col. William C. Oates's 15th Alabama Infantry cooled off in a branch of Battle Run nearby and then skirmished a mile east on the Warrenton Turnpike (present-day U.S. Route 211).
HM NumberHMXD3
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 13th, 2014 at 7:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 754986 N 4289678
Decimal Degrees38.71900000, -78.06715000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 43.14', W 78° 4.029'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 43' 8.40" N, 78° 4' 1.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5335 Lee Highway, Amissville VA 20106, US
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