“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Star Fort

Guardian of Winchester

Civil War Trails Star Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
October 4, 2008
1. Civil War Trails Star Fort Marker
Inscription. Three times during the Civil War, Star Fort played a major role in the defense of Winchester. Union Gen. Robert H. Milroy’s troops began constructing the fort in January 1863 on the site of artillery emplacements Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s men had built in 1861. Milroy, a fervent abolitionist, used stone from the nearby home of U.S. Senator James Mason, author of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Star Fort commanded the Martinsville Turnpike and the Pughtown Road.

In June 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia here in his second invasion of the North. On June 14, in the Second Battle of Winchester, Confederate Gen. Richard S. Ewell’s corps spearheaded Lee’s advance, forcing Milroy into the Winchester forts. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s division captured West Fort and shelled Star Fort, which fired in return. “The guns in the Star Fort greeted them,” wrote one of Milroy’s soldiers, “with shell after shell planted among them with astonishing precision.” Milroy withdrew that night. Most of his men surrendered at Stephenson’s Depot the next day, then were held temporarily at Star Fort. A year later, on July 24, 1864, Union Gen. George Cook fought a delaying action here while retreating north after the Second Battle of Kernstown.

Star Fort figured prominently in
Close-up of Map on Marker image. Click for full size.
October 4, 2008
2. Close-up of Map on Marker
the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864, when detachments of Early’s cavalry and horse artillery held it to guard his army’s left flank. Union Col. James M. Schoonmaker’s cavalry brigade twice charged the fort, then dismounted and stormed it. Schoonmaker received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Erected 2008 by Virginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 12.409′ N, 78° 9.87′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Fortress Drive, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winchester VA 22603, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Third Battle of Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker); Constructing Star Fort (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Second Battle of Winchester (about 300 feet away); Civil War Earthworks (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Second Battle of Winchester (about 500 feet away); Lord Fairfax
Star Fort Marker image. Click for full size.
October 4, 2008
3. Star Fort Marker
(approx. ¼ mile away); Fort Collier (approx. 0.6 miles away); George Washington in Winchester (approx. 0.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. On the lower left the marker features portraits of Gen. Robert H. Milroy, Gen. Jubal A. Early and Col. James M. Schoonmaker. On the upper right of the marker is a map detailing troop movements and positions during the Second Battle of Winchester.
Regarding Star Fort. The Star Fort site is owned by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and is in first phase of the restoration and interpretation of the site. The Foundation will be implementing the plan in the coming years with the goal of having the site open to the public by 2011.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers Discussing Star Fort
Also see . . .
1. Second Battle of Winchester. Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia (National Park Service) (Submitted on October 4, 2008.) 

2. Senator James Murray Mason. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress (Submitted on October 4, 2008.) 

3. Star Fort Mangement and Interpretation Plan. (Submitted on October 4, 2008.)
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 3,221 times since then and 43 times this year. Last updated on , by Pete Skillman of Catonsville, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on . • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on January 22, 2017.
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