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

Somerville Heights

A “most terrific fire from the enemy"

 

—1862 Valley Campaign —

 
Somerville Heights Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 4, 2008
1. Somerville Heights Marker
Inscription. Early in May 1862, Gen. Stonewall Jackson moved most of his army east over the Blue Ridge toward Charlottesville, leaving Gen. Richard S. Ewell's division at Conrad's Store (present day Elkton) to hold the Federals in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union commanders suspected that Jackson was en route to Richmond. They did not know, however, that he had turned back on May 3 and four days later was west of Staunton. On May 8, he defeated Federal forces at the Battle of McDowell.

During the period of uncertainty, Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan, guarding nearby Columbia Bridge, ordered Col. Robert S. Foster's 13th Indiana Infantry to reconnoiter here to "burned bridge" (Red Bridge) on the morning of May 7. After marching 2 1/2 miles past Honeyville, Foster encountered Gen. Richard Taylor's Louisiana brigade and supporting Virginia cavalry. Driving the Confederates back to Dogtown, Sullivan retired to Columbia Bridge again the next morning.

Meanwhile, a company of Vermont cavalry, instead of bringing up the Federal rear, stumbled into the "reserve of the enemy" farther upriver. Foster's regiment quickly countermarched and engaged Confederate forces near here "for a half-hour under a most terrific fire." Ultimately, the Vermonters were able
Somerville Heights Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Robert H. Moore, II
2. Somerville Heights Marker
to swim the Shenandoah River to safety.

The engagement left 29 Federals killed, wounded, captured, and missing. Confederate losses included at least two killed and an unspecified number captured.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 31.626′ N, 78° 35.692′ W. Marker is in Grove Hill, Virginia, in Page County. Marker is at the intersection of Grove Hill River Road (County Route 650) and Crooked Run Road (County Route 603), on the right when traveling west on Grove Hill River Road. Click for map. Located at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Marker is in this post office area: Shenandoah VA 22849, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Burning of Red Bridge (here, next to this marker); Execution of Summers and Koontz (approx. 2.5 miles away); Catherine Furnace (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Stevens Cottage 1890 (approx.
Operations Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, October 4, 2008
3. Operations Map
3.2 miles away); Shenandoah Iron Works (approx. 3.3 miles away); Shield's Advance & Retreat (approx. 4.4 miles away); History of Verbena (approx. 4.4 miles away); Graves’ Chapel (approx. 6.7 miles away).
 
More about this marker. In the lower left of the marker is a photo of The Rube Kite House, built ca. 1844, was better known as a general store and saloon. On the right are portraits of Ewell, Sullivan, Foster, and Taylor. A map of the operational area, showing key points in the surrounding area, is in the upper right.
 
Regarding Somerville Heights. This marker is one of several detailing Civil War activities in Page County, Virginia. Please see the Page County Civil War Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .
1. Page County Civil War Markers. (Submitted on February 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia. (Submitted on March 20, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Markers at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain
4. Markers at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing
On the left is The Burning of Red Bridge and on the right is Somerville Heights.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,618 times since then and 99 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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