Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Battle of Rutherford's Farm
As Union Gen. William W. Averell’s Union cavalry and infantry division advanced south from Martinsburg, W.Va., pursuing Early, the Confederate general ordered Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur’s division to block the roads north of Winchester. About 4 P.M. on July 20, Ramseur heard fighting on the Martinsburg and Winchester Turnpike (now U.S. Route 11) and immediately marched his men here. Believing he outnumbered the Federals, Ramseur decided to attack, contrary to Early’s orders. Ramseur posted Gen. William Lewis’s brigade in front of you and Gen. Robert Johnston’s brigade behind you and advanced north. The Federals launched a sudden attack across Susan P. Carter’s farm, crumpling Lewis’s line. A North Carolinian wrote, “This was the first time the Yankees saw my back, but it was run or die and of course we preferred the former.” The Confederates raced past here to Winchester, losing 300 men and four artillery pieces captured. Ramseur wrote that he was “deeply mortified at the conduct of my troops”
The Union victory here at Rutherford’s Farm boosted Federal morale after a string of defeats. Early withdrew south of Winchester to Fisher’s Hill near Strasburg, then launched a surprise attack against the Federals at Kernstown just four days after the fight here.
“The wounded men had been collected together at three houses in the field & most of ours, & some few of the Yankees, are at the Rutherfords. … The Surgeons were waiting for chloroform, to perform operations. There was a pile of arms & legs & feet in one corner.”
– Mary Greenhow Lee, diary, July 23, 1864
(Sidebar): Pvt. John Shanes, Co. K, 14th West Virginia Infantry, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the fight here. He charged “a Confederate fieldpiece in advance of his comrades and by his individual exertions silenced the piece.”
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 13.241′ N, 78° 7.854′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winchester VA 22603, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. Rutherford's Farm (here, next to this marker); John Rutherford's Farm (here, next to this marker); The Great Indian (and Wagon) Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hackwood Park (approx. 0.2 miles away); Action of Rutherford’s Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing); Third Battle of Winchester (approx. ¾ mile away); a different marker also named The Third Battle of Winchester (approx. ¾ mile away); The Third Battle of Winchester (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. On the lower left of the marker are portraits of Gen. William W. Averell and Gen. Stephen D. Ramseur. On the right side of the marker are two maps captioned, Jedediah Hotchkiss map, Battle of Rutherford's Farm.
Also see . . .
1. Battle Summary - Rutherford's Farm. (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
2. William W. Averell. Wikipedia Biography (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
3. Stephen D. Ramseur. Wikipedia Biography (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
4. Rutherford's Farm. CivilWarAlbum.com - includes pre-development photos. (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
5. John Shanes. Photo of Gravesite from HomeofHeroes.com (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 1,560 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on . 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.