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

Graves’ Chapel

Jackson’s Last Glimpse of the Shenandoah Valley

 
 
Graves' Chapel Civil War Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
March 31, 2007
1. Graves' Chapel Civil War Trails Marker
Inscription. On November 24, 1862, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson moved through Page County toward Fisher’s Gap to rejoin the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia, then near Fredericksburg. Jackson was in command of the newly organized Second Corps, with more than 32,000 troops.

Crossing the South Fork of the Shenandoah River at Columbia Bridge, the long columns of gray took nearly four days to move along the facing road (New Market-Gordonsville Turnpike) before exiting the Page Valley.

Private John H. Worsham of the 21st Virginia Infantry later wrote of the crossing:Near the top, as we were marching, there was a rock, and looking back and down the road, we could see six lines of our army; in one place infantry, in another artillery, in another ambulances and wagons. Some seemed to be coming towards us, some going to the right, some to the left, and some going away from us. They were all, however, climbing the winding mountain road, and following us.”

Bivouacking for the night at the nearby village of Hawksbill, Jackson resumed the march the following morning. At the top of the Blue Ridge, he was said to have looked back upon his troops and his beloved Valley that he had so staunchly defended. Less than six months later, Jackson was accidently shot by his own men and soon died from complications.
Graves’ Chapel Marker image. Click for full size.
March 31, 2007
2. Graves’ Chapel Marker
The sun is rising over the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east.
He would return to the Valley to be laid to rest in Lexington on May 15, 1863.

(Sidebar): The land for Graves’ Chapel Methodist Church was conveyed in 1860 by Paschal Graves who helped construct the New Market-Gordonsville Turnpike. During the winter of 1863-1864 the chapel served briefly as a field hospital. The two graves in front of you are testimony to the passing of Confederate troops through this area at that time. The South Carolinian died in the church-turned-hospital on two of the short benches, used in the so-called amen corner.
 
Erected by Summers-Koontz Camp #490, with help from a grant from the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 34.592′ N, 78° 29.257′ W. Marker is near Stanley, Virginia, in Page County. Marker is on Chapel Road (Virginia Route 689), on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Stanley VA 22851, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Big Meadows Lodge (approx. 4.1 miles away); Stonewall Jackson's Marches (approx. 4.6 miles away); Guarding the Past
Graves’ Chapel Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II
3. Graves’ Chapel Marker
(approx. 4.6 miles away); Jackson's Last Mountain Crossing (approx. 4.6 miles away but has been reported missing); Getting to know the air you breathe! (approx. 4.7 miles away); Skyline Drive Historic District (approx. 4.9 miles away); Civilian Conservation Corps (approx. 4.9 miles away); Iron Mike (approx. 4.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Stanley.
 
More about this marker. The marker features photos of Pvt. John Worsham and Gen. Stonewall Jackson. On the right is a map of the Shenandoah Valley depicting the route of Jackson's march and the locations of other Civil War Trails Markers.
 
Regarding Graves’ Chapel. The two graves mentioned on the marker are those of an unknown Confederate and a South Carolinian.

In March 1863, as elements of Gen. Wade Hampton's old brigade passed through the area, the church was turned into a makeshift hospital.

The unknown soldier mentioned above (from either North Carolina or Soutch Carolina and remembered by a few locals as having the last name of Litterberry or Whistleberry) did not die in the
Graves’ Chapel image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2010
4. Graves’ Chapel
church but was said to have expired under a blanket of snow overnight in a field nearby. A "man of medium build and a blond, who evidentally went to sleep on his leafy bed without complaining of any ills but died about 3 a.m." The following morning at "about 10 a.m., the regiment had moved on, but two of his cousins had been detaile to give the body proper burial." Samuel M. Larkins, a local coffin and cabinet maker, prepared a poplar coffin, stained red and jack-planed to create a finish. For a soldier, it was believed "he was buried as well, or possibly a little better than most of the soldier dead." For his work, Larkin was given $5.

The second Carolinian, William F. Bruner, was of the Wessamassaw Cavalry of Co. D, 2nd South Carolina Cavalry. Remembered as a dark complected man with a jet-black beared, Bruner was suffering from some ailment and had been brought into Graves' Chapel where he died in the church "hospital," on "two of the short benches; used in the so-called amen corner. He was buried beside the first man and in the same manner, and also by Mr. Larkins."

From pp. 87-88, "Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia," (2002) by Robert H. Moore, II

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 . . .
National Register of Historic Places Plaque image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, September 25, 2010
5. National Register of Historic Places Plaque
Graves Chapel and Cemetery, 1856, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior, says the plaque by the church door.

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
 
Headstone for the unknown Confederate soldier mentioned in the marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, circa 2001
6. Headstone for the unknown Confederate soldier mentioned in the marker
William F. Bruner's headstone image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, circa 2001
7. William F. Bruner's headstone
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on . This page has been viewed 2,949 times since then and 207 times this year. Last updated on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on .   3. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on , by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.   6, 7. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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