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

Mill Creek Church

War Strikes Peaceful Homes and Fields

 
 
Mill Creek Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, January 30, 2009
1. Mill Creek Church Marker
Inscription. This church, Mill Creek Church of the Brethren, stands on the site of an antebellum house of worship that, during the Battle of Cross Keys on June 8, 1862, was used as a hospital. Amputated arms and legs were dropped outside from a window and piled up until they finally reached the sill. Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson came here and asked a wounded staff officer about the progress of the battle.

On September 30, 1864, this became the center of a wide area in which barns and mills were destroyed by order of Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan to deny food to the Confederate army. Brethren Church members had farmed here since the 18th century. They were called “Dunkers” because of their belief in adult baptism. Their articles of faith forbade them from taking another man’s life, holding slaves, or rebelling against established authority. After Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861, young men who could not prove that they had been members of the church before that date were liable for military service. Some who attempted to flee the state were captured and imprisoned in Richmond. The state and then the Confederate government eventually passed temporary exemption acts. Dunkers and other conscientious objectors were excused from service if they confirmed their church membership and paid a fee of fine. Late in 1864, as Southern enlistments declined, the act was discontinued. Throughout the war, Brethren farmers who refused to sell their produce to army agents were in danger of having their goods confiscated, thereby handicapping their operations. They were prodigious cultivators of the land, as they are today, and helped make the Shenandoah Valley the “breadbasket of the Confederacy.”
 
Erected by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation and Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 20.252′ N, 78° 49.193′ W. Marker is in Cross Keys, Virginia, in Rockingham County. Marker is on Port Republic Road (Route 659), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Republic VA 24471, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battle of Cross Keys (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. one mile away but has been reported missing); Cross Keys Battlefield (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. one mile away but has been reported missing); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. one mile away but has been reported missing); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. 1.1 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cross Keys (approx. 1.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Cross Keys.
 
More about this marker. In the upper center is a photo of Mill creek Church, Civil War-era photo – Courtesy Janet Downs. On the lower left is a sketch of Young Dunkers in Sheridan’s camp seeking passes – Courtesy John Heatwole. Next to it is a portrait of Gen. Sheridan and a map of the burned area, also courtesy John Heatwole. On the right is “Shenandoah Valley, Sept. 1864," by Alfred R. Waud, showing the devastation wrought by Sheridan’s army. – Courtesy Library of Congress
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,522 times since then and 161 times this year. Last updated on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. Photo   1. 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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