Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Cavalry Charge at Fort Collier
The shocking impact of the great charge and capture of Fort Collier unhinged Early’s entire line of battle. Confederate troops streamed south through the streets of Winchester, Confederate artillery continued firing from Star Fort, slowing the Federal pursuit; a few regiments made a brief stand at Mt. Hebron Cemetery, enabling Early to withdraw his tired and battered forces to Fishers Hill, above Strasburg. Except for a few brief hours at the Battle of Ceder Creek, one month later, the Confederates had lost both the initiative and the ability to defend the Shenandoah Valley.
The Confederates in the fort were in a hopeless position. There were too many horsemen, coming in too many waves for any defender to have a chance. But the gunners and infantrymen stayed at their positions, fighting until the end. When Union infantry reached the fort, they found no living defenders, but only “their abandoned artillery [2 guns] which had done so much damage...hissing hot with action, with their miserable rac-a-bone horses attached.”
Dudley L. Vaill
The County Regiment
2nd Connecticut Vol. Heavy Artillery
Just before reaching Fort Collier, Federal cavalry shattered three small infantry regiments under command of Colonel George S. Patton, grandfather of the famous General Patton of the Second
“Custer led it, boot to boot...the enemy’s line broke into a thousand fragments under the shock.”
General Wesley Merrit
Commander, 1st Cavalry Div.
Army of the Shenandoah
Colonel Patton’s regiments were beyond the fort, with the cavalry bearing down on them. “For the first time I saw a division of infantry, or what was left of one, form a hollow square to resist cavalry.”
Henry Kyd Douglas
Confederate Staff Officer
“I never saw such a sight in my life as that of the tremendous force, the flying banners, sparkling bayonets, and flashing sabres moving from the north and east upon the left flank and rear of our army.”
An Unknown Confederate Soldier
“Boys, look at that! We did look and saw a sight to be remembered a lifetime. In solid columns, with drawn sabres flashing in the sun, and without firing a shot came a brigade of troopers like a thunder clap out of a clear sky.”
8th Regiment Vermont Volunteers.
Erected by Shenandoah at War / The Knowledge Point.
Location. 39° 12.116′ N, 78° 9.187′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) and Brooke Road (County Route Click for map. Located on the north side of the walking loop around Fort Collier, in the Fort Collier Civil War Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 922 Martinsburg Pike, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Collier (within shouting distance of this marker); Lt. Collier’s Earthworks (within shouting distance of this marker); Third Battle of Winchester (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Fort Collier (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Collier (about 600 feet away); George Washington in Winchester (about 600 feet away); 2nd Battle of Winchester (approx. 0.2 miles away); 3rd Battle of Winchester (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. The marker has a map detailing the tactical unit positions described in the text. Portraits of Colonel George S. Patton and General George Armstrong Custer are on the right side of the marker.
Regarding The Cavalry Charge at Fort Collier. The related markers section links the Civil War Trails marker and the four interpretive markers located at the Fort Collier Civil War Center.
Related markers. list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Fort Collier Civil War Center. The gallery contains a JPG copy of this marker. (Submitted on September 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. The Knowledge Point - Civil War Orientation Center. Background on this project hosted by the Shenandoah University. (Submitted on September 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,619 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.