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Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Third Battle of Winchester

 
 
Third Battle of Winchester Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 15, 2007
1. Third Battle of Winchester Marker
Inscription. September 19, 1864
Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign began in June of 1864. Until the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, he more than fulfilled General Lee’s hopes that the great success of 1862 could be repeated in 1864.

Early’s opponent, General Philip Sheridan, assumed command of the Army of the Shenandoah on August 7, 1864. By September 19 its strength was just under 40,000 men. Sheridan’s mission, entrusted to him by General Grant and President Lincoln, was to end Lee’s diversionary campaign by driving Early from the Valley and destroying what would prove to be the Valley’s last wartime harvest and all military or civilian assets that benefited the Confederacy.

Historians have compared the Valley Campaign of 1864 with Jackson’s in 1862. Both campaigns climaxed in battles at Winchester. The essential difference was in General Lee’s ability to reinforce his Valley lieutenants at the crucial moment of their campaigns. In May 1862 he could, but in September 1864, he could not. In fact on September 14, 1864, Anderson’s infantry division and an artillery battalion departed the Valley for Lee’s army at Petersburg, leaving just 15,200 men to oppose Sheridan.

Sheridan learned of the departure of these troops from information furnished by a resident of Winchester. More importantly,
Close Up View of Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 15, 2007
2. Close Up View of Map
he learned from his own cavalry patrols north of Winchester that Early had finally made an error: immediately following Anderson’s departure from the Valley, Early unwisely divided his forces. Leaving only General Ramseur’s small division east of Winchester, guarding the Berryville Pike. Early moved three remaining divisions north, in the direction of the main line of the B & O Railroad at Martinsburg. Sheridan immediately prepared to attack. Sheridan’s plan was to destroy Ramseur’s division east of Winchester while crossing most of his cavalry over the Opequon downstream (north) of his Berryville Pike crossing. While his cavalry congregated at Stephenson’s Depot near the Valley Pike, his infantry would face north and defeat each of Early’s divisions as they hastened back to save Ramseur.

The battle that raged from dawn to dusk on September 19 was the biggest and bloodiest of the battles in the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan’s plan miscarried. Ramseur’s division eluded destruction, falling back on Winchester. Rhodes’ and Gordon’s divisions reinforced him quickly. In fact, Confederate counterattacks near the Berryville Pike came close to shattering Sheridan’s far larger force. In mid-afternoon, an audacious plan to turn Early’s left, then anchored at the Hackwood Farm east of here, narrowly failed; the battle seemed to be a bloody stalemate. Sheridan had one card left to play
Marker Stands at the East Edge of the Park image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 15, 2007
3. Marker Stands at the East Edge of the Park
The fort's earthworks extended out just past the marker, surrounding the house.
- his cavalry, concentrated around Stephenson’s Depot. There were few Confederate forces in Fort Collier, now the anchor of the last Confederate line of battle. The open fields, bisected by the Martinsburg Pike and stretching from Stephenson to Fort Collier, were idea terrain for large cavalry operations. After a long and bloody day of fighting, with the sun setting in a reddening sky, six Federal cavalry brigades began the advance up to the Martinsburg Pike toward Fort Collier. The battle hung in the balance.
 
Erected by Shenandoah at War / The Knowledge Point.
 
Location. 39° 12.066′ N, 78° 9.181′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) and Brooke Road (County Route 1322), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located on the east side of the walking loop around Fort Collier, in the Fort Collier Civil War Center. To the rear of the Stine House. 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); The Cavalry Charge at Fort Collier (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lt. Collier’s Earthworks
From Fort Collier Looking East image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 15, 2007
4. From Fort Collier Looking East
In the distance, beyond the line of sight and on the other side of present day Interstate 81, is Hackwood Park, a prominent landmark in the middle phases of the battle. Confederate forces fell back through what is now the industrial park seen in the background, closely pursued by Federals.
(about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Collier (about 500 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 (about 800 feet away); 3rd Battle of Winchester (about 800 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
 
More about this marker. The marker displays portraits of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. A map illustrates the unit positions and movements discussed in the text.
 
Regarding Third Battle of Winchester. 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. Click here for a 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 1,566 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 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.
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