“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Frederick County Courthouse

Witness to War

Frederick County Courthouse Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 26, 2007
1. Frederick County Courthouse Marker
Inscription. During the Civil War, the Union and Confederate armies each used the Frederick County Courthouse as a hospital and a prison.

Cornelia McDonald, a local citizen, nursed the wounded here after the First Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862. She later wrote, “I went to the court house; the porch was strewed with dead men. Some had papers pinned to their coats telling who they were. All had the capes of their coats turned over to hide their still faces; but their poor hands, so pitiful they looked and so helpless. ... Soon men carried them away to make room for others who were dying inside.”

Sgt. Henry Peck was one of 63 soldiers of the 118th Pennsylvania Infantry (The Corn Exchange Regiment) captured at the Battle of Shepherdstown (in present-day West Virginia) on September 20, 1862, and briefly imprisoned here. Peck later wrote, “In Winchester we were consigned to the court-house and the inclosure between it and the street. There were already in the these precincts a crowd of some 300 rebels, stragglers, conscripts and the riff-raff a provost-guard can pick up—a miserable lot—who did not fraternize with our men, and who were so filthy in clothing and habits that our men remained of choice in the open yard without tents or blankets, even during the nights of hoarfrost, to avoid contact
Union Graffiti<br>On an interior Courthouse wall. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2015
2. Union Graffiti
On an interior Courthouse wall.
To Jeff Davis
May he be set afloat
Boat without compass or rudder
Then that any contents be swallowed
By a shark the shark by a whale
Whale in the Devil's Belly and the
Devil in Hell the gates locked the key lost
And further
May he be put in the North West
Corner with a South East wind blowing
Ashe's in his eyes to all
Close-up of photo on marker
with those in the court-house, which we were otherwise free to occupy.”

(Sidebar): The Greek Revival-style Frederick County Courthouse, designed by Baltimore architect Robert Cary Long, Jr., was completed in 1840. It was the third on this location. In 1758, the first courthouse was the site of George Washington’s first election to office, when voters here elected him a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 39° 11.064′ N, 78° 9.92′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker is on Loudoun Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located on the Old Town Mall, which is blocked off to vehicles. Marker is at or near this postal address: 20 North Loudoun Street, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lord Fairfax (a few steps from this marker); Taylor Hotel (a few steps from this marker); Colonel James Wood (within shouting distance of this marker); A View of Winchester in 1745 - The Four Public Lots (within shouting distance of
Frederick County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 26, 2007
3. Frederick County Courthouse
this marker); George Washington's Political Career Began on this Site (within shouting distance of this marker); Jacob H. Yost Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Second Battle of Winchester (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Rouss City Hall Historical Tour (about 400 feet away); The Godfrey Miller Home (about 400 feet away); Winchester (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. A drawing on the left is captioned, “James Taylor sketch of Confederate prisoners held outside the courthouse after the Third Battle of Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864.” On the right is a picture showing where, “A Union prisoner inscribed graffiti on an interior courthouse wall.”
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Winchester and Frederick County, Virginia Civil War Markers.
Also see . . .
1. Old Court House Civil War Museum. The courthouse now houses the Winchester-Frederick
Frederick County Courthouse Weathervane image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 18, 2015
4. Frederick County Courthouse Weathervane
“The metal fish with inscription of 1840 that has been on the courthouse weathervane at least since 1862 may have topped the second courthouse or was created for the new courthouse. It is clearly depicted in the earliest image of the courthouse, a drawing done by James E. Taylor in 1862. ” -- National Register Form.
County Civil War Museum. (Submitted on September 23, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Frederick County Courthouse (pdf file). National Register Form, 2001. (Submitted on January 26, 2016, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,703 times since then and 171 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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