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Near Front Royal in Warren County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Guard Hill
“Oh, What an Opportunity for Artillery!”

— Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —
 
Guard Hill Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
1. Guard Hill Marker
 
Inscription. Closely pursued by the 8th Louisiana Infantry, Union Col. John R. Kenly's rear guard occupied Guard Hill just west of here. The two-gun section of Knap's Battery E, Pennsylvania Light Artillery, commanded by Lt. Charles Atwell, covered part of the peninsula between the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River as the Confederates surged toward the North Fork Bridge.

As the Confederate forces crossed the South Fork onto the peninsula, Kenly's Union troops deployed on the Winchester side of the Pike Bridge over the North Fork. The prominence of Guard Hill offered Kenly a good position to slow down the Southern advance. Atwell unlimbered his cannons on the height west of the turnpike near Dr. Kenner's home, while the Federal infantry dug in on either side of the road to combat any attempt by the Confederates crossing at the bridge.

Atwell's guns held off the commands of Col. Bradley T. Johnson and Maj. Chatham Roberdeau Wheat for almost an hour, despite being shelled by Capt. John A. Lusk's Confederate battery from Atwell's former position on Richardson's Hill. When Kenly rode forward to check the progress of his bridge-burning orders, he found "the river below the bridges ... alive with horsemen [Lt. Col. Thomas S. Flournoy's 6th Virginia Cavalry], crossing in two different places by fording." Kenly ordered a retreat,
 
Tactical Battle Map Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
2. Tactical Battle Map
 
leaving two companies of the 5th New York Cavalry as a rear guard while the infantry and artillery hastened north on the Front Royal Turnpike.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 56.976′ N, 78° 11.892′ W. Marker is near Front Royal, Virginia, in Warren County. Marker is at the intersection of Riverton Road (County Route 637) and Winchester Road (U.S. 340/522), on the right when traveling east on Riverton Road. Click for map. Located just to the west side of a public boat ramp standing at the foot of the 340/522 Highway bridge. The location is also the site of the old highway bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah. Marker is in this post office area: Front Royal VA 22630, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, as the crow flies. Guard Hill Engagement (approx. ¼ mile away); Execution of Mosby’s Men (approx. ¼ mile away); Battle of Front Royal (approx. ¼ mile away); The Bridges (approx. 0.6 miles away); Execution of Mosby’s Rangers (approx. 0.9 miles away); Richardson’s Hill (approx. 0.9 miles away); Recreational Center of Front Royal (approx. 1.2 miles away); Rose Hill (approx. 1.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Front Royal.
 
Battle of Front Royal Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
3. Battle of Front Royal
The map details Civil War sites related to the Battle of Front Royal.
 

 
More about this marker. On the left side of the marker is a drawing of the "Courtyard view of Guard Hill house." On the right side are maps showing the tactical situation described on the marker and the major points of the Battle of Front Royal. A portrait of Captain John A. Lusk of the 2nd Rockbridge Artillery is above the maps.
 
Regarding Guard Hill. This marker is one of several from a driving tour of the Front Royal Battlefield. The markers are listed in sequence on the Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Front Royal. National Parks Service summary of the battle. The action discussed on the marker is related to phase 5 of the battle summary. (Submitted on November 27, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Battle of Front Royal Virtual Tour by Markers. (Submitted on November 27, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Guard Hill Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
4. Guard Hill Marker
 
 
Guard Hill Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
5. Guard Hill
Seen from the marker location. Atwell's artillery was positioned on this high ground just beyond the bridge abutment, and covered the North Fork.
 
 
8th Louisiana Crossing Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, November 22, 2007
6. 8th Louisiana Crossing
The Louisiana soldiers crossed just down stream from the modern boat ramp. The spot was also used in August 1864 by Brig. Gen. William T. Wofford's men to retreat during the battle of Guard Hill detailed a nearby Virginia State marker.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on November 27, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,573 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 27, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
 
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