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

McNeillís Rangers

“Hurah for McNeal”

 
 
McNeillís Rangers CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2010
1. McNeillís Rangers CWT Marker
Inscription. Harrisonburg is associated with the exploits of McNeillís Rangers, a famous Confederate partisan unit. In 1862, John Hanson McNeill, a native of Hardy County in present-day West Virginia, recruited men for Co. E, 18th Virginia Cavalry. With McNeill as captain, the unit entered Confederate service on September 5, 1862, as partisan rangers under Gen. John Imbodenís nominal command.

McNeilIís Rangers attacked Federal camps, raided railroads, and seized Union supplies. Early in March 1863, McNeiIl and his men rode into Harrisonburg with captured “horses and harness,” which he auctioned off at the courthouse for $36,000. A local resident noted in his diary, “A good haul donít you think hurah for McNeal.”

On the morning of October 3, 1864, McNeiII attacked Federal troops in Mount Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. Seriously wounded, McNeiII ordered his men to leave him at a nearby house. He was rescued from captivity a few days later and brought to Hillís Hotel, which was located to your left on the corner of Main and Water Streets. He died there on November 10, and his son, Lt. Jesse C. McNeiII, took command of the Rangers.

Young McNeill orchestrated the Rangersí greatest coup. On February 21, 1865, the unit kidnapped Union Gens. George Crook and Benjamin F. Kelley from a hotel in Cumberland,
Massanutten Regional Library on S Main St image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 27, 2010
2. Massanutten Regional Library on S Main St
Maryland. Crook had come there late in 1864 to command the Department of Western Virginia. The Rangers quickly returned to Virginia and, in a snowstorm, brought the generals here and treated them to “a hearty breakfast at Hills Hotel.” Crook and Kelley were soon exchanged. The Rangers continued to operate until they surrendered on April 24, 1865.

(sidebar)
The capture of Union Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley may have been especially satisfying to Lt. Jesse C. McNeill. In 1863, McNeillís mother, sister, and young brother were arrested under Kelleyís orders and confined briefly in Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio. The arrest was a futile attempt to intimidate Capt. John H. McNeill.
 
Erected 2010 by Virginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 38° 26.863′ N, 78° 52.133′ W. Marker is in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Marker is on South Main Street (U.S. 11) 0.1 miles north of East Bruce Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 174 South Main Street, Harrisonburg VA 22801, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker
Capt John H. McNeill image. Click for full size.
3. Capt John H. McNeill
. Hardesty-Higgins House (within shouting distance of this marker); Warren-Sipe House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Big Spring (about 600 feet away); Confederate General Hospital (about 600 feet away); Harrisonburg (about 600 feet away); Court Square & Springhouse (about 700 feet away); The Woodbine Cemetery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rockingham County World War I Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Harrisonburg.
 
More about this marker. On the lower left is a "You Are Here" map of downtown Harrisonburg.

On the lower left are portraits of "Gen. George Crook"
Courtesy Rick Wolfe and "Gen. Benjamin F. Kelley" Courtesy Library of Congress

On the right is a portrait of "Capt. John H. McNeill" Courtesy Rick Wolfe

On the upper right is a photo of "Hillís Hotel (renamed Revere House; demolished 1905), 1875 photo" Courtesy Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .
1. Civil War Trails in Harrisonburg & Rockingham County. (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. Virginia Civil War Trails - Harrisonburg and area
Gens. Crook and Kelley image. Click for full size.
4. Gens. Crook and Kelley
. Civil War Traveler (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

3. The McNeill Rangers: A Study in Confederate Guerrilla Warfare. West Virginia Archives and History, West Virginia Division of Culture and History (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

4. Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. (Submitted on December 28, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Hill's Hotel image. Click for full size.
5. Hill's Hotel
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,606 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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