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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Stephens City in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Newtown

Burnings and Hangings

 

—1864 Valley Campaign —

 
Newton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
1. Newton Marker
Inscription. As the Federal army attempted to conquer and hold the Valley in 1864, its lines of supply and communication were extended and became susceptible to attack by bands of Confederate partisans.

On May 24, 1864, under orders from Union Gen. David Hunter, three residences in Newtown (now Stephens City) were burned in retaliation for shots fired at a wagon train the evening before.

Five days later, Confederate Major Harry Gilmor’s 2nd Maryland Battalion attacked 16 wagons and their guards at the north end of the village and captured the entire train and 40 prisoners. Two wagons were overturned at the crossing of Stephen’s Run, just south of here.

The following day, Col. John S. Mosby’s Rangers ambushed another heavily guarded Union wagon train just south of Newtown causing a general flight back through the village. One Federal soldier captured during the rout was brought to Newtown, given his final breakfast on horseback, and executed. The words “shot for barn burning” were written with a piece of charred wood on the plaster wall above his head.

On May 31, Hunter ordered a detachment of the 1st New York (Lincoln) Cavalry back to Newtown to “burn every house, store, and outbuilding in the place.” While in route, Union Maj. Joseph K. Stearns and his fellow officers discussed whether to carry
South Entrance to Stephens City image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 25, 2007
2. South Entrance to Stephens City
out the order in light of Gilmor’s posted notice at Hull’s store in Newtown that prisoners held by him would be hanged if Hunter’s orders were followed. Many citizens of the community took the oath of allegiance to the United States hoping to save their homes. Stearns decided not to carry out Hunter’s order and the town was spared.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 4.753′ N, 78° 13.291′ W. Marker is in Stephens City, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Valley Pike (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Located at the southern entrance to Stephens City. Marker is in this post office area: Stephens City VA 22655, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Stephens City (approx. one mile away); House of First Settler (approx. 2.3 miles away); First Battle of Winchester (approx. 2.9 miles away); Second Battle of Winchester (approx. 2.9 miles away); End Of Sheridan’s Ride (approx. 3 miles away); Battle of Cedar Creek
Newtown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 13, 2014
3. Newtown Marker
on the Valley Pike (US 11) with I-81 in the distance.
(approx. 3.6 miles away); Defenses of Winchester (approx. 3.8 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cedar Creek (approx. 3.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Stephens City.
 
More about this marker. A painting depicting the ambush of a wagon train is on the right half of the marker.
 
Also see . . .  Newtown in the Civil War. (Submitted on September 3, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Welcome to Stephens City, Established 1758 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 13, 2014
4. Welcome to Stephens City, Established 1758
Action at Newtown, May 1864 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 13, 2014
5. Action at Newtown, May 1864
Close-up of image on marker
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,533 times since then and 32 times this year. Last updated on , by Jonathan Carruthers of Bealeton, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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