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West Augusta Markers
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — “… to go wee did not know where”
On April 20, 1862, the Confederate garrison left Fort Johnson to protect Staunton, and to avoid being cut off from the rear by another advancing Union Army. Lt. Pryor describes the retreat from the mountain. Camp at Westview, 7 mil N, Of Staunton My Dear Penelope, I take the opportunity this morning to let you know what weev been doing since I last wrote you. Wee were lying quietly at Camp Shenandoah. Gen. Jackson dispatched to Gen. Johnson to meet him at Harrisonburg. Johnson went in 6 . . . — Map (db m16783) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — “It was cold business”
February 23, 1862 My Dear Penelope, I write a few lines this morning to let you know that I am well & doing as well as I have since Iv been in the service. Well, Dear, wee had an alarm Friday knight about two oclock, and the way wee got around quick untwill we were all way ready was a site. The regiment formed & was ready in ten minutes. March up to the intrenchments, got in the ditches and they were hald full of snow. It was cold business, sure. I marked time for three hours to keep my . . . — Map (db m16776) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — “We had a hardscrabble up…”
Union forces now occupied Fort Johnson and were moving to capture Staunton. “Stonewall” Jackson, moving with speed and secrecy, had arrived at the foot of Shenandoah Mountain and moved west to defeat Union Generals John C. Fremont and R.H. Milroy at the Battle of McDowell two days later on May 9, 1862. Major Jedediah Hotchkiss, Jackson’s mapmaker, tells how he led an attack on Fort Johnson up the steep slopes below it: Wednesday, May 7th. The General and part of the staff . . . — Map (db m16784) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — “Wee are faring badly…”
Camp Shenandoah April 9th, 1862 My Dear Penelope, I take the opportunity this morning to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living and enjoying good health. I thought last week that it was done snowing up here, but wee are now having an awful time certain. The citazens say this is about the last snow that will be here this spring. It is sleeting now fast & sleet is about 4 inches deep now. Wee are faring badly now in tents, I assure you. Cant stay by the . . . — Map (db m16777) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — “Wee are now looking out for a fight…”
Camp Shenandoah April 18th, 1862 My Dear Penelope, I take the opportunity this evening to write you a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living &, thank God, enjoying good health. Wee are now looking out for a fight here; wee had yesterday morning an alarm. Wee had to march up to the top of the mountain about ten oclock – it was quite warm – it is four miles, I think. I never suffered so much with heat before in my life. They on the top have a signal when . . . — Map (db m16781) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — W 149 — Fort Edward Johnson
Confederate troops, the remnant of the Army of the Northwest commanded by Brig. Gen. Edward “Allegheny” Johnson, constructed this fortification about 1 Apr. 1862 to protect the Shenandoah Valley, the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy.” Federal troops briefly occupied the fort after he withdrew to West View near Staunton later that month. With Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Army of the Shenandoah, Johnson’s command confronted Union forces under Brig. . . . — Map (db m15791) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — Healing the Wounds
After surviving the Battle of McDowell, in which he lost many comrades, Lt. “Shep” Pryor was later wounded in battle near Culpepper, Virginia. He survived the war, returned to his beloved Penelope, and became Sheriff of Sumter County, Georgia. Lt. Pryor died on May 2, 1911 at the age of 82. The 12th Georgia Volunteer Infantry fought with honor in Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign and then moved on to fight with the Army of Northern Virginia, General Early’s Shenandoah Valley . . . — Map (db m16785) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — Z-110 — Highland County / Augusta CountyArea 422 Square Miles / Area 1006 Square Miles
Highland County. Formed in 1847 from Pendleton and Bath, and given its name because of its mountains. The Battle of McDowell, 1862, was fought in this county. Augusta County. Formed in 1738 from Orange and named for Augusta, Princess of Wales and mother of George III. Originally it included a large part of the middle west. President Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton. — Map (db m30389) HM
Virginia (Augusta County), West Augusta — Mountain HouseJackson's March — 1862 Valley Campaign
The Battle of McDowell began three miles to the southeast (near the intersection of Routes 629 and 716) when Confederates were fired upon by Union cavalry on May 7, 1862. After skirmishing, Federals rushed to the base camp here, sounding the alarm as they rode through. A Northern cavalryman wrote, “Our company was the only company in the fight. They were the furthest company out – five miles beyond Shenandoah Mountain. They were cut off by Johnson’s force, and the only way they had . . . — Map (db m62920) HM
Virginia (Highland County), West Augusta — “... tolerable well fortified”
My Dear Penelope Wee are now tolerable well fortified; got 12 pieces of cannon and places all fixed for the men to shoot from; that is, fortifications for cannon with openings to shoot through so the men can man the cannon and not be exposed to the enemy while doing it. Wee also have ditches for our infantry to get in so the enemy can’t use their long ranged guns to any advantage over our short ranged guns, for they cant hurt us untill they get as close as wee want them. Give my love to all. I am yours, Shep — Map (db m16780) HM
Virginia (Highland County), West Augusta — “The Shenandoah Mountain Pass is grand indeed…”
As “Stonewall” Jackson’s Army passed through the gap on their way down to McDowell, Virginia one soldier wrote: Tuesday 13th May 1862 I have been struck with the wild & mountain scenery. The Shenandoah Mt. Pass is grand indeed, you asend to the very top of the mountain & from there you see as far as the eyes can reach, Mtn. after Mtn. in every variety of shape & grandeur whilst away down below a little valley & stream with winding road, winding around from Mt. to Mt. to descend . . . — Map (db m16771) HM
Virginia (Highland County), West Augusta — Confederate Breastworks Interpretive Trail
You are standing in the middle of what was once Fort Edward Johnson. Confederate soldiers built this fort in 1862 under the command of Brigadier general Edward Johnson, a career officer from Virginia. Look to your right, and then left across the highway for what remains of the mile of trench and breastworks. They were built by Confederate soldiers to defend the Shenandoah Valley from an invasion by Union Troops marching from the west. In the early spring of 1862, this fort was garrisoned by . . . — Map (db m16772) HM
Virginia (Highland County), West Augusta — Fort Edward Johnson
On April 19, 1862, General Johnson, with General Lee’s approval, moved our regiment from Allegheny Mountain to Shenandoah Mountain. To protect ourselves from Yankee bullets, we dug about a mile of trench in this rocky ground. We then opened our field of fire by cutting down trees on the western slopes – the direction the Union Army was coming from. We made breastworks by first piling logs laid on the downhill side of the trench, and then piling dirt on the outside of the logs. Our . . . — Map (db m16775) HM
Virginia (Highland County), West Augusta — Welcome to Fort Edward Johnson
My name is Shepherd Green Pryor, but my friends and family call me “Shep.” I was elected First Lieutenant of the Muckalee Guards, Company A, 12th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry. We’ve just survived a cold Virginia winter on the top of Allegheny Mountain – a long way from our warm homes in Sumter County, Georgia. Walk with me on this 0.5-mile trail while I share with you my experiences guarding Fort Johnson during the spring of 1862. Through my letters home to my dear . . . — Map (db m16773) HM
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