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

Somerville Heights

A "most terrific fire from the enemy"

 

— 1862 Valley Campaign —

 
Somerville Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 4, 2008
1. Somerville Heights Marker
Inscription.  Early in May 1862, Gen. Stonewall Jackson moved most of his army east over the Blue Ridge toward Charlottesville, leaving Gen. Richard S. Ewell's division at Conrad's Store (present day Elkton) to hold the Federals in the Shenandoah Valley. The Union commanders suspected that Jackson was en route to Richmond. They did not know, however, that he had turned back on May 3 and four days later was west of Staunton. On May 8, he defeated Federal forces at the Battle of McDowell.

During the period of uncertainty, Gen. Jeremiah C. Sullivan, guarding nearby Columbia Bridge, ordered Col. Robert S. Foster's 13th Indiana Infantry to reconnoiter here to "burned bridge" (Red Bridge) on the morning of May 7. After marching 2 1/2 miles past Honeyville, Foster encountered Gen. Richard Taylor's Louisiana brigade and supporting Virginia cavalry. Driving the Confederates back to Dogtown, Sullivan retired to Columbia Bridge again the next morning.

Meanwhile, a company of Vermont cavalry, instead of bringing up the Federal rear, stumbled into the "reserve
Somerville Heights Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II
2. Somerville Heights Marker
Click or scan to see
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of the enemy" farther upriver. Foster's regiment quickly countermarched and engaged Confederate forces near here "for a half-hour under a most terrific fire." Ultimately, the Vermonters were able to swim the Shenandoah River to safety.

The engagement left 29 Federals killed, wounded, captured, and missing. Confederate losses included at least two killed and an unspecified number captured.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1862.
 
Location. 38° 31.626′ N, 78° 35.692′ W. Marker is near Shenandoah, Virginia, in Page County. Marker is at the intersection of Grove Hill River Road (County Route 650) and Crooked Run Road (County Route 603), on the right when traveling west on Grove Hill River Road. Located at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5700 Grove Hill River Rd, Shenandoah VA 22849, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Burning of Red Bridge (here, next to this marker); Execution of Summers and Koontz (approx.
Operations Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, October 4, 2008
3. Operations Map
2˝ miles away); Catherine Furnace (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Stevens Cottage 1890 (approx. 3.2 miles away); Shenandoah Iron Works (approx. 3.3 miles away); Shield's Advance & Retreat (approx. 4.4 miles away); History of Verbena (approx. 4.4 miles away); Graves’ Chapel (approx. 6.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shenandoah.
 
More about this marker. In the lower left of the marker is a photo of The Rube Kite House, built ca. 1844, was better known as a general store and saloon. On the right are portraits of Ewell, Sullivan, Foster, and Taylor. A map of the operational area, showing key points in the surrounding area, is in the upper right.
 
Regarding Somerville Heights. This marker is one of several detailing Civil War activities in Page County, Virginia. Please see the Page County Civil War Markers link below.
 
Also see . . .
1. Page County Civil War Markers. (Submitted on February 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia. (Submitted on March 20, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.)
 
Markers at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain
4. Markers at the Grove Hill Public Boat Landing
On the left is The Burning of Red Bridge and on the right is Somerville Heights.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 2,175 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on October 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2. submitted on January 13, 2009, by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia.   3, 4. submitted on October 5, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Aug. 1, 2021