Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Battle of Rutherford's Farm
As Union Gen. William W. Averell’s Union cavalry and infantry division advanced south from Martinsburg, W.Va., pursuing Early, the Confederate general ordered Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur’s division to block the roads north of Winchester. About 4 P.M. on July 20, Ramseur heard fighting on the Martinsburg and Winchester Turnpike (now U.S. Route 11) and immediately marched his men here. Believing he outnumbered the Federals, Ramseur decided to attack, contrary to Early’s orders. Ramseur posted Gen. William Lewis’s brigade in front of you and Gen. Robert Johnston’s brigade behind you and advanced north. The Federals launched a sudden attack across Susan P. Carter’s farm, crumpling Lewis’s line. A North Carolinian wrote, “This was the first time the Yankees saw my back, but it was run or die and of course we preferred
The Union victory here at Rutherford’s Farm boosted Federal morale after a string of defeats. Early withdrew south of Winchester to Fisher’s Hill near Strasburg, then launched a surprise attack against the Federals at Kernstown just four days after the fight here.
“The wounded men had been collected together at three houses in the field & most of ours, & some few of the Yankees, are at the Rutherfords. … The Surgeons were waiting for chloroform, to perform operations. There was a pile of arms & legs & feet in one corner.”
– Mary Greenhow Lee, diary, July 23, 1864
(Sidebar): Pvt. John Shanes, Co. K, 14th West Virginia Infantry, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the fight here. He charged “a Confederate fieldpiece in advance of his comrades and by his individual exertions silenced the piece.”
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 July 1864.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winchester VA 22603, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Rutherford's Farm (here, next to this marker); John Rutherford's Farm (here, next to this marker); Hackwood Park (within shouting distance of this marker); Action of Rutherford’s Farm (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Great Indian (and Wagon) Road (approx. 0.2 miles away); Three Battlefields (approx. 0.7 miles away); The First Battle of Kernstown (approx. 0.7 miles away); The First Battle of Winchester (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. On the lower left of the marker are portraits of Gen. William W. Averell and Gen. Stephen D. Ramseur. On the right side of the marker are two maps captioned, Jedediah Hotchkiss map, Battle of Rutherford's Farm.
Also see . . .
1. William W. Averell. Wikipedia Biography (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
2. Stephen D. Ramseur. Wikipedia Biography (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
3. John Shanes. Photo of Gravesite from HomeofHeroes.com (Submitted on November 30, 2008.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 30, 2008. This page has been viewed 2,173 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 30, 2008. 4. submitted on December 1, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5. submitted on May 28, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.