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Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

"Like A Thousand Bricks"

The Union Cavalry Charge

 

— The Third Battle of Winchester (September 19, 1864) —

 
"Like a Thousand Bricks" image. Click for full size.
By Jay Randall Richardson, August 19, 2020
1. "Like a Thousand Bricks"
Inscription.  Time: Late Afternoon

Standing on this spot on the afternoon of September 19, 1864, you would have witnessed — about a mile to your front — one of the most spectacular scenes of the Civil War... and one of the largest cavalry charges in the history of the Western Hemisphere.


The Union Cavalry, some 6,000 strong had been pushing the Confederates south along the Valley Turnpike (modern-day US-11) throughout the day. Now, with the southern defenses in danger of crumbling, Union commander Gen. Philip Sheridan ordered his cavalry to finish the job.

The Federal horsemen thundered down on the Confederate flank. Union Lt. John Mead Gould described what you would have seen from this spot, as the Federal horsemen advance from your right to the left. "We could see, almost under the setting sun, a great long, whirling cloud... There seemed to be great masses of thick dust rolling within each other like a boiling pot."

The cavalry overran Fort Collier, forcing the Confederates back to their final redoubt outside of Winchester. As the southerners tried to stabilize their lines, the Federal horsemen
Union Cavalry Charge image. Click for full size.
By Jay Randall Richardson, August 19, 2020
2. Union Cavalry Charge
kept up the pressure. Gen. Wesley Merritt regrouped a force of 1,000 men, spearheaded by Gen. George A. Custer's brigade. At the command, "Draw sabers, forward," they advanced again, accelerating to a gallop before smashing into the Confederates.

"Down they come where the rebels have partly reformed their line, fairly riding them into the ground," described one Union officer. "...The sabres glisten in the sun as they cut right and left."

"The enemy's line broke into a thousand fragments under the shock," remembered Merritt. The sound of Union cavalry behind them panicked other defenders and the entire Confederate line collapsed, with southern troops racing into Winchester in confusion.

Confederate Sgt. Sam Collier was among those overwhelmed. "They came pouring down upon us like a thousand bricks which of course we could not stand," he remembered. "We fell back... The whole face of the earth was literally alive with rebels running for their lives."

This sign made possible through funds donated by the Millbrook High School Cross Country Team
 
Erected 2020 by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
 
Location. 39° 12.617′ N, 78° 
"Sheridan's Final Charge at Winchester" by Thure de Thulstrup image. Click for full size.
By L. Prang & Co.
3. "Sheridan's Final Charge at Winchester" by Thure de Thulstrup
Library of Congress [LC-DIG-pga-04046]
7.639′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Redbud Road (Virginia Route 661) 0.9 miles east of Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling east. Located in the parking lot of the Third Winchester Battlefield Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 541 Redbud Rd, Winchester VA 22603, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Third Battle of Winchester (a few steps from this marker); Three Battlefields (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Battle of Kernstown (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Battle of Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker); The Second Battle of Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker); The Battle of Rutherford's Farm (within shouting distance of this marker); The Second Battle of Kernstown (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Third Battle of Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
Also see . . .  Third Winchester Battlefield – Redbud Run Trails. Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District (Submitted on August 21, 2020.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 20, 2020, by Jay Richardson of Martinsburg, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 78 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 20, 2020, by Jay Richardson of Martinsburg, West Virginia.   3. submitted on August 20, 2020. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Jan. 25, 2021