Near Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Third Battle of Winchester
September 19, 1864
Lieutenant General Jubal Early’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign began in June of 1864. Until the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, he more than fulfilled General Lee’s hopes that the great success of 1862 could be repeated in 1864.
Early’s opponent, General Philip Sheridan, assumed command of the Army of the Shenandoah on August 7, 1864. By September 19 its strength was just under 40,000 men. Sheridan’s mission, entrusted to him by General Grant and President Lincoln, was to end Lee’s diversionary campaign by driving Early from the Valley and destroying what would prove to be the Valley’s last wartime harvest and all military or civilian assets that benefited the Confederacy.
Historians have compared the Valley Campaign of 1864 with Jackson’s in 1862. Both campaigns climaxed in battles at Winchester. The essential difference was in General Lee’s ability to reinforce his Valley lieutenants at the crucial moment of their campaigns. In May 1862 he could, but in September 1864, he could not. In fact on September 14, 1864, Anderson’s infantry division and an artillery battalion departed the Valley for Lee’s army at Petersburg,
Sheridan learned of the departure of these troops from information furnished by a resident of Winchester. More importantly, he learned from his own cavalry patrols north of Winchester that Early had finally made an error: immediately following Anderson’s departure from the Valley, Early unwisely divided his forces. Leaving only General Ramseur’s small division east of Winchester, guarding the Berryville Pike. Early moved three remaining divisions north, in the direction of the main line of the B & O Railroad at Martinsburg. Sheridan immediately prepared to attack. Sheridan’s plan was to destroy Ramseur’s division east of Winchester while crossing most of his cavalry over the Opequon downstream (north) of his Berryville Pike crossing. While his cavalry congregated at Stephenson’s Depot near the Valley Pike, his infantry would face north and defeat each of Early’s divisions as they hastened back to save Ramseur.
The battle that raged from dawn to dusk on September 19 was the biggest and bloodiest of the battles in the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan’s plan miscarried. Ramseur’s division eluded destruction, falling back on Winchester. Rodes’ and Gordon’s divisions reinforced him quickly. In fact, Confederate counterattacks near the Berryville Pike came close to shattering Sheridan’s far larger force. In mid-afternoon, an audacious
Erected by Shenandoah at War / The Knowledge Point.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #18 Ulysses S. Grant series lists.
Location. 39° 12.066′ N, 78° 9.181′ W. Marker is near Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Martinsburg Pike (U.S. 11) and Brooke Road (County Route 1322), on the right when traveling north. Located on the east side of the walking Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 922 Martinsburg Pike, Winchester VA 22601, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Collier (within shouting distance of this marker); The Cavalry Charge at Fort Collier (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lt. Collier’s Earthworks (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Collier (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Fort Collier (about 600 feet away); George Washington in Winchester (about 600 feet away); 2nd Battle of Winchester / 3rd Battle of Winchester (about 700 feet away); 2nd Battle of Winchester (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. The marker displays portraits of Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and Lt. Gen. Jubal Early. A map illustrates the unit positions and movements discussed in the text.
Regarding Third Battle of Winchester. The related markers section links the Civil War Trails marker and the four interpretive markers located at the Fort Collier Civil War Center.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Fort Collier Civil War Center. The gallery contains a JPG copy of this marker. (Submitted on September 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. The Knowledge Point - Civil War Orientation Center . Background on this project hosted by the Shenandoah University. (Submitted on September 14, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 14, 2007. This page has been viewed 1,781 times since then and 9 times this year. Last updated on August 23, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1. submitted on September 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on November 7, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 3, 4. submitted on September 15, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.