Near Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Third Battle of Winchester
Bloodiest Battle of the Shenandoah Valley
Gen. Jubal Early assuming that Gen. Phil Sheridan was yet another cautious Union commander, divided his roughly 14,000 troops on a wide front north from Winchester. Sheridan planned to use his army of 39,000 men to attack the portion of Early's force near Winchester. Early, however, learned of the impending attack and raced to concentrate his army at Winchester.
The Third Battle of Winchester, or the Battle of Opequon, occurred in four phases:
1) Berryville Canyon (dawn until 11 a.m.): One small division of Confederates delayed most of Sheridan's army allowing Early's remaining troops to reach the battlefield.
2) The Middle Field (11:40 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.): Union troops tried unsuccessfully to dislodge the Confederates from their positions.
3) Red Bud Run and the Valley Pike (late afternoon): Union cavalry and infantry pushed the Confederates closer to Winchester.
4) Outskirts of Winchester (dusk): Southerners made determined but ineffective stands north and
By nightfall, Winchester was securely in Union hands and the Confederates were in full retreat. Total casualties for the Union and Confederacy numbered almost 9,000. The walking tour that commences here will focus on the second and third phases of the battle.
Soon after the Third Battle of Winchester, Confederate domination of the Shenandoah Valley came to an end. During the 1864 Valley Campaign, the Confederacy suffered a series of four major defeats over a thirty-day period, including a devastating loss at Cedar Creek on October 19th.
(Right Side): The Third Battle of Winchester - September 19, 1864
The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley
With rich farmland that earned it the name "the breadbasket of the Confederacy," the Shenandoah Valley formed a natural corridor for military movements. Throughout the Civil War, 1861-1865, Union and Confederate armies fought over this strategic valley.
In 1862 Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson (right) led the best-known Valley Campaign. Although usually outnumbered, his forces defeated Federal troops, under different commanders, in several engagements, including the First Battle of Winchester (May 25). The 1863 campaign, which included the Second Battle of Winchester (June 13-15), cleared the Valley of Union
The summer of 1864 found Abraham Lincoln pitted against Democratic presidential candidate Gen. George McClellan. Lincoln's largest force, the Army of the Potomac, was mired in a siege of Petersburg, Virginia. Northern hopes were revived on September 2, however, when Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's army captured Atlanta.
In an effort to seize the initiative, Lee sent a force under Gen. Jubal A. Early on a campaign through the Shenandoah Valley. Lee hoped that Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, fearing a raid on Washington, D.C., would divide his army to meet the threat. Grant did so; charging Gen. Philip Sheridan and his new Army of the Shenandoah with rendering the Valley useless to Confederates.
On September 19, Early's Army of the Valley and Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah clashed at the Third Battle of Winchester, also called the Battle of Opequon. Third Winchester was the first of a series of Union victories that ended Confederate domination of the Valley.
Erected by Civil War Preservation Trust.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Battlefield Trails - Civil War series list.
Location. Touch for map. Marker was 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. A different marker also named Third Battle of Winchester (a few steps from this marker); "Like A Thousand Bricks" (within shouting distance of this marker); Three Battlefields (within shouting distance of this marker); The First Battle of Kernstown (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Battle of Winchester (about 300 feet away); The Second Battle of Winchester (about 300 feet away); The Battle of Rutherford's Farm (about 300 feet away); The Second Battle of Kernstown (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
More about this marker. All of the Civil War Preservation Trust signs on the Third Winchester Battlefield have been removed and replaced with new ones placed by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
The left side of the marker displays portraits of "C.S.A. General Jubal Early" and "U.S.A. General Phil Sheridan." A battle map illustrates the phases of the battle over-laid against a map showing the roads as they existed during the Civil War.
On the right side is a portrait of Gen. Thomas Jackson and "Alfred Waud's depiction of the First Kernstown, "Stonewall" Jackson's first battle in his Valley Campaign."
Regarding The Third Battle of Winchester. This marker is one of a set duplicated also at the South Side entrance to the battlefield site.
Additional markers along the trail of the battlefield are linked through the related markers list
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a Virtual Tour by Markers of the CWPT's Third Winchester Battlefield.
Also see . . .
1. Third Winchester. The National Parks Service further breaks down the battle into ten phases, and provides more detail to the overall battle. (Submitted on October 22, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Third Battle of Winchester Photo-Tour. Site features photographs of the battle sites, including those outside the CWPT Battlefield site. (Submitted on October 27, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
3. Driving Tour of Third Winchester. Winchester was one of the largest Civil War Battles fought, both in terms of men involved and square miles. These related markers provide some glimpses of the battlefield. However much has been lost to development. (Submitted on March 16, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 29, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 22, 2007. This page has been viewed 2,460 times since then and 10 times this year. Last updated on October 26, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 22, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on January 15, 2008. 4. submitted on March 13, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 22, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.