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Purcellville in Loudoun County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Attacked at Purcellville

"We found in the road many broken down and burned wagons"

 

— Early's 1864 Attack on Washington —

 
Attacked at Purcellville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
1. Attacked at Purcellville Marker
Inscription.  
In June 1864, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sent Gen. Jubal A. Early's corps from the Richmond battlefields to the Shenandoah Valley to counter Union Gen. David Hunter's army. After driving Hunter into West Virginia, Early invaded Maryland to attack Washington, D.C., draw Union troops from Richmond, and release Confederate prisoners held at Point Lookout. On July 9, Early ordered Gen. Bradley T. Johnson's cavalry brigade eastward to free the prisoners. The next day. Johnson sent Maj. Harry Gilmor's regiment to raid the Baltimore area. Union Gen. Lew Wallace delayed Early at the Battle of Monocacy on July 9, Federal reinforcements soon strengthened the capital's defenses. Early attacked there near Fort Stevens on July 11-12 and then withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley with the Federals in pursuit. He stopped them at Cool Spring on July 17-18. Despite failing to take Washington or free prisoners. Early succeeded in diverting Federal resources.

On Saturday, July 16, 1864, Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's army passed through this crossroads as it marched west to the Shenandoah Valley after the attack on the northwestern
Attacked at Purcellville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, October 31, 2020
2. Attacked at Purcellville Marker
defenses of Washington. Union forces doggedly pursued Early through Leesburg that morning. Col. William B. Tibbett's 21st New York Cavalry, riding from Harpers Ferry, found Early's wagon train passing by here in midafternoon. Tibbetts divided his regiment and attacked furiously all along the train. The Federals captured 200 wagons and 150 prisoners in a matter of minutes. Confederate Gens. Robert E. Rodes and Stephen D. Ramseur, whose infantry had already marched past here, returned on the double-quick when they heard the firefight and counterattacked with cavalry and artillery support. Before long, the Confederates successfully reclaimed 118 of their wagons and all but 54 of the prisoners. The Federals still sent to Harpers Ferry 37 wagons of booty taken by Early in Maryland.

After the last of Early's forces passed by, curious Purcellville residents flocked to view the damage to his train. Capt. Elisha Hunt Rhodes, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, described the scene in his diary two days later: "We found in the road many broken down and burned wagons which the Rebels had abandoned in their retreat when hard pressed by our cavalry." It was evidence of a war come home to roost.

The north-south Berlin Grade Road (present-day Hatcher Avenue) intersected here with the Leesburg & Snicker's Gap Turnpike (now Main Street) at the flyspeck crossroads named Purcellville,
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a stagecoach stop. Buildings included rodney Purcell's store and post office, still standing across Hatcher Avenue; Purcell's Hotel, still located across Main Street; a livery stable, and Asa Janney's blacksmith and wheelwright shops where the stone Purcellville Library now stands. At the store on May 23, 1861, local residents voted 82-31 voted in favor—Janney's son had just enlisted in the Blue Mountain Boys (Co. F, 8th Virginia's Volunteer Infantry). Joe Janney would lose a leg in his first battle at Manassas on July 21.

 
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.
 
Location. 39° 8.207′ N, 77° 42.776′ W. Marker is in Purcellville, Virginia, in Loudoun County. Marker is at the intersection of East Main Street (Virginia Route 7) and North Hatcher Avenue on East Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 170 E Main St, Purcellville VA 20132, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Case Building (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tracks into History (about 600 feet away); Killed in Action Memorial (about 600 feet away); A Little History
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(approx. 0.2 miles away); Purcellville Station (approx. 0.2 miles away); Beyond Purcellville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Loudoun County Emancipation Association Grounds (approx. half a mile away); Ambush at Purcellville (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Purcellville.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 51 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Feb. 25, 2021