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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The West Woods

Third Winchester Battlefield Park

 

— Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District —

 
The West Woods Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 17, 2020
1. The West Woods Marker
Inscription.  
(left panel)
Shenandoah At War

In 1996, Congress designated eight counties as the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District, with a mission to preserve and interpret the region's Civil War battlefields and related historic sites. The effort is led by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. Third Winchester is one of more than 20 battlefields that are part of the Foundation's work.

To learn more about the battle, the Valley's Civil War story, or to support our efforts, go to www.ShenandoahAtWar.org. To contact the Foundation, call 540-740-4545 or email info@svbf.net.

West Woods Trailhead

This trail will take you through the West Woods — one of the pivotal sites of Third Winchester — and connect you to the trails that lead to the other areas of the battlefield.

The spot where you're standing is only the edge of the West Woods today; it was also the southern edge of the woods during the battle. The woodline of the eastern half of the West Woods — the position to the east of the Interstate — is very similar
The West Woods Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 17, 2020
2. The West Woods Marker
Close up of maps on the marker.
Click or scan to see
this page online
to the woodline during the battle. (The western section of the woods, everything from the Interstate and beyond no longer exists.)

During Third Winchester, the West Woods was the center of a vortex of battle that drew in and spun off troops of both armies throughout the day. Situated as it was near the center of the the battlefield, the woodlot was in the midst or on the periphery of most of the major action during the day. It witnessed battle-changing counterattacks by both Union and Confederate forces, the death of generals on both sides, and some of the most colorful personalities of the Civil War.

Third Winchester Visitor Center

The Third Winchester Visitor, located at 541 Redbud Road, features battlefield maps, images, and interpretive panels on each of phase of the battle.

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District
info@svbf.net • www.ShenandoahAtWar.org • 540-740-4545

(center panel)
"It sounded as if every tree in the woods was falling down and that a terrific thunder storm was raging in the woods." -Private George Q. Peyton, 13th Virginia Infantry

Third Winchester and the West Woods

"It looked as if the position [the West Woods] could be held against any odds." -a Union solder

During Third Winchester, no position saw more constant
The West Woods Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 17, 2020
3. The West Woods Marker
North Carolina Monument is in the foreground, West Woods Marker and trailhead in the background.
battle than the West Woods. When Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan launched his first major attack at 11:40 am, the Confederate artillery inside the woods shelled the Federals attacking along the Berryville Pike. At the same time, in the northern part of the woods, Confederate Gen. Zebulon York's Louisiana Tigers (of General John B. Gordon's just-arriving division) advanced through the woods and helped blunt the initial Federal assault. The Federals kept coming in superior numbers, and sent Gordon's men tumbling out of the woods, but were themselves met by new southern troops under Gen. Robert E. Rodes, who sent his division plunging headlong into the woodlot.

Rodes was killed before entering the woods, but his troops smashed into the Federals and drove them out of the trees. At the same time, Confederate Gen. Bryan Grime's North Carolina brigade advanced south through the western part of the woods and slammed into the Federals closer to the Berryville Pike. But the Confederates had no reserves, and the larger Federal numbers began to tell. Union Gen. David Russell mounted an assault into the woods, and although Russell was killed, his attack, and the follow-up by his subordinates, turned the tide. Gen. Emory Upton took command and drove his men into the woods, staggering the weakened Confederate defenders and throwing them back. The Federals cleared the last of the Confederates
Markers At The West Woods Trailhead for the Third Winchester Battlefield. image. Click for full size.
By Bradley Owen, October 17, 2020
4. Markers At The West Woods Trailhead for the Third Winchester Battlefield.
West Woods Marker is on the right.
from the West Woods by 4:00pm.

(right panel)
Action in the West Woods

These maps of the battle give an idea of just how central the West Woods was to the fighting during the day.

(captions)
Alfred Waud's sketch shows Federal Infantry attacking Confederate positions in the West Woods. Courtesy Library of Congress

Confederate Ge. Robert E. Rodes and Union Gen. David Russell were both killed by artillery fragments during the combat in and around the West Woods.
 
Erected 2020 by Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is September 19, 1864.
 
Location. 39° 11.352′ N, 78° 7.863′ W. Marker is near Winchester, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Getty Lane 0.2 miles north of Gateway Drive, on the left when traveling north. Marker is located at the West Woods (southwest) trailhead for the Third Winchester Battlefield Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 170 Getty Lane, 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 (here, next to this marker); North Carolina At Third Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker); Ricketts’s Attack (within shouting distance of this marker);
Rickett's advance against Rhodes [sic] division in the woods image. Click for full size.
By Alfred R. Waud, September 19, 1864
5. Rickett's advance against Rhodes [sic] division in the woods
Library of Congress [LC-DIG-ppmsca-21168]
Third Battle of Winchester (approx. 0.4 miles away); Captain Robert Young Conrad (approx. 0.4 miles away); Counterattack! (approx. 0.4 miles away); Major General Robert Emmett Rodes (approx. 0.4 miles away); Alabama (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
Also see . . .
1. The James R. Wilkins Winchester Battlefields Visitor Center. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District (Submitted on October 30, 2020.) 

2. The Third Battle of Winchester. Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District (Submitted on October 30, 2020.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 28, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2020. This page has been viewed 76 times since then and 16 times this year. Last updated on February 26, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 28, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia.   5. submitted on October 30, 2020. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 8, 2021