Lexington, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
”Shells went through the houses”
(Preface):On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy transportation facilities at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18 Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.
Union General David Hunter’s 18,000 soldiers crossed the North (Maury) River and entered Lexington from the north and west on June 11, 1864. Confederate Gen. John C. McCausland’s skirmishers contested the crossing near the river and artillerists fired from the Virginia Military Institute parade ground. Union gunners shelled Lexington from the high ground north of town, causing significant property damage. For the next three days, Hunter’s men plundered private homes,
McCausland’s 1,400 Confederates (including Virginia Military Institute cadets) retreated toward Lynchburg. On June 12, Hunter ordered the Institute and the home of former Virginia governor John Letcher burned, but spared Washington College after administrators pleaded that the school was named for George Washington. By the afternoon of June 14, the last of Hunter’s army had departed Lexington for Lynchburg.
"Some shells went through the houses, frightening the inhabitants terribly."
- Mrs. Cornellia McDonald, refugee
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. 37° 47.058′ N, 79° 26.438′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Virginia. Marker is on Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 East Washington Street, Lexington VA 24450, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Sloan House, ca. 1844-45 (a few steps from this marker); Campbell House, ca. 1845 (within shouting distance of this marker); Lt. Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson 1824-1863 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Stonewall Jackson House (about 300 feet away); Jackson's Garden (about 300 feet away); Rockaway (about 300 feet away); The Jacob Ruff House, ca. 1829 (about 500 feet away); The Alexander-Withrow House, ca. 1793 (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lexington.
More about this marker. The marker features photos of Gen. David Hunter and Col. David H. Strother. On the upper right is a photo captioned, "Main Street, Lexington - Washington and Lee University Special Collections." The marker also has two maps: a map of "Lexington, 1864" indicating the locations of other Civil War Trails points of interest and a map of the Civil War Trails Driving Tour of Hunter's Raid.
Also see . . . Hunter's Raid Civil War Trail. (Submitted on March 7, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 18, 2008. This page has been viewed 2,410 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 18, 2008. 2. submitted on March 7, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. 3. submitted on January 18, 2008. 4. submitted on March 7, 2008, by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.