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

Engagement with McNeill's Rangers

 
 
Engagement with McNeill's Rangers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 27, 2009
1. Engagement with McNeill's Rangers Marker
Inscription. In early April, 1863, a Confederate force led by Captain John H. McNeill's Rangers and four additional companies of Virginia cavalry left Rockingham County for West Virginia. At Moorefield, 20 miles south of Fort Mill Ridge, the force divided into several smaller units.

On April 6th, McNeill's Rangers surprised a Union foraging train near Burlington, 10 miles west of Fort Mill Ridge, capturing 5 wagons and 11 soldiers. A contingent of 50 Union cavalrymen sent to assist the foraging party headed south toward Moorefield by today's Route 220, west of Mill Mountain. A second larger Union cavalry force followed them.

The smaller Union force ran headlong into the Virginia cavalry and bid a hasty retreat back up the road. Near Purgitsville, they met with the larger Union force, which prepared to receive the Confederates. A hand-to-hand melee ensued before the outnumbered Confederates broke off the engagement and retreated south toward Moorefield.

Union infantry and artillery were sent to reinforce the cavalry. On the morning of April 7th, they surprised the Confederate encampment 5 miles south of Moorefield. After scattering the Confederates with artillery shells, the Union infantry crossed the swollen South Branch of the Potomac River in small boats and burned the camp. The Union forces then returned to Fort Mill Ridge,
Engagement with McNeill's Rangers Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 27, 2009
2. Engagement with McNeill's Rangers Marker
and McNeill's Confederates returned to Rockingham County.

A munday our wagon train went out after hay tords Morefield, our Cavary went out to gard them. four or five hundred Secesh Cavary made a dash on them and took five of our teams. Thair was som more of our Cavary went out. thay had a little fite.... Thair was a hundred of us on our regement and a Company of the 54 Pennsylvania started out at three in the eaving.... in the morning we started on. we went through Greanland Gap on to the river. then we shelled them out of thair camp. then about one hundred and fifty of us went across the river in shifts and went up the hollow into thair camp. thay cut the tung out of the wagon and left them. we burnt them, then crost the river back safe.
April 9, 1863 letter of Joshua Winters.
 
Location. 39° 19.415′ N, 78° 47.584′ W. Marker is near Mechanicsburg, West Virginia, in Hampshire County. Marker can be reached from Fort Mill Ridge Park Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located at trail stop 8 on the tour of Fort Mill Ridge Park. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington WV 26710, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. An Outpost in Enemy Territory (within shouting distance of this marker); Interior of the Central Redoubt
Outer Trenches image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, November 27, 2009
3. Outer Trenches
Section of the outer trenches on the eastern side of Fort Mill, near the marker.
(within shouting distance of this marker); The Ditch as a Second Line of Defense (within shouting distance of this marker); The Central Redoubt (within shouting distance of this marker); Construction of Fort Mill Ridge (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Control of the Mechanicsburg Gap (about 300 feet away); The Civil War in the South Branch Valley (about 300 feet away); Fort Mill Ridge (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mechanicsburg.
 
More about this marker. On the right is an illustration captioned, Engagements between cavalry patrols were frequently closely fought and brief. Beside the illustration is a portrait of Captain John H. McNeill.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 10, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 989 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 10, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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