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. Grantís 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 Hunterís 18,000 soldiers crossed the North (Maury) River and entered Lexington from the north and west on June 11, 1864. Confederate Gen. John C. McCauslandís 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, Hunterís men plundered private homes, Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), and the Institute. Hunter also ordered the destruction of a mill and several warehouses at Jordanís Point, the dock and terminus of the canal
McCauslandís 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 Hunterís 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.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 47.058′ N, 79° 26.438′ W. Marker is in Lexington, Virginia. Marker is on East Washington Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. The marker is located at the Lexington and Rockbridge Area Visitor Center. Marker is at or near this postal address: 106 East Washington Street, Lexington VA 24450, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 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.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 18, 2008. This page has been viewed 2,320 times since then and 70 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.