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Berryville in Clarke County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle of Cool Spring

Union Advance and Confederate Counterattack

 

—Early's 1864 Attack on Washington —

 
Battle of Cool Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
1. Battle of Cool Spring Marker
Inscription. (Preface): 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 Gilmer'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 Springs on July 17-18. Despite failing to take Washington or free prisoners, Early succeeded in diverting Federal resources.

On the afternoon of July 17, 1864, Union forces began arriving south of here in pursuit of Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's army as it withdrew to the Shenandoah Valley after Early's invasion of Maryland and attack on the defenses of Washington, D.C. Early's men were deployed across the river.

The next day, two Federal assaults upstream having failed, Union Gen. George
Map on the upper right of marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
2. Map on the upper right of marker
Crook ordered Col. Joseph Thoburn and his 3,250-man division to cross here at Island (Parker's) Ford and march south to outflank Confederate forces at Castleman's (Snicker's) Ferry. The men began crossing at 3 p.m. and encountered light resistance. Captured Confederate pickets, however, told them that almost all of Early's army was arrayed against them. Thoburn's division continued to ford here and to your right across Parker Island to form parallel battle lines behind a stone wall along the river and another in a wheat field 100 yards inland. Meanwhile, Federal artillery was deployed on the heights behind you and farther to the north.

Across the river, Confederate Gen. John C. Breckinridge ordered Gens. Gabriel C. Wharton and Robert E. Rodes to challenge the Federals. Wharton's men pushed them back toward the river along the length of the island in front of you, and at 6 p.m. Rodes began a flanking movement from the south end of Parker Island.

(Sidebar): Joseph Thoburn, born in Northern Ireland, was an unlikely military officer. His family moved to Canada and then to Ohio where Thoburn trained as a physician. He settled in Wheeling, in present-day West Virginia, and established a successful medical practice. Soon after the outbreak of the war, he enlisted as a surgeon in the Union army but soon rose to a command position. Thoburn died in action at the Battle
Gen. Jubal Early image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
3. Gen. Jubal Early
of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864.
 
Erected 2013 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 8.251′ N, 77° 52.241′ W. Marker is in Berryville, Virginia, in Clarke County. Marker can be reached from Parker Lane, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Located on the Shenandoah University, Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. The marker along the walking trail of the battlefield. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1400 Parker Lane, Bluemont VA 20135, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Retreat (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Cool Spring (approx. 1.5 miles away); Castleman’s Ferry Fight (approx. 1.6 miles away but has been reported missing); Appalachian Trail and Bears Den (approx. 1.8
Gen. Joseph Thoburn image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
4. Gen. Joseph Thoburn
miles away); Crook and Early (approx. 1.9 miles away but has been reported missing); Forerunner of Wireless Telegraphy (approx. 1.9 miles away but has been reported missing). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berryville.
 
Also see . . .
1. The Battle of Cool Spring. The Civil War Trust page for the battle of Cool Spring. The Trust lead efforts to secure preservation and reclamation of the battlefield, part of which had been a golf course. (Submitted on August 30, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. The Battle of Cool Spring. Page from Shenandoah at War. (Submitted on August 30, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Cool Spring Battlefield by Markers. (Submitted on August 30, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Battle of Cool Spring Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
5. Battle of Cool Spring Marker
Site of the Ford, 150 years after the action image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 18, 2014
6. Site of the Ford, 150 years after the action
This photo, taken 150 years to the day after the battle, looks across the Shenandoah River where Federal troops crossed. This view looks across to the head of the island.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 28, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 547 times since then and 78 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 28, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   2, 3, 4. submitted on August 30, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   5. submitted on August 28, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   6. submitted on August 30, 2014, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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