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Winchester, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Third Battle of Winchester

“Whirling through Winchester:” The Confederate Retreat

 

—1864 Valley Campaign —

 
Third Battle of Winchester Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 24, 2016
1. Third Battle of Winchester Marker
Inscription. About 5 P.M. on September 19, 1864, the final, chaotic stages of the Third Battle of Winchester engulfed this area. After a day of combat east and north of the city, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early’s outnumbered men were flanked, broken, and forced to retreat through these streets with Union Gen. Philip Sheridan's army in hot pursuit. Sketch artist James Taylor described the “dramatic spectacle” of the “whirling mass of Gray madly pouring through the streets of Winchester amid shells shrieking and moaning their death cry.”

Confederate officers attempted to hold back the Federals—and their own fleeing troops. Gen. Stephen Ramseur established defensive positions in Mount Hebron Cemetery. Resident Mary Greenhow Lee recalled that Confederate Gen. John Gordon "seized a flag & called to the running soldiers to rally & follow him. We shouted & cheered & implored the men to follow their leader, but to little purpose." Even Gordon's wife, Fanny tried to stem the tide. “[She} rallied a party of near two hundred and sent them back to the field [but] the Yankee cavalry made a charge on this mob [and] went right through them,” wrote Louisiana Capt. George Ring.

“I never ran so fast in all my life [and] I had good company,” admitted Sgt. Sam Collier of the 2nd North Carolina.
Third Battle of Winchester Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 24, 2016
2. Third Battle of Winchester Marker
Pvt. Richard Waldrop of the 21st Virginia wrote that, “The road was filled with fugitives.” As the day ended combatant George Peyton said that he “could see Yanks by the thousands marching towards town, while cheer upon cheer rent the air.” That night, Sheridan's chief of staff Col. James Forsyth reported that “we just sent them a whirling through Winchester.” Control of the city had passed permanently into Union hands.

(captions)
Union officers Gen. Philip Sheridan, Col. James William Forsyth, Chief of Staff Gen. Wesley Merritt, Gen. Thomas C. Devin, and Gen. George Armstrong Custer Courtesy Library of Congress

James Taylor sketch of Confederate retreat through Winchester Courtesy The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 39° 11.16′ N, 78° 9.631′ W. Marker is in Winchester, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of North East Lane and East Fairfax Lane, on the left when traveling north on North East Lane. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Winchester VA 22601, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. Taylor F. Finley (within shouting distance of this marker); The Early Education Of Black Students In Winchester (within shouting distance of this marker); The Virginia Woolen Company and Lewis Jones Knitting Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Major General Daniel Morgan (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Stone Presbyterian Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jacob Baker Lot And Virginia City Addition (about 300 feet away); Original Land Grant (about 700 feet away); Mary Greenhow Lee (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Winchester.
 
Also see . . .  Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. (Submitted on July 25, 2016.)
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 25, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 25, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 192 times since then and 55 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 25, 2016, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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