This Day (August 16th) In Confederate History

Guard Hill (August 16, 1864) – Also called the Battle of Front Royal and the Battle of Cedarville, this engagement occurred in Warren County. Confederate General Joseph Kershaw’s infantry division and General Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry, under overall command of Lieutenant General Richard Anderson (Army of Northern Virginia, I Corps) were sent from Petersburg to reinforce Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early’s army in the Shenandoah Valley. At Front Royal on the August 16th, Yankee cavalry of Brigadier General Wesley Merritt’s division surprised the Confederate columns in mid-stream of the Shenandoah River, capturing about 300. The Confederates rallied and advanced, gradually driving the two Yankee brigades back to Cedarville. After dark, Merritt withdrew to Ninevah. The total estimated casualties in the inconclusive battle were 550.

GuardHill_6260Guard Hill Engagement J11

A Virginia state historical marker, Guard Hill Engagement, J11, was placed north of Front Royal, Virginia in 1999 by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. It is next to another state historical marker, Executions of Mosby’s Men and to a pair of Civil War Circle Tour markers on the Battle of Front Royal.

Location and directions

The markers are north of Front Royal, north of the bridges over the Shenandoah River on the west side of Winchester Road (U.S. 340 & 522) just north of the intersection with Guard Hill Road/Riverton Road.

Location: 38.9529 N, 78.2001 W

Text from the marker:

Guard Hill Engagement

In Aug. 1864, part of Confederate Lt. Gen. Richard H. Anderson’s corps threatened the left of Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s army. As Brig. Gen. Wesley Merritt’s division approached on 15 Aug. to protect the Federal flank. Anderson ordered Brig. Gen. William T. Wofford’s infantry brigade and Brig. Gen. Williams C. Wickham’s cavalry brigade across the Shenandoah River to confront Merritt. Wickham was overwhelmed, however, on 16 Aug., and his troopers retreated toward Front Royal while Union Brig. Gen. George A. Custer’s brigade drove Wofford from Guard Hill. Sheriden then retired north to Charles Town W. Va.

Erected 1999 by Department of Historic Resources.

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