Ambush at Purcellville

Ambush at Purcellville (HM1K)

Location: Purcellville, VA 20132 Loudoun County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 8.411', W 77° 42.219'

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Inscription

"?we found in the road many broken down and burned wagons?"

Crossing this school site, the Loudoun and Berlin Turnpike once intersected the Leesburg & Snicker's Gap Turnpike at a junction just ahead known as Heaton's Crossroads. On Saturday, July 16, 1864, Gen. Jubal A. Early's Confederate army passed through this crossroads as it retired west of the Shenandoah Valley after its daring attack on the northwestern defenses of Washington.

Although Union forces shelled Early and doggedly pursued him after departing Leesburg that morning, his destination remained a mystery to the Federals. Alfred N.A. Duffi? sent the 300 men of Col. William B. Tibbetts' 21st New York Cavalry from Harpers Ferry in pursuit, and they found Early's wagon train passing by here in mid-afternoon. Dividing his force into several detachments, Tibbetts attacked furiously all along the train. In a matter of minutes, the Federals had captured some 200 wagons and 150 prisoners. Hearing the firefight, Confederate infantry under Gens. Robert E. Rodes and Stephen D. Ramseur marched on the double-quick from the rear, counterattacking with cavalry and artillery support. Before long, the Confederates successfully reclaimed 118 of their wagons and all but 54 of those men captured. Still, the Federals sent back to Harpers Ferry 37 wagons of booty taken by Early in Maryland.

Seeing the last of Early's forces pass through, curious Purcellville citizens flocked to view the damage at Heaton's Crossroads. Some 43 destroyed Confederate wagons lined the road, still smoldering, evidence of a war come home to roost.
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Details
HM NumberHM1K
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Tags
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 at 9:53pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 266331 N 4335814
Decimal Degrees39.14018333, -77.70365000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 8.411', W 77° 42.219'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 8' 24.66" N, 77° 42' 13.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 312-346 State Rte 722, Purcellville VA 20132, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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