Crossroads of War
During the Civil War, Front Royal, a "cross-roads town" of fewer than 600 residents, was the economic center of Warren County. One soldier described the town as "...quite rural. The principal objects of interest are two small churches and the town pump. The streets run all manner of ways, crossing each other at all points of the angle. Terrifically muddy and awfully gloomy."
The homes of Bel Air, Rose Hill, Bon Air, Oakley and Hillcrest, now absorbed in the town, were working farms. A large plantation, Belmont, with its vinyards, orchards and grain fields, was located just south of town.
By the end of the war, there was not a store or business open in Front Royal.
(Inscription in upper right of marker)
"(Belle Boyd was) not beautiful but she was attractive and fascinating to a degree that would charm the heart out of a monk and cause him to break his vows of celibacy."
Boyd, who had come to Front Royal early in the war, used the town as a base for her spying activities. She was imprisoned twice, "reported" nearly 30 times and arrested six.
Confederate Lieutenant Henry Kyd Douglas, aide to Stonewall Jackson, recounts their meeting before the battle at Front Royal in May, 1862."Nearly exhausted and with her hand pressed against her heart, she said in gasps ?I knew it must be Stonewall when I heard the first gun. Go back quick and tell him that the Yankee force is very small ... Tell him to charge right down and he will catch them all.' "
(Inscription in lower right corner of marker)"Hang them without trial."
Six of Confederate Col. John S. Mosby's Rangers were executed on September 23, 1864 under orders from Union Gen. George A. Custer.
As they were brought through the town, four men were shot. One was 17-year-old Henry Rhodes from Front Royal, who borrowed a neighbors horse and joined Mosby's men on that fateful day. The remaining two were hanged from a tree midway between the town and the Shenandoah River. A placard was placed around the neck of one of the men reading "This will be the fate of Mosby and all his men."
Mosby later retaliated by executing several Union troopers. After that, the practice came to a quick close.