Mosby Strikes the B&O
— 1864 Valley Campaign —
The Federal offensive in the Shenandoah Valley begun in May 1864 faltered in the summer with Confederate victories and Gen. Jubal A. Early's Washington Raid in July. Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan took command in August, defeated Early at Winchester in September and Cedar Creek in October, burned mills and bars, and crushed the remnants of Early's force at Waynesboro on March 2, 1865. Sheridan's victories contributed to President Abraham Lincoln's reelection in November 1864 and denied Gen. Robert E. Lee's army much-needed provisions from the "Breadbasket of the Confederacy."
This was the site of a daring raid by Lt. Co. John S. Mosby's Partisan Rangers (43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry) on June 29, 1864, to support Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early's Washington Raid. As Early marched north down the Shenandoah Valley, Mosby and his men rode here from Upperville, Virginia. They planned to disrupt Federal communications by cutting telegraph wires and seizing a train on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad line. Mosby learned from captured Union pickets that an eastbound train was due at noon, in about fifteen minutes. Mosby quickly posted a howitzer on a knoll overlooking the depot, guardhouse, and stockade that housed the Federal garrison, sent a courier to the stockade, and informed the officer in charge that unless he surrendered, the Confederates would open fire. When the officer saw the howitzer and Mosby's superior force, he surrendered.
While Mosby waited for the eastbound train, which had been delayed, his men ransacked the depot, seized supplies, and cut telegraph wires. When the train did not appear, Mosby burned most of the building except for the depot and escaped south with about 65 prisoners before the Federal reinforcements could arrive.
Union forces soon reoccupied the depot. The vital rail line remained a frequent target of Confederate raids. The Union regiments posted here to guard the railroad camped in the fields behind you, the station-master occupied the stone portion of the depot and commissary supplied were stored in the wooden part.