Star Fort

Star Fort (HM7S3)

Location: Winchester, VA 22603
Country: United States of America

N 39° 12.409', W 78° 9.87'

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Guardian of Winchester

Three times during the Civil War, Star Fort played a major role in the defense of Winchester. Union Gen. Robert H. Milroy's troops began constructing the fort in January 1863 on the site of artillery emplacements Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's men had built in 1861. Milroy, a fervent abolitionist, used stone from the nearby home of U.S. Senator James Mason, author of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Star Fort commanded the Martinsville Turnpike and the Pughtown Road.

In June 1863, Gen. Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia here in his second invasion of the North. On June 14, in the Second Battle of Winchester, Confederate Gen. Richard S. Ewell's corps spearheaded Lee's advance, forcing Milroy into the Winchester forts. Gen. Jubal A. Early's division captured West Fort and shelled Star Fort, which fired in return. "The guns in the Star Fort greeted them," wrote one of Milroy's soldiers, "with shell after shell planted among them with astonishing precision." Milroy withdrew that night. Most of his men surrendered at Stephenson's Depot the next day, then were held temporarily at Star Fort. A year later, on July 24, 1864, Union Gen. George Cook fought a delaying action here while retreating north after the Second Battle of Kernstown.

Star Fort figured prominently in the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864, when detachments of Early's cavalry and horse artillery held it to guard his army's left flank. Union Col. James M. Schoonmaker's cavalry brigade twice charged the fort, then dismounted and stormed it. Schoonmaker received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
HM NumberHM7S3
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Year Placed2008
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails and Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 9:32pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 744834 N 4343558
Decimal Degrees39.20681667, -78.16450000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 12.409', W 78° 9.87'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 12' 24.54" N, 78° 9' 52.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 503-561 Fortress Dr, Winchester VA 22603, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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