The Burning of Red Bridge

The Burning of Red Bridge (HM7SU)

Location: Shenandoah, VA 22849 Page County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 31.627', W 78° 35.694'

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The "Last Straw" Between Jackson and Ashby

— 1862 Valley Campaign —

Nearly a month after the battle of Kernstown, Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's command had worked its way south "up" the Valley to join Gen. Richard S. Ewell's division near Conrad's Store (Elkton). To secure this haven for reorganization, on April 19, 1862, Jackson dispatched his mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss, to burn the three bridges over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Page County.

From the onset, Hotchkiss' chore was plagued with problems. In addition to heavy rains, a number of the 150 cavalrymen that Hotchkiss had joined for the assignment at Shenandoah Iron Works were under the influence of the spiritous liquor "apple-jack." In the end, the Red Bridge was the only one to be burned while the destruction of Columbia and White House bridges was thwarted by the combination of apple-jack and Federal resistance.

Already angered by the overall lack of discipline in his cavalry, on April 24, Jackson reassigned the Valley cavalry to two of the army's infantry brigade commanders. Infuriated, the cavalry commander Col. Turner Ashby submitted his resignation and immediately caused a rift in Jackson's command. In the end, Jackson, as one staff member wrote, backed "square down." Jackson could not afford the loss of a leader that was so popular among the men and effective in battle, especially on the verge of a major campaign.

(Sidebar): Hotchkiss had pre-war ties to Page County, having taught several children of the Forrer family and others at Mossy Creek Academy in Augusta County. One former student commanded the companies during the bridge burning expedition and left Hotchkiss to write: "I am sorry, truly sorry, that Macon Jordon was in such a condition yesterday. I do not know what may become of [it] to him..."
HM NumberHM7SU
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 1:44pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 709654 N 4267044
Decimal Degrees38.52711667, -78.59490000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 31.627', W 78° 35.694'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 31' 37.62" N, 78° 35' 41.64" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 5701-5917 State Rte 650, Shenandoah VA 22849, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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