Chester Gap

Chester Gap (HMLFJ)

Location: Front Royal, VA 22630 Warren County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 51.717', W 78° 7.905'

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Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley

This mountain pass was of strategic importance throughout the Civil War. Union and Confederate forces occupied and traversed it on numerous occasions. The first significant use of the gap occurred July 7-18, 1862, as Gen. Nathaniel Bank's corps of the Union Army of Virginia marched through en route to its month-long occupation of Rappahannock County.

In the months following the Battle of Antietam in the autumn of 1862, Federal and Confederate armies sparred for control of the Blue Ridge passes. From October 28 to mid-November, intense skirmishing took place in and near Chester Gap. Confederate Gen. D.H. Hill's division occupied the gap and also demonstrated at Thornton Gap until moving to Fredericksburg with Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson later in November.

Chester Gap played a critical role for Confederates during the Gettysburg Campaign during both the advance and retreat. Two-thirds of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia passed through it, and many units camped here.

Union Gen. Alfred T.A. Torbert and 5,000 cavalrymen bivouacked here on the night of December 19, 1864, during a raid on Gordonsville to disrupt the Virginia Central Railway. The weather was horrible, with sleet and rain, and many soldiers suffered from frostbite and exposure. The raid failed and the troopers returned to Winchester on December 28.

"This morning an army [Bank's] is passing again. ? Yesterday they did not disturb us much, came in several of them and wanted something to eat. 3 dined with us, two of which were sick. This morning they have made up for the good behavior of those yesterday ? they drank up all the milk in the spring house, and took some of Pa's hay this morning, they have been all over the yard, in the spring house, in the meadow, up the Cherrie trees, almost broke them to the ground [and have] been in the ice house, in the kitchen for something to eat, in the garden pulling out the currants, onions etc., so that we had to get a guard, in fact they have been doing everything in their power it seems to annoy us." — Annie Chunn Gardner, girl living nearby at Mountain Home, diary, July 7, 1862 Courtesy Warren Heritage Society
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 2:39pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 748871 N 4305367
Decimal Degrees38.86195000, -78.13175000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 51.717', W 78° 7.905'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 51' 43.02" N, 78° 7' 54.30" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-155 State Rte 665, Front Royal VA 22630, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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