Clarke County, Virginia sits at the lower end of the Shenandoah Valley, tucked against the Blue Ridge, bordering West Virginia. During the Civil War, the county was traversed by both armies on several campaigns. It was also in the heart of Mosby’s Confederacy. The state Department of Historic Resources (and its predecessors) has placed six markers dedicated to Civil War activity (Battle of Berryville-J30, Berryville Wagon Train Raid-J1, Castleman’s Ferry Fight-T9, Crook and Early-T10, Lee’s Bivouac-J14, and Signal Station-B7). The Civil War Trails system offers a single interpretation, for the Battle of Cool Springs (July 18, 1864).
Predating both these marker and interpretive programs, in the 1890s, the J.E.B. Stuart Camp of Confederate Veterans marked ten locations in Clarke County considered worthy of mention. Simple granite markers were placed stating the name of the action, date, and participants. The marker stone for Cool Springs is typical:
The veterans clearly leaned toward sites of Southern victories. But in their defense, they only placed stones where the engagement site was properly documented. Either by design or accident, the ten markers covered events from the summer-fall of 1864, save one. The ten marked sites were (with links to HMDB entries):
Battle of Cool Springs, July 18, 1864, Early and Crook (battle also noted on the Castleman’s Ferry Fight state marker and the Civil War Trails marker).
Fight at Berry’s Ferry, July 19, 1864 Imboden and Crook. (UPDATED. See below)
Double Toll Gate Fight, August 11, 1864, Imboden and U.S. Cavalry.
Buck Marsh Fight, September 13, 1864 (actual date August 13), Mosby’s Attack on Sheridan’s Wagon Trains (action also noted on the Berryville Wagon Train Raid state marker).
Col. Morgan’s Lane, August 19, 1864, Mosby’s Attack on Custer’s House Burners, No Prisoners.
Battle of Berryville, September 3, 1864, Early and Sheridan (battle also noted on the Battle of Berryville State Marker).
Fight at Gold’s Farm, September 3, 1864, Mosby and 6th New York Cavalry.
Mt. Airy Fight, September 15, 1864, Mosby and U.S. Cavalry.
Vineyard Fight, December 16, 1864, Mosby and U.S. Cavalry.
Mt. Carmel Fight, February 19, 1865, Mosby and U.S. Cavalry.
Personally, I’ve located nine of the ten. I have visited the site of Berry’s Ferry on several occasions, with no luck finding the stone. The highway through that section (modern U.S. 50) has shifted grade over time, and it may still stand off to the side somewhere. But pending a discovery or assistance from another visitor, I must list it as “missing” for now.
UPDATE: One of our frequent contributors at HMDB tracked down the Berry’s Ferry marker. It was “hiding in plane sight” to some degree – laying flat just off US 50 at the entrance to a private road, to the west of the bridge.
Of these, the Battle of Cool Springs was the bloodiest, with just over 800 casualties on both sides. The Battle of Berryville, preceding the Third Winchester, was the largest in terms of combatants involved. Most of the remainder involved Mosby’s Rangers and their operations. None of the sites are what I’d consider major battles, and finding mention of them in the history books is rare. Yet, I do have to feel gratitude towards those veterans who had the foresight to leave behind some physical indicator of these events. Otherwise, the knowledge of the locations, and possibly of the engagements themselves, may have been lost to history.