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frontcoverAvenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia
by Robert H. Moore, II

(Published by The Donning Company Publishers, December 2002)
144 pages including maps, photographs and bibliography
ISBN 1-57864-199-3

For pricing and availability contact the author at:
E-mail: cenantua@gmail.com

About the Book:

With over 300 miles of self-guided driving tours to over 94 stops at 70 different historic buildings and sites, Moore’s Avenue of Armies: Civil War Sites and Stories of Luray and Page County, Virginia, guides travelers all over Luray and Page County chronologically following events that took place there. Beginning with a chapter/tour that sets the stage for the war, following stories of personalities and places in the Page Valley, the book begins to literally “follow the armies” as they marched through Page County either on reconnaissance missions or on the advance to several battlefields throughout the Valley and Virginia. While no major battle took place in Page, the veil of cover offered by the Massanutten Mountain was one of the greatest appeals of the region. Several of the book’s tours lead to major battlefields in and out of the Valley such as McDowell, Front Royal, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, and Bristoe Station. Other tours follow events immediately in the wake of battles such as Gettysburg and Fisher’s Hill. However, all intermesh with various stories of Page County civilians as they observed the ever-moving line of soldiers pass through, Blue and Gray. The last chapter closes the book with reflections upon what is referred to as Reunions, Monuments and Remembrance in Luray and Page.

Over 130 photos of people and sites in Luray and Page County as well as six four-color maps (including the Gilmer 1864 maps of Page County and one never before published 1862 Jed Hotchkiss Map of the Page County area), table of contents, acknowledgements, introduction, note to the reader, bibliography, and index.

An outline of the book and different tours is as follows:

Tour 1: 1861: Mobilizing for War: The People and the Industry

45 miles of touring to 22 stops from Luray to Shenandoah.

An overview of the idea of secession in the county following Lincoln’s call for troops; the many of the personalities in the county at the outbreak of the war; the mobilization of troops in the county; and the iron ore industry in the county.

Stops at:

Peter B. Borst House/Aventine
Benjamin F. Grayson House/Cottage on the Cliff
Page Co. Courthouse
Frank & Cornelia Jordan House/Cliff Cottage
Mann Spitler House
Nicholas W. Yager House
Gabriel Jordan House
Macon Jordan House
John Lionberger House (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Harrison Strickler House
William T. Young House/Calendine (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Daniel Hite House
William A. Chapman/Ruffner House (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Samuel Moore House
Reuben Nauman House/Store
Catherine Furnace (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Shenandoah Iron Works (see off-site HMDB page for this site… and for the next three sites on this list)
Furnace No. 2
Iron Works/Furnace No. 1 Anvil
Col. S.B. Gibbons Birth site
John Welfley House

 

Tour 2: April 17-19, 1862: The Arrival of the Armies and the Hotchkiss Affair

21 miles of touring to 6 stops from Shenandoah to Honeyville, Alma and Luray.

In the wake of the Battle of Kernstown, Stonewall Jackson opted to use Conrad’s Store as a reorganization point for his army. In the meantime, he orders Jed Hotchkiss, his mapmaker, to destroy the bridges over the South Fork of the Shenandoah River in Page County. This tour describes the bridge-burning attempt.

Stops at:

Shenandoah Iron Works
Rube Kite House/Dogtown
Site of Red Bridge (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Honeyville
Site of Columbia Bridge
Wheat’s Boulder

 

Tour 3: April 20 – May 12, 1862: The Federal Occupation of Luray and Page County

34 miles of touring to 6 stops from Luray to Alma, Honeyville, Somerville Heights and back to Luray.

While Jackson and Union forces under Gen. N.P. Banks face-off along the South Fork of the Shenandoah, tense moments come into play as Federals probe toward Conrad’s Store and are frequently countered in severe skirmishes with Confederate forces under Gen. R.S. Ewell in Page County. Ewell effectively screens Jackson’s movements and subsequent victory at the Battle of McDowell.

Stops at:

Aventine Hill (present site of the Mimslyn)
Jackson Shuler/Elder Koontz House
Columbia Ford
Somerville Heights (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Cave Hill
Mann Spitler House

 

Tour 4: May 15 – 23, 1862: Stonewall Advances on Front Royal

26 miles of touring to 7 stops from Shenandoah to New Market Gap, Hamburg and Luray. Optional continuance to Front Royal and the battle tour.

Following McDowell, Jackson moves back down the Valley and quickly uses the cover of the Massanutten, in the Page Valley, as a veil to his advance and subsequent attack on the Union Garrison at Front Royal.

Stops at:

Luray to Staunton Turnpike
New Market Gap
John A. Burner House/Massanutten Heights
White House Marker (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Mauck Meeting House (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Gabriel Jordan House
Luray Road

 

Tour 5: June 1 – 15, 1862: Shields’ Advance to and Retreat from Port Republic

41 miles of touring to 6 stops from the remains of White House Bridge to Leaksville, Alma, Shenandoah (option to continue on to Port Republic Battlefield) and back to Luray.

With Jackson quickly racing up the Valley to evade entrapment by several Union armies, Gen. James Shields with four Union brigades moves through the Page Valley to attack the hero of Manassas at Port Republic. Following disaster on the field, Shields retreats along the same avenue of attack and returns to fill the streets of Luray with his dead and wounded.

Stops at:

Site of White House Bridge (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Leaksville Brethren Church
Luray to Staunton Turnpike
Site of Noah Kite’s Columbia Mill
Capt. Joe Price’s Mill (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Augustus S. Modesitt Residence

 

Tour 6: June – August 1862: Reconnaissance Patrols, Reoccupation and Civilians at War

20 miles of touring to 5 stops from Milford/Overall to Luray.

Following Jackson’s departure from the Valley, Union forces in the area remain wary and conduct probes into Luray and the Page Valley. Prior to the Battle of Cedar Mountain, Federal forces take extreme measures in dealing with civilians who refuse to take the oath of allegiance in Luray.

Stops at:

Milford/Overall
Cavalry Engagement Marker (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Luray
Aventine Hill
White House Marker (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Page Co. Courthouse

 

Tour 7: November 1862: Stonewall’s Last Glimpse of the Valley

16 miles of touring to 7 stops from New Market Gap to Alma, Honeyville, Stanley and Marksville, Mauck and Fisher’s Gap.

Following the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam, Jackson’s Valley army rests briefly at Winchester before moving up the Valley and across the Massanutten at New Market Gap enroute to joining Gen. Robert E. Lee just weeks prior to the Battle of Fredericksburg. The Valley Army, now the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, takes days to cross through the Page Valley and across the Blue Ridge at Fishers Gap. Jackson’s last Valley bivouac is spent in the vicinity of the village of Mauck in Page County and takes time on the following day to take a last glimpse of the Shenandoah Valley from Franklin Cliffs near Fishers Gap.

Stops at:

New Market Gap (see off-site HMDB page for this site)
Blue Ridge/New Market to Gordonsville Turnpike
Columbia Ford
Graves’ Chapel Marker (off-site HMDB link for this marker)
Mt. Hope Stage Stop
Village of Mauck
Fishers Gap and Franklin Cliffs (off-site HMDB links for this site… see this and then this)

 

Tour 8: February – December 1863: The Passing of Armies

19 miles of touring to 5 stops from near Stanley to Marksville, Luray, Thornton Gap and back to Luray.

Minor troop movements and activities in the Page Valley reveal a sad brother against brother story of one Page County family; the passage of some Carolinians and the unraveling of the two grave mystery; Confederate retreat from Gettysburg and Manassas Gap/Wapping Heights, through Page County and across Thornton Gap prior to the Bristoe Campaign; and a December raid upon Borst’s tannery operations in Luray.

Stops at:

Site of Stoneberger Church
Graves’ Chapel (off-site HMDB link for this site)
Ensign George W. Hardie Grave
Pass Run Church (off-site HMDB link for this site)
Borst Tannery Site

 

Tour 9: May 1864: New Market

One stop at New Market Gap leading to a tour option to New Market Battlefield.

Conscription in the Page Valley on the eve of the Battle of New Market causes Federal forces to probe the area and a Union cavalry detachment enroute to a surprise near New Market.

Stops at:

New Market Gap

 

Tour 10: September 1864: Early’s Endangered Flank

11 + miles of touring to 2 stops from Milford/Overall to Luray.

Union Gen. Phil Sheridan devises a superb plan for the destruction of Confederate forces under Gen. Jubal Early on the eve of the Battle of Fisher’s Hill. Using the cloak of the Massanutten in the Page Valley, Union cavalry probe unsuccessfully to Milford and Confederate cavalry proves defiant enough to perhaps stall the end of the war in the Shenandoah Valley.

Stops at:

Milford/Overall
Yager’s Mill Marker (off-site HMDB link for this site)

 

Tour 11: October 2 – 7, 1864: The Burning

32 miles or touring to 11 stops from Price’s Mill/Verbena/Shenandoah to Alma and several sites around the outskirts of Luray and in the town.

In the wake of Fisher’s Hill, Sheridan sets Federal cavalry loose into the Page Valley to inflict severe damage to barns, mills and other resources vital to the continued Confederate war effort. Guerilla activities, a family on the eve of tragedy and an execution of two Maryland Confederate soldiers near Luray closes this story.

Stops at:

Site of Price’s Mill
Site near Noah Kite’s Columbia Mill
John A. Burner House/Massanutten Heights
Martin Strickler Site
Martin Coffman Site
Widow Kauffman House/River View
Aventine Hill
Aventine
Henry Pendleton Hershberger House
Willow Grove Mill (off-site HMDB link for this site)
Aventine Hill

 

Tour 12: May – June 1865: The Summers-Koontz Incident

25 miles of touring to 7 stops from the Grove Hill area to Alma, across New Market Gap and to Rude’s Hill, north of New Market, in Shenandoah County.

Local Page County Confederates face an untimely fate, despite reassurances from a Federal colonel.

Stops at:

George W. Summers’ House Site
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
George W. Summers’ House Site (2nd time optional)
Summers-Koontz Roadside marker (off-site HMDB link for this site)
Jacob D. Koontz House Site
Andrew Jackson Shuler House Site
Smith Creek
Rude’s Hill (see off-site HMDB page for this site)

 

Tour 13: Reunions, Monuments and Remembrance

2 miles of touring to 5 stop; all in the town of Luray.

Confederate spirit rang clear in years after the war resulting in two monuments in Luray (1898 and 1918), the establishment of a cemetery by a Confederate Veteran for many of his comrades and a touching reunion between the Blue and Gray in Luray in 1881.

Stops at:

Green Hill Cemetery
Herbert Barbee Confederate Monument (off-site link to HMDB page for this site)
1918 Confederate Veterans’ Monument
Luray Train Depot (1881) Site
Inn Lawn Park

For information about additional sites and stories of Luray and Page County, click on this link to access the Avenue of Armies blog.

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