Thursday, June 17, 2021

Shepherdstown to Port Republic: 10 unheralded battlefields

Here's my list, ranked...

1. SHEPHERDSTOWN (W. Va.) | Sept. 20, 1862: Fascinating terrain at final Maryland Campaign battle. Most of battlefield is private property -- including this ground (above) upon which A.P. Hill soldiers advanced (toward camera). Recent visit made doubly good by excellent time spent with town parking cop, who uses a Segway on the job. Regarding the battlefield, he warned me about bears, coyotes, snakes, and ticks. What, no sea serpents? Read about amazing heroism on this battlefield.

2. SOUTH MOUNTAIN: (Md.) | Sept. 14, 1862: Rugged! How the hell did they fight here? George Meade’s men marched past this old house on Frostown Road on Sept. 14, 1862. Once owned by two brothers, locals told me, it and surrounding land were acquired by American Battlefield Trust. As you can tell by the deep-blue sky, this was one of those fabulous western Maryland afternoons.

3. BRANDY STATION: (Va.) | June 9, 1863:
View from Fleetwood Hill. Oh my. Meet the man who was instrumental in saving this hallowed ground. Explore panorama.

4. PICKETT'S MILL (Ga.) | May 27, 1864:
The Yankees attacked through that ravine? Really? Ranger Jeff Wright (above) warned snakes lurk here. Grrrr. Another Shepherdstown. 

5. CROSS KEYS (Va.) | June 8, 1862: I lost recent staredown here with cows and bull here, preventing a higher ranking. Long story. 😫

6. PIEDMONT (Va.) | June 5, 1864:
“Grumble” Jones death site at extreme right of panorama. Best Civil War nickname, by the way. Mrs. B could use for me. 

7. CEDAR CREEK (Va.) | Oct. 19, 1864: Would be higher if they bagged I-81. Ugh. Here's where 8th Vermont advanced through a ravine. Read more.

8. NEW MARKET (Va.) | May 15, 1864:
Field of Lost Shoes! Explore panorama.

9. BALL'S BLUFF (Va.) | Oct. 21, 1861:
Federals -- including this 15th Massachusetts soldier -- swam Potomac under fire. (Video from Visit Loudoun via YouTube.)

10. FISHER'S HILL (Va.) | Sept. 21-22, 1864: I deftly eluded “cow mines.” Angry herd here eyed me warily, apparently despondent over recent death of one of their own. Weird vibe. Dandy view and a magnificent witness tree (above). Curses to you, I-81! 

HONORABLE MENTION: Port Republic, Va., above (June 9, 1862), Britton's Lane, Tenn. (Sept. 1, 1862), Tebbs Bend, Ky. (July 4, 1863), Morton's Ford, Va. (Feb. 6-7, 1864), Monocacy, Md. (July 9, 1864), Allatoona Pass, Ga. (Oct. 5, 1864), Spring Hill, Tenn. (Nov. 29, 1864),

What do you think of my list? 

-- Have something to add (or correct) in this post? Email me here.


  1. Superb list; I myself visited seven of these sites. How fortunate we are that they exist "undeveloped."

  2. I've managed to visit 9 of these. All 9 are awesome!

  3. John , I appreciate this list. Sadly, being stuck in North Dakota, I'll probably never get to these places. However I do have one question for you. Where you put the Monocacy battle field on this list, if you were to expand it?

    1. Anonymous9:46 AM

      Notice it’s in his honorable mentions at the end.

  4. Glenn K.12:34 PM

    Chantilly/Ox Hill - 99% of which is gone,
    It's still an amazing place to stand and imagine the Thunderstorm.

    1. Anonymous9:37 AM

      I was just there. A large field, way too far in towards DC to stay out of the developer’s hands. The southwest quarter of Manassas Battlefield barely escaped the same fate.

  5. Anonymous9:53 AM

    My GG uncle was wounded at Piedmont. He was with the 116th Ohio.

    1. Anonymous10:10 PM

      My great grandfather was captured at Piedmont and sent to Camp Morton, Indianapolis. I have a copy of the regimental history of the 116th OVI that was given me many years ago by a cousin who lived near Lowell, Ohio at that time. I don't know where he got it but the 116th was from that section of Ohio.

  6. Anonymous12:39 PM


    1. Anonymous11:16 AM

      Took the word right out of my mouth.