June 10, 2010

Rude's Hill and Locust Grove

In the Shenandoah Valley between Mount Jackson and New Market rises Rude's Hill, scene of several incidents during the Civil War. A pair of Civil War Trails markers has joined the older historical markers here. The marker on the left deals with Stonewall Jackson in 1862 and the marker on the right deals with actions in 1864 including an attack by McNeill's Rangers which resulted in the death of John "Hanse" McNeill. Since I've been researching McNeill in connection with a history class, I decided to revisit the markers today.

Below (in blue) are excerpts from the markers. (Click on a picture to see a larger version.)

This old house photographed during the early 20th century and still standing about 600 yards north on the west side of the Valley Pike, was occupied at the beginning of the Civil War by a Lutheran minister, Rev. Anders R. Rude. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s small Confederate force went into a defensive position here after retiring from the battle at Kernstown, March 23, 1862... By April 2, 1862, Jackson and his staff occupied the Rude home where they were quartered until April 17. All dispatches from this headquarters bore the dateline, “Rude’s Hill”—a name that has lasted until this day, even though Rev. Rude left the Valley during the fall of 1862.

On Oct. 3. 1864, the famous partisan ranger, Capt. John H. McNeill led a command of approximately 50 men in a predawn attack against a Federal detachment guarding the Shenandoah River bridge. Mortally wounded in this attack, McNeill was carried by his comrades to “Locust Grove,” formerly the Rude home, where he was cared for until removed south to Harrisonburg where he died. During his stay at Locust Grove his disguised identity was uncovered by Gen. Philip Sheridan, now the Federal commander, who reported “McNeill was mortally wounded and fell into our hands. This was fortunate, as he was the most daring and dangerous of all the bushwackers in this section of the country.”

When I read that "Locust Grove" was still standing about 600 yards north, I decided to look for it. I'm pretty sure this is it. The addition has been rebuilt and "insulbrick" siding was installed at some point, but otherwise the architecture matches the old photograph.

This is along Route 11 just north of the Shenandoah Caverns Road.

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