Inscription reads: "The Battle of Piedmont, fought on June 5, 1864, between Union Gen. David Hunter and Confederate Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones, ended here. It began more than a mile northeast when the 12,000-man-strong Federal army, whose mission was to scour the Shenandoah Valley of Confederates and then destroy the rail center at Charlottesville, encountered Jones's combined force of 6,000 infantry and cavalry. The third Union assault uphill against Jones's fortified line ended in Confederate disaster when Jones was killed while trying to rally his men during a Union flank attack." The Southerners retreated across the Middle River to the west, as well as south behind you on the old East Road (present-day Rte. 608). Just north of you, where the road curves, the ground was forested in 1864. There Capt. John H. McClanahan's Confederate battery, in a rearguard action, deployed a two-gun section and cut down pursuing Federal cavalrymen as they charged four abreast on the narrow road. The Southerners regrouped at Fishersville, then marched east to the Blue Ridge and blocked the gaps, thereby compelling Hunter to change his targets to Lexington and Lynchburg. New Hope became a hospital, and soldiers who died of their wounds were buried nearby. The Methodist church cemetery contains one marked Confederate grave, and the bloodstained wooden floor in the original church still survives, covered by linoleum. The Battle of Piedmont cost the Confederates some 1,600 casualties, and the Federals lost about 875. On June 6, the Confederate supply base at Staunton fell to Hunter's army. At Lexington on June 11, Hunter ordered the home of former Virginia war governor John Letcher and buildings of the Virginia Military Institute to be burned. Hunter's spring campaign ended June 15-17 when he was defeated at the Battles of Lynchburg and Hanging Rock by Jubal Early and the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Last Updated: 7/20/2011 2:59 PM