Speaker: Joe Whitehorn
Ever entertaining, Joe Whitehorne's visit in August laid a firm challenge down - Was Fishers hill the most fought over piece of real estate in the Civil War? The claim appears to be well founded - Skirmish after skirmish was laid out by Joe. Confederate entrenchments, Confederate advance and retreat, Union entrenchments, and Union advance and retreat. Each month of each year appeared to support him.
The key to the position was the bridge.
The culmination in his talk was a description of the Battle of Fishers Hill in September 1864. Hopelessly outnumbered 3 to 1, Early tried in vain to stem Sheridan's advance. The terrain was in his favour, but Crooks Corps outflanked the Confederate left and confusion and rout set in. The Confederate army was a shambles but attempted to collect itself at the base of Round Hill on the Valley Pike. Generals Gordon, Ramseur, and Pegram and staff officers established a rear guard of artillery and infantry at Prospect Hill and held off the disorganized Union pursuit. During this action, Col. Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton, Stonewall Jackson's favourite staff officer, was wounded; he died the following day in Woodstock. The army retreated to Narrow Passage, and the wagon train went on to Mt. Jackson. Darkness and confusion among the Union victors prevented effective pursuit.
Joe outlined that the current site is unspoilt by modern progress, but it is also fairly inaccessible. There has been a modern road bypass that has taken the traffic off of the site. The bridge has disappeared, only the abutments remain to be seen