Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Strasburg - Hupp's Hill Civil War Walking Tour

A Natural Bombproof

The marker for Hupp's Hill is one of several along the walking trail at the Hupp's Hill Civil War Park north of Strasburg, Virginia.


Location and Directions

Hupp's Hill Civil War Park is just north of Strasburg, Virginia on the west side of the Valley Pike (U.S. 11) about 0.9 mile north of Strasburg and 1 miles south of Interstate 81. (39.0005° N, 78.3494° W; see map)


Text from the marker


How Strata Shaped Strategy:

The Hupp's Hill Civil War/Karst
Interpretive Walking Trail


CWK-2 Natural Bombproof


The defensive earthworks in front of you are the only preserved remnants of a mile long chain of infantry trenches, rifle pits, and artillery emplacements that were built by the Union VI Corps, 2nd Division, following the Battle of Cedar Creek (19 OCtober 1864). The earthworks on the east side of the Valley Pike were destroyed by urban development, but the Hupp's Hill remnants are in remarkably good condition, particularly the artillery trench to the right and the one at CWK4. None of these works have been restored, but natural groundcover helps prevent further erosion, thereby preseving them for future generations.


During the 1860s, Hupp's Hill and much of its environs had been deforested for cultivation. Therefore, Federal gunners and infantrymen manning the entrenchments along the crest of Hupp's Hill had an almost unobstructed field of fire down its reverse (southern) slope. Any Confederate force moving north (down*) the Valley Pike would have endured devastating fire from Union forces behind this fortified line.

A Natural bombproof marker on the on the Hupp's Hill Walking Tour north of Strasburg, Virginia.
(above) "A Natural bombproof" marker on the on the Hupp's Hill Walking Tour north of Strasburg, Virginia.

The large depression behind you is a weathered sinkhole that was likely used as an artillery ammunition dump. Clearly visible in early 20th century aerial photographs, this natural bombproof was ideally suited for storage/disposal of explosives. Archaeologists have postulated that Division adjutant general Captain Hazard Stevens ordered these artillery lunettes constructed in this location because the sinkhole could be used for this purpose. Geologically, this sinkhole is the first of a series of sinkholes (a lineament) that extends north half a mile.


As you continue along the trail, you have two options. To view markers CWK 3 through CWK 8, proceed carefully down the steps (lower trail) into the massive sinkhole on the right, staying on the trail to avoid seasonal growth of poison ivy and briars, or, alternatively, to go directly to marker CWK 9, take the shortcut for an appreviated tour aong the upper trail.


From the sidebar:

*Note: You will often see references to "down" the Valley meaning "to the north." Unlike other major rivers in North America, the Shenandoah River flows north from higher elevations in the south. Therefore, heading north along the Shenandoah is properly defined as moving "down" the Valley.

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