Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Strasburg - Hupp's Hill Civil War Walking Tour

Signal Knob

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- 10 Signal Knob


Directly ahead of you is Massanutten Mountain. Its highest point on the northern tip (Signal Knob) served as a strategic observation post and signal station for both sides during the Civil War. A war dispatch from Strasburg reached Righmond within an hour using wig-wag (Signal Flags) to send a message from Signal Knob to successive signal stations along the length of Massanutten Mountain to the New Market telegraph station.


Massanutten Mountain, which dominates the landscape south and east of Hupp's Hill, is actually a 50-mile-long system of interlocking ridges that split the Valley corridor in two. With only one major gap across Massanutten Mountain (near New Market), the ridges comprised a near-impenetrable wall that affected tactical maneuvering during both the 1862 and 1864 Valley Campaigns.


Your approach to the trail was via U.S. Highway 11, which essentially follows the roadbed of one of the most historic roads in America. Originally called the Warrior's Path, the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road led colonial settlers into the back country as far south as the Carolinas.

Signal Knob marker on the Hupp's Hill Walking Tour north of Strasburg, Virginia.
(above) Signal Knob marker on the Hupp's Hill Walking Tour north of Strasburg, Virginia.


The roadbed was later covered with a surface of crushed gravel and cement (macadam). By 1840 the "Valley Pike" stretched from Winchester to Staunton and was renowned as the first all-weather highway west of the Blue Ridge. Travelers were astonished by the clear 3-mile views along portions of this well-engineered route, which operated as a toll road until the early 20th century. Like Massanutten Mountain, the Pike and its network of auxiliary roads shaped local troop movement during both Valley Campaigns.


Photo captions from the marker:

A modern-day telescopic view from Signal Knob.


A wartime sketch depicts Confederate General John B. Gordon atop Signal Knob peering down on Union encampments at Cedar Creek.


The Valley Pike near Middletown, shortly after the Civil War.


During the 1920s & 30s the swale to your front was occupied by the Lucky Strike miniature golf course, which bordered the then-unprotected earthworks.


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