Closeup of the Fort Collier - 'I never saw such a sight' wayside marker

Closeup of the Fort Collier - 'I never saw such a sight' wayside marker

Fort Collier
"I never saw such a sight"

Confederate troops constructed Fort Collier in 1861 after the evacuation of Harpers Ferry. The earthworks, which surrounded the Benjamin Stine house here, commanded the approach to Winchester on the Martinsburg and Winchester Turnpike. The fort saw little action until late in the afternoon on September 19, 1864, when, during the Third Battle of Winchester, it became a focal point of the engagement. Here a great Union cavalry charge led by Gen. Wesley Merritt turned the battle against Gen. Jubal A. Early’s outnumbered Confederates. The charge was earthshaking and memorable. A Confederate infantryman who survived the attack later wrote, “I never saw such a sight in my life as that of the tremendous force, the flying banners, sparkling bayonets and flashing sabers moving from the north and east upon the left flank and rear of our army.”


The Stine house was destroyed in the battle. The present day dwelling, still largely surrounded by the Confederate earthworks, was built in 1867.

From the captions to the photos:

Gen. Wesley Merritt (1834-1910) commanded the First Cavalry Division, Army of the Shenandoah.

Milton W. Humhreys (1844-1928), Confederate artilleryman at Fort Collier and later Professor of Ancient Languages at the University of Virginia.


From the caption to the painting:

Thilstrup's dramatic canvas deicted the decisive blow ot he Third Battle of Winchester, Setember 19, 1864. The cavalry charge struck Fort Collier late that afternoon and unhinged the Confederate lne of defense that extended from here, south to the Berryville Turnpike.

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