Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Front Royal

Belle Boyd -
Jackson Prepares for Battle

A wayside marker about Belle Boyd's meeting with Stonewall Jackson is southwest of Front Royal. This is the second stop in the Civil War Trails tour of the Battle of Front Royal. (see previous stop, Asbury Chapel • see next stop, Prospect Hill Cemetery)

 

Location and description

Take Stonewall Jackson Drive (U.S. 340) to Browntown Road, about 0.3 mile southwest of Skyline Drive or 0.67 mile northeast of Skyine Caverns. Turn south on Browntown Road 0.2 mile around a large curve and turn
into the church parking lot on the north side of the road. The marker faces the road on the east corner of the church parking lot. (38.902519° N, 78.203386° W; see map)

 

Text from the marker:

 

Belle Boyd

***
Jackson Prepares for Battle


— Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —

 

Early in the warm afternoon, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and Gen. Richard S. Ewell and their staffs stopped here at the head of Jackson’s army. As the two commanders studied the ground leading to Front Royal, Capt. Henry Kyd Douglas, one of Jackson’s aides caught the attention of Capt. G. Campbell Brown of Ewell’s staff. Brown later wrote that he focused his gaze on “a woman running like mad down from the hill on our right… gesticulating wildly to us.” Douglas, at Ewell’s behest, rode to the hill to meet this “romantic maiden” with a “tall, supple, graceful figure” who, to his amazement, called him by name. He quickly recognized her as the “well-known Belle Boyd whom [he] had known from her earliest girlhood.”

 

Winded and gasping, Boyd told her friend to advise Jackson that the Federal forces in Front Royal were minimal: “Tell him to charge right down and he will catch them all.”

 

Jackson already had begun deploying his command. With a company of the 6th Virginia Cavalry – the Wise Troop – in the lead, Col. Bradley T. Johnson’s 1st Maryland Infantry (CSA) moved into line of battle. The Louisiana Brigade, including Maj. Chatham Roberdeau Wheat’s colorful New Orleans battalion, Wheat’s Tigers, filed in behind the Marylanders. Part of the brigade was in immediate support while the remainder assembled in the open fields to the west of Gooney Manor Road (now Browntown Road). Soon, Jackson ordered his force to advance.

Wayside marker about Belle Boyd's meeting with Stonewall Jackson outside Front Royal, Virginia(above) Wayside marker about Belle Boyd's meeting with Stonewall Jackson outside Front Royal, Virginia (see enlargement)

Wayside marker about Belle Boyd's meeting with Stonewall Jackson outside Front Royal, Virginia

From the sidebar:

Belle Boyd, 18-years-old at the time of the battle, moved
to Front Royal in 1861 after being acquitted of murder charges
in her home town of Martinsburg (now West Virginia). She was
accused there of killing a Union soldier attempting to hoist a
national flag above her house.






About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks