Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Front Royal

Prospect Hill Cemetery

The Prospect Hill Cemetery wayside marker is on the southwest side of Front Royal, Virginia. This is the third stop on the Virginia Civil War Trails tour of the Battle of Front Royal. (see previous stop, Belle Boyd • see next stop, The Courthouse)



The marker is in the Soldiers Circle at Prospect Hill Cemetery. (38.913717° N, 78.197157° W; see map) The cemetery's main entrance is at the west end of Prospect Street. A one way loop road circles the cemetery.


Text from the marker:


Prospect Hill Cemetery

Jackson Prepares for Battle
— Battle of Front Royal - May 23, 1862 —


Devoid of trees in 1862, this hill afforded Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's troops their first good look at Front Royal and the deployments of the Union garrison here. Approaching from the south on the Gooney Manor Road (now Browntown Road), Col. Stapleton Crutchfield, Jackson's artillery chief, posted a battery here. The smoothbore cannon, however, lacked the range to reach the Union guns on Richardson's Hill, a mile an three quarters further north. Lt. Samuel J. Simpson, a native of the area, led Crutchfield's artillery on a path concealed by woods around the western end of town and up the ridge on which Randolph Macon Academy stands. By 3:30 p.m., a Confederate rifled cannon was in position there.


In the meantime, the 1st Maryland Infantry (CSA) and the Louisiana Brigade advanced on Front Royal from the southeast. The Marylanders overran pickets who revealed that they were members of the 1st Maryland Infantry (US), which garrisoned the town.

Col. John R. Kenly commanded Front Royal's Federal defenders - a thousand infantrymen and a two-gun section of rifled artillery on Richardson's Hill. With this meager force, he sought to protect the military supplies stored in town, the Manassas Gap Railroad, and the bridges over the forks of the Shenandoah River. When the surviving pickets straggled in, Kenly understood that his force was about to be tested.

From the sidebar:

On November 7, 1868, the Ladies' Warren Memorial Association was chartered to collect the Confederate dead buried in sites throughout Warren County and rebury them in this circular lot, later called Soldier's Circle. The task of locating and moving the bodies involved much labor and expense and was especially difficult in the post war era. In a short time, however, the remains of 276 soldiers representing every state in the former Confederacy were interred here. Some 90 were identified and placed in separate graves, each with a marble headstone. The remains of 186 unknown soldiers were buried in a common grave in the center of the circle, and on Aug. 24, 1882, the 18-foot-high monument was erected above them. A memorial service is held annually on the anniversary of the Battle of Front Royal.


Several notable local residents are buried elsewhere in Prospect Hill Cemetery. They include Lt. Samuel J. Simpson and Lucy Buck, the diarist.


Photo caption:

Col. Stapleton Crutchfield

The Prospect Hill Cemetery wayside marker in Front Royal, Virginia.(above) The Prospect Hill Cemetery wayside marker in Front Royal, Virginia.
see enlargement
(below) View of Prospect Hill Cemetery from its marker see enlargement
View of Prospect Hill Cemetery from its marker

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