Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War


Signal Knob

The wayside marker on Signal Knob is on the south side of Strasburg, Virginia. It was erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.


How to get there

The marker is on the east side of South Holiday Street about 1200 feet south of King Street (U.S. 11) just past the Strasburg Presbyterian Church heading south and overlooking the Strasburg High School. (38.98611° N, 78.36315° W. see map)


Text from the marker


Signal Knob

Key Observation Post


Signal Knob, the northernmost point of Three Top Mountain, overlooks Strasburg and is 2110 ft. above sea level. During the Civil War, both sides used it as a signal station, but the Confederate signal corps occupied it almost continuously from 1862 to 1864. On October 19, 1864, Confederates there observed Union positions and directed the opening attack of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Other signal stations were established at Ashby Gap (east of Winchester), Burnt Springs (south in Fort Valley), Harmony Hollow (near Front Royal), and New Market Gap. Special signal flags, lanterns, and telescopes were used to communicate from one peak to another.


On August 14, 1864, Union troops attacked a detachment of the 61st Georgia Infantry and temporarily occupied the station. Each side suffered ten casualties. Years later, Mary Ashley Townsend found a grave on Massanutten Mountain and wrote a poem, “The Georgia Volunteer”:


Roll, Shenandoah, proudly roll
Adown thy rocky glen;
Above thee lies the grace of one
Of Stonewall Jackson’s men.
Beneath the cedar and the pine
In solitude austere,
Unknown, unnamed, forgotten, lies
A Georgia volunteer.

From the sidebar:


Many local men served in Co. A (Strasburg Guard), 10th Virginia Infantry, during the war. Its captain, Joshua Stover (later a major), died at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863. After the war, Confederate veterans gathered the remains of soldiers into the Presbyterian Cemetery and in 1896 dedicated an obelisk, which stands to your left. “In memory of our Fallen Comrades, Numbering 136.” The Presbyterian Church, built in 1830, served as a hospital throughout the war after Dr. William J. Upshaw established one there in 1862. Later, Federals used the church as a hospital before relocating to Winchester.


Historical marker for the Action of Rutherford's Farm northeast of Winchester, Virginia.
(above and below) The Signal Knob wayside marker in Strasburg, Virginia

Historical marker for the Action of Rutherford's Farm northeast of Winchester, Virginia.


Photo and caption from the marker:

Jedediah Hotchkiss and Gen. John B. Gordon observe
Federal positions from Signal Knob, Oct. 18, 1864,
before the Battle of Cedar Creek.

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