Stone Sentinels, battlefield monuments of the American Civil War

Toms Brook to Edinburg

Edinburg Mill

A wayside marker on the attempted burning of the Edinburg Mill was erected on the west side of Edinburg, Virginia by Virginia Civil War Trails.

 

A wayside marker for the Stony Creek Line is next to the Edinburg Mill marker.

 

The mill is on the west side of Edinburg on Main Street (U.S. 11) in between Massie Farm Lane and Stony Creek. The marker is on the south side of the parking lot of the Edinburg Mill (nearest Main Street). (38.820827 N°, 78.56824° W; see map)

 

From the marker:

 

Edinburg Mill

Saved During “The Burning”


— 1864 Valley Campaign —

 

In 1850, George P. Grandstaff announced the opening of the large water-powered grist mill here nearly two years after construction began. This large facility competed with the Whissen Mill also on Stony Creek nearer the center of Edinburg. These two mills, together with the bridge across Stony Creek, were important components of this small Valley town.

 

During September 1864, Federal Gen. Philip H. Sheridan began “The Burning” – a campaign against the resources of the Shenandoah Valley and the ability of its residents to supply provisions for the main Confederate army then under siege at Petersburg. In a period of 13 days between September 27 and October 9, 1864, Sheridan’s cavalry destroyed more than 1300 structures including mills, barns, furnaces, and tanneries deemed to be of value to the Confederate cause. They also destroyed or confiscated crops, livestock, food, and transportation equipment leaving parts of the Valley a barren wasteland.

 

Shortly after noon on October 7, the Grandstaff Mill was set ablaze despite the pleas of a crowd of horrified townspeople. There are at least two versions of how the mill was saved. Both tales state that Melvina Grandstaff, granddaughter of the owner, and her friend Nellie Koontz were part of a bucket brigade that quenched the flames. The Whissen mill also was saved because effective Confederate sniper fire from the hills behind it kept the Federals from crossing the creek for their assigned task.



Wayside marker on the attempted burning of the Edinburg mill in 1864.
(above) Wayside marker on the attempted burning of the Edinburg mill in 1864.
(below) The marker is in front of the mill, which still stands today.

Wayside marker on the attempted burning of the Edinburg mill in 1864, with the mill in the background.






About the Author • ©2007-2014 Steve Hawks