Rude's Hill and Return


A digression from the main tour can give a useful sense of the dimensions of the northern part of the battlefield and of key sites. Should you wish to do this, continue north 3 miles to CR 616. Turn right, go .1 mile to the Cedar Grove Church. Built in 1857, this was the structure noted by Sigel from Bushong's Hi 1, around which the 28th and 116th Oh o regiments were forming. By 1600 on 15 May they had set up a line of battle just north of the church on the slope of Rude's Hill. Sigel directed his forces on Bushong's Hill to rally on the church.

Return .1 mile to US 11 and the Cedar Grove Cemetery.

The Federal units fleeing Bushong's Hill rallied in this area before withdrawing farther north. DuPont's Battery set up on the south side of the cemetery after its masterful withdrawal and engaged Confederate guns a mile away, which were located in an orchard now marked approximately by CR 767 crossing over Interstate 81.

The cemetery contains the graves of many notable local persons including those of Col. John F. Neff, who commanded the 33d Virginia Infantry of the Stonewall Brigade before being killed at Second Manassas. His house is the brick building .8 mile northwest by road down US 11, then west on CR 730 to just west of the Shenandoah on the way to Interchange 68 of Interstate 81. Instead of turning on CR 730, if you go north another .1 mile from the junction with US 11, on the west side of the road you will see the Rude House and farm. Built before 1792, this was used as a headquarters by Stonewall Jackson in April 1862 and by the Federal David Hunter in June 1864. In October 1864, Capt. John H. McNeil was mortally wounded in a cavalry fight on Meem's Bottom, which stretches to the north. He was brought to the house where later he was interviewed by General Sheridan. Sheridan recognized McNeil's condition and left him alone. The dying Confederate later was removed to Harrisonburg where he expired. Meem's Bottom saw considerable cavalry fighting throughout the war. In April 1862, Jackson's men camped in the area. Later, Federal Brig. Gen. James Shields deployed his entire division across the Bottom as he maneuvered against Jackson's rear guard. In the course of Shields' advance, Turner Ashby's white charger, "Tom Telegraph," was mortally wounded while Ashby tried to destroy the bridge. The gallant animal managed to carry his master out of danger up the Pike to a mile below New Market before collapsing. The Bottom was a camp site for Jubal Early's Division in November 1863. Early used "Mt. Airy" on Smith's Creek to the east for his headquarters. The approximately 1,500 men captured at Waynesboro camped on the Bottom under guard on 6-8 March 1865 waiting for the water levels to drop sufficiently to be able to ford the Shenandoah. While they were here, the remnants of Rosser's cavalry attacked Federal positions on Rude's Hill in a vain attempt to liberate the prisoners.

Return from CR 730 3.6 miles to the 54th Pennsylvania Monument. En route about .1 mile south of the cemetery notice the stone marker in the field.

This is a memorial to Cap. George W. Summers and Sgt. Newton Koontz of Page County. They were shot on 27 June 1865 on this spot by order of a Lieutenant Colonel Huzzy of Ohio. The men had come over on business and did not have the necessary parole documentation. Their execution was an unwarranted atrocity.

Continue toward the Pennsylvania monument; as you drive south, you will pass the positions taken by DuPont's two gun platoons late on 15 May. The second position occupied by 2d Lt. Charles Holman's section was on the west side of US 11 opposite the point where CR 732 joins US 11. The position occupied by 2d Lt. Benjamin Nash's section is .3 mile farther south, east of the Pike opposite the large chicken house. Another .2 mile south marks Sgt. Samuel Southworth's position east of the Pike just south of the modern farm lane. Finally, Lieutenant Holman's first position is .18 mile closer to the monument on the west side of the Pike, about where the modern restaurant is located. Continue the remaining .375 mile back to the monument.

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page created 17 December 1999

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