Cross Keys

White Flint Bill

Oct 9, 2017
Southern Virginia

Very little of the Cross Keys battlefield has been preserved, but fortunately it is still farmland.

This sign is alongside SR 276. In order to read it you will need to pull off the side of the road, onto the grass. There is no pull off or parking area.


Here is the view, immediately behind the sign, looking out onto what was the battlefield.


There is a small preserved area along the ridge behind Mill Creek, a critical position on the line. This was the site of Milroy's attack.


Here is the view along the ridge, where the Confederate line was deployed. It is a very stout defensive position above a very steep ravine.




This is the path the skirmishers from the 15th Alabama used to scurry back up the ridge. It is a very steep climb.


This shot was taken near the bottom of the ravine, facing what would have been the Federal line. The picture doesn't do justice to how steep the two hills are, and how deep the intervening ravine.

Despite Milroy's later claim that he was “thunderstruck” by Fremont's order to withdraw, I seriously doubt the Federals could have come down that ridge, into that ravine and then up the next hill, without being annihilated. I suspect that at the time, Milroy was relieved not to have to try. The unnamed soldier who described it as "an amphitheater of hills from which twice Fremont's force could not have dislodged him" got it right, it seems to me.

Finally, these shots are from what would have been the Confederate right/Federal left--the scene of the counterattack by the 25th and 13th Virginia. The signs are on private property. It is necessary to pull off the road (there is no parking area) and walk to them.



George Thomas

Aug 28, 2017
Greater Boston (MA) area
I visited these sites in mid-October and really liked the artillery ridge site featured in your thread. Here is a photo I took from the old wagon road that goes down to Mill Creek. There is a nice view of the south end of Massanutten Mountain through the trees as you get down towards the creek.

This is wonderful preservation work by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation. I wonder if it will be possible sometime in future for them to provide access to the land on the north side of Mill Creek. Currently, it seemed like the trail ended at the creek. I would definitely go back if the other side could be explored.

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