The Star Fort in Winchester, VA

LCYingling3rd

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Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Lead elements of Union General Robert Milroy's 8th Corps Division arrived in Winchester Virginia on Christmas Eve, 1862. The General arrived on New Years day. He put his troops to work reinforcing some old gun emplacements on the northwest side of town and the Star Fort was born. Just north of the Main Fort in Winchester, the Star Fort was used during the 2nd and third Winchester campaigns.

A developer purchased the property and local and national battlefield preservation groups worked with him and he built his housing development, however, the historic site was preserved for the future. If you are traveling on Route 37, which I call the Winchester beltway because it is an interstate that circles the west side of town, you can take the Rt 522 exit and head east toward town on North Frederick Pike. Follow it a few blocks and on the left you will find the entrance to the housing development, Fortress Drive. Turn left onto Fortress drive and you will find the fort on your right. It is currently being preserved and maintained by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation and is open to the public during the day. I was last there in 2018.

Here are a few images from that visit:

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LCYingling3rd

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Thanks for the post. I have put this on my list for this summer.
That is fantastic! Keep an eye out because I will be doing a brief post on the West Fort at Winchester in a little bit. There isn't much left to see there, however, if you stop at the Virginia Farm Market, just a half a mile or so from the Star Fort, there are some good interpretive markers describing the action that occurred there on June 14, 1863 during Second Winchester.
 

Gettysburg Guide #154

Sergeant
Member of the Month
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Dec 30, 2019
Thanks for posting the photos. My wife and I visited the Star Fort and other points of interest in and around Winchester last year. The preservation effort could be enhanced by the removal of some of the trees surrounding the fort and thereby restoring some of the Civil War era sight lines. I really liked the museum in town with the preserved soldier graffiti. All in all, we found Winchester a nice town to visit. By the way, it is only about an hour's drive from Sharpsburg for those of you who intend to be there in the fall.
 

KianGaf

First Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
After looking at the contemporary map , I was wondering why the location for the fort was chosen. Why was it put in that part of town. I can’t judge from the map if other fortifications are present but it’s safe assume the other roads were covered by battery’s ?
 

dlavin

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jun 1, 2015
Location
North Balt Co., MD
I visited there a few years back and it’s such a dichotomy between the fort and the housing development surrounding the fort. I always wonder if the housing owners know much about the fort or its just ”there”
 

LCYingling3rd

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
After looking at the contemporary map , I was wondering why the location for the fort was chosen. Why was it put in that part of town. I can’t judge from the map if other fortifications are present but it’s safe assume the other roads were covered by battery’s ?
That is a great question. I always wonders why three forts north and west of town and none on the south and east of town. On the older sepia colored map in my post you can see the Main fort just west of town. North of that fort was the Pughtown Road (modern Rt. 522) and the Star for is just north of that. Harder to see is the West fort which is to the left (west) of the Main fort. It is barely a fort. It is a semicircular redoubt with it's guns facing west. My guess is that Jackson put in some gun emplacements where the Star fort is to cover the north and Milroy simply reinforced that for more cover for his troops and to better cover the North. I will have to verify this, but my understand is that Jackson built the Main fort. That makes sense because Confederates would have been more concerned about Union attacks coming down the Pughtown road from Bath (Berkeley Springs) and or down the Valley Pike (modern Rt. 11) from Martinsburg to the north. However, that is an excellent question.
 

LCYingling3rd

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
I visited there a few years back and it’s such a dichotomy between the fort and the housing development surrounding the fort. I always wonder if the housing owners know much about the fort or its just ”there”
Yes, probably a unique place to walk dogs to many...
 
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