Chestnut Ridge, Death of Ashby, 1862 Valley Campaign

Inscription reads: "On June 6, 1862, the vanguard of Union Gen. John C. Fremont's force, pursuing Confederate Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's army south up the Shenandoah Valley, reached this point near Harrisonburg. Jackson's rear guard, led by Gen. Turner Ashby, engaged Federal cavalry here and captured Col. Sir Percy Wyndham, the English commander of the 1st New Jersey Cavalry who had earlier boasted that he would "bag Ashby." The 1st Maryland Inf. and 58th Virginia Inf. set an ambush for the Federals. At about 6 p.m., however, Union forces appeared not in the road as expected, but in a concealed position near Ashby's force.  When Ashby's horse was shot from under him, he rolled off the mount, regained his footing and ordered his men to stop shooting and use the bayonet, shouting, "Charge, men! For God's sake charge!" Then a Union bullet pierced Ashby's side and passed through his chest. He fell dead, while his men cleared the Federals from the woodline."     The next day, Ashby's body lay in state in the Frank Kemper house in Port Republic, where a brief funeral service was held. Jackson viewed the body there in private.  Although Ashby's lack of discipline over his troopers had drawn Jackson's sharp rebuke two months earlier, he later praised Ashby. "As a partisan officer I never knew his superior," Jackson wrote. "His daring was proverbial - his tone of character heroic, and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the purposes of the enemy."    Sidebar:  On June 6, 1898, the Turner Ashby Monument was dedicated under the auspices of Turner Ashby Chapter 162, United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Chapter continues to maintain the death site.