Visit to Hanging Rock

June 12, 2014

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    Chapter members pose in front of the memorial to Confederate soldiers in Salem.

    On Saturday, June 7, members of the Fincastle Chapter visited the Hanging  Rock Battlefield memorial site. This site was donated by UDC Daughter . Delores Smith, current Treasurer General and member of the Southern Cross Chapter, was the guest speaker.


The Battle at Hanging Rock (June 21, 1864) was actually part of Federal Maj. Gen. David Hunter’s retreat from Lynchburg. In previous months, Hunter’s troops had raided communities throughout the Shenandoah Valley, including Buchanan in Botetourt County, en route to Lynchburg to destroy the railroad there. Repulsed in Lynchburg by Jubal Early’s troops, Hunter began a retreat (the “Great Skedaddle”) towards West Virginia. Passing through Salem, Hunter’s men burned the depot, raided homes for food, and tore up several miles of railroad track which had only recently been replaced following an earlier raid. At the gap at Hanging Rock, Confederate Brig. Gen. John McCausland’s forces managed to kill, capture, or wound about 100 Union soldiers (numbers vary greatly), and capture or destroy several artillery pieces, as well as valuable supply wagons. Hunter was able to escape, however, and moved on to West Virginia. More information can be found at the Salem Historic Society website here.

In 1960 Miss Massie Garst willed the site of the battle to the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Her home sat near the gap where the assault on the federal troops occurred. In 1932, the Southern Cross Chapter 746 erected a stone monument at the site and in 1964, on the 100th anniversary of the battle, the William Watts Chapter 809 erected another stone monument to the memory of the Confederate soldiers who fought there. At present, the Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail runs along the old railroad bed on Kesler’s Mill Road.


Chapter members listen as Dolores Smith describes the military action at Hanging Rock.


The old Salem Courthouse, which is now part of Roanoke College.



0985.13.1775, Obv, Pre

Courtesy of the Museum of the Confederacy, Katherine Wetzel


     The Fincastle Chapter is pleased to report that as of May 2014, we have raised nearly $6,000 for the conservation of the Botetourt Dragoons flag!

     Individuals, the Virginia Division UDC, Virginia and General UDC Clubs, and a generous donation from the Military Order of the Stars & Bars have made

     contributions to this project.

     Please check here for more information on the flag project and how to donate.




Reverse of Boteoturt Dragoons flag showing famous words of Patrick Henry

Reverse of Boteoturt Dragoons flag showing famous words of Patrick Henry