The Battle of Front Royal: Bel Air
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member La de Boheme
N 38° 55.221 W 078° 11.314
17S E 743740 N 4311696
Quick Description: Bel Air was the home of Lucy Buck who kept a diary of the action she witnessed during the Battle of Front Royal.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 4/29/2012 1:46:32 PM
Waymark Code: WMEAXM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member LSUMonica
Views: 3

Long Description:
In 1862, Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson was sent to take command of the forces in Shenandoah Valley since it was an important source of supplies and a possible route for invading the north, including Washington, D.C. In February 1862, Gen. George McClellan took control of the Union army and planned an assault on Richmond, Virginia from the coast (Peninsula Campaign). Jackson was ordered the hold down the Federal troops in the Valley to prevent them from reinforcing McClellan. Even with a small army of poorly-trained troops and defeat at Kernstown in March, Jackson succeeded with brilliant strategies and maneuvers to maintain control of the Valley and prevent McClellan from receiving any help. Indeed, it would be Jackson who would reinforce Gen. Robert E. Lee in successfully defending Richmond against McClellan.

On May 23, Jackson defeated the 1st Maryland Regiment USA under Union Col. John Kenly sent to Front Royal to guard the bridge and railroad over the North and South Fork of the Shenandoah River and protect Gen. Nathaniel Banks' position in nearby Strasburg. With Jackson was the 1st Maryland CSA which dubbed the Battle of Front Royal as the Battle of Brother Against Brother.

The Battle of Front Royal Driving Tour is a site on the Civil War Discovery Trail that starts at the Front Royal Visitors Center and follows the battle through modern-day Front Royal.

The fifth stop on the tour is Bel Air, a stately manor on a hill. During the Battle of Front Royal, many of the residents kept diaries; some of which have survived to reveal an extraordinary look from the civilian side. One of the surviving diaries belonged to Lucy Buck (seen at right in photo) who lived with her family at Bel Air which provided an excellent view of the action ¼ mile away. An entry as quoted from the CWDT marker reads:

"Of one thing I am particularly glad---our First Maryland Regiment was the first to charge the Yankee First Maryland---drove them out of town, captured and then marched back singing "Maryland, (My Maryland)." They have always wanted to meet and have been justified with a vengeance, on one side at least."

The next year, in 1863, as the Confederate army was retreating from Gettysburg through Front Royal, Lucy's father, William Buck, met the commanding general and invited him and his staff to Bel Air for refreshments. Lucy wrote about the "grand old chief" who was a "tall commanding figure clad in dusty, travel-stained gray but with a courtly, dignified bearing". Thus did Lucy meet Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Lucy is buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Bel Air still stands and is privately-owned.


Type of site: Historic Home

End of Water St.
Front Royal, VA USA

Phone Number: 540-635-5788 (Front Royal Visitors Center)

Admission Charged: No Charge

Website: [Web Link]

Driving Directions:
Front Royal Visitors Center (Start of the driving tour): 414 East Main St. Front Royal VA 22630 From I-66 exit 13, follow Route 55 west to the visitors center. From I-66 exit 6, take Route 340 south and follow the signs to the visitors center

Visit Instructions:
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