This historical marker is located near the former home of Confederate General John McCausland. He was known for training the Rockbridge Artillery, the unit that produced William N. Pendleton. He is also known for ordering the destruction of Cahmbersburg, Pennsylvania. McCausland was one of the last living Confederate officers, living to the age of 91. He retired to Mason County and operated his, Grape Hill, until his death in 1927.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri in September of 1836 and orphaned in 1843. He lived in Henderson, Virginia (WV) and graduated from the Virginia Military Institute. He was a career officer, teaching at VMI alongside Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson. John McCausland is best known for ordering his men to burn Chambersburg.
Burning of Chambersburg,
McCausland is most known for his destruction of the Town of CHambersburg, Pennsylvania on the night of July, 30th 1864. Chambersburg along with other towns north of the Mason Dixon line became targets for raid by Confederate soldiers seeking retaliation for the destruction of homes southern supporters in West Virginia. McCausland and his calvery forces were ordered to occupy the town of Chambersburg and retrieve a retubution of $500,000 for the destroyed southern homes. McCausland sucessfully took Chambersburg on July 30 and then presented the residents with the Southern Army's demands. The Chambersburg citizens had 6 hours to accumulate the $500,000 or $100,000 of gold or McCausland and his men would set fire to their homes.
Upon the passing of the 6 hours and refusal of Confederates demands by the Chambersburg citizens, McCauslinad proceeded to destroy more than 550 structures causing over 1.5 million dollars in property damage in an extreme act of brutality. Despite the vast destruction and reported intensity of the Confederates during the raid, no deaths occurred. More than 3,000 residents of Chambersburg became homeless as a result of the Southern Forces raid on their town.
Defeat of General David Hunter
General John McCausland is also remembered for his efforts in Confederate forces defeating the US Army's attempt to siege Lynchburg,Virginia in 1864. Lynchburg, and its railway system was an integral part of the Confederates supply chain operations. Union Forces, commanded by General David Hunter, sought to interrupt this operation but were prevented by Confederates including General John McCausland and his troops. McCausland defended Lynchburg against Hunter and his forces for 3 days until the arrival of additional Confederate reinforcements. For his efforts for defending the Virginia town, McCausland received for the Lynchburg citizens a gold engraved sword, a new horse, and a pair of silver spurs.
After the war, John McCausland worked as a farmer for six decades in the rural Mason County on the Kanawha River. His farm was known as Grape Hill, and can be found nearby.