Who was Turner Ashby?

Turner Ashby Monument. Ashby Crossing apartments. Turner Ashby High School. Who was Turner Ashby? Unless you’re a civil war expert like my roommate Rob, you probably don’t know who Turner Ashby was.

Turner Ashby was a Confederate cavalry general in the Civil War. Ashby was born on October 23, 1828 in Faquier County, Virginia. When he was in his twenties, Ashby organized a local militia known as the Mountain Rangers. The Mountain Rangers were absorbed into the Virginia Militia in 1859 following the slave rebellion (led by John Brown) in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. Turner Ashby played an important part in the takeover of the West Virginia arsenal.

In 1861 Ashby came under command of Colonel Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson while serving at Harper’s Ferry. Ashby served as Jackson’s cavalry commander, and he was known as the “Black Knight of the Confederacy.” The “Black Knight” was an accomplished horseman, and he led many successful reconnaissance missions for Stonewall Jackson.

On June 6, 1862, Ashby and his men were attacked by the 1st New Jersey Cavalry near Harrisonburg, VA. During the attack Ashby’s horse was shot and he decided to charge ahead on foot. Within a few steps, he was shot through the heart and instantly killed. The Turner Ashby monument is said to be placed on the direct spot where Ashby died.

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