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Winchester, Virginia

WINCHESTER, VIRGINIA, an independent city and the county-s of Frederick county, Virginia, U.S.A., 87 m. by rail W.N.W. of Washington. Pop. (1890) 5196; (1900) 5161, including 1105 negroes; (1910) 5864. Winchester is served by the Baltimore i Ohio and the Cumberland Valley railways. It is pleasantly situated in the fertile Shenandoah Valley about 720 ft. above sea-level. Fort Loudoun Seminary for girls occupies the site of old Fort Loudoun, and in the city is the Shenandoah Valley Academy, a military school for boys. The Handley library (1910), a memorial to John Handley, a part of whose estate was bequeathed to establish industrial schools for the poor of Winchester, and an auditorium are owned by the municipality. The United States National Military Cemetery at Winchester contains the graves of 4480 Union soldiers, 2382 of them unknown, and adjoining it is the Confederate Stonewall Cemetery, with about 8000 graves. The manufacture of gloves is the leading industry; among the other manufactures are woollen and knit goods, flour, leather, lumber, paper and bricks. Electricity, generated at the Shenandoah river, is used for power in many of the factories.

A settlement was established in this vicinity as early as 1732. In 1752 the present name was adopted and the town was established by act of the colonial legislature. In 1756, during the Seven Years' War, George Washington, in command of the provincial troops of Virginia, established his headquarters here and built Fort Loudoun. The town was incorporated in 1779. The Virginia Gazette and Winchester Advertiser, the first newspaper published in the Shenandoah Valley, was established here in 1787. In the Civil War, Winchester, because of its position in the lower Shenandoah Valley, played a great part, and was several times the scene of engagements between the Union and Confederate forces in 1862, Jackson's actions of Kernstown and Winchester; in the Gettysburg campaign, the capture of a Union garrison by Ewell (14-15 June 1863); and in Sheridan's campaign of 1864 the battle of Winchester or Opcquon (Sept. 19, 1864), for all of which see SHENANDOAH VALLEY CAMPAIGNS. Winchester was chartered as a city in 1852 and in 1906 the corporate limits were enlarged.

See J. E. Norris (ed.), History of the Lower Shenandoah Valley (Chicago, 1890), and T. K. Cartmell, Shenandoah Valley Pioneers (Winchester, 1909).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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