Winchester and area
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Orientation Center
• Located in the Winchester visitor center, 1400 S Pleasant Valley Road, Winchester VA 22601
Exhibits, a short film, maps and other material orient visitors to the wealth of Civil War-related resources in the area. Visitor center open daily 9 am–5 pm.
• Trails sign located in front of the house near the Winchester Visitor Center
The oldest house in Winchester (built 1754) survived the Civil War despite being in the path of the First Battle of Winchester in 1862. Now a house museum, it interprets civilian life, which may have included a spy or two. Union Gen. Franz Sigel and staff occupied the house in 1864, paying the family $5 for the privilege.
Old Courthouse Civil War Museum
• 20 N Loudoun St, Winchester VA 22601
Emphasis is on the common soldier. An excellent collection of artifacts from every theater of the war is displayed. The building, formerly the Frederick County Courthouse, dates from 1840. Graffiti scrawled by wounded soldiers and prisoners from the war is visible. $5. Monday–Saturday 1–5 pm, Sunday 1–5 pm (May-October). Closed Monday-Tuesday other times.
“Stonewall” Jackson Headquarters
• 415 N Braddock St
Jackson used this small house as his headquarters the winter of 1861–1862 after he took command of the Valley Army. Artifacts related to Jackson and his cavalry commander, Turner Ashby, are on exhibit. House tours. Open April–October, Monday–Saturday 10 am–4 pm, Sunday noon–4 pm. $5/adult.
Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
• 901 Amherst St
This Winchester cultural center is dedicated to telling the Shenandoah Valley’s story. The site includes a museum, the Glen Burnie House (1794) and six acres of gardens. Interpretive panels in the Museum’s Shenandoah Valley Gallery focus on the civilian side of the conflict; a panel in the house describes Glen Burnie after the Civil War. A Trails sign in the parking lot explains the site’s role in all the battles for Winchester. Museum open Tuesday–Sunday 10 am–4 pm. $10/adult.
• Located near the intersection of US 522 and Fortress Drive, Winchester Va 22603
One in a series of forts guarding the northern approaches to Winchester, this site figured in both the Second and Third Battles of Winchester. An interpreted trail describes the fort and its Civil War history. Open daylight hours. Free.
Whirling through Winchester
• Trails sign at East Cork and East Lane streets, Winchester VA 22601
Trails sign describes the chaotic last moments of the 1864 Third Battle of Winchester as the defeated Confederates retreated through Winchester. Some Confederates tried to hold at nearby Mount Hebron Cemetery but were unsuccessful. Union troops controlled Winchester from this point on.
Confederate and National cemeteries
• Across the street from one another, near downtown
Federal troops buried in one, Confederates in the other, these two sites reflect Winchester’s history during the war. National Cemetery, 401 National Ave. Stonewall Cemetery is in Mt. Hebron Cemetery Complex, entrance end of Boscawen Street.
• 922 Martinsburg Pike, north of downtown
Confederate fort, built in 1861 for the defense of the city was the scene of a Federal cavalry charge that effectively ended the Third Battle of Winchester, Sept. 19, 1864. Civil War Trails and other interpretive signs.
Third Winchester Battlefield
• Walking trail entrance to walking trail north of Winchester, off Redbud Road Union Gen. Philip Sheridan began his effort to drive Confederates from the Shenandoah Valley with this Sept 19, 1864, battle north of Winchester. Sheridan overwhelmed the waiting Confederates under Gen. Jubal Early. The fighting proved the bloodiest of all the Valley battles. A large area of the battlefield is preserved in the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Heritage District. Self-guided walking tours lead visitors through the battle. For more information about this battlefield and other Winchester sites, visit the Districtâ€™s website or the orientation center at the Winchester visitor center (1400 S Pleasant Valley Road).
The following sites are marked with Civil War Trails signs:
- The Kurtz Building, 2 N Cameron St, – Trails sign located on the side of the building gives an overview of the action in and around Winchester during the war.
Stephenson’s Depot, Trails sign near Route 11 north of Winchester at Old Charles Town and Milburn roads – Robert E. Lee, marching north toward Pennsylvania, sent 17,000 troops ahead to clear the way. After heavy fighting June 15, 1863, the Southerners did just that, routing the Union force and capturing thousands of prisoners and much-needed cannon. Two weeks later Lee fought the Battle of Gettysburg.
- Rutherford’s Farm, Trails signs located north of Winchester, west of Route 11, 0.3 miles north of the I-81 intersection (exit 317) – A cluster of signs tells the story of the battles at this strategic location along the main road north of Winchester. Fighting erupted here June 14–15, 1863, during the Gettysburg Campaign as Union Gen. Robert Milroy evacuated the city. On July 20, 1864, a Union force in pursuit of Gen. Jubal Early’s army (recently turned away from Washington DC) caught up with the Confederates here, pushing them aside. The area saw its last action during the Battle of Third Winchester, Sept. 15, 1864.
- Shawnee Springs Hospital, Trails sign and site located west of Pleasant Valley Road, near the intersection of Opequon and Parkview avenues – This temporary hospital was established following the Third Battle of Winchester in September 1864. It treated and evacuated thousands of Union sick and wounded from the Winchester battlefield as well as from the battle of Cedar Creek a month later. The site was finally closed Jan. 4, 1865.
- Star Fort, 510 Fortress Drive, Winchester 22603 – This star-shaped earthwork, guarding an important wartime road junction north of the city, saw action several times and was occupied by both sides during the war. Constructed by Union troops in January 1863 on what had been an artillery position planned by Stonewall Jackson, the fort sheltered Federal soldiers during the Second Battle of Winchester and Confederates during the Third Battle.
Thanks to the efforts of a local preservation organization, large portions of the Kernstown battlefields have been preserved. Interpretation is ongoing, with plans to open more of the sites to public visitation.
The first battle, March 23, 1862, was considered a defeat for Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, who impetuously attacked a strong Union force gathered in the area. Jackson’s aggressive behavior, however, scared official Washington enough to hold up thousands of troops destined for the major offensive against Richmond. The tables were turned July 24, 1864, when Confederate Gen. Jubal Early defeated an inferior Union force on nearly the same ground.
• 610 Battle Park Drive, Winchester, VA 22601
More than 300 acres of the Kernstown battlefields have been preserved here, including Prichard’s Hill, which figured prominently in both the First and Second Battles of Kernstown. New interpretive signs are in place. A visitor orientation center is open weekends from the second weekend in May through October, Saturday 10 am–4 pm and Sunday noon–4 pm. Free.
• 1850 Jones Road, Winchester VA 22602
A Trails sign on the perimeter, accessible via pull-off on Jones Road, describes the action that swirled around this home March 23, 1862. Confederate infantry defended a stone wall on the property until they ran out of ammunition and were forced to retreat in some confusion. Managed by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, this battlefield property currently is not open to the public and the house is a private residence. Only the designated pull-off area with the Trails sign is open to the public. For the lastest information about the site see www.theMSV.org.
• 217 Opequon Church Lane, Winchester VA 22602
Good battle maps and views highlight the action of both battles of Kernstown from this historic churchyard.
Stephen’s City (historic Newtown)
Stonewall Jackson’s troops fought here prior to the 1862 battle of Winchester. Area hosted hospital for Union troops following the battle at Cedar Creek. A Civil War Trails sign on Route 11 just south of town describes the action here between the battles of Front Royal and Winchester in May 1862.
Newtown History Center
• 5408 Main St, Stephens City VA 22655
Exhibits here trace the history of the town (the “New Town” on the wagon road) from its founding in 1758. Civil War exhibit includes items, letters and stories from local citizens. Open June-October. Call for hours.
Cedar Creek Battlefield
Union troops under Gen. Philip Sheridan, fresh from a string of victories over Jubal Early’s Confederates, were camped in the vicinity of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove about 15 miles south of Winchester on Oct. 19, 1864. A furious Confederate attack early that morning forced a precipitous withdrawal by Northern soldiers that did not stop until they reached Middletown. Near there, Sheridan, after a breakneck ride from Winchester, rallied his troops and led a counterattack that regained the field. The battle of Cedar Creek ended Early’s opportunities and resulted in a Confederate withdrawal back up the Valley. If you are on Route 11 heading south, you reach the battlefield beginning in Middletown and remain on the field until Strasburg.
Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park
• 7712 Main St, Middletown VA 22645
• 540-869-3051 (visitor contact station)
• 540-868-9176 (program information)
The visitor contact station features a 15-minute electronic map program, ranger help, tour information and exhibits. Free ranger programs highlight the 1864 battle and the history and settlement of the Shenandoah Valley. A daily program, “Cedar Creek and Belle Grove in a Box,” is offered at 11:30 am during the summer and at other times at Belle Grove. Other programs, including guided tours of the battlefield, are offered regularly during the summer season. Call or see the park website for program schedule. Contact station open daily 8:30 am–4:30 pm. Free. (10 am-4 pm Wednesday-Sunday during the winter.)
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Visitor Center
• 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown VA 22645
Interpretive signs outside the building and information, exhibits, bookstore and more inside. Open April–October, Monday, Friday and Saturday 10 am–4 pm, Sunday 1–4 pm.
• 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown VA 22645
18th-century home was a centerpiece for attack and counter-attack on Oct. 19, 1864. Call for hours. Admission fee.
Thoburn’s Redoubt (Cedar Creek Battlefield)
Trails sign located on Bowman’s Mill Road, 1.4 miles from the eastern intersection with Long Meadow Road
Union Col. Joseph Thoburn’s division was guarding the left flank of the Army of the Shenandoah the early morning of Oct 19, 1864, when Confederates under Gen. Joseph Kershaw splashed across a nearby Shenandoah River ford and attacked this fortified position. Thoburn held off Union line for about 15 minutes before scattering.
Battle of Cedar Creek, Union Left Flank
• Trails sign at 652 N. Buckton Road, Middletown VA 22645
Federal cavalry occupied the Federal left flank here the morning of Oct 19, 1864, after the Union army nearly dissolved after a surprise Confederate attack that morning. The same cavalry participated in the Union counterattack that afternoon that eventually proved successful.
Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park
• 33229 Old Valley Pike, Strasburg VA 22657
The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has opened a visitor center with 1864 Valley Campaign exhibits at Hupp’s Hill, on Route 11 just north of Strasburg. The site includes self-guided tours to the Civil War trenches on the property. It’s open 10 am–4 pm Monday–Saturday and 1–4 pm Sunday. $5. Trails sign outlining Oct. 13, 1864, battle here is on site.
Animated map from Civil War Preservation Trust
Strasburg to New Market
Tour continues on Route 11 south from Hupp’s Hill into Strasburg and south.
Strasburg Train Station / Museum
• 440 E King St, Strasburg VA
Civil War items and information here in the Strasburg Museum. This is the place where T.J. Jackson re-employed locomotives in the service of the Confederacy after hijacking them in Harpers Ferry in April 1861. Open May–October daily 10 am–4 pm. 540-465-3175.
Beginning at the Strasburg Museum, the tour includes Civil War topics such as the town’s role as a strategic intersection, Jackson’s raid on the B&O Railroad that brought rolling stock and locomotives overland to Strasburg and Signal Knob, and the 2,110-foot mountain overlooking the town that was used as an observation and signal station during the war.
Fisher’s Hill Battlefield
A mile south of Strasburg, west of Route 11. Follow signs to park and walking trail on Battlefield Road.
Jubal Early’s position here was shattered by Union attacks Sept. 22, 1864. You are on the battlefield as you wind your way to the park. You will pass one of the few remaining antebellum mills in the area. Trails signs on Route 11 and Battlefield Road leading into the park. See www.shenandoahatwar.org for a driving tour.
The following sites along Route 11 are marked with Civil War Trails interpretation unless otherwise noted.
Union cavalry under Gens. George A. Custer and Wesley Merritt routed their Confederate counterparts under Gen. Thomas Rosser after hard fighting here Oct. 9, 1864. The Southerners retreated in haste more than 25 miles to infantry lines at Rude’s Hill. Battle also known as the “Woodstock Races.” Trails sign in a county park just south of Tom’s Brook.
• Trails sign located on Court Street about a block west of the courthouse on Route 11
The citizens of the seat of Shenandoah County experienced the horrors of war in the late summer and fall of 1864 witnessing the smoke and flames of the infamous “Burning” as well as ranger, guerrilla and bushwhacker activities. Trails sign details some of the worst.
• Just east of Route 11 on Chapman’s Landing Road south of Woodstock
Stonewall Jackson ordered Jedediah Hotchkiss to make a map of the Shenandoah Valley near here on March 26, 1862. The house on Narrow Passage Creek still stands. Jackson’s spring campaign that followed became famous. So did Hotchkiss’ maps.
• Two Trails signs, 214 S Main St, Edinburg VA 22824
This mill, opened in 1850, survived the burnings ordered in late September and early October 1864 by Union Gen. Philip Sheridan. More than two years earlier Confederates used Stony Creek (which provided the mill’s power) as a defensive line. A sharp battle on the line near the mill in late March 1862 delayed a Federal advance on the Valley Pike.
• Trails sign at the cemetery, Nelson and Main streets, Mt Jackson VA 22842
This small town hosted a Confederate hospital complex established early in the war. A Confederate cemetery and monument honors those who died here. Just south on Route 11 is Union Church, a hospital site. Open some weekends.
• Turn-off with interpretation south of Mount Jackson on Route 11
Stonewall Jackson’s troops camped here on high ground above Meem’s Bottom during the summer of 1862 and Jubal Early’s infantry halted the 1864 Woodstock Races begun in Tom’s Brook.
Battle of New Market
Confederates here blunted a Federal foray “up” the Valley, part of U.S. Grant’s multi-pronged Virginia offensive in the spring of 1864. Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington played a role in the Southern victory on May 15, 1864. The historic battlefield is located on both sides of modern I-81. A monument to Pennsylvania soldiers stands along Route 11 on the east side of I-81.
Virginia Museum of the Civil War and the New Market Battlefield
• 8895 George Collins Parkway, New Market VA 22844
The museum at the end of the road (Route 211) on the west side of I-81 features the role of the Virginia Military Institute’s cadets during the May 15, 1864, battle. The 19th-century Bushong farm buildings, landmarks on the battlefield, have been restored on the grounds of the 280-acre park. The museum explores the entire scope of the war in Virginia through dioramas and artifacts. The Emmy-award-winning film “Field of Lost Shoes” (45 minutes) is offered. One $10 adult admission covers all. 9 amâ€“5 pm daily. Mailing address: Box 1864, New Market VA 22844.
New Market area
• Trails sign located in elementary school parking lot off Route 11 in Lacey Springs
Union cavalry under Gen. George A. Custer was attacked here Dec. 21, 1864, by Confederates commanded by Custer’s West Point classmate and friend Thomas Rosser. This was one of the last actions of the war in the Valley.
Harrisonburg and area
A walking tour of Civil War sites in downtown Harrisonburg begins at the
Hardesty-Higgins House visitor center
• 212 S Main St, Harrisonburg 22801
The tour includes the following sites:
• Trails sign on North Main Street between Bruce and Franklin streets in Harrisonburg
This antebellum home now serves as the area’s visitor center and is the site of one of the Valley battlefields orientation center. The Valley Turnpike Museum also is located here featuring a model portraying Stonewall Jackson’s troops hauling a captured locomotive through Harrisonburg to the railhead at Staunton. Union Gen. Nathaniel Banks briefly used his building as headquarters in 1862. Open daily 9 am–5 pm. Free.
• 301 S Main St, Harrisonburg VA 22801
This was the home of Edward T.H. Warren, a Harrisonburg attorney, who went to war early and fought in most of the famous battles in the East until he was killed at the Wilderness in 1864. The structure was used as a hospital following the battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Court Square & Springhouse
• 74 Court Square, Harrisonburg VA 22801
The courthouse grounds were used as a prison pen following the first battle of Winchester in 1862. Soldiers and townfolk quenched their thirst at the springhouse in the southwestern corner.
• 174 S Main St, Harrisonburg VA 22801
Confederate partisan leader Capt. John McNeill ranged through the area and died at the nearby Hill’s Hotel (no longer standing) after being wounded near Mount Jackson Oct. 3. 1864. His son, Jesse took over and, in a famous exploit, captured two Union generals in Maryland then brought them to the hotel and treated them to breakfast there.
Harrisonburg Female Academy
• 345 S Main St, Harrisonburg VA 22801
Located at the intersection of several major roads, Harrisonburg was a good place for hospitals during the war. Among the buildings transformed into hospitals was the Harrisonburg Female Academy that once stood here. More than 750 Confederate soldiers were treated here during the war with only 19 deaths. Following the 1862 Battle of Cross Keys, sick and wounded Union soldiers were treated here.
• 212 Reservoir St, Harrisonburg VA 22801
About 250 Confederate soldiers, most unknown, are buried in the cemetery’s Soldiers’ Section. Established in 1850, the Woodbine overflowed with dead soldiers from nearby battles and the city’s hospital. The special section, in an additional donated acre, was established in October 1862.
More Harrisonburg sites
Turner Ashby Monument
1 mile southeast of the I-81 Port Republic Road exit. From the interstate, turn left off Port Republic Road onto Neff Road then left into a small park at the top of the hill.
Ashby, in command of Jackson’s cavalry, was mortally wounded at this site now marked with a monument and a small park. His death, June 6, 1862, immediately preceded the battles fought the next days. Battle map of the Battle of Harrisonburg here.
Cross Keys/Port Republic Battlefields
Trails signs and a battle map at the Ruritan Club, 5094 Battlefield Road, just off Cross Keys Road, southeast of Harrisonburg.
On June 8, 1862, Confederates posted in the area turned back one wing of a Union assault aimed at trapping and defeating the forces of Stonewall Jackson, which had caused considerable trouble for the Federals elsewhere in the Valley. The action moved the next day to the Port Republic area where Jackson defeated the other Union wing. A small museum in Port Republic is open Sunday afternoons and by appointment. Call 540-249-4409. Signage in town describes some of the action. Tours of both battlefields are described on ShenandoahAtWar.org.
Port Republic Battlefield – “The Coaling” Trail
• Entrance near the intersection of US 340 and Ore Bank Road, Port Republic VA 24471
Short but steep walking tour covers the fighting at “The Coaling” (a charcoal making site.) This strong Union position dominating the Port Republic battlefield was the site of fierce back-and-forth fighting June 9, 1862. Confederates finally won the day here, taking five Union artillery pieces in the process.
Mill Creek Church
• Trails sign on Route 253, 3 miles east of Route 276
The current church stands on the site of the wartime Mill Creek Church, used as a hospital during the battle of Cross Keys, June 8, 1862. More than two years later, in September 1864, the church was at the center of the Union effort to burn out the Confederate “breadbasket” in this part of the Valley. The sign also tells about the struggle of the peaceful Brethren Church members, the “Dunkers,” as they were buffeted by the war around them.
• Trails sign in town (south of Harrisonburg) just off Route 42, 100 yards south of the Route 257 W intersection
This small town was the site of many examples of the nasty style of warfare descending on the Valley in the fall of 1864. Near here Union Gen. George A. Custer angered residents by ordering the execution of a young man questionably identified as a bushwhacker. A few weeks later much of the town was burned in retaliation for the death of Union Lt. John R. Meigs.
Daniel Bowman Mill at Silver Lake
• Trails sign 1 mile west of Dayton on Route 290
This was the site of one of the mills that dotted the landscape in the Valley, the “breadbasket of the Confederacy.” This mill and 35 others in the area were destroyed (along with barns and crops in the field) by Union soldiers in the fall of 1864.
• Trails sign located at 5065 Turner’s Mill Lane, Linville VA 22834
This is the only surviving gristmill with its original equipment left in the county. It was saved by quick action Oct. 6, 1864, after Union soldiers attempted to burn it during Union Gen. Philip Sheridan’s attempt to end the Valley’s “Breadbasket of the Confederacy” role.
Old Salem Church
• Trails sign at 9788 Singers Glen Road, Singers Glen VA 22850
Built in 1833 as the Green Hill Methodist Episcopal Meeting House, this log building was taken over in 1863 by the United Brethren in Christ, an anti-slavery group. This was the only church opened in the Confederacy by this denomination.