5 Things You Need to Know About the Shenandoah Valley Civil War



When you gaze across the Shenandoah Valley horizon, what do you see? Undulating mountains and hills greet you. Beautiful streams and rivers wind their way through, and colorful sunsets wish you goodnight. However peaceful it may be, the history of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War tells of a time where sacrifice was the currency that bought freedom. Riddled with old battlefields and Civil War cemeteries, the valley has earned the peace and harmony it enjoys today. Want to know more about the Shenandoah Valley Civil War? Here are 5 things you need to know.

Find out more about all of the great things to do near By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages when you download our free Vacation Guide. It’s full of the best recommendations for things to see and do like learning the intriguing history of the Shenandoah Valley Civil War.

Shenandoah Valley Civil War Things You Need to Know About

1. Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson made himself famous for his military strategy within the natural corridor that is the Shenandoah Valley. In “Stonewall” Jackson’s emblematic 1862 Valley Campaign, 17,000 Confederate troops marched more than 650 miles in just 48 days. The remarkable feat confounded Union leaders and left scores of Union troops dead and in disarray. General Jackson’s strategy was known as “mislead and surprise.” Under his leadership, his troops would retreat to the mountains to mislead the Union forces. Then, they would surprise the Union forces by coming out of the mountains at an entirely different juncture than where they entered. Jackson’s knowledge of the hidden mountain passes, including one familiar Skyline Drive
, led to his prowess and legendary reputation.

2. In 1864, Union General Philip Sheridan embarked on the most important campaign of the Civil War. He and his forces fought to cut off the supply chain of the Confederate Army in what is known as the Lynchburg Campaign. In the fall of 1864, General Sheridan and his troops delivered a series of defeats, laying waste to the Confederate hopes to win the war by employing a “scorched earth” policy of total war. The Shenandoah Valley soon fell into Union control, and with it, only months later, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

3. Grand Caverns is the oldest show cave in the U.S., first opening in 1806. The cave itself is home to one of the most important Civil War artifacts. Written on the walls of the cave are the signatures of over 200 verified soldiers from both Union and Confederate forces, including that of Union Captain W.W. Miles. Most of the signatures are fragile and are not featured so as to protect the history behind them.

4. Belle Grove Historic Plantation is one of the oldest plantations in Virginia, dating back to the 1700s. While it is rich in its own history, it also holds a special footing in Civil War history. In it, Union General Philip Sheridan and his troops staged the assault of the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. The Battle of Cedar Creek is a part of the Lynchburg Campaign that ravaged the Confederate supply lines, leading to the Confederacy’s eventual surrender.

5. Long Branch Plantation was owned by one of Virginia’s anti-secession leaders, Hugh M. Nelson. During the Virginia secession convention, he gave a fiery speech demanding diplomatic efforts before going to war. Unfortunately, the ballots were cast to engage in war with the Union, meaning Nelson’s services were needed. He eventually rose to the status of Aide-de-Camp for Confederate General Richard Ewell, under whose command Nelson sustained severe wounds leading to his ultimate passing in August of 1862. His estate has been maintained as a private business venture.

Stay Right in the Middle of it All

You can be right in the middle of all the history when you book your stay at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages in Harrisonburg, VA. Our cozy cottages and luxurious amenities are the perfect setting for your tour through history or romantic getaway. We have all the best ideas for things to do in the area, so download our free Vacation Guide. So, contact us today to book your stay!