The Civil War was America’s deadliest conflict. It pitted the Union Army, led by Ulysses S. Grant, against the Confederate army, commanded by Robert E. Lee. The War Between the States began on April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, which was under Union control. The war ended on April 9, 1865 when General Lee surrendered his army to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Throughout the entire war, Virginia remained in the spotlight. More than 2,000 military maneuvers took place there, some of the most notable in the Shenandoah Valley. The area served as an important granary for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, this made it a target for attacks as the Valley was an easy avenue for invasions. This beautiful area is filled with much historical significance relating to the Civil War. History buffs will no doubt want to hit the trails and see all the sites and landmarks associated with Virginia’s role in this epic battle between the states.
Stops Along the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Trail
Route 11: Winchester to Port Republic
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Orientation Center
Enjoy a short film, then check out maps and other materials that will help direct you to numerous Civil War related destinations in the area. While here, be sure to visit Abram’s Delight. This home was built in 1754 and remained standing even though it was in the path of the very first battle of Winchester.
1400 S. Pleasant Valley Road
Winchester, VA 22601
Stonewall Jackson Headquarters
Discover the house General Jackson used as his outpost when he took control of the Valley Army during the winter of 1861. Inside you’ll find artifacts and relics relating to both Jackson and his cavalry commander, Turner Ashby, on display.
415 N Braddock St
Winchester, VA 22061
Port Republic Battlefield
Enjoy a walking tour that takes you through an area that was once a charcoal making site and stronghold for the Union Army. An intense battle broke out on June 9, 1862 and the Confederates were able to take control of the site while seizing five Union artillery weapons in the process.
Located near the intersection of US 340 and Ore Bank Road
Port Republic, VA 24471
Route 11: On to Lexington
Visit the site where Robert E. Lee and his family are buried. After the war, the Confederate general served as a college president at Washington College (now Washington & Lee University) until his death in 1870. This museum showcases Lee’s office post war career, and visitors can get a firsthand look at his office as it remains unchanged and just the way he left it.
Washington and Lee University campus
204 W Washington St, Lexington VA 24450
Virginia Military Institute Museum
Before the war, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was an instructor at VMI. Learn about his days teaching along with life as a cadet at Virginia Military Institute. You’ll also hear the story about how the Institute was almost destroyed by Union forces in 1864 and, have an opportunity to view more than 1,500 historical artifacts.
415 Letcher Avenue
Lexington, VA, 24450
Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery
Residents of this 18th century cemetery include the general, fellow Confederates, governors and soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War. A statue honoring Jackson was dedicated in 1891 and remains above his gravesite.
South Main and White streets
Lexington, VA 24450
The Route 340 Corridor: Front Royal
Battle of Manassas Gap
According to historians, this was the last battle of the Gettysburg Campaign. In the summer of 1863 members of the Confederate Army were stationed here to thwart attacks against the army assigned to secure northern Virginia. Federal forces numbering almost 20,000 attacked and caused the Confederates to retreat. Lee’s army was able to escape without harm and continue its fight.
663 Dismal Hollow Road
Linden, VA 22630
This Civil War tourist attraction invites you to follow in the footsteps of Confederate soldiers who toured the cave (now called Grand Caverns) by candlelight. This was a popular spot for troops to celebrate after victories. It is estimated that more than 230 signatures dating back to the Civil War are written on the walls of the cave.
5 Grand Caverns Drive
Grottoes VA 24441
Battle of Piedmont
A skirmish on June 5, 1864 opened the road to Staunton, Lexington and Lynchburg for Union Valley commander David Hunter to lead his troops to victory over a dwindling number of Confederate forces.
Route 608 north of New Hope
This Shenandoah Valley Civil War Trail is lined with history and would take many days to explore completely. Be sure to check out more of what lies on the trail.