The city of Staunton was a key player in much of the Civil War in Virginia, although war itself was kept outside of town for much of the conflict. Staunton was a supply depot for the Confederate Armies, utilizing its strategic location at the intersection of the north-south Valley Turnpike, the east-west Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike, and the Virginia Central Railroad. Many of the battles north of town were supported entirely by supplies gathered in Staunton, then transported north by government and civilian wagons in convoys. Staunton was certainly a key player in helping the Shenandoah Valley become known at the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy.”
During the war, Staunton served almost continuously as army depot, quartermaster and commissary post, and training camp. Generals Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Richard Ewell both used the town as their headquarters.
Despite the war, many of the 18th and 19th century homes and buildings are very well preserved. The Confederate Armies were well aware of the importance of Staunton, and defended it fiercely, keeping most battles to the north, the west, and the east of town. The Union Armies were also aware of the significance of Staunton, but it took more than two years of targeting the city before they were able to break the Confederates stronghold. Upon occupation, some of the buildings were destroyed, but many were left untouched.
Local Civil War sites include the Railroad Station Area, the Trinity Episcopal Church, the Thornrose Cemetary, Stuart Hall, and the Staunton National Cemetary, as well as the unique opportunity to stay in an authentic Civil-War cabin built by a Confederate Soldier. The Thornrose Cemetary in particular is the final resting place of some 1,700 fallen Confederate Soldiers. Rising 22 feet above them is an Italian Marble statue of a Confederate infantryman, keeping permanent watch over his fallen comrades.