Aside from the natural beauty and spectacle that is the heart of Virginia, from the Cabin Creekwood area, there are ample opportunities to see and explore the history of the Civil War. Each area of the state offers many historic sites to visit, photograph, and explore, including museums, trails, monuments, and actual battlefields. Below are detailed descriptions of Civil War points of interest within an hour and a half to two hours of Cabin Creekwood.
Winchester – Information center, museum, and more
- Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Orientation Center – Starting with the northern end of Virginia, Winchester offers several opportunities to learn more about the Civil War through the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District Orientation Center. Here you can view exhibits, a short film, look at maps and other materials to help orient you to the area and surrounding sites.
- Abram’s Delight – Built in 1754, Abram’s Delight it is the oldest house in Winchester and it somehow survived the Civil War despite being directly in the war’s path. Well worth the cost, admission for adults is $5.00, $2.50 for students, or $12.00 for the whole family.
- Old Court House Civil War Museum – This museum boasts a collection of Civil War artifacts from every theater of the war, with a particular focus on the common soldier. Open Wednesday through Sunday, cost of admission is $3.00.
- “Stonewall” Jackson Headquarters – See the house and artifacts that Stonewall Jackson and his cavalry commander Turner Ashby used as a headquarters during the winter of 1861 through 1862.
- Museum of the Shenandoah Valley – Including audio-visual displays, this newer museum offers insight into life during the Civil War. Open Tuesday through Sunday, admission is $8.00.
- Confederate and National Cemeteries – Both cemeteries are near downtown, just across the street from one another.
- Fort Collier – A Confederate fort, built in 1861, played center stage during the Third Battle of Winchester in September 1864.
- Third Winchester Battlefield – A walking trail with sites marked at: The Kurtz Building, Stephenson’s Depot, Rutherford’s Farm, Shawnee Springs Hospital, and Star Fort.
Virginia Valley – The Route 250 Corridor
This driving tour will take you to several destinations west of Waynesboro, along Route 250. Stops include:
- Plumb House – Situated on Main Street in Waynesboro, this house was witness to a battle on March 2, 1865.
- Staunton – An important supply depot for the Confederate Army because of its access to the valley Turnpike as well as rail connection, this town was also witness to Hunter’s Raid.
- Burger Farm – This is a typical wartime farm, allowing to see what a family’s experience was like during the Civil War. You do not have to pay any money to read the trail sign or to gain a good view of the farm.
- Trail signs – Located in the parking lot of West View United Methodist Church is a sign denoting that Confederate General Edward “Alleghany” Johnson began his westward movement from camps located in vicinity of the marker, with Stonewall Jackson is hot pursuit. Another trail sign is located at Mountain Home Picnic Area, noting that Johnson and Jackson moved through that area.
- Fort Johnson – Just west of U.S. 250, there is an overlook and walking trail as well as roadside markers giving you insight into the fortifications constructed by Johnson’s troops as they moved. This is a must-see prior to going to McDowell Battlefield.
- McDowell Battlefield – Just east of town is a part of the battlefield that has been preserved, with access to trails leading to the area where the fighting occurred. It was here that Stonewall Jackson enjoyed his first Valley Campaign victory. There are signs describing the battle in town as well as a Highland Museum and Heritage Center, open year-round Wednesday through Saturday.
- Union Artillery – Behind McDowell Presbyterian Church is a sign detailing the artillery that was set up during the Battle of McDowell. The artillery was critical for delaying the Confederate attack in order to allow the Federal forces time to conduct a deliberate withdrawal from the town.
- Monterey – This small town was used as headquarters for both the Union and Confederate sides during various times of the war during 1861-1862.
- Camp Allegheny – This site was used as a Confederate winter camp by Johnson, offering spectacular views.
The Battle of Front Royal – The Route 340 Corridor
There is much to see in this famed ground that Stonewall Jackson made good use of when maneuvering near Federal armies. Beginning just a few miles south of downtown Front Royal, the driving tour takes you to destinations like Asbury Chapel, “Belle Boyd” Interpretation, Prospect Hill Cemetery, Warren County Courthouse, Bel Air, Rose Hill, Richardson’s Hill, The Bridges, Guard Hill, and Fairview. Also available in the town of Front Royal are two museums: Belle Boyd Cottage, a house museum, and Warren Rifles Confederate Museum, complete with battle flags, uniforms, and other items.
- Battle of Milford – Located in Overall, VA, this natural choke point was used in battles during September and October, 1864.
- White House Bridge – Three miles west of Luray, a sign here details the burning of the bridge by Stonewall Jackson’s cavalry chief, Turner Ashby. This action delayed the Federal pursuit and let to the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic a week later.
- New Market Gap – This was the place that Jackson announced that his Army of the Valley had become the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia and would soon join Robert E. Lee’s forces.
- Church at Pass Run – Following the retreat at Gettysburg, Confederate forces used this area to camp in the aftermath of that famous battle.
- Yager’s Mill – A trail sign detailing the events of the area is found in the park and ride lot just south of the Route 211 intersection.
- The Chapman-Ruffner House – This house, built in 1739, served as the home to the “Fighting Chapmans”.
- Willow Grove Mill – Burned by Union soldiers in October 1864, this burning was part of the burning of the valley that was ordered by General Philip Sheridan.
- Grave’s Chapel – This area would be the last of the valley that Stonewall Jackson would see prior to his death in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Jackson led his 32,000 troops through this area en route to Fisher’s Gap.
- Catherine Furnace – One of three operating during the war, this iron furnace produced solid cannon shot.
- Red Bridge and Somerville Heights – In an effort to delay Federal forces, Jackson ordered the bridges to be burned but his cavalry chief Turner Ashby only burned one.
- Shenandoah Iron Works – The materials produced here were used in producing Confederate weapons and though thousands of soldiers from both the Union and Confederate sides passed this site, it was never destroyed. At its peak use, the furnace burned an acre of wood per day.
- Shields Advance and Retreat – Union General James Shields, in pursuit of Jackson’s army camped at Port Republic, crossed the Naked Creek in vicinity of this location. After Shields’ forces caught up to Jackson they were defeated and Shields used this same area as a stop during their retreat.
- Jackson’s Headquarters – Located in Elkton, VA, this home (Miller-Kite House) was used as Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters in April 1862 to plan his spring campaign.
- Port Republic – The Coaling – A walking tour of “The Coaling” begins close to the intersection of Route 340 and Ore Bank Road.
- Weyers Cave, Grand Caverns – Following their victories at Cross Keys and Port Republic in June of 1862, Confederate soldiers would make candlelight tours into the cave. Two years later, Union soldiers did the same thing following the Battle of Winchester. To this day over 230 Civil War-era signatures have been discovered on the cave walls.
- Battle of Piedmont – Confederate General William “Grumble” Jones was killed during this fierce battle in June of 1864.
On to Lexington – The Route 11 area
This area features museums and attractions, starting with the Dayton area, you can visit the Shenandoah Valley Heritage Museum for plenty of area information. You can also visit Daniel Bowman Mill at Silver Lake, which was one of 35 mills in the area that were destroyed by the Union in 1864. Before leaving town there are trail signs located near railroad tracks between Harrisonburg and Dayton, marking the site of the death of Lieutenant John Meigs who was shot and killed.
- Lexington Visitor Center – Be sure to stop here to ensure your visit of Lexington starts off on the right foot. With plenty of information, the visitor center is the place to start your exploration.
- Lee Chapel – Robert E. Lee and his family are buried here, on a site at Washington and Lee University Campus.
- Virginia Military Institute Museum – Combining school history with Civil War history, this museum details the rich history of the institute, which was nearly destroyed in 1864.
- Stonewall Jackson House – Formerly the home of a VMI professor, this home has been restored, featuring many articles belonging to Jackson.
- Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery – Open dawn to dusk, Stonewall Jackson is buried here alongside hundreds of other Confederate soldiers, two Virginia governors, and Revolutionary War soldiers.
- Hunter’s Raid – Union General David Hunter occupied the town for two days after a brief fight in June 1864 before proceeding to Lynchburg.
All of the above information is meant to help consolidate and focus your Civil War history search but if you would like to read more and find out about maps and brochures, this information and more can be found at www.civilwartraveler.com.