SHENANDOAH AT WAR
The Shenandoah Valley's Civil War Story
The peaceful beauty of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley was shattered during the American Civil War. Today you can still view much of the landscape as it was seen by soldiers and civilians during the war, and you can explore the region’s dramatic Civil War story at historic sites, battlefields, courthouses, cemeteries, walking trails, and museums that tell the story of those storm-tossed years.
During the Civil War, control of the Shenandoah Valley was critical to the fate of Virginia and the Confederacy. The Valley witnessed Stonewall Jackson’s brilliant 1862 Valley Campaign, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s advance to the Confederate “high tide” at Gettysburg, the VMI Cadets’ valiant charge at New Market, and U.S. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s final campaign to crush Confederate hopes in the Valley—which included The Burning, the fiery destruction of the region’s agricultural bounty.
Today, the Valley’s historic towns and preserved landscapes offer a wealth of sites where you can experience the region’s dramatic Civil War story. You can also explore the spectacular natural beauty of the Valley via historic roadways, winding mountain roads, leisurely walking tours, or challenging hiking trails to spectacular overlooks. And you can enjoy the wide variety of other experiences that the Valley has to offer – natural wonders, history and heritage sites, arts and culture, and dining and lodging in the Valley’s historic towns.
In 1996, Congress designated eight counties in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as a National Heritage Area – the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District – which preserves and interprets the region’s significant Civil War battlefields and related historic sites. The effort is led by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, which works with partners to preserve the hallowed ground of the Valley’s Civil War battlefields, to share its Civil War story with the nation, and to encourage tourism and travel to the Valley's Civil War sites.