Most of the decisive action on the Cross Keys battlefield took place on the rolling fields of southern Rockingham County. This area is mostly farmland divided by shallow stream valleys. Important action took place within Port Republic, a small village lying at the confluence of the North River and the South River. The road (modern Va Route 253) connecting the town with the core fighting areas of the battlefield is included in the study area because of its importance to troop movements and communications. The southern end of Massanutten Mountain is clearly visible from the battlefield.
Land use is little changed since the period of significance. Cross Keys presents excellent opportunities for comprehensive landscape preservation, but faces significant threats from highway projects. Both the planned widening of Interstate 81 and the proposed Harrisonburg bypass, if not designed by preservation advocates and transportation planners to avoid or minimize impacts, will destroy portions of the battlefield landscape and irrevocably alter the character of this rural area.
Study Area (including Core Area)
Cross Keys and Port Republic Battlefields Preservation Plan
Civil War Orientation Center and Harrisonburg Tourism & Visitor Services
212 S Main St, Harrisonburg
Open daily 9am-5pm
A free printed driving tour of the Battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic is available at the Hardesty-Higgins House visitor center. Walking tours of Harrisonburg and Port Republic are also available. For information about guided walking tours, contact Harrisonburg Tourism & Visitor Services at 540-432-8935.