Join historian and SVBF Chief Executive Officer Keven Walker for “Fridays at the Front,” special complementary tours of Civil War battlefields and historic sites in the Shenandoah Valley. These tours cover stories great and small, from the accounts of huge armies moving across the landscape to the individual stories of loyalty, determination, and sacrifice involving soldiers and civilians alike.
Come alone or bring a friend, your family, or a group. Discover the dramatic history of these sites — and the incredible stories — history and stories that the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, thanks to your help and support, continue to fight to preserve today.
The tours are free, but pre-registration is required. To register, fill out the form below or call the Battlefields Foundation at 540-740-4545.
This year’s Fridays at the Front tours will focus on battles that took place in 1864, part of the SVBF’s series of 155th Anniversary programs commemorating the climactic campaigns of 1864.
Friday, May 17, 2019, 10am-Noon
Fridays at the Front – “Every Shell…Exploded in the Streets”: The Battle of New Market
Walking tour of sites related to the parts of the May 15, 1864, battle that took place in the town of New Market and along the Valley Turnpike, including the opening artillery duel that sent residents scrambling for shelter; the Confederate attack that moved through the town; the fight along the River Road, the immediate post-battles stories of horror and compassion; and longer post-war stories of memorialization and reconciliation. The tour will follow the planned route of the SVBF’s future battlefield walking trail. Tour led by SVBF CEO Keven Walker.
Friday, June 7, 2019, 10am-Noon
Fridays at the Front – “If Any Man Runs…I Will Shoot Him”: The Battle of Piedmont
Car caravan tour of sites related to the June 5, 1864, battle that took place in the rolling landscape of Augusta County. Union Gen. David “Black Dave” Hunter’s stunning victory – which cost Confederate commander Gen. William “Grumble” Jones his life – abruptly reversed fortunes in the Valley, allowing the Federals to embark on “Hunter’s Raid,” including the occupation of Staunton and the burning of VMI. Tour led by SVBF CEO Keven Walker.
Friday, July 19, 2019, 10am-3pm
Fridays at the Front – “Bullets…Like a Hail Storm”: The Battle of Rutherford’s Farm
Car caravan tour of sites related to the July 20, 1864, battle where Confederates under Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur were overwhelmed and routed by Union cavalry – a rare Federal victory amidst a series of Federal humiliations at the hands of Jubal Early. The least-known of Winchester’s six major battles, the battlefield itself has been largely overwhelmed by development, but this rare tour will allow visitors to understand the battle and learn the stories of the soldiers who fought there. Tour led by SVBF CEO Keven Walker.
Friday, August 23, 2019, 10am-Noon
Fridays at the Front – “A Very Formidable Barrier”: Showdown on the Opequon
Car caravan tour of sites related to the clashes between Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early and Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan from early August 1864 up to the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864. While often referred to as “mimic war,” this period witnessed relentless combat – including more than 50 battles, skirmishes, and actions from August 10 to September 18 – building to the crescendo of Third Winchester (aka The Battle of the Opequon). Tour led by SVBF CEO Keven Walker.
Friday, October 11, 2019, 10am-Noon
Fridays at the Front: “Apparently Countless Squadrons” – The Battle of Tom’s Brook
Car caravan tour of sites related to the October 9, 1864, all-cavalry battle that ranged from the Back Road to the Valley Turnpike, and featured a clash between former West Point classmates Union Gen. George Custer and Confederate Gen. Thomas Rosser. Confederate cavalry, enraged by “The Burning,” had advanced beyond their infantry support, leaving them vulnerable when Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan famously ordered his own horsemen to “whip the rebel cavalry or get whipped.” Tour led by historian Bill Miller, author of Decision at Tom’s Brook, and SVBF CEO Keven Walker.
Register today by using the online form below or by calling 540-740-4545!