From my travels, May 31, 2019.
I had a great time visiting Chattanooga and driving the route of the Atlanta Campaign with my nephew, but every history nerd road trip has to come to an end eventually. As I made my way back home, I stopped at a few more battlefields that I’d never visited.
As a bonus, I even got to see some reenactment artillery being towed up I-81 along side me.
Battle of Guard Hill – Civil War Battlefield #126
There is one marker to the Battle of Guard Hill within the cluster of markers along US-522 near the base of Guard Hill. The position is definitely elevated above Front Royal, and you can readily see the defensive advantages. Even so, Union cavalry was able to prevail, sweeping the rebels back toward town.
Battle of Front Royal – Civil War Battlefield #127
If you wanted to avoid the fighting during the Civil War, the lower Shenandoah Valley was NOT the place to be. There were constant battles, raids, occupations, and even burnings throughout this area from 1861-1865.
The Battle of Front Royal was part of Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, and was a decisive Confederate victory. Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson utterly overwhelmed the small Union force in town and forced them to flee to Winchester. Famous southern spy Belle Boyd also played a role in helping prepare the rebels for their attack.
There are some markers discussing this action near the Guard Hill one in that standard “Shenandoah Valley” style – with more embossed maps on large, vertical boards. In the town square near the courthouse there are more markers and a good wayside. I found this fight to be particularly interesting as it is another field with Maryland vs. Maryland action.
Battle of Manassas Gap – Civil War Battlefield #128
There is a single wayside in the park and ride on Dismal Hollow Road to tell the story of the Battle of Manassas Gap, and it does that pretty well, I think. The gap is visible behind you from that location.
My one quibble would be that the wayside declares this battle to be the final action of the Gettysburg Campaign, but I feel like that was over as soon as the Confederates got back across the Potomac River.