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 adept 1862 Valley Campaign, General Robert E. Lee’s advance to the Confederate “high tide” at Gettysburg, the Virginia Military Institute Cadets’ valiant charge at New Market, and U.S. General Philip H. Sheridan’s final campaign to crush Confederate ambitions for 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 (Augusta, Clark, Frederick, Highland, Page, Rockingham, Shenandoah, and Warren) in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia as the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District. The purpose of this National Heritage Area is to preserve and interpret the region’s significant Civil War battlefields and related historic sites. That 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.
The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District is home to the following NPS units: