Civil War History

This annual event is held on the third weekend of August. Numerous Civil War sites host special programs, tours, and more.

Winchester and Frederick County have the highest concentration of Civil War Trails markers of any locality in Virginia. Check out our map with GPS coordinates for all the markers.

Experience life during the war as a civilian, or follow the footsteps of a soldier into battle with a Civil War tour led by an experienced guide.
Header photo and thumbnail link image by Buddy Secor

Situated in the fertile Shenandoah Valley (often called “the Breadbasket of the Confederacy,”) Winchester was highly contested during the Civil War. Its strategic location as a hub for transportation made Winchester an attractive prize for both the North and the South. Six major battles took place here, and the town changed hands approximately 72 times – more than any other town in the country.

Visit our museums, battlefields, cemeteries and other historic sites to learn more about this pivotal time in our nation’s history, and how it affected the lives and experiences of Winchester’s residents in the 19th century.

Major Annual Civil War Events

  • North-South Skirmish Association's Fall/Spring National Competitions (May and October)
  • Civil War Weekend (Third Weekend in August)
  • Battle of Cedar Creek Reenactment

For more information, visit our Event Calendar.

  • Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

    Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park commemorates a nationally significant Civil War landscape and antebellum plantation by sharing the story of Shenandoah Valley history from early settlement through the Civil War and beyond.

    • 7712 Main Street
      Middletown VA 22645
    • (540) 869-3051
    • nps.gov/cebe

    Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park
  • Cedar Creek Battlefield

    Cedar Creek Battlefield is the site of the last major battle between Union and Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley. Each year, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation hosts a reenactment of the battle on the 3rd weekend of October.

    • 8437 Valley Pike
      Middletown VA 22645
    • (540) 869-2064
    • ccbf.us

    Cedar Creek Battlefield
  • Kernstown Battlefield

    Kernstown Battlefield is the site of the First and Second Battles of Kernstown. Tours of the battlefield and the Pritchard House on the property are offered seasonally.

    Kernstown Battlefield
  • Rose Hill Park

    This scenic 1.25 mile walking trail is on the site of the First Battle of Kernstown and includes Civil War interpretive signage, restrooms, and a pavilion which is available for rentals.

  • Star Fort

    Star Fort played a major role in the defense of Winchester three times. This unique remnant of Civil War earthwork and history has been restored and offers trails and signage for visitors.

    Star Fort
  • Third Winchester Battlefield

    The preserved portion of this battlefield is open to the public year-round, free of charge. A 5-mile walking/biking trail with signage details the battle that occurred here.

    Third Winchester Battlefield

  • Belle Grove Plantation

    This antebellum plantation manor house, owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was originally home to Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly, sister of President James Madison.

    • 336 Belle Grove Road
      Middletown VA 22645
    • (540) 869-2028
    • bellegrove.org

    belle_grove_web
  • Civil War Orientation Center

    Located in the Winchester-Frederick County Visitors Center, this is a wonderful starting point for those seeking an overview of Winchester’s Civil War experience.

  • Newtown History Center

    The Newtown History Center offers museum exhibits and tours focusing on the people and events of Stephens City, Virginia’s long history.

    Newtown History Center
  • Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum

    This Georgian style 1840 Court House was used as a hospital and prison during the American Civil War. The museum maintains a nationally recognized collection of Civil War artifacts.

  • Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters

    This Virginia and National Historic Landmark was used as headquarters by General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson during the winter of 1861-1862.

    Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters