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The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley

Strasburg Virginia in the Civil War


Strasburg is the great location for a tour of the many Civil War battlefields in the area. The battlefields at Cedar Creek, Toms Brook, Fisher's Hill and Hupp's Hill are all near Strasburg. Both Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862 and Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaigns of 1864 are easily retraceable using Strasburg as a base of operations.

The Town of Strasburg is located in north-central Shenandoah County at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley. It is the largest of the six communities in Shenandoah County. The Town lies on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River in a small basin formed by the river as it loops through the Valley with one of its major loops creating a peninsula just south of town known as Sandy Hook. Geographically the town is surrounded by natural barriers with the Shenandoah River and Three Top Mountain lying to the south and east, and historic Cedar Creek and Little North Mountain lying to the north and west. The Town’s early growth and settlement was primarily due to its location at the crossroads of major routes of travel and this is still true today.

When Gen. N. P. Banks was sent to the Shenandoah Valley in 1862 to prevent a Confederate movement upon Washington, he made Strasburg his headquarters so as to control the Manassas Gap Railroad (Southern) and the Valley Pike.  He built an earthworks within the town, which commanded the entire Valley.  The construction was watched from signal Knob and reported daily to Stonewall Jackson.  No guns had been mounted when Banks was compelled to evacuate by Jackson's rapid flank movement via Page Valley and Winchester.  The fort is one of the best preserved in the Valley.

Cedar Creek Battlefield viewed from Reliance, Va


Spenger Mill
Spangler's Mill

Located along Cedar Spring Run on Route 11 South of Strasburg, Built 1797 according to Calvin Sonner. It was water powered. This mill, it is written, survived the Civil War because the Union Troop used it to mill grain for their own use. It was near here that General Custer captured much of the Confederate wagon train shortly after the Battle of Cedar Creek in October of 1864.

Across the street from Spengler's Mill and sitting high on a hill is Matin Hall or the Spenger Home.

Matin Hall

General Jubal Early had his headquarters in the yard of this fine home for a period of time.

Strasburg in the 1860's Looking South toward Fisher's Hill.
Image derived from a period image, artist unknown.

Strasburg was an important part of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. Here a Federal fort became Jackson's objective in the spring of 1862. His famous flanking march maneuvered the Federals from this fort and finally brought them to bay at Winchester. As a result of this action, Strasburg became the destination for the pursuing Federals as the place where they could cut off Jackson's retreat. Jackson barely escaped the Federal "pincer movement" at Strasburg and separately defeated two Federal columns at the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic respectively.

A year earlier, Jackson had used Strasburg as the place where captured railroad equipment was placed on the rails of the Manassas Gap Railroad and sent south. Jackson captured many B & O Railroad engines, rolling stock, and equipment at Martinsburg, West Virginia and hauled it over land on the Valley Pike to Strasburg using teams of as many as 40 horses.

Strasburg as a Hospital Center

Following the disasterous defeat at Gettysburg, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia returned to Virginia. Towns such as Winchester, Strasburg, Mount Jackson, and Staunton were crowned with the wounded from Gettysburg. Strasburg churches were once again thrust into service as makeshift hospitals to treat sick and wounded Confederate soldiers who had already endured the long and dangerous trip back from Pennsylvania.

The retreat from Gettysburg



Strasburg also figured heavily in Federal General Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. After defeating the Confederates under General Jubal Early at Winchester, Sheridan continued the pursuit to Strasburg. Here he established headquarters as his army probed the Confederate position two miles south of town at Fisher's Hill. On September 22, 1864, Sheridan's forces again defeated Early's Confederates at the Battle of Fisher's Hill.

Nearly one month following its success at Fisher's Hill, Sheridan's army lay in camp at Cedar Creek, three miles north of Strasburg. Early's Confederates surprised the Federals there at dawn on October 19, 1864 and nearly won a stunning victory only to have their fortunes dashed by a Federal counterattack in the afternoon. The Federals finally ended the pursuit of the beleaguered Confederates at Strasburg.

Signal Knob

Strasburg Train Station / Museum, King Street The museum, a great cooperative effort among the town?s citizens, has a wide variety of items including man related to the War Between the States. (See photo below)Very near to this location is the place where T.J. Jackson re-employed locomotives in the service of the Confederacy after hijacking them in Harper's Ferry in April 1861. Open May-October, 10 am-4 pm daily. $2 adults. 540-465-9197.

Strasburg Museum

Strasburg Museum


Looking east on King street.  The town run (Water street) is located just east of the Spangler house.  The Spangler house is the third building on the right hand side of the street.
Main Street, Strasburg, Virginia 

This picture was taken looking west on King street near the intersection of King and Depot (Fort) streets.  The building on the right hand side of the street was once called the Central House.  The Central House was constructed 1853 by Samuel H. Sonner.  It was used as a Hotel and residence and over the years offices were rented.  A dentist office operated by Dr. Maphis was located there at one time.  Early pictures of the building are without the porch as shown here.
King (Main) Street, Strasburg, Virginia 

1. Strasburg, VA: Civil War
2. Strasburg, VA: Regional Setting and History
3. Strasburg Virginia in the Civil War
4. Historic Town of Strasburg: Virginia Is For Lovers
5. Strasburg, Virginia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6. Self-Guided Tour: US Army
7. Strasburg Museum, Strasburg, Virginia

8. U.S. Civil War - Virginia Battlefields - Cedar Creek, Fisher's Hill
9. Sherpa Guides | Virginia | Mountains
10. Massanutten Mountain Trail

History of the War in the ValleyTourValley Museums Soldiers and Civilians  Site MapValley Historical Links

History of the War in the Valley

Contact Hal Sharpe

Thank you for visiting my Shenandoah Valley pages.
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Special thanks, acknowledgements and credits

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