Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Interactive: Touring SW Virginia's Civil War trails

Listen to reenactments of soldiers' journal entries, explore panoramic photos of Civil War sites and take this map with you as you travel the trails and learn about how the Civil War touched Southwest Virginia.
Article and info from Roanoke.com here click on this link to view the map with interactive video.

Scan Code

Touring the trails?
Two ways to take
this map with you

<<< Scan it: Using your smart phone's
camera (or a QR-scanning app) scan
the QR code. You'll then be sent to a
mobile version of this map.
>>> Print it: Click the image to download
and print and .PDF version of the map.
Print map

The trails
The Civil War Trails program has placed more than 1,000 markers and interpretive signs in five states to commemorate battles and skirmishes both famous and obscure.
Even though Southwest Virginia was not a hotbed of Civil War activity, more than 30 Civil War Trails markers direct visitors to sites from the southern Shenandoah Valley to the Cumberland Gap, where raids and skirmishes flared in the hills and towns. Most of these sites are within a day's drive of the Roanoke Valley and are easily accessible by car.
1. Cedar Bluff (Tazewell County)
Two markers describe the Union approach to Saltville in 1864.
2. Saltville (multiple sites)
Saltville was a significant Confederate source of salt -- the primary meat preservative during the war. A Union attack was repelled in October 1864, but Gen. George Stoneman led a Union raid that successfully destroyed the salt works two months later.
3. Chilhowie
A marker describes Union Gen. George Stoneman's railroad raid that destroyed a bridge.
4. Marion (multiple sites)
The honorable career of Col. William Elisha Peters of the 21st Virginia Cavalry is described here.
Peters fought under Gen. Jubal A. Early, but refused an order to burn Chambersburg, Pa., which Peters believed was inhabited by innocent noncombatants. An engagement during Stoneman's raid took place here, too.
5. Wytheville (multiple sites)
Five markers describe Union Col. John Toland's raid on the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad on July 18, 1863. Several buildings were burned and Toland was killed, as troops and citizens attempted to defend the town.
6. Radford
The artillery battle near the New River railroad trestle on May 10, 1864, was the culmination of vicious fighting that began a day earlier at Cloyd's Mountain in Pulaski County.
Two future presidents, Rutherford B. Hayes and William McKinley, fought for the Union in this battle, which resulted in the federal troops successfully destroying rail lines.
7. Laurel Hill (Patrick County)
Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was born here, although the house burned while Stuart lived with his brother in Wytheville.
8. Hanging Rock (Roanoke County)
The only real Civil War action in the Roanoke Valley was just a skirmish, but the fight was intense.
Confederate Gen. John McCausland, who fought at Cloyd's Mountain, led a cavalry strike on Union Gen. David Hunter's retreating column on June 21, 1864. Mason Creek was said to have run red with the blood of dead horses, as Union reinforcements eventually repelled the rebel cavalry and Hunter's men escaped into West Virginia.
9. Mount Joy (Botetourt County)
Federals destroyed the home of Confederate congressman John T. Anderson.
10. Buchanan (multiple sites)
McCausland's Confederates burned the bridge over the James River to slow Hunter's march. The fire spread to the town, and Hunter's men also burned warehouses and supplies, reducing Buchanan to "a desolate looking place, fit only for owls and bats," according to a resident.
11. Peaks of Otter
Hunter's men marched through the mountains on their way to plunder Liberty, now Bedford.
12. Bedford (multiple sites) and 13. New London
Hunter pressed on relentlessly, driving out McCausland and burning homes and businesses on the way to Lynchburg. Confederate cavalry slowed Hunter briefly at New London.
14. Natural Bridge
Soldiers from both sides sought respite from fighting and marching by detouring off the Great Valley Road to view this natural wonder.
15. Lexington (multiple sites)
The greatest cauldron of Civil War lore in this region is here, where Stonewall Jackson lived, taught and is buried and where Hunter burned the barracks of Virginia Military Institute on June 11, 1864.
Robert E. Lee is buried beneath the chapel that bears his name.
16. Lynchburg
On June 18, 1864, Hunter's raid effectively ended here, where soldiers commanded by Confederate Gen. Jubal A. Early, as well as the home guard and patients from the military hospital, repelled the federals.
Hunter, thinking the enemy force was larger that it actually was, fell back and headed for friendly territory in the west. His retreating men tore up railroad tracks, then endured the attack at Hanging Rock.
Cumberland Gap National Park
Several battles were fought in 1862 and '63 for control of this major gateway to the west. Gen. Ambrose Burnside gained control for the Union for good following a bloodless battle in 1863.
On April 9, 1865 -- Palm Sunday -- Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

Although no battles were fought in our Franklin County Virginia, General Jubal Early was from here! Visit our Historical Society here in Rocky Mount, just a couple blocks walk from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast.  We are an hour 30 from Appomattox Courthouse, where General Lee surrendered.


Life is too short for bad coffee...Shellie your innkeeper @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount, VA - Blue Ridge Country! You can book your room online at any time right here http://www.claibornehouse.net/

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is 15 miles to three exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway.  We are located at the half-way point of this beloved road in Virginia, exit at MP 121.  We were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor - click here to see our certificate.