Stonewall Jackson’s Complete, Chronological 1862 Valley Campaign: A Field & Walking Tour

On October 12, 2018 - 19:30 - October 17, 2018 - 17:00

“One campaign above all others electrified people North and South during the Civil War, and captured the imagination of the Western world. It continues to offer the same lure even today. Legends have grown around it. Even the great German combat leader Erwin Rommel is supposed—erroneously—to have studied it and learned from its lessons. The campaign, of course, was Stonewall Jackson’s immortal Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862. In a series of lightning battles, not all of them Confederate victories, he turned back or dispersed three Union armies, and nearly three times his own numbers. He sent a panic into Washington, disrupted much of the Union high command, and held the vital and otherwise exposed rear of the Confederate army facing Union threats in northern Virginia and the Peninsula.” - William C. Davis, in a review of Gary Ecelbarger’s Kernstown book, “We Are In For It!”

It is ironic that Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 has been so little studied in our time. Several books have been published in the past 20 years detailing portions of the campaign and some of its major participants, and an excellent Confederate perspective of the campaign first published in 1976 was recently revised. But no single volume or series has been dedicated to a thorough and comprehensive analysis of Union and Confederate actions in the Valley. Compounding this dearth is the elusiveness associated with touring in the Valley. Attempts at self-guided field study serve only to frustrate Valley visitors as the complexities of the action and key areas locked in private property over-ride the valiant attempts to interpret the campaign with roadside markers. Because of time constraints, organized tours fail to keep pace with the frenetic marches of the Valley soldiers and are forced to run the tour out of chronological order for the sake of geographical convenience, or skip battle sites altogether. And a crucial and pristine 50-mile segment of the Valley is rarely visited at all by tour groups. These omissions and constraints have confused Valley students starving to relive the adventures of the spring of 1862.

Happily, we now announce a repeat and improved version of the complete, comprehensive, and chronological tour of Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign that we first presented in November, 2004 – a program that was selected then as the CWEA Tour of the Year. Led by Gary Ecelbarger, a dedicated expert who has added considerably to the scholarship of the campaign through two excellent books on the subject, we will follow in the footsteps of Stonewall Jackson, his army, and his opponents’ forces in a full-scale five-day adventure that will capture the excitement and drama first experienced within the Blue Ridge-Allegheny corridor from January 1 to June 17, 1862. Not only will the specific movements and encounters be presented and analyzed, our guide will focus on the growing impact of the campaign on Union and Confederate strategy. The effect of War on the Valley citizens will be felt, and the changing confidence and optimism of the opposing soldiers will also be appreciated through their unpublished letters and diaries. No fewer than 15 dwellings that Jackson used as headquarters are still standing—we will see them all, as well as other important houses and sites that figured in this adventure.









Our day-by-day itinerary reveals a unique and all encompassing tour of the 1862 Valley Campaign:

(Friday night, October 12): Overview of the Campaign – at base hotel in New Market, VA

(Saturday, October 13): A day-long experience of the Winter portion of the campaign, January 1-March 12, 1862, including key sites at Unger’s Store, Berkeley Springs, Hancock, Patterson’s Creek, Romney, Blue’s Gap, and Bloomery Furnace. We will wrap up the day at Jackson’s Winchester Headquarters at the site of his first and only council of war, held on March 11, 1862.  

(Sunday, October 14): A thorough exploration of the 600-acre Kernstown Battlefield, the Valley’s first battle - on March 23, 1862. After lunch at the Hotel Strasburg, we’ll follow Jackson’s retreating army up the Valley Pike, passing pristine vistas and antebellum homes, and stop at sites including the McGinnis House, Stony Creek, the North Branch Bridge and Rude’s Hill.

(Monday, October 15). We begin by following Jackson’s route around the Massanutten Mountain, passing Peale’s Crossroads before stopping at Miller’s Bridge. We then head to the Argenbright House in Elkton (then known as Conrad’s Store), headquarters for Jackson, then Ewell, in April and May of 1862. After visiting the rooms where Jackson hashed out his plans, we will retrace his movements southward, “up” the Valley, working our way over to the Virginia Central Railroad, which Jackson and his army used to double-back into the Valley after leaving it through Brown’s Gap. After lunch, we will explore the McDowell battlefield. will be followed by an afternoon exploration of the McDowell Battlefield. During our return trip, we will stop at Mount Solon, where Jackson and Richard Ewell met to discuss future plans in the Valley.

(Tuesday, October 16). This day covers the portion of the campaign that exerted the greatest impact on grand strategy. We will cross through New Market Gap to White House Bridge. From there it is “down” the Luray Valley, including a unique stop at Compton’s Creek, where the sparkling oration of a Maryland colonel prevented a mutiny of his regiment. We will then relive the full adventure of the Battle of Front Royal, using a trove of recently uncovered documents that obliterate the traditional interpretation of this battle. We’ll visit the exciting cavalry charge at Fairview, then head over to the Cedarville Crossroads and visit another headquarters site. We’ll follow Jackson to the Valley Pike, and after lunch, we’ll continue our Valley chronology with skirmish stops at Middletown and Newtown, then down the Pike to cover the Battle of Winchester of May 25, 1862. From there we will head to Charles Town and Harpers Ferry to cover Jackson’s second approach to the Potomac River during the campaign. We’ll partake of an early dinner on our way back to New Market. 

(Wednesday, October 17). Our tour concludes with an investigation of the June portion of the campaign. We’ll head back to the Luray Valley and follow the route of Shields’ Union division to Columbia Bridge. From there, we’ll travel to the village of Port Republic and the dramatic action of June 8 at the North River Bridge. After a picnic lunch, we’ll walk the fields of the final two battles of the campaign: Cross Keys and Port Republic. We’ll end our tour at Harrisonburg - at the death spot of the only general killed in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 – Turner Ashby.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this tour, truly, is one of a kind. If you ever wanted to follow Jackson from start to finish on the storied Valley Campaign, this is the tour – and the ONLY tour offered by anyone - that will present the entire story. Our attendance limit is 30 – we want you to have plenty of space on the bus since we will travel considerable distances together. If you attend this tour you will emerge with a comprehensive understanding of the Valley Campaign, witness the breathtaking beauty of the Shenandoah Valley in October, enjoy fine food and great hospitality and make new friends. Space on the tour is available on a first come, first-served basis, so please register early to be assured of a place. We hope you’ll join us as we strive to keep pace with the foot cavalry on this complete, comprehensive and chronological tour of Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign!

Recommended Reading

  • Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862 - Robert G. Tanner
  • Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic - Robert K. Krick
  • “We are in for it!”: The First Battle of Kernstown, March 23, 1862 – Gary Ecelbarger
  • Three Days in the Shenandoah: Stonewall Jackson at Front Royal and Winchester - Gary Ecelbarger

Gary Ecelbarger

Gary Ecelbarger is a leading authority of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley. He has written or co-written eight books, including We Are In For It!: The First Battle of Kernstown; Three Days in the Shenandoah: Stonewall Jackson at Front Royal & Winchester; & The Day Dixie Died,  along with biographies of Civil War generals “Black Jack” Logan & Frederick W. Lander.

Registration Fee (Lodging Not Included) - $995

A Deposit of $100 per person ensures your registration

  Balance due on or before September 15, 2018

If You Must Cancel we will refund 100% of your fees paid or transfer them to another program, as you wish.

What is included in your registration:

·      The services of an expert historian chosen for his knowledge and experience

·      Transportation to all sites as described

·      5 lunches and 1 dinner

·      Refreshments and snacks during the tour

·      Map package and handouts

WE'RE SWITCHING CREDIT CARD SOFTWARE so online registration is currently unavailable

FOR NOW, CALL 800-298-1861 to complete your credit card registration; or SEND CHECK to:


Box 78, Winchester, VA 22604

LODGING: We will be based at a hotel in New Market, VA, Soon to be announced.

Program Begins on Friday, October 12

7:30 PM          Overview – at base hotel in New Market, VA soon to be announced.

Program Concludes on Wednesday, October 17

5:00 PM          Arrive back at base hotel in New Market, VA

Base Hotel in New Market, Virginia will be announced SOON