Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign

Discussion in 'Americas' started by olenuf2nobetter, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. olenuf2nobetter

    olenuf2nobetter Doin' it anyway

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    I'm planning a trip (when things warm up) to the Shenandoah Valley of Virgina. I'm hoping to follow in the footsteps of Stonewall Jackson's well-known (at least to military historians) Valley Campaign in the spring of 1862. I'm researching the exact routes he and his Valley Army took then (and their modern equivalents) so I can follow them. A historical ride report is in the offing.

    No sweat for much of the campaign -- lots of back and forth on the Valley Pike (US 11). However, in early May, Jackson left Conrad's Store (now Elkton), marched south along the Shenandoah River to the Port Republic Road, then crossed the Blue Ridge via Brown's Gap. Google maps shows Brown's Gap Road becoming Madison Run Fire Road in Shenandoah National Park. It intersects Skyline Drive and the Appalachian Trail, becomes Brown's Gap Road again and heads down to Brown's Gap Turnpike outside of the park. Looks like a real nice ride!

    Questions for those familiar with the area: are these public roads? What sort of road conditions (besides awesome views) might I expect? Does the eastern end of Brown's Gap Road in the park connect with Brown's Gap Turnpike outside of the park?

    Thanks in advance ...
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  2. NVTS

    NVTS Arrivee Secteur Special Supporter

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    This might get more help in the regional forum. Steverino may know too. WC
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  3. MotoCasso

    MotoCasso "Picasso on two wheels"

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    By chance I came across your post, having completed a cross country trip from OR to Washington DC to FL in Sept./Oct. '07. I did some side-trip sightseeing near Fredericksburg, VA, while waiting on a rear brake master cyclinder for my KTM 950.

    I can't help answer your main questions, but I thought you might enjoy these pics of Fairfield Plantation, the location where Stonewall Jackson was brought, having been fatally wounded during the Civil War. This location near Fredericksburg may be east of your intended travels in the Shenandoah Valley however. Best wishes on your journey!

    Also, I'm familiar with Brown's Gap Road in name only, due to hiking the Appalachian Trail in '95. I recall the location of where the road crosses the AT inside Shenandoah NP,... but unfortunately cannot assist to inform your specific route needs. The National Park Service has a map called "Scenic Roads in Virginia" and "Explore Virginia's Great Scenic Drives." These might be available from www.nps.gov. Good Luck!

    Having lived in Blacksburg and Roanoke Virginia a total of 12 years,... you should find the roads and people easy to negotiate,... especially if you mention the purpose of your trip. Having grown up in WV,... I recommend you don't miss Harper's Ferry, WV, if you have never been. It's a wonderful historic town!

    Have a great ride!
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  4. MotoCasso

    MotoCasso "Picasso on two wheels"

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    another pic of Fairfield
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  5. MotoCasso

    MotoCasso "Picasso on two wheels"

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    one more from Fairfield...
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  6. MotoCasso

    MotoCasso "Picasso on two wheels"

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    ...and another...
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  7. olenuf2nobetter

    olenuf2nobetter Doin' it anyway

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    Windchill -- I thought about posting over there, but this seemed like the right place for trip planning questions (even it there isn't a lot of traffic). Thanks for the suggestions.

    Been there, MotoCasso. Harpers Ferry too. Both about eight years ago. These are powerful places for folks with an interest in America's Civil War. Nice pics!
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  8. GSDonovan

    GSDonovan There and back again

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    I can't answer your questions either...I just wanted to say that its cool knowing there are others planning Civil War motorbike tours. I am planning on doing a trip down to Culpepper Ct. House in Virgina and following Lee's movements up the Shenandoah to Gettysburg. I'm starting to think that a week won't be long enough to do it without feeling rushed, however, so I might just end of staying in the Gettysburg area.

    Anyway, definitely keep us in the loop on what your plans end up becoming exactly.
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  9. olenuf2nobetter

    olenuf2nobetter Doin' it anyway

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    GSDonovan -- that's down the Shenandoah that Lee's army marched to Gettysburg.:huh Folks there still talk that way: north is down and south is up. I guess 'cause it's downhill and downriver going north.

    Awesome idea for a ride!:clap Have you been to Gettysburg before? I'm about three hours away and have been there many times. If you don't believe in ghosts now, you will before you leave. Study up a bit before you go, and you could easily spend your whole week just touring the battlefield. One thing you must do before you go, if you haven't already: read "Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara. It's a novel, but it's grounded in good history and will bring the campaign to life for you.

    I've been through some of the country in Maryland and Pennsylvania that Lee's army marched through on that campaign, and IMHO it's some of the nicest in the eastern U.S. Still mostly farm country, as it was then.

    I'm thinking a long weekend, or maybe a week, to do the 1862 Valley Campaign, but much will depend on how much time I spend wandering the battlefields (and perhaps more significant, trying to get on or near battlefield areas on private land).

    Likewise, you should post when you're going to make your trip. Maybe we could meet up somewhere at the bottom of the Valley -- you know, the northern end up around Winchester.
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  10. gneissguy

    gneissguy Adventurer

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    I am 99% certain that Browns Gap Road is gated by the Park Service. This is the road that Park Service Employees use as a shortcut to get to Skyland on Skyline Drive
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  11. GSDonovan

    GSDonovan There and back again

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    Hey Jeff, yeah, I've read several books on the Gettysburg campaign. I've had a fascination for the Civil War since I was a little kid. I've been to Gettysburg twice, but not since I was in High School. Based on what I remember about the area, it looks like it will be an awesome place to ride. I'm trying to decide whether I should go back roads all the way (12-14 hrs) or just go the quick and boring way using interstates (7-8hrs). Either way, I'm expecting to go down in June or July. Whenever I visit a battlefield, I like to go during the same season as when the battle occurred just to get a little bit closer to what it looked like then. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!
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  12. olenuf2nobetter

    olenuf2nobetter Doin' it anyway

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    gneissguy -- yeah, sadly you're right. I did some digging around on the NPS site and found that the fire roads in the park are blocked to vehicular traffic -- even bicycles! They're kind enough to let you walk on them, though, so I guess I'll be doing some of that.

    GSDonovan -- I'm with you on the going around the same time of year as the battle. I'm hoping I can go to the Valley in May for the same reason. When it happens, I'll be posting.
    #12
  13. BoarHog

    BoarHog Adventurer

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    As a matter of fact, I went up there last fall, and Brown's Gap road is indeed gated.
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  14. BoarHog

    BoarHog Adventurer

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    I live in the area, and am kind of a student of history. Post when you figure out a date. I'd love to tag along.
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  15. blacksan

    blacksan Rev Limiter

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    I just caught this thread and I also live in the Shenandoah Valley. When you look out my front door you can see the end of Skyline Drive and the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway. When you get ready to visit give me a shout and maybe we can plan something.
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  16. olenuf2nobetter

    olenuf2nobetter Doin' it anyway

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    BoarHog - I'm still thinkin' May, but haven't worked it out for sure yet. I'll post when I know for sure.

    blacksan - When I look out my front door, I see a house like mine. I guess we all can't live in God's country! I'll post here as things firm up.

    It'd be great to have you guys along!
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  17. dukethedog

    dukethedog Been here awhile

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    I am off the Skyline Drive as well- off of Rt. 211. Happy to show you some of the sights. I have a civil war graveyard on my farm with about 20 graves. The history is that it is Confederates were buried coming back from 2nd Manassas. Longstreet and Lee camped in my town of Orlean. GREAT area to ride and take in the history.
    #17