Question of the Week for April 21, 2014

Winchester, Virginia is filled with Civil War history. What is your favorite Civil War site in or around the Winchester area?

Winchester at war.
Winchester at war.

4 Responses to Question of the Week for April 21, 2014

  1. I’m glad to see this question asked since I live in Winchester and own Angle Valley Press which publishes books on the War. Since this crossroads town had 6 major battles, numerous smaller fights, plus it changed hands many times – it is difficult to pick just one spot. If I had to pick just one though, I would have to go with the view from the top of Pritchard’s Hill which dominated the area around Kernstown just south of Winchester. Union artillery held this spot during the First Battle of Kernstown in March 1862 and the Second Battle of Kernstown in July 1864. The Greek Revival Pritchard House [ca. 1854] still stands on the hill’s south slope and the view of the Shenandoah Valley is superb. For info on this spot visit the Kernstown Battlefield Association’s website at

    Two other runner-up spots are Bowers Hill, directly behind John Handley High School and the Third Battle of Winchester walking trail, just east of Interstate 81 and maintained by the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation [SVBF]. The SVBF website is

    Dr. Brandon Beck, a retired Shenandoah University History professor and author of numerous books, is finishing up “The Three Battles of Winchester” which Angle Valley Press will release in September during the 150th anniversary of the Third Battle of Winchester. This book will help visitors understand why both armies spilled so much blood around the town and will include maps and driving tours of the First Battle of Winchester [May 1862], the Second Battle [June 1863] and the Third Battle [September 1864].

    Those planning a visit to this historic part of the Lower Shenandoah Valley will also want to visit the Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors Center website which is full of great info. See

  2. I taught Civil War history at Shenandoah University in Winchester for 23 years. If a visitor had time for one site and one site only I’d direct him to Milburn Lane,off Rt. 11 N. a little over 2 miles north of town. Make a right turn off Rt. 11 onto the Old Charles Town ( W.Va.) Road, State Route 761 i believe.Cross the bridge over the old Winchester and Harpers Ferry Railroad and make an immediate right onto unpaved Milburn Lane. Two markers are there, one for the Second Battle of Winchester and one for the Third. But the thing is to drive the lane- slow. We had to fight hard, to save the Lane from ” development “. ( New houses are just over the ridge on your left)Today, it remains pretty much the same as in 1861-65. After a short distance you’ll come to the walled Milburn Cemetery. A Chapel once stood next to it.The Cemetery is unforgettable. It has a Revolutionary War soldier’s grave. Most of the others -not all- are from 19th century. For years, Mr. Dave Fahnestock, a Winchester auctioneer, has taken personal care of the Cemetery. Across the lane are the ruins of a house Union troops looted during the Second Battle on June 15, 1863. It survived them in 1863 but not the lightning, which hit in 1960. . A lane off to the right leads back to Rt. 11. It passes under the railroad you crossed over to get to this spot..You might want to park before you get to 11 and walk back, With a copy of O.R. XXVII, 2, 150-51. or my Second Battle book , your walk back to the cemetery will be a walk back into 1863.The O. R. pages are a Union officer’s description of the lane, the house , and the intersection in front of the Cemetery, during the last few minutes of the Second Battle of Winchester. You’ll see exactly what he saw.

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