Civil War Trails: Skirmish in the Streets of Smithfield

Albert Burckard of Carrollton and Dee Campbell of Smithfield became the first visitors to the new sign only minutes after it was installed.
Photo courtesy of the Isle of Wight County Museum.

Press Release

Late last month a new Civil War Trails sign was installed along Main Street in front of the Isle of Wight County Museum in downtown Smithfield. It was the result of over two years worth of work as Civil War Trails, Inc. teamed up with the Isle of Wight County Museum staff and the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism office. The new sign is a replacement for a damaged marker and now puts guests into the footsteps of the where the Civil War skirmish took place.

This new sign is one of four Civil War Trails sites in the County and part of the Civil War Trails program which connects visitors to over 1,400 sites across six states. The program enables visitors to stand in the footsteps of history and to imagine the historic events. Each Civil War Trails site is marketed internationally by state tourism offices, regional destination marketing organizations and municipal partners. This means the educational product is part of a much larger economic development mission.

Judy Winslow, Director of Smithfield & Isle of Wight Tourism echoed that sentiment. “Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism is thrilled to be adding new signage to our robust Civil War Trails offerings in Isle of Wight County.  Civil War Trails is a tremendously vital part of our area tourism amenities, and we are delighted to work with their team to offer more in-depth knowledge into local Civil War history.” The Civil War Trails program has been especially popular with travelers of the last few years, since it is a self-guided adventure which is outdoors.

The new sign location was a big improvement, too. “Relocated from its former spot on Church Street, this sign brings more attention to the events which happened right here on Main Street in 1864,” said Jennifer England, Director of the Isle of Wight County Museum. “This sense of context inspires deeper interest and connection between local history and the present day. Additionally, with the Isle of Wight County Museum located just steps away, it encourages visitors to delve deeper into this subject.”

Jason Shaffer, Operations Manager for Civil War Trails, Inc., sets the new sign carefully next to the sidewalk located at 103 Main St., Smithfield, Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Civil War Trails Inc.

The Civil War Trails team is constantly updating sign content and improving locations whenever possible to help improve the visitor experience. Drew Gruber, Executive Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. said, “Our program is unique in that we are always adding to the signs and oftentimes those new-to-us historic images or quotes are coming from visitors from around the world who are making personal connections to these sites as they travel.”

To begin planning your own historic adventure, request a brochure at or call 800-365-9339.

SIGN SELFIES! Excited to see the new sign and the three other regional Civil War Trails sites? Begin your trip at the Visitor Center located at 319 Main Street, Smithfield, Virginia. Be sure to snap a selfie with the new Civil War Trails sign and use #civilwartrails and #visitsmithfieldva.

RIBBON CUTTING. The Isle of Wight County Museum will host its next lecture and guided tour about the 1864 Battle of Smithfield at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. A short ribbon-cutting event will take place during that lecture.

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