Harrisonburg and Rockingham County played a significant role in the Civil War. Harrisonburg was situated at the cross roads of two major highways, the Valley Turnpike (modern-day Rt. 11) and the Rockingham Turnpike (modern-day Rt. 33). It was also just 50 miles north of a huge Confederate rail and supply center in Staunton. At the time, Rockingham County was one of the most prosperous agricultural counties in the nation, thus it garnered the nickname "the breadbasket of the Confederacy."
Celebrate this rich war history with a trip to Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, where you're invited to explore historic landmarks, sites, museums, and trails. Begin your adventure at the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, where you will enjoy the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Civil War Orientation Center offering stories of individuals, battles, and campaigns through film and interpretation, as well as the Valley Turnpike Museum hosting a Model of 1862 Harrisonburg and Engine 199.
While you're in the Hardesty-Higgins House Visitor Center, make sure to grab a copy of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County's Battles on the Home Front brochures, which will provide you with additional information about historic sites and museums in town as well as your next adventure: a map and driving tour of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County's Civil War Trails. From Woodbine Cemetery, where more than 250 Confederate soldiers are buried, to Mill Creek Church, which saw action during the Battle of Cross Keys, the Battles on the Home Front driving tour will take you from one marked site to the next on a journey through iconic Civil War history.
A visit to the Virginia Quilt Museum in downtown Harrisonburg will also allow you to explore the rich history of the community. Located within a building that dates back to 1856, the museum's grounds hold a history of their own, telling the story of a Civil War soldier and his bride. Don't forget to ask about boy major Joseph Latimer's ghost that is sometimes seen fully-clad in his uniform at the top of the museum's staircase.
Round out your day of Civil War exploration by visiting another important historic landmark within Harrisonburg: the Turner Ashby Monument. This piece celebrates Turner Ashby and Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign at the twin battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic.
Last Updated: 2/26/2013 9:08 AM