Welcome to the audio-described version of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park’s official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, paintings, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit.
This audio version is divided into 19 sections to improve the listening experience. Sections 1 and 2 introduce this audio-described brochure and Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park itself. Sections 3 to 10 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the Shenandoah Valley’s rich heritage, from the Native Americans who first shaped the land, to the colonial settlers who farmed the fertile area during the Age of Grain, to the struggle to control the area during the Civil War. Historic and contemporary photographs, historic drawings, and a large-scale wayfinding and natural history map of the Shenandoah Valley are described.
Sections 11 to 19 cover the back of the brochure, which describes the dramatic Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Historical paintings depict the battle scene and Abraham Lincoln’s presidential campaign poster, and contemporary photographs illustrate battle reenactments and the 1797 Belle Grove Manor House. A large map of the park is described, including park features, natural features, wayfinding information, and cultural information about the movements and positions of the Federal and Confederate troops during the Battle of Cedar Creek. Sketches of US Gen. Philip Sheridan and Confederate Gen. Jubal Early are described. A smaller location map describes the location of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park within the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historical District and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Also included is information about planning your visit, getting to the park, an auto tour, accessibility, park programs and monuments, safety and regulations, and contact information for the national historical park. Recognition of the park’s partners to manage the park’s battlefields, historic structures, and other points of interest are also included. Because most of the land within the park boundary is private and not open to the public, symbols that designate places the public can visit are also described.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in Virginia is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The park was authorized by Congress in 2002 to protect over 3,700 acres of historically significant locations, and continues to grow and operate through preservation partnerships.
At Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, the history of the Shenandoah Valley and its people is told through the site of the Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek and the Belle Grove Plantation. Spanning parts of Frederick, Warren, and Shenandoah counties, over half of the area within the park boundary is privately owned, however driving tours of the battlefield are accessible via public roads. Ranger-led events, tours, and interpretive exhibits are offered at the Visitor Center in Middletown, Virginia. Tours of the 1797 Belle Grove Manor House are also offered.
To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
The front of the brochure begins with the distinctive National Park Service (NPS) black bar at the top. The main title "Cedar Creek and Belle Grove" is on the left. Smaller text on the right states "Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, Virginia" and "National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior" next to the NPS Arrowhead logo.
The front of the brochure includes information regarding the history of the Shenandoah Valley’s geology, people, and places. The two most prominent images on the front of the brochure are a panoramic color photograph of the Shenandoah Valley's Signal Knob peak and a large-scale wayfinding and natural history map of the Shenandoah Valley. Historic and contemporary photographs and historic drawings are displayed to convey more information.
IMAGE 1 of 2: Signal Knob Landscape
DESCRIBING: A color, panoramic photograph of the Signal Knob mountain peak over the Shenandoah Valley.
SYNOPSIS: A color, panoramic photograph depicts the Signal Knob mountain peak over the forests and fields of the Shenandoah Valley. The photograph shows Signal Knob in the background with forests and farm fields in the foreground.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A horizontally oriented, color, panoramic, landscape photograph of the Signal Knob mountain peak over the Shenandoah Valley spans the width of the top fifth of the brochure. Under a hazy, blue sky with white, fluffy clouds on the horizon, Signal Knob mountain peak stands in the background. The peak is rounded with gradual, gentle slopes. The sun shines on the right side of the mountain, shading the left side. The deciduous trees on the mountain and in the forest in the middle ground of the photograph are blanketed in brown and orange fall foliage flecked with yellow. Some deciduous trees still show their green leaves. In front of the forest is a light brown wheat field. The wheat field is flat on the left side of the photograph and gently slopes uphill toward the right. Several farm houses stand at the edge of the wheat field along the tree line. In the foreground, a meadow of short, golden grass on the left is separated diagonally with a wooden, three-split-rail fence from a field of short, green grass on the right.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
The fine lime stone valley of Shenandoah...the most beautiful, and most bountiful portion of our country.
—John S. Skinner, founding editor, American Farmer, 1820
RELATED TEXT: Sweeping from east to west, the landscape seen above, from the porch of Belle Grove manor house, holds stories of the Shenandoah Valley reaching from present time deep into Earth’s history. These stories of geology, people, and place enrich this national historical park, set aside by Congress in 2002.
The valley’s geologic story includes an ancient ocean that laid down vast limestone beds, the basis of fertile soil. Geologic forces built mountains that shelter the valley. Erosion created ravines, rolling hills, and fast-flowing water. All these features created a “breadbasket” that made this valley a battleground in America’s Civil War.
IMAGE 2 of 2: Limestone
DESCRIBING: A close-up, color photograph of limestone.
SYNOPSIS: A close-up, color photograph of limestone spans the width of the brochure as a background for the related text in this section. The limestone is light gray with an uneven, jagged surface. The deeper grooves on the surface are darker gray.
RELATED TEXT: Limestone underlies most of the valley. It juts out of fields and along streams, and is used in a variety of ways, including for roads and buildings.
IMAGE 1 of 2: Signal Knob Landscape
DESCRIBING: A color photograph of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River with Signal Knob in the background.
SYNOPSIS: A rectangular, color photograph depicts the North Fork of the Shenandoah River with Signal Knob in the background under a blue sky. The perspective of the photograph is from the low, grassy stream bank, which is shown along the right side of the photograph. Orange, brown, yellow, and green fallen leaves float on the surface of the stream. The stream's rippled water reflects the blue sky and the riparian trees. Smooth, rounded, brown rocks sit on the streambed below the clear water. The peak of Signal Knob stands in the background covered in fall foliage.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
RELATED TEXT: The first people arrived in the Shenandoah Valley around 10,000 years ago and lived well on wildlife and plants. Eventually they cultivated the land, growing a variety of crops. Tribal warfare over this bounty pushed out most Native Americans before European settlers arrived. Jost Hite, one of the first new settlers, arrived in 1731 with 16 families from Pennsylvania. They found what they were looking for: fertile soil and abundant water.
IMAGE 2 of 2: Maize
DESCRIBING: A cut-out, color photograph of a stalk of maize.
SYNOPSIS: A small, color photograph depicts the top portion of a stalk of maize, or corn, on a light background. A dark green stalk of maize stands with a light brown tassel splayed at the top and approximately eight dark green, glossy leaves alternating down the length of the stalk. The leaves protrude up diagonally from the stalk. Some leaves bend down at their tips and others bend down at half their lengths. Three cylindrically shaped ears of maize grow along with three of the leaves. Light brown, yellowish silks grow from the top of one ear.
CREDIT: Eloise Phipps/CIMMYT
RELATED TEXT: Native Americans began growing maize, squash, and beans in the valley more than one thousand years ago.
IMAGE 1 of 5: Belle Grove Plantation
DESCRIBING: A horizontally oriented, color photograph of the Belle Grove Plantation Manor House and fields. The photograph shows open, mowed fields in the foreground, the 1797 Manor House in the middle ground, and the Allegheny Mountains in the background.
SYNOPSIS: A horizontally oriented, color photograph depicts the Belle Grove Plantation on a sunny day. The lower two-thirds of the photograph show the expansive, mowed wheat fields in front of the Belle Grove Manor House. The fields are golden yellow with patches of dark green. Scattered throughout the fields are over twenty cylindrical hay bales. The Belle Grove Manor House sits at the edge of the wheat fields in the upper left corner of the photograph. A stand of deciduous trees extends to the left and right of the Manor House. A white four-split-rail fence frames the square yard around the house. Built in 1797, this Federal-style, two-story home is finished in light gray limestone and white trimmed windows. A grand white staircase leads to a covered front porch trimmed with four white pillars. Four, tall, white, rectangular prism chimneys and two shorter chimneys extend from the dark gray roof. Under clouds in the distance, the blue-gray-green Allegheny Mountains stand in the background behind the Manor House.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
IMAGE 2 of 5: Wheat Sheaf
DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a sheaf of wheat.
SYNOPSIS: A color photograph of a sheaf or bundle of cut wheat stems overlays the right side of the Belle Grove photograph. The bundle of light brown wheat stems is bound with seven wraps of dark brown twine where the wheat heads meet their thin, straight stems. Fine, featherlike, light brown beards extend from the tops of the wheat heads.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
RELATED TEXT: The new settlers found that wheat grew very well in the Shenandoah Valley and made high quality flour. By the late 1700s, they began growing wheat to sell commercially. It soon was in demand throughout the colonies and Europe. During this Age of Grain, a few plantations were established in the valley. Belle Grove was developed by Isaac Hite Jr. and his wife Nelly (sister of President James Madison).
In the 70 years that the Hite family were at Belle Grove, 276 enslaved laborers worked in their fields and industries. Other Valley farms, even small ones, and enterprises also used enslaved labor. Eventually, the conflict over slavery would ignite the American Civil War.
IMAGE 3 of 5: Wheat Mill
DESCRIBING: A historic, sepia-toned photograph of a wheat mill.
SYNOPSIS: A horizontally oriented, historic, sepia-toned photograph depicts a wheat mill and mill race. A stone-faced, three-story mill is situated diagonally facing right along the right side of the photograph, with a corner of the mill central to the photograph. The full extent of the mill is excluded from the photograph. A stone arch bridge extends from the left side of the mill, from the mill's second story across a stream to an elevated mill race. The stream below the bridge flows toward the lower edge of the photograph. Along the left side of the photograph, water plunges from the end of the mill race toward the stream in a waterfall. Deciduous trees stand in the background to the left, beyond the mill race and bridge.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
RELATED TEXT: Hundreds of mills sprung up along the miles of fast-flowing streams in the valley. The rush of water powered the wheels that turned the heavy millstones that ground the grain into flour.
IMAGE 4 of 5: Great Wagon Road
DESCRIBING: A historic, sepia-toned photograph of the Great Wagon Road.
SYNOPSIS: To the right of the Wheat Mill photograph is a historic, sepia-toned photograph of the Great Wagon Road. The crushed limestone road fills the width of the bottom of the photograph, then tapers away in the center of the photograph into the distance, flanked by low, dry stack stone walls and farm fields on both sides. The field on the left appears to contain symmetrically placed hay bales. A farm house, white fence, and various outbuildings line the far edge of the left field. A cluster of trees stand behind the farm buildings. The field on the right appears to be covered in a dark grass, or it is perhaps a fallow field. Several scrubby deciduous trees stand behind the dry stack stone wall along the right side of the road. The road narrows and disappears over a low ridge on the horizon under a cloudless sky.
CREDIT: USAHEC/MOLLUS-Mass Collection
RELATED TEXT: Wagon wheels began rolling along the Native Americans’ ancient path in the 1700s. Soon the “Warrior Road” became known as the Great Wagon Road. Later, a hardened limestone road surface created a faster road for those who could afford to pay the toll on the ”Valley Pike.”
IMAGE 5 of 5: Wagon Wheel
DESCRIBING: A color photograph of a wooden wagon wheel.
SYNOPSIS: A cut-out, color photograph of a wagon wheel appears to stand three-dimensionally in front of the adjacent lower corners of the Wheat Mill and the Great Wagon Road photographs. The wagon wheel is made of weathered gray wood and metal. Twelve cylindrical wooden spokes radiate from the wheel's center hub outward to the wooden felloes plate, which appears to be fitted with a flat steel tire around its circumference.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
IMAGE 1 of 2: “Sheridans army following Early up the Valley of the Shenandoah,” an 1864 sketch by Alfred R. Waud
DESCRIBING: A historic drawing of the soldiers in US Gen. Sheridan's army positioned in the valley below Signal Knob.
SYNOPSIS: A rectangularly oriented, historic, sepia-toned drawing of the soldiers in US Gen. Sheridan's army positioned in the valley below Signal Knob.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A rectangularly oriented, historic, sepia-toned drawing depicts soldiers positioned in a wide valley with Signal Knob standing in the background on the right side of the valley and a forest standing on the left side of the valley. In the center of the drawing, a large regiment of soldiers stands in the valley in a rectangular formation that extends from the front edge of the drawing toward the top of the drawing over a ridge. The soldier's numbers are too many to count. To the right of the regiment in the valley is a grouping of cannons and horses. A group of men on horseback to the right, one of whom holds a flag, observe the regiment's position. In the foreground, men at the front of the regiment wave and salute to a group of men riding by on horseback to the left. Others stand and watch. One carries a drum. A man riding horseback at the front of the group, presumably US Gen. Sheridan, has a lighter face than the other soldiers. He tips his hat to the regiment. One of the men toward the back of the group on horseback holds a flag pole with two flowing white flags. A farmhouse overlooks the valley from a tree line along the right side of the drawing.
CREDIT: NPS/Harpers Weekley Newspaper
RELATED TEXT: The United States and Confederacy fought over the Shenandoah Valley throughout the war. But in 1864 the United States began a campaign to destroy the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy.” This plan, called “The Burning,” systematically burned farms the length of the valley, leaving residents with no food for themselves, let alone for soldiers of either side. But despite the immense destruction, the resilient valley and its residents recovered quickly after the war.
IMAGE 2 of 2: Signaling Kit
DESCRIBING: A cut-out color photograph of a historic Civil War signaling kit.
SYNOPSIS: A color photograph depicts a historic Civil War signaling kit, including two signal flags, two torches, and a signal rocket.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A color photograph of a historic Civil War signaling kit depicts two signal flags, two torches, and a signal rocket. The two signal flags are spread out at the top of the photograph. One flag is a white square with a smaller inset red square. The other flag is a red square with a smaller inset white square. Below the flags are the two torches, which are placed diagonally pointing toward each other at the center of the photograph. The torches are thin brown cylinders, each with a one- to two-inch plate perpendicularly surrounding it toward the top end. A brown, disk-shaped canteen, perhaps made of copper, appears to be attached to the torch on the left. Lying horizontally in front of the torches is a signal rocket. The rocket is cylindrically shaped and is wrapped in kelly green paper. A ring of gold trim decorates the left end of the rocket. At the right end of the rocket, two white text boxes with green text read "Signal Rocket" and "White. Red." Thin paper strips extend from the right tip of the rocket.
CREDIT: US Army Center of Military History
RELATED TEXT: Signal Knob, shown in the top photograph, overlooks the park. From its summit, soldiers could spy on the enemy below. They sent messages using a signaling kit—two flags, two torches fueled from a canteen, and a signal rocket.
DESCRIBING: A color, wayfinding and natural history vicninty map of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in the Shenendoah Valley
SYNOPSIS: This color vicinity map of the Shenendoah Valley is a horizontal, rectangular, large-scale, bird's-eye view wayfinding and natural history map that covers the bottom two-fifths of the brochure. The map is oriented with north at the one-o'clock position such that Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is labeled in the upper right of the map, and Staunton, Virginia, approximately 175 miles southwest, is labeled in the lower left of the map. Washington, DC, and the Chesapeake Bay are shown in the lower right corner of the map. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is shown as a small area in the center of the map. The map shows topography for three mountain ranges running in a north-south direction from west to east: Allegheny Mountains, Massanutten Mountain and Signal Knob just southwest of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The only road shown parallels the mountains in the valley between the Allegheny Mountains and Massanutten Mountain: the Valley Pike (US 11), which connects Staunton, Virginia, in the south to Hagerstown, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to the north. Rivers are shown in the valleys and include the North Fork Shenandoah River, Cedar Creek, South Fork Shenandoah River, Shenandoah River, and Potomac River. State boundaries and text labels for Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia are shown.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and Shenandoah Valley vicinity map includes wayfinding and natural feature information and is shown from a bird's eye view perspective with north at the one o'clock position. The scale of the map extends from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in the upper right corner of the map, and Staunton, Virginia, approximately 175 miles southwest, in the lower left corner of the map. White State boundaries and text labels for Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia are shown. A black text label for Washington, DC, and the blue water of the Chesapeake Bay are shown in the lower right corner of the map. Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is shown as a small green area in the center of the map labeled with a green text box and leader with white text.
The map shows topography for three mountain ranges running in a north-south direction from west to east: the Allegheny Mountains, Massanutten Mountain and Signal Knob just southwest of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Site, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mountain peaks are shown in a light blue-gray with dark gray shadows on their western sides, as if the sun is shining on them from the east. The valleys between the mountain ranges are shades of green.
The only road shown parallels the mountains in the valley between the Allegheny Mountains and Massanutten Mountain: the Valley Pike (US 11), which appears as a thin brown line connecting Staunton, Virginia, in the south to Hagerstown, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to the north. Other cities are dotted and labeled in black along the Valley Road heading north from Staunton: Harrisonburg, New Market, Woodstock, and Winchester in Virginia; Martinsburg, West Virginia; and Hagerstown, Maryland. The Valley Road continues north into Pennsylvania and turns to the east and toward the right edge of the map. Other cities are shown in the valley between Massanutten Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains: Front Royal, Virginia, just east of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park; Berryville, Virginia; and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where the borders of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland meet at the confluence of the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River. Leesburg, Virginia; Frederick, Maryland; and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, are shown farther east.
Rivers are shown as sinuous blue lines in the valleys. The North Fork Shenandoah River flows north along the Valley Road from New Market, past Woodstock with very tortuous meanders, zigzagging across the flat valley. It joins with Cedar Creek flowing from the northwest at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. From here, the North Fork Shenandoah River flows around the north side of Massanutten Mountain and joins the South Fork Shenandoah River near Front Royal, Virginia. Now as the Shenandoah River, the stream flows north to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where it flows into the Potomac River, which then flows southeast toward Washington, DC.
CREDIT: NPS / CEBE
Early colonial settlers in Pennsylvania heard of a valley that was like the rich farmland they had known in Europe. They followed the Native Americans’ trail west and south into this valley, today known as Shenandoah.
This historic valley continues to attract travelers. They can still follow the old Native American trail, now US 11, up and down hills and across rivers. They pass mills, barns, fields, cemeteries, and battlefields that speak of early European settlers, the Age of Grain, and the Civil War.
Quarries continue to yield limestone, which is still used for buildings and roads, among hundreds of other uses. This durable rock serves as a reminder of geologic forces that formed the valley and its landscape—a landscape that continues to inspire and challenge us.
Allegheny Mountains marked the western boundary of the British colonies in the 1700s—a boundary defended by the French who held the Ohio Valley on the other side. Britain protected its side by encouraging colonists to populate the Shenandoah Valley.
The Blue Ridge forms a barrier between the valley and eastern Virginia. The valley’s products were sent north around the mountains to Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Washington, DC, was a long day’s horse ride from the valley—too close for comfort during the Civil War. The US waged two campaigns in the valley to protect the capital.
DESCRIBING: A horizontally oriented rectangular pencil drawing on paper of "The Burning" drawn by Alfred R. Waud.
SYNOPSIS: A horizontally oriented rectangular pencil drawing on tan paper displays "The Burning" drawn by Alfred R. Waud. The paper has rough edges and appears to have been torn out from a larger piece of paper or book. Both upper corners and the lower left-hand corner are torn. US General Custer and his cavalry stand in the foreground on horseback. Two regiments of infantry stand in the middle ground in front of a tree line and fields on fire. The flames appear white and rise to sharp peaks with plumes of smoke that extend toward the upper left of the drawing as if blown by wind. An unburning farmhouse stands in the tree line to the right of the flames. Along the bottom edge of the drawing, a caption written in script reads, "The 3rd Custer div. on the 7th of Octr. retiring and burning the forage Etc. Somewhere near Mt. Jackson."
CREDIT: Library of Congress/Alfred R. Waud
RELATED TEXT: The Burning was ordered by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to destroy the ”Breadbasket of the Confederacy.” His plan succeeded but it also burned horror and anger into the memories of generations to come.
QUOTE 1 of 2:
The Valley seems to be designed as the great thoroughfare between the west and southwest to the northern cities.
--1838 petition to obtain state support for building the Valley Turnpike
QUOTE 2 of 2:
Fields of wheat spread far and wide, interspersed with woodlands…quaint old mills, with turning wheels, were busily grinding the previous year’s harvest...--Brig. Gen. Richard Taylor, CSA, 1862
The back side of the brochure begins with the distinctive National Park Service (NPS) black bar at the top containing the text "The Battle of Cedar Creek." This side is comprised of one historic painting; one political campaign poster; two historic drawings; two digital renderings; four contemporary color photographs; four point of interest symbols; descriptive text; one small vicinity map; and one large color map.
The top panel of the back side of the brochure includes a description and painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek. The bottom panel includes contemporary photographs of places and events that can be enjoyed in the park: a Battle of Cedar Creek reenactment, the Belle Grove Plantation Manor House and grounds, and a blacksmith demonstration. A large map in the middle of the back side of the brochure is a wayfinding, natural features, and cultural history map that shows the park boundaries and features, roadways, streams, and the Battle of Cedar Creek military positions. Locations for the Visitor Center, Belle Grove, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Museum and Visitor Center, and the Hupp's Hill Civil War Park are shown.
The text section along the left side of the back of the brochure provides information about getting to the park, taking an auto tour, safety and regulations, park programs and monuments, accessibility, and additional contact information. Information about NPS Park Partners is also provided.
IMAGE 1 of 2: "The Battle of Cedar Creek," by Julian Scott
DESCRIBING: A horizontally oriented, rectangular, color painting of the Battle of Cedar Creek.
SYNOPSIS: "The Battle of Cedar Creek," a painting by Julian Scott, portrays the Vermont Brigade during the Federals' afternoon counterattack. The painting shows the valley in the center, filled with soldiers and white smoke, framed on the left and right by mountains. All the soldiers appear to be white. The sky is a gray-brown haze. The Federal soldiers are on-foot wearing navy blue jackets, light blue pants, brown boots, and navy blue kepi hats. The Confederate soldiers wear gray jackets. Some soldiers ride horseback. In the foreground, soldiers lunge and clash with rifles and bayonets raised. Wounded soldiers lie on the ground. Five sets of tattered US and Vermont Brigade flags fly. In the background, the valley in front of the mountains is lined with fighting soldiers and smoke.
CREDIT: Vermont State Curator's Office
RELATED TEXT: OCTOBER 19, 1864 In the foggy dawn, Confederate soldiers crossed Cedar Creek and the North Fork of the Shenandoah River to surprise sleeping Federal soldiers. Fighting raged as the Confederates chased the Federal soldiers north. By late morning, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early thought he had won. But US Gen. Philip Sheridan was racing south from Winchester, determined to rally his stunned troops. By sunset, in an epic reversal of fortune, Early was defeated. Over 8,600 Federal and Confederate men were killed, wounded, or captured that day in one of the bloodiest battles in the Shenandoah Valley.
This wasn’t the first time Sheridan had beaten Early’s army, but it was the last. The Federals' “Burning” campaign had destroyed the valley’s irreplaceable food sources, making it impossible for the Confederacy to adequately feed their soldiers and for residents to feed themselves. The Federal victory at Cedar Creek helped ensure Abraham Lincoln’s reelection as President of the United States three weeks later. Within six months, the Civil War was over.
IMAGE 2 of 2: Abraham Lincoln Campaign Poster
DESCRIBING: A small, vertically oriented, rectangular color campaign poster.
SYNOPSIS: The political campaign poster is a vertically oriented rectangle that appears to be drawn in color pencil or painted. In the center of the poster, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln is shown from the chest up, facing right. His head is turned slightly, but he looks directly at the viewer. He wears a black suit jacket, a white collared shirt, and a black bow tie. His short dark hair is combed back off of his white face. He has thick brown eyebrows; his right eyebrow is slightly raised. He wears a thick but neatly trimmed beard with no mustache. With their handles pointing upward, an oversized ax sits to his left, and an oversized wooden mallet sits to his right. A US flag is draped in an upside U above his head on the handles. Illegible words are written in small script on the ax and the mallet, as well as above the flag. Arched across the top and bottom of the poster, large blue capital letters read "Lincoln, Johnson. And Victory."
CREDIT: Putnam Museum, Davenport, Iowa
IMAGE 1 of 4: Confederate Gen. Jubal Early
DESCRIBING: A small black-and-white, head-and-neck portrait of Confederate Gen. Jubal Early, facing right.
SYNOPSIS: This small black-and-white drawing of a head-and-neck portrait of Confederate Gen. Jubal Early shows him unsmiling, wearing a suit, facing right, but looking at the viewer. General Early is white, and his dark hair is cut short on the top and longer in the back, curling up around his ears. He wears a thick but trimmed mustache and beard. He wears an unbuttoned collared shirt, with the collar turned up, under a suit jacket.
CREDIT: Library of Congress
IMAGE 2 of 4: Confederate Flag
DESCRIBING: A small digital rendering of the Confederate flag.
SYNOPSIS: A small digital rendering of the Confederate flag appears to be waving in a breeze. The flag is a horizontal red rectangle with two diagonal navy blue stripes forming an X. The blue X is outlined in white and contains twelve white stars spaced along its arms.
RELATED TEXT: Morning Phase. Confederate Gen. Jubal Early led his troops in a three-pronged dawn attack that pushed Federal soldiers toward the Federal headquarters at Belle Grove. By 7 am, Federal leaders abandoned the post and retreated toward Middletown. After an hour-long fight at a cemetery overlooking the town, the Federal soldiers retreated farther north. They eventually stopped to rest north of the town.
IMAGE 3 of 4: US Gen. Philip Sheridan
DESCRIBING: A small black-and-white, head-and-shoulders portrait of US Gen. Philip Sheridan, facing right.
SYNOPSIS: This small black-and-white drawing of a head-and-shoulders portrait of US Gen. Philip Sheridan shows him unsmiling, wearing his Federal uniform, facing right. General Sheridan is white, and his dark hair is cut short. His mustache is thick, extending to his jawline. His jacket is buttoned around the base of his neck and is adorned with seven brass buttons on the front and a patch on each shoulder; a star is on his left shoulder patch. The collar of a white shirt sticks out around the rounded collar of the jacket.
CREDIT: National Archives / Mathew Brady
IMAGE 4 of 4: US Flag
DESCRIBING: A small digital rendering of the US flag.
SYNOPSIS: A small digital rendering of the US flag appears to be waving in a breeze. The flag is a horizontal rectangle made up of thirteen horizontal stripes alternating red and white with a blue horizontal rectangle in the upper left corner containing thirty-five equally spaced white stars.
RELATED TEXT: Afternoon Phase. Galloping to the rescue around 10:30 am, US Gen. Philip Sheridan rallied his troops for an afternoon counterattack. The Confederates held their ground, then slowly began to retreat. When the Federal cavalry charged down upon them, they fled south to Strasburg.
MAP: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Map and Battle of Cedar Creek Positions Map
DESCRIBING: A large, color, wayfinding, natural features, and cultural history map of the park boundaries and features, roadways, streams, and the Battle of Cedar Creek military positions.
SYNOPSIS: The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Map and Battle of Cedar Creek Positions Map is a large, vertical, rectangular, northerly, color, wayfinding, natural features, and cultural history map. The scale of the map is approximately one inch equals one kilometer and approximately one and three quarters of an inch equals one mile. The map shows the park boundaries, park features, roadways, streams, and the Battle of Cedar Creek military positions. The Visitor Center is in the northeast area of the map, at 7712 Main Street (US 11), Middletown, Virginia. Accessible parking is available at the Visitor Center and all parking lots. Belle Grove Plantation is in the center of the map at 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Virginia. Not all portions of the property are accessible by wheelchair. For more information on user access, contact Belle Grove Plantation directly at 540-869-2028. Signal Knob is shown along the southern edge of the map.
The historical park is made up of private and public preserved property approximately bounded by Cougill Road to the north; a railroad track, Valley Pike (US 11), and Long Meadow Road to the east; the North Fork Shenandoah River to the south; and Cedar Creek, Veterans Road, and Hites Road to the west. The park spans the area from Middletown, Virginia, to the north, to Strasburg, Virginia, to the south along Valley Pike (US 11), which is Main Street in Middletown.
The map shows park features including the Visitor Center, Belle Grove Plantation, the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Museum and Visitor Center, Hupp's Hill Civil War Park, monuments, trails, and parking lots. The map legend includes symbols for the park boundary, preserved and private properties, and symbols describing the Battle of Cedar Creek: Confederate positions, Federal positions, and locations of Federal cavalry, trenches, and camps.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: The following is a description of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Map and Battle of Cedar Creek Positions Map described in a clockwise direction, starting at the Visitor Center on Main Street in Middletown, Virginia, at the 2 o'clock position.
The Visitor Center is shown as a small black square with a green text box and white text. The Visitor Center includes an accessible parking lot, restrooms, and an information center. Light gray lines in a grid show the streets of Middletown. Main Street (US 11) is shown as a dark gray line that runs in a northeast-southwest direction across the map. A thin blue line labeled Meadow Brook parallels Main Street in Middletown about a quarter-mile west of Main Street. Interstate 81 (I-81) runs parallel to Main Street about a quarter-mile to the east, then runs toward the west south of Middletown. I-81 Exit 302 is shown east of the Visitor Center. First Street intersects Main Street one block south of the Visitor Center. A bold red line indicates a Confederate position that runs parallel to Front Street for about a mile in a northwest to southeast direction between Meadow Brook to the west and a point east of I-81 Exit 302.
At the 4 o'clock position, Interstate 66 (I-66) is shown as a diagonal double white line running southeast to northwest and terminating at I-81 in the center of the map. Along I-66 at the right or eastern edge of the map, text reads "To Front Royal, Washington, DC, and Shenandoah National Park." Virginia Route 611 (VA-611), Long Meadow Road, parallels I-66 to the east, then turns south toward the center of the map. VA-612 parallels VA-611 farther south, then intersects VA-611 at the park's southeastern boundary.
At the 5 o'clock position, Route 55 is shown in a southeast to northwest direction. A railroad track parallels the road. Where Route 55 intersects the bottom edge of the map at the 5 o'clock position, text reads "To Front Royal and Shenandoah National Park." Route 55 enters the town of Strasburg, Virginia, and its gray gridded streets at the 7 o'clock position.
At the 6 o'clock position, at the bottom or southern edge of the map, Signal Knob is shown with a point indicating an elevation of 2,106 ft (642m). North of Signal Knob is Route 55 and a railroad track running east-west. A wide, blue, curvy line indicates the path of the North Fork Shenandoah River flowing from the west, south of Strasburg, to the east. The southern portion of the preserved and private properties that make up the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is in this area and is bordered by the North Fork Shenandoah River to the south; Strasburg, Pouts Hill Road (VA-634), and Cedar Creek to the east; I-81 and Water Plant Road (VA-840) to the north; and Long Meadow Road (VA-611) to the east. Cedar Creek flows north to south from I-81 in this area and joins the North Fork Shenandoah River from the north along the unpaved Long Meadow Road (VA-611). Bowmans Mill Road (VA-635) runs east from Strasburg, crosses Cedar Creek, intersects with Long Meadow Road, and continues north to Thoburn's Redoubt, where it turns east and is unpaved and intersects with Long Meadow Road again, forming a loop. Water Plant Road (VA-840) intersects Long Meadow Road about one-eighth of a mile farther north.
Confederate positions in this area are labeled "Early," "Gordon," "Kershaw," and "Wharton" after the Confederate officers leading the morning phase of the battle.
"Early" is shown in bold red capital letters west of Cedar Creek.
"Gordon's Night March" is shown as a long, bold red arrow moving southwest to northeast along the North Fork Shenandoah River and crossing the river at Bowmans Ford. It continues to the intersection of Long Meadow Road with Bowmans Mill Road and Water Plant Road where three red lines are labeled "Gordon" and then turns northwest toward the center of the map.
The Kershaw position starts as a bold red arrow in Strasburg, follows Bowmans Mill Road to the northeast, crosses Cedar Creek where one red line is shown, then continues east, south of Thoburn's Redoubt. Here the Kershaw position meets a Federal trench south of Bowmans Mill Road, indicated with a pink line edged in blue, and a Federal 8th Corps camp, indicated with three blue upside down Vs on the north side of Bowmans Mill Road. Another 8th Corps camp is shown farther north, just south of I-81.
The Warton position is shown as a bold red arrow heading north out of Strasburg along US 11 past Hupp's Hill Civil War Park Visitor Center and Museum to the east; a bold red line near Exit 298, the intersection of I-81 and US 11 at about the 9 o'clock position; and then a bold red arrow continuing northeast toward Cedar Creek at the center of the map, north of I-81 and US 11. East of Cedar Creek, a green dotted line shows the 19th Corps Entrenchment Trail along a Federal Trench and a Federal position, marked by a bold blue line. The New York Monument and a parking lot are here near the intersection of US 11 and Water Plant Road. At the 9 o'clock position, at the left or western edge of the map, I-81 is shown running west, and text reads "To Harrisonburg."
The northern section of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is in the center of the map and parallels Valley Road (US 11) to the northeast. A small portion of the park is between US 11 and the I-81/I-66 intersection and includes The Vermont Monument, a parking lot, Morning Attack Trails, the NPS Headquarters, and the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Museum and Visitor Center. At the center of the map, the Ramseur Monument is at the intersection of US 11 and Belle Grove Road (VA-727) on the north side of US 11. Belle Grove (open year-round) is shown north of US 11 and can be accessed from Belle Grove Road, which leads north from US 11 and intersects with Meadow Mills Road (A-624). Meadow Mills Road runs northeast, crossing Meadow Brook, railroad tracks, and McCune Road. A portion of the park and a Confederate position is shown in the area between Meadow Mills Road and McCune Road in about the 12 o'clock position. Between Meadow Mills Road and US 11, northeast of Belle Grove, are the Heater House (no public access) and arrows for two Confederate positions pointing north over Veterans Road, which connects Middletown to the east with McCune Road and Meadow Mills Road to the west.
West of the Visitor Center, Middletown, and Meadow Brook is the northernmost section of the park, bounded by Veterans Road and Hites Road to the west and railroad tracks to the east. From south to north, this section includes a Federal position south of High Street (VA-635), and Mt. Carmel Cemetery (Middletown Cemetery) on High Street, and the Final Confederate Line shown as a bold red line about a mile long running northwest to southeast between Cougill Road (VA-634) to the north, Mineral Street (VA-635) to the east, Chapel Road (VA-627) to the south, and Hites Road (VA-625) to the west.
Federal positions are shown outside of the park boundaries to the north and east of this Final Confederate Line, north of the Visitor Center. Federate positions in this area are labeled "Sheridan" and "Custer" after the Federal officers leading the afternoon counterattack.
At the 12 o'clock position, at the northern or top edge of the map, running northwest to southeast are a thick gray and blue line indicating Custer's cavalry along Westview Drive and a solid thick blue line indicating the Federal position crossing Hites Road just south of Klines Mill Road (VA-633). "Sheridan" is written in bold, blue, capital letters north of Klines Mill Road. Four blue arrows point south signaling movement toward Chapel Road and Cougill Road. One cavalry line is shown in the one o'clock position between US 11 and I-81 with a blue arrow pointing south past Laurel Ridge Community College and Skirmisher Lane toward the Visitor Center. Another Federal cavalry line is shown east of I-81 in the 2 o'clock position with a blue arrow pointing toward the eastern end of the Confederate position line along First Street in Middletown.
The area surrounding the park is shown in tan shading with gray, crisscrossing, unlabeled roads. In the 10 o'clock to 12 o'clock positions, Cedar Creek intersects the area flowing from the northwest. A Limestone Quarry is labeled along the western edge of the park boundary. Two symbols for the Federal 6th Corp camps are shown in this area. In the 1 o'clock to 2 o'clock position, Vaucluse Road crosses the railroad track and intersects US 11 from the west. Text reads "To Winchester" along I-81.
CREDIT: NPS / CEBE
DESCRIBING: A horizontal, contemporary, color photograph of a Battle of Cedar Creek reenactment.
SYNOPSIS: A photograph of people dressed in Civil War period military uniforms and everyday clothes participating in an annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek. Federal and Confederate soldiers face each other and prepare for battle in a field in front of a small farmhouse.
IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: A color photograph shows people dressed in Civil War period military uniforms and everyday clothes participating in an annual reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek. The scene is an open field or lawn in front of a small white farmhouse flanked by pine trees. In the foreground, approximately 50 people, some in brown and gray Confederate jackets and others in everyday clothes, stand in a line facing approximately 70 people wearing Federal uniforms of navy blue jackets, light blue pants, and navy blue kepi hats. The Federal Army is divided into two groups: approximately 10 people are in the group to the left, and about 60 people are in the group to the right. One Federal soldier stands between the two groups, surveying their positions. Someone in the Confederate line holds a flagpole bearing the Confederate flag: a horizontal red rectangle with two diagonal navy blue stripes forming an X. The blue X is outlined in white and contains twelve white stars spaced along its arms. One of the Federal soldiers holds a flagpole bearing the US flag: a horizontal rectangle made up of thirteen horizontal stripes alternating red and white with a blue horizontal rectangle in the upper left corner containing thirty-five equally spaced white stars. Some of the Federal soldiers point rifles at the Confederate line. One Federal soldier walks toward the white farmhouse with a rifle hoisted over his right shoulder. In the foreground, a woman holding a white basket and wearing a white bonnet, a light pink blouse, and a long, dark pink skirt stands behind the Confederate line and watches from a distance.
CREDIT: NPS / Rick Foster
RELATED TEXT: Reenactments Every October Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation holds reenactments of the battle. The National Park Service also conducts special programs during this weekend.
IMAGE 1 of 2: Blacksmith
DESCRIBING: A small, vertical, color photograph of a blacksmith.
SYNOPSIS: A white blacksmith hammering a metal rod on an anvil is shown in a small, vertical, color photograph. The rod glows bright orange and sparks fly around it from the hammer's impact. The blacksmith leans over the anvil as he hammers with his right hand and holds the rod against the anvil with his left hand. He wears wire-rimmed glasses on his bearded face, an olive-colored work vest over a blue plaid shirt with its sleeves rolled to his elbows, and a heavy leather apron over gray work pants. A small flame burns in the work area behind him in front of a wall made of vertical wooden boards covered in black soot.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
IMAGE 2 of 2: Belle Grove Manor House
DESCRIBING: A horizontal color photograph of the Belle Grove Plantation Manor House and grounds.
SYNOPSIS: A color photograph shows a close-up view of the 1797 Belle Grove Manor House facing toward the left. This Federal-style, two-story home is finished in light gray limestone and white trimmed windows with white grilles. A grand white staircase leads to a covered front porch trimmed with four white pillars. The white front door is wide and contains a window in the top three-fourths of the door. A semi-circular window transom tops the door. Four tall, white, rectangular prism chimneys and two shorter chimneys extend from the dark gray roof. In front of the home is a circular, light gray gravel driveway. A white four-split-rail fence frames the green grassed yard in front of the house. In the foreground in front of the fence is a green field dotted with six cylindrical hay bales. Sunlight dapples the home and grounds. To the left and behind the home, the metal roof of an outbuilding stands among several tall deciduous trees. One tree reveals bright reddish-orange fall foliage.
CREDIT: NPS/Ann and Rob Simpson
RELATED TEXT: Belle Grove In the 1850s, the plantation passed from the Hites to other families. It was occupied by Federal or Confederate troops throughout the Civil War. At the time of the Battle of Cedar Creek, US Gen. Sheridan was using the Manor House as his headquarters and many of his 31,600 troops were camped on the property. The grounds include a historic apple orchard, garden, enslaved burial ground, and renovated 1918 barn. You can tour the 1797 Manor House for a fee.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park, established in 2002, is a partnership park. You can learn about the park at the visitor center, events, and ranger programs; on the self-guiding auto tour; and at sites operated by park partners.
Getting to the Park The park is about 90 minutes west of downtown Washington, DC, and three hours north of Roanoke, VA.
From the south: Take I-81 exit 298 then go north on US 11. Belle Grove Plantation is on the left. The park visitor center is in Middletown, VA.
From the north: Take I-81 exit 302 to US 11 south. The park visitor center is in Middletown. Belle Grove Plantation is past the town on the right.
Auto Tour Follow the battle on this self-guiding tour. Free guide at the visitor center and on the NPS Mobile App. Allow two hours. Buses and RVs should not do this tour.
Accessibility We strive to make facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information ask a ranger, call, or check our website.
Programs Enjoy programs, walks, and guided tours May through October. Some partners’ programs have a fee.
Safety and Regulations Ask about road conditions before taking the auto tour. Federal law prohibits removing natural or historic features. Private property in the park is closed to the public. Firearms regulations are on the park website.
Emergencies call 911
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove
National Historical Park
7712 Main St. (US 11)
Middletown, VA 22645
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn about national parks at www.nps.gov.
DESCRIBING: A cut-out color photograph of a monument to the 128th Regiment New York State Volunteer Infantry.
SYNOPSIS: A gray stone, presumably granite, monument to the 128th Regiment New York State Volunteer Infantry is shown in a color photograph. The monument has three sections. The bottom section is a wide rectangular base with roughly hewn sides. The middle section is a smaller rectangular piece of rock that sits on top of the base. On its smooth front surface, illegible words are etched into seven rows. The other three sides are roughly hewn. The top section of the monument is the largest piece, a vertically oriented rectangle with a rounded top. The sides are roughly hewn, but the front is smooth and displays embossed shapes, including two crisscrossed rifles, a sword, a canteen, a knapsack, and a square cross with a diamond cut out of its middle. A stone plate embossed with the text "128th REGt N.Y.S.V.I." sits on top of the crosscrossed rifles.
RELATED TEXT: Park Monuments In the decades after the Civil War, veterans returned to the valley to honor their lost comrades. The park’s three veterans’ monuments—to soldiers from Vermont and New York, and to Confederate Gen. Stephen Ramseur—were erected in this spirit.
IMAGES: Four Points of Interest Symbols
DESCRIBING: Four small, color, square symbols or graphic logos of points of interest.
SYNOPSIS: Four small, square symbols of points of interest are shown as graphic color logos. The first symbol is a scene with a blue sky and light green mountains in the background, and a dark green valley with a stream flowing through its center in the foreground. The second symbol is a graphic depiction of the Belle Grove Plantation Manor House. The house and its four tall chimneys are shown in dark gray, and its front stairs and porch are shown in white. Blue sky and a green field surround it. Two yellow wheat stalks are shown leaning toward the right in the foreground. The third symbol shows blue sky, dark green mountains in the background, and a light green field in the foreground. Two wheeled cannons are in the field pointing toward the right. The cannons are yellow, their carriages are black, and their wheels are dark gray. The fourth symbol includes a light green evergreen tree and a dark green deciduous tree on a white background. In the foreground, a young boy points toward the trees. A woman stands beside him holding up a camera.
RELATED TEXT: Park Partners The National Park Service works with partners to manage the park’s battlefields, historic structures, and other points of interest. Look for the symbols, which indicate the places you can visit. Keep in mind that most of the land within the park boundary is private and not open to the public.
Belle Grove, Inc.
Offers guided tours of the Manor House April–December, and other programs throughout the year. 540-869-2028, www.bellegrove.org
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
Has a free museum and visitor center, living history demonstrations, presentations, workshops, and other programs. 540-869-2064, www.ccbf.us
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Owns Belle Grove Plantation. 202-588-6000, www.savingplaces.org
Administers county parkland inside the national park boundary. 540-459-6777, www.shenandoahcountyva.us/parks
Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation
Manages the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District to preserve and protect 20 Civil War battlefields. 540-740-4545, www.shenandoahatwar.org
MAP: Vicinity Map
DESCRIBING: A small vicinity map of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District and the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
SYNOPSIS: The shape of the Commonwealth of Virginia is shown in light tan with a thin brown border. The text "Virginia" is shown in light brown capital letters along the southern portion of the state. The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District is shown with light brown shading covering the northwestern portion of the state and is labeled with brown text and a black leader. The Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is shown with a small green circle and labeled with green text and a black leader at the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park strives to make facilities, services, and programs accessible to individuals with mobility, hearing, and/or vision impairments. For information, go to the Visitor Center, ask a ranger, call 540-869-3051, fax 319-643-7864, email CEBE_Information@nps.gov, or check our website: https://www.nps.gov/cebe/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm.
PARKING: All parking lots have spaces reserved for vehicles which are properly marked with a disability parking permit, such as a license plate or government-issued hang-tag.
VISITOR CENTER ACCESSIBLILTY: The Visitor Center at 7712 Main Street (US 11), Middletown, Virginia, 22645, and its restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Hard-surfaced walkways and ramps lead to the Visitor Center. Service animals are welcome in all of our park buildings and on the grounds.
WALKWAYS: The historic nature of the site may make visiting difficult for people with disabilities. If you plan to tour the historic buildings, it is advised to bring someone to assist you. Hard-surfaced walkways and ramps lead to the Visitor Center.
VISITORS WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS: The 18-minute film shown with the animated battlefield map at the Visitor Center is captioned.
VISITORS WITH SIGHT IMPAIRMENTS: Visitors may get a Braille transcript of the park map and guide from the Visitor Center or at https://www.nps.gov/cebe/planyourvisit/upload/CEBE-Braille-Ready-File.brf.
BELLE GROVE PLANTATION ACCESSIBILITY: Not all portions of the Belle Grove Plantation at 336 Belle Grove Road, Middletown, Virginia, 22645, are accessible by wheelchair. For more information on user access, contact the Belle Grove Plantation directly by calling 540-869-2028 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visitor feedback is the best way we can improve our accessibility services. Comments and suggestions are always welcome.
Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn about national parks at www.nps.gov.
Start your journey by getting information at the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park Visitor Center at
7712 Main St. (US 11)
Middletown, VA 22645Or contact:
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