Shenandoah valley

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SHENANDOAH VALLEY is located in Northern Virginia between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains and is divided by the Massanutten Mountains. The valley is defined by the Shenandoah River, which flows 150 miles northeastward from Lexington, Virginia, to the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The valleys, formed on limestone, produced fertile soils that attracted European settlement by 1717. The northern part was settled by Tidewater Anglicans, the central part by Protestant Germans, and the southern part by Presbyterian Scots-Irish. By the American Revolution, agriculture was flourishing in the region. During the Civil War, the valley was known as the "Granary of the Confederacy" yet both sides contested the region and much was laid waste by General Philip Sheridan in 1864. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the valley is a beautiful rural landscape with prosperous farms and attractive towns.


Davis, Julia. The Shenandoah. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1945. From the excellent Rivers of America series.

Hart, Freeman Hansford. The Valley of Virginia in the American Revolution, 1763–1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942.

Kercheval, Samuel. A History of the Valley of Virginia. Woodstock, Va.: W. N. Grabill, 1902. The original edition was published in 1833.

Mitchell, Robert D. Commercialism and Frontier: Perspectives on the Early Shenandoah Valley. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1977.

Stanley W.Trimble

See alsoVirginia .

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Shenandoah valley, part of the Great Valley of the Appalachians, c.150 mi (240 km) long, N Va., located between the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny mts. The valley is divided into two parts by Massanutten Mt., a ridge c.45 mi (70 km) long and c.3,000 ft (915 m) high. The Shenandoah River, c.150 mi (240 km) long, rises in two forks on either side of the ridge, uniting near Front Royal, Va., and flowing northeast to enter the Potomac at Harpers Ferry, W.Va. The Shenandoah valley was first explored in the early 1700s. The valley was an important corridor in the westward pioneer movement, and it became a rich agricultural area with farm-land, orchards, and pastures. During the Civil War, the valley was the ideal avenue of approach for the Southern invasion of the North, and it served as one of the Confederates' principal storehouses. Shenandoah figured in the "valley campaign" of Stonewall Jackson in 1862; Lee retreated through the valley after being checked in the Antietam campaign (1862) and the Gettysburg campaign (1863). By early 1865, the valley was completely lost to the South. The principal cities are Winchester, Front Royal, Staunton, and Waynesboro. The many recreational areas include Shenandoah National Park, in the surrounding uplands; there also are several notable tourist caverns.