April 24, 2008

The Shirley House, New Market, VA

This house stands by the road to New Market Battlefield Park not far from Route 211 and I-81. It is headquarters for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

A Civil War Trails marker tells the story of the house and the Shirley family. It starts out like this:
In 1875, Confederate veteran Christian Shirley constructed this brick house on the site of his family's former home, which had burned two years earlier. The Shirleys were longtime residents of Shenandoah County who had farmed their 153 ares since the late 1700s. When the Civil War began in 1861, Christian Shirley, though a physician, joined the 136th Virginia Militia and eventually rose to the rank of major.

The Shirley property was traversed by both Union and Confederate forces during the opening stages of the Battle of New Market on May 14, 1864. It was from Shirley's Hill, located south of the home site, that Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge formed his battle plan.

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