October 11, 2014

The View from St. Matthew Church

Yesterday I shared some pictures of a tour of the Toms Brook Battlefield and this post continues the tour. Ranger Eric led us by car caravan to Back Road, where U.S. Cavalry under George Armstrong Custer routed the Confederate Cavalry under Thomas Rosser. (Coincidentally we took another tour in September where we followed Custer's Cavalry at Cedar Creek, which is located north of this area.)

Stop #3 on our tour was St. Matthew Lutheran Church. As we walked behind the church to gain a view of the countryside, I realized I'd been here before, and not just last winter when I stopped here to get some photos of the snowy landscape. I was here in 1996 on another Civil War Tour, this one also dealing with the 1864 Valley Campaign. That was part of a long-running series of classes I took with Northern Virginia Community College. I lived in Alexandria then and the Shenandoah Valley was a beautiful and fascinating place to me! I was quite impressed with the view from this church but only took a few pictures because in those days I used a film camera and using up rolls of film cost both time and money.

Around 10 years later we were living in Basye and traveled through this part of the valley regularly. I made a couple of attempts to find this vantage point again but was unsuccessful. Even when I happened upon the church last winter, I did not recognize it because the ground was covered in snow and I did not get out of the car to explore the churchyard. So I was delighted to rediscover this lovely spot.

The Battle of Tom's Brook is not well known but it was a decisive victory for Union cavalry. (See 10 Facts about Tom's Brook from the Civil War Trust.)

By the way, the historical (and grammatically correct) name is Tom's Brook with an apostrophe, but the Virginia highway department has a policy of leaving out apostrophes to keep signs short. Thus you often see the name spelled without an apostrophe on signs and maps. 

Linking to: Scenic Weekends


  1. I would enjoy an excursion like this, Linda. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That sounds like a very interesting tour. I like that simple church and it's setting...

  3. Sounds like the type of wlk & tour I would like to go on.

  4. Fascinating to enjoy scenery and hear history of the settings. Lovely photos.

  5. The church is Pretty and I love the gorgeous views. Thanks for sharing your tour! Happy Sunday!

  6. Sure is a lovely church in a lovely area. Tom The Backroads Traveller

  7. Rangers really know a whole bunch. looks like a gorgeous cloud day. love the church. ( :

  8. Hi Linda,
    I was born and raised in Toms River, NJ. No apostrophe.

    Also, digital photos are one of the little things that I have always been thankful for. It was always so disappointing to get pix back from being developed and being, well, disappointed!

    Happy Week to you, m & jb

  9. How cool that you realized you had been there before. It really is a beautiful spot.

  10. This sounds neat. what a wonderful tour and gorgeous scenery. love the church.

  11. They are great views and a lovely wee country church.



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