Winchester, Virginia’s historic Rose Hill property, with backyard Civil War battlefield, is a lovely little day excursion worth the trip.
I ended up at Rose Hill quite by accident and was certainly glad, in this particular case, that my plans got foiled. Following an internet search last weekend, I made plans to travel out to Winchester to visit the Patsy Cline Museum stated to be located on N. Loudon Street. But alas, when I called the museum just before leaving to be sure it was open on Saturdays, the number was disconnected. I promptly called information to get the new phone number, but no such place could be found. After a few more phone calls it became clear to me that I would have to find something else to do with the day.
Since I had never been to Winchester, Virginia, I decided to check out their Visitor’s Center web page to see what attractions were there and if any events were scheduled. Just my luck, the Kernstown Battlefield Tour and Rose Hill opening were both taking place on my chosen day of travel to Winchester, Virginia! So, directions in-hand, I made my way out on the hour or so journey to Rose Hill.
Located on Jones Road, just off Cedar Creek Grade Road, Rose Hill is the site of the first Battle of Kernstown, which took place March 23, 1862. The historic site offers both the Rose Hill plantation house as well as battlefield ground right in the backyard.
This 1700’s plantation house could easily be missed. It’s main house and adjacent stone outbuilding and shed sit up away from the main road a bit, shielded by a winding driveway and trees. If it weren’t for the Kernstown Battlefield Tour banner and historic placards at the foot of the driveway, most visitors would likely pass Rose Hill and head straight back to the main highway not realizing they had missed a wonderful little piece of American history. Aside from the nearby vineyard there really isn’t much of note on Jones road but Rose Hill, so be sure to have your directions handy when traveling out there.
Once at the back of the plantation house where visitor parking is located, history enthusiasts are greeted by tour guides who offer a brief run-down of the importance of this piece of land in Civil War history and hand out the Rose Hill map guiding visitors through the battlefield.
The battlefield tour, roughly a mile in length, consists of about 8 critical battle points, each outlined with informative placards marking each spot. On the tour you’ll spot what remains of the stone farm wall for which Stonewall Jackson perhaps got his name, a wall which stretched east to west, across Sandy Ridge, and behind which several thousand men took cover during the first Battle of Kernstown. You’ll walk the high grounds which were coveted and fought over, and the low grounds which removed the strategic vantage points.
Rose Hill’s backyard battlefield is easy terrain to navigate so this tour is perfect for people of all ages and only takes about 45 minutes to complete. Be sure to take note of the beautiful trees along the way, the winding vines and arcing branches make beautiful snapshots.
Once you’ve wound through the field’s hills and around the stone farm wall, you’ll come back around to the house for the tour’s completion.
Rose Hill, a property affiliated with the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, is open on select days. Admission is free of charge to Museum of the Shenandoah Valley members and to those who have proof of museum admission; otherwise the cost is $5 per person.
Check out the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Kernstown Battlefield websites for more information on this historic attraction.
Note To Readers: I had trouble finding the actual neighborhood that this historic site is located in, so it may not be listed accurately here, but Opequon was the closest I could come up with.
All information about this historics site was gathered from the walking tour I took and brochures offered by the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley upon start of the tour.