Front Royal: Gateway to the Shenandoah
"Stay a While"
Front Royal lies near the northern entrance to the Shenandoah National Park, about an hour from Washington (if you leave early on a weekend). This town has quite a history. The site of a dramatic Civil War battle, it also contains a number of historic buildings and streets. Most are in or near their original condition, and within easy walking distance of each other.
In the spring of 1862, Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson received word that a Union force under General Banks was waiting to ambush him. He led his troops through the New Market Gap, around the flank of the Federal army, and took it by surprise. Jackson inflicted a stunning defeat on the Union army, forcing it to withdraw.
This battle pitted two Maryland regiments against each other, making it literally brothers against brothers.
Jackson's intelligence on the Yankees came from a local woman named Belle Boyd. Her old home still stands on Chester St.
The Shenandoah National Park lies just south of Front Royal. Most visitors to the park, who come from the north, pass by Front Royal. But don't just drive right on through. Stop and stay a while.