Younger Americans in the mid 19th Century faced a future of political uncertainty. It was a particularly divisive moment in American history. Then the Civil War began. To this day, the dream of a more perfect American Union may be as elusive as ever. What does the future hold?
Moses Ezekiel was born into a Jewish family in 1844, and grew up in a working-class area of Richmond Virginia. He and his family undoubtedly would have experienced anti-Semitism during his youth. He also had dropped out of school to help out in the family business. Despite such challenges, he longed for a better life. At that time, the Virginia Military Institute offered people of modest means a path to higher education.
But by attending VMI, Ezekiel would by default be involved in the Confederate cause. He reportedly explained later that much of his decision to attend VMI was less about the issue of slavery than to help protect Virginia from Union invasion.
From VMI‘s beginnings, its training mission was to create “citizen-solders” who would develop good character and strong leadership skills, and then bring these qualities back home to civilian life. VMI was as much about citizen-solders as it was about training career military personnel, according to Lt. Col. Troy Marshall, Site Director at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, located on the New Market Battlefield in New Market, Va.
Ezekiel had actually aspired to become an artist. He may not have been a perfect fit as a soldier. His parade drill abilities could have been questioned, but his true talent as an artist was quickly recognized.
He was assigned to a corps of 295 cadets that, in May of 1864, had been given the order to march from Lexington, Va. north to New Market and stand beside some hardened Confederate regulars to defend what was then called “the Breadbasket of the Confederacy,” the Shenandoah Valley.
What resulted was a famous battlefield drama. Teenage cadets faced Union troops in actual combat and helped achieve a Confederate victory. The story quickly became legend.Read more...
The Shenandoah Valley gets its bloom on in May. From the banks of the Shenandoah River to the wildflowers on the Blue Ridge mountain skyline, nature comes alive. For locals and out-of-towners alike, a wonderful place to discover and rediscover, right here …in the scenic and historic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia.
Clarks Ole Time Music Center, located at Clarks Lumber Co., 1288 Ridge Road. longtime Friday-night tradition of old-time music and dance from 7:30-10 p.m. Admission: $8 per person, $15 per couple. For more information, call 540-377-2490.
103 S. Main St. Paper Grace, Contemporary Quilling, by Deb Booth. Show runs from May 5-June 30. For more information, call 540-442-8188 or visit www.oasisartgallery.org
10 S. Market St. Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet performance at 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 540-851-1733 or visit www.americanshakespearecenter.com
One University Drive, Chandler Hall. The Music Man. Classic musical. Shows on May 26 - May 27, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Presented by Southern Virginia University Theatre. Family friendly but may not hold the interest of very young children. Admission: $10. For more information, call 540-261-8464 or visit svu.edu/box-office
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Letters Home. Actual letters written by soldiers serving in the Middle East. 50 percent off for veterans and military. Discussion follows performance. Admission: Pay-what-you-will. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit waynetheatre.org
Glen Maury Park, 101 Maury River Drive. Fridays in the Park concert series. The Konnection Band. Admission: $4, ages 16 and under free admission with adult. For more information, visit www.glenmaurypark.com
Big Meadows Area mile 51, inside the Rapidan Camp Gate. Night Skies. 8:30 p.m., May 26, June 23, July 21, Aug. 12, Sept. 22, Oct. 20. Blanket, chair, and flashlight recommended. Look at unpolluted night sky through telescope. Weather permitting. Free admission. For more information, call 540-999-2222 or visit www.goshenandoah.com/activities-events.
Sunspots Pavilion, Byers St, in the Wharf district. April through October, music and other types of live performances on outdoor stage. Schedule available online. For more information, call 540-885-0678 or visit www.facebook.com/sunspotspavilion
Boxerwood Nature Center, 963 Ross Rd. Music in The Garden series. Red Hill Band performs live music. Bring a picnic meal. Food available. For all ages. Free admission. For more information, visit www.boxerwood.org
Ross Performing Arts Center, 521 W. Main St. Letters Home. Actual letters written by soldiers serving in the Middle East. Admission: $30. Veterans and military, 50 percent discount. For more information, call 540-943-9999 or visit waynetheatre.org
First St. 20th Annual Memorial Festival and Parade. May 26 at 6:30 p.m., all day on May 27. Veterans memorial service. Car show, antique tractor, motorcycle and dog shows, patriotic parade, volunteer firemen food shack, featuring steamed shrimp on May 27. For more information, call 540-742-1141 or visit www.townofshenandoah.com
15 S. Loudoun St. Bright Box Comedy with Rob Maher and Keith Purnell May 26-27. For more information, visit brightboxtheater.com
Lake Arrowhead. Lake Arrowhead Night Catfishing. Every 2nd and 4th Friday through October. Open until midnight For more information, visit townofluray.com
Ruffner Plaza, Luray Greenway. Evenings on Main Concert series. Red Roots performs country music. Free admission. For more information, visit www.townofluray.com
168 N. Dry Well Rd. Fast and Furious Friday Nite, Bike Night-Dragon Style MC. Racing schedule subject to change. For more information, call 540-291-3724 or visit naturalbridgedragstrip.com
Staunton Augusta Art Center galleries RR Smith Center for History and Art, 20 S. New St. Beyond the Mask, paintings by Janet Dance and Intimate and Infinite, photography by Michele Fletcher. May 19 through June 24 Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Opening Reception on May 19, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free admission. For more information, call 540-886-8636
122 South Wayne Ave. Community Craft Circle. Social networking. Every 4th Thursday from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. For all ages. For more information, call 540-949-7662 or visit www.svacart.com
ShenandoahValley.com is owned and operated by Shenandoah Valley Productions, a little “mom-and-pop” business, but one that’s located right here in the region. Our mission has long been to showcase the area’s visual beauty, unique “Valley” people and culture and, of course, some really, really rich history.
We first fell in love with Virginia in 1970, courtesy of the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk. That was the year Virginia officially declared itself “for lovers.” But for us, the real love affair started in 1977, when we first visited the Shenandoah Valley on our wedding night. We moved here a year later, and well ...we are still here!
So it’s kind of a long story how we got from 1978 to this website, but here it is.
Website background photos are provided by a select group of photographers from across the region who share their own love of the Valley through the lenses of their cameras. Words alone may not really describe the place.
Our regional events listings are always up to date, and we’re not really selling anything on here. In fact, we get no outside funding, but are wholly independent. Like many of our friends and neighbors who also feel blessed to live here, free and independent, surrounded by peace and beauty.
Each month we head out to some part of this diverse region and do a feature story and travel video about it -- some cool event, piece of history or special place that makes the name "Shenandoah" so uniquely known worldwide.
So, come and set a spell, and please also consider making a donation. Either way, we’re glad you stopped by. Come on back to see us again!
Oh, and please visit our Facebook page, too.
Fincastle is the County Seat of Botetourt County, at the southern-most part of the Shenandoah Valley region. The town was founded in 1752 and began as an outpost settlement on the American Frontier.