For most of the daylight hours of June 5, 1864, Confederate General William E. “Grumble” Jones held his hastily gathered force of 5,500 inexperienced Southern soldiers on a high hill that dominated the bottomland beside the Middle River. And for most of those hours, Maj. Gen. David Hunter maneuvered his 8,500 men in those bottomlands and repeatedly sent his inexperienced Federal infantrymen up the hill in frontal assaults against the strong Southern position. The Battle of Piedmont was one of the fiercest fights of the war. Hundreds of unnecessary casualties fell on the slopes of that hill, where Hunter paid a stiff price for his resounding Federal victory.
Today, you can stand on that hill and see almost the entire field of battle almost exactly as it was in 1864. The long viewsheds, bordered by the picturesque peaks and gaps of the Blue Ridge Mountains just a few miles east, give Piedmont a natural beauty unmatched by any battlefield in Virginia. The views alone might be worth the trip.
If you want to learn the story of Piedmont and see the gorgeous battlefield, you can do no better than to hire our colleague Scott C. Patchan to take you over the field. Scott is not only one of the best tour guides in Virginia, but he is also the unchallenged authority on Piedmont and other aspects of the war in the Valley.
Read his book The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton: The 1864 Shenandoah Campaign (and click to buy it). Scott does not advertise himself as a guide and usually only leads tours arranged by third parties. If you would like to engage Scott, let us know, and we can get ahold of him for you. Scott comes with our highest recommendation.
If Scott is not available, we can lead you around Piedmont and give you a thorough understanding of this fascinating fight.
Duration: Our standard 3-hour tour visits the key positions on the battlefield and in the surrounding area to present a full picture of the engagement. The tour can be compressed or expanded easily to fit the schedules of guests.
Amenities: Piedmont offers NO amenities! This is rural farm country, which is one of the reasons the field and the battle remain somewhat obscure. However, we know where there are places to eat and public restrooms in the area.
Fee: $120 for 2-4 guests.