Young Gen. George Armstrong Custer was in top form on October 9, 1864, when he led his Third Cavalry division against his West Point friend Gen. Thomas L. Rosser. Two hours of cavalry combat on the banks of Tom’s Brook led to a 26-mile running fight that the Federals ever afterward called “The Woodstock Races.”
Where We Go:
At our assembly point in Mt. Jackson, everybody receives an information packet including detailed maps. In our touring van we travel a 62-mile route off the beaten tracks through the famous farmland that made the Shenandoah “the Breadbasket of the Confederacy.” We use only historic roads in following in the hoofprints of the cavalry columns.
Who Should Go:
Anyone interested in history, personalities and great scenery. We focus on the story and the people behind Tom’s Brook. We explain what happened, but we are more interested in why and how things happened. Some ideas we talk about include:
- The influence of a military commander’s personality on events. Custer’s strong personality is well known, Rosser’s is not, and it was Rosser who drove events at Tom’s Brook.
- Logistics. What roles did weak horses, bad roads and hundreds of sheep play in the story of Tom’s Brook?
- The stages of a cavalry battle, with a simple, straightforward explanation of cavalry tactics.
- How Tom’s Brook offers a prime example of the influence of terrain on the conduct of an engagement.
- The influence of fear and panic on the battlefield.
All participants must consent to a STANDARD LIABILITY WAIVER.
“One of the most educational and enjoyable days I have ever spent on a Civil War battlefield was when Bill Miller was our guide at Tom’s Brook. His expertise and his engaging personality made it an extremely memorable occasion.”
Marshall Krolick, Chicago CWRT
How to Get There
5304 Main St, Mt Jackson, VA 22842 before 9:00 a.m. Mt. Jackson is 90 miles west of the Capital Beltway via interstate highways.
Directions: From I-81, use Exit 273 (Mt. Jackson-Baseye). At the top of the ramp, turn east (toward the Sheetz truck stop) on Rte. 292 (Mt. Jackson-Conicville Rd.). Proceed past the Sheetz and down the hill to the junction with the Old Valley Pike (Rte. 11). Proceed straight across the Valley Pike into Mt. Jackson Center shopping plaza. As you enter the plaza, you will pass the small “First Bank” on the right (5304 Main St.). If you see a Food Lion across the parking lot to your front, you are in the right place. Once in the lot, bear right. We will assemble on the west side of the parking lot just behind the First Bank (closest to the bank and farthest from the Food Lion). According to Google Maps, the assembly point is at 38.758857, -78.628588.
Comments from Guests on Previous Tours
“In April 2015 and a year later in April 2016, some friends and I had the opportunity to have Bill Miller guide us over the Tom’s Brook battlefield. Although I had taken other tours, Bill’s was the best. The sites he selected for his presentations of the battle were excellent. His analysis and clear explanations of both the phases and leaders in the fight gave me a much better understanding of the battle. They were great tours.”
“This is an excellent tour for understanding the burning and cavalry actions in early October 1864…being able to access private land adds a great deal to understanding the Tom’s Brook battle.”
“The size of the group was good – big enough for variety but not so much to get lost in the crowd.”
“The sequence of the tour stops was perfect starting with the burning at Meem’s Bottom and following the cavalry north made understanding the action much easier.”
Want to learn more about Tom’s Brook before the tour?
Decision at Tom’s Brook: George Custer, Thomas Rosser and the Joy of the Fight by guide Bill Miller