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The October 6, 2018 Tom’s Brook Tour

On October 8 and 9, 1864, some 8,000 cavalrymen and artilleryman converged on the hills and ridges above Tom’s Brook in Shenandoah County, Virginia. A century and a half later, we lead a very limited number of tours in which we take small groups of history lovers to stand on those same hills and ridges and walk over that same terrain where the soldiers fought. There we discuss the men and events of the controversial Battle of Tom’s Brook and the famous “Woodstock Races.”

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We prefer to keep our tours on the small side. We choose to travel in touring vans rather than in a large bus because we wish to create a more personal experience. Though we use 12-seat touring vans, we limit registrations so that no vehicle carries more than eight (8) guests. We also schedule tours infrequently. We offer only two public tours each year — one in April and one in October on the Saturday nearest the anniversary of the battle.

We gladly arrange for a private tours in any season. Here, on a rainy day in November 2016, Bill Miller points out a key landmark for Ed Bearss, historian emeritus for the National Park Service.

“One of the hidden gems of Virginia Civil War battlefield tours. So much to see and learn about Civil War action in the Valley and it is presented to you by an expert on the actual sites where it all happened 152 years ago. I look forward to taking the tour again in the Fall.”                                              Steve Rother, Springfield, Va

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. Though most of the stops on the tour are on the Tom’s Brook battlefield, we also visit sites connected with “The Burning” in the days before the battle and the Woodstock Races.

Click here to see images from previous tours.


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.

“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 Civil War Round Table



A former teacher, Bill Miller has led battlefield tours for the National Park Service, the U.S. Marines Combat Development Command, the Civil War Trust, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, the University of Virginia, the Civil War Society and many other groups. His book telling the Tom’s Brook story was published in June 2016.

“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.”
Horace Mewborn, author of From Mosby’s Command

Two Registration Options:

Seats are limited to eight (8). Pay for your seat now via PayPal, and it will be reserved immediately:

Option 1: Yes, please register me for ONE SEAT on the October 6, 2018 tour at the regular price of $65. I understand that I can cancel my registration for a full refund before September 6, 2018, but cannot receive a full refund if I cancel on or after that date. See our refund policy below.*

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Option 1 = Just one seat for the Tour

Option 1

Don’t use PayPal? You can make your reservation for single or multiple seats with a check for $65.00 per seat payable to:

Black Tree Media
P.O. Box 2083
Staunton, VA 24401

 Questions? Contact:

Ask about our student discount.

Option 2: Yes, please register me for TWO SEATs on the October 6, 2018, tour at the regular price of $130. I understand that I can cancel my registration for a full refund before September 6, 2018, but cannot receive a full refund if I cancel on or after that date. See our refund policy below.*

van seats small 2

Option 2 = Two seats for the Tour

Option 2

Want More Than Two Seats? Just send us an email telling us how many seats you need, and we will make things easy.

Black Tree Media
P.O. Box 2083
Staunton, VA 24401

Questions? Contact:

*Refund Policy: We will issue a full refund up to 30 days before the tour. After that date, because of commitments in renting vans, we cannot offer refunds. If a registrant discovers he or she cannot make it to the scheduled tour, we want to try to work things out satisfactorily and so offer two additional possibilities. First, we will simply move the confirmed seat to the next scheduled tour (regular tours in October and April). The second possibility is that we will work with the registrant to arrange a private tour for him or her (and a guest at no additional charge).

We support battlefield preservation!

A portion of the proceeds from every Tom’s Brook tour is donated to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation.

Don’t delay. Register today for a memorable autumn day filled with history, learning, scenic beauty and friendship.

How to Get There

Meet in Mt. Jackson, Virginia, 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. 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

“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.”

“This is a great outing – not too long, chock full of local history, and at a good price. The size of the group was good, too – big enough for variety but not so much to get lost in the crowd.”

“The Tom’s Brook tour combined great storytelling by Bill Miller and beautiful scenery of the Shenandoah Valley. If you ever have a chance to go with Bill do not miss it!

With this tour, history comes to alive! To see the topography with the talk really helps to put the battles and strategy into perspective! Would absolutely do it again!!”

“We found it extremely informative to see what we have read. Thank you so much for the information on our ancestor’s position; it made the tour personal.”

“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.”