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Underground History of the Civil War


As war raged in the Shenandoah Valley, Union troops were looking for opportunities to secure their munitions.  They found the perfect spot beneath farmland outside of Harrisonburg Virginia.

Melrose Caverns offered a secure place to store rifles, ammunition and supplies. 40 feet below ground, the caverns were invisible to their adversaries, and provided a consistent temperature of 55°F.


Troops carved stairs in to the cavern walls which allowed them to store and retrieve their supplies as well as provide access for as many as 150 troops that occupied the caverns.



•  The Shenandoah Valley played a pivotal role in the course of the Civil War.

•  In the early years of the war, the Valley provided both provisions and routes for Confederate troop movements.

•  Ultimately, this led to General Ulysses S. Grant’s resolve to crush Confederate troop positions in the Valley and destroy the fertile Shenandoah as a military granary for Lee’s army.

•  Under the leadership of General Philip H. Sheridan, the Union ultimately took control of the Valley.

•  While an important military victory, it was also significant politically. President Abraham Lincoln rode the momentum of Sheridan’s victories in the Valley and Sherman’s successes in the Atlanta campaign to re-election in November 1864.