Few geographical regions played a more critical role in the American Civil War than the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. At no time did the Valley loom larger on the military landscape than in the late summer and fall of 1864, when the armies of Jubal A. Early and Philip H. Sheridan waged their bitter struggle. The military and political stakes were immense. War on civilians first became policy on a theater-wide scale, and tactical operations ranged from guerrilla activity to the grand encounter at Cedar Creek. Without an appreciation of why the Shenandoah Valley became first a battleground and then a wasteland, it is impossible to understand fully the last year of the war. These essays seek to illuminate various facets of the 1864 Valley campaign. The authors question the relative importance of operations in the Shenandoah, the respective performances of Early and Sheridan, and the roles of Confederate guerrillas and cavalry. Often departing from conventional views and sometimes disagreeing with one another, the essays should spark further debate on one of the more important and dramatic military events of the conflict.