May 11, 2012

Stonewall in the Valley

(NYTimes) As far as Civil War engagements go, the Battle of McDowell, which took place on May 8, 1862, in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, was relatively small — a few hundred casualties on both sides, out of just under 13,000 combatants. But the Confederate victory marked the beginning of one of the war’s most important chapters: the Shenandoah Valley campaign, led by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
In the five-week campaign, Jackson and his 6,000 cavalry and infantry troops covered nearly 650 miles, repeatedly defeating much larger Union forces and convincing federal leaders that his movements posed a real threat to Washington. President Abraham Lincoln insisted that Gen. George B. McClellan station 40,000 troops under the command of Irvin McDowell, originally intended for service in the Peninsula Campaign, near Fredericksburg to “leave Washington entirely secure.” Continued 

Photo: "Charge of the First Maryland Regiment at the Death of Ashby" G.A. Muller, after a painting by William Ludwell Sheppard, A. Hoen & Company