Stonewall Jackson And The American Civil War
G. F. R. Henderson

Part 8 out of 19

fell back to the woods whence it had emerged, five miles away on the
other flank was heard the roar of the cannonade which opened the
battle of Cross Keys.

From the hurried flight of the Federals it was evident that Shields'
main body was not yet up; so, placing two brigades in position to
guard the bridge, Jackson sent the remainder to Ewell, and then rode
to the scene of action.

Fremont, under cover of his guns, had made his preparations for
attack; but the timidity which he had already displayed when face to
face with Jackson had once more taken possession of his faculties.
Vigorous in pursuit of a flying enemy, when that enemy turned at bay
his courage vanished. The Confederate position was undoubtedly
strong, but it was not impregnable. The woods on either flank gave
access under cover to the central ridge. The superior weight of his
artillery was sufficient to cover an advance across the open; and
although he was without maps or guide, the country was not so
intersected as to render manoeuvring impracticable.

In his official report Fremont lays great stress on the difficulties
of the ground; but reading between the lines it is easy to see that
it was the military situation which overburdened him. The vicious
strategy of converging columns, where intercommunication is tedious
and uncertain, once more exerted its paralysing influence. It was
some days since he had heard anything of Shields. That general's
dispatch, urging a combined attack, had not yet reached him: whether
he had passed Luray or whether he had been already beaten, Fremont
was altogether ignorant; and, in his opinion, it was quite possible
that the whole of the Confederate army was before him.

A more resolute commander would probably have decided that the
shortest way out of the dilemma was a vigorous attack. If Shields was
within hearing of the guns--and it was by no means improbable that he
was--such a course was the surest means of securing his co-operation;
and even if no help came, and the Confederates maintained their
position, they might be so crippled as to be unable to pursue. Defeat
would not have been an irreparable misfortune. Washington was secure.
Banks, Saxton, and McDowell held the approaches; and if Fremont
himself were beaten back, the strategic situation could be in no way
affected. In fact a defeat, if it had followed an attack so hotly
pressed as to paralyse Jackson for the time being, would have been
hardly less valuable than a victory.

"Fortune," it has been well said, "loves a daring suitor, and he who
throws down the gauntlet may always count upon his adversary to help
him." Fremont, however, was more afraid of losing the battle than
anxious to win it. "Taking counsel of his fears," he would run no
risks. But neither could he abstain from action altogether. An enemy
was in front of him who for seven days had fled before him, and his
own army anticipated an easy triumph.

So, like many another general who has shrunk from the nettle danger,
he sought refuge in half-measures, the most damning course of all. Of
twenty-four regiments present on the field of battle, five only, of
Blenker's Germans, were sent forward to the attack. Their onslaught
was directed against the Confederate right; and here, within the
woods, Trimble had posted his brigade in a most advantageous
position. A flat-topped ridge, covered with great oaks, looked down
upon a wide meadow, crossed by a stout fence; and beyond the hollow
lay the woods through which the Federals, already in contact with the
Confederate outposts, were rapidly advancing. The pickets soon gave
way, and crossing the meadow found cover within the thickets, where
Trimble's three regiments lay concealed. In hot pursuit came the
Federal skirmishers, with the solid lines of their brigade in close
support. Steadily moving forward, they climbed the fence and breasted
the gentle slope beyond. A few scattered shots, fired by the
retreating pickets, were the only indications of the enemy's
presence; the groves beyond were dark and silent. The skirmishers had
reached the crest of the declivity, and the long wave of bayonets,
following close upon their tracks, was within sixty paces of the
covert, when the thickets stirred suddenly with sound and movement.
The Southern riflemen rose swiftly to their feet. A sheet of fire ran
along their line, followed by a crash that resounded through the
woods; and the German regiments, after a vigorous effort to hold
their ground, fell back in disorder across the clearing. Here, on the
further edge, they rallied on their reserves, and the Confederates,
who had followed up no further than was sufficient to give impetus to
the retreat, were once more withdrawn.

A quarter of an hour passed, and as the enemy showed no inclination
to attempt a second advance across the meadow, where the dead and
wounded were lying thick, Trimble, sending word to Ewell of his
intention, determined to complete his victory. More skilful than his
enemies, he sent a regiment against their left, to which a convenient
ravine gave easy access, while the troops among the oaks were held
back till the flank attack was fully developed. The unexpected
movement completely surprised the Federal brigadier. Again his troops
were driven in, and the Confederates, now reinforced by six regiments
which Ewell had sent up, forced them with heavy losses through the
woods, compelled two batteries, after a fierce fight, to limber up,
routed a brigade which had been sent by Fremont to support the
attack, and pressing slowly but continuously forward, threw the whole
of the enemy's left wing, consisting of Blenker's eleven regiments,
back to the shelter of his line of guns. Trimble had drawn the
"bulldog's" teeth.

The Confederates had reached the outskirts of the wood. They were a
mile in advance of the batteries in the centre; and the Federal
position, commanding a tract of open ground, was strong in itself and
strongly held. A general counterstroke was outside the scope of
Jackson's designs. He had still Shields to deal with. The Federal
left wing had been heavily repulsed, but only a portion of Fremont's
force had been engaged; to press the attack further would undoubtedly
have cost many lives, and even a partial reverse would have
interfered with his comprehensive plan.

In other quarters of the battle-field the fighting had been
unimportant. The Confederate guns, although heavily outnumbered, held
their ground gallantly for more than five hours; and when they
eventually retired it was from want of ammunition rather than from
loss of moral. The waggons which carried their reserve had taken a
wrong road, and at the critical moment there were no means of
replenishing the supply. But so timid were Fremont's tactics that the
blunder passed unpunished. While the battle on the left was raging
fiercely he had contented himself elsewhere with tapping feebly at
the enemy's lines. In the centre of the field his skirmishers moved
against Ewell's batteries, but were routed by a bayonet charge; on
the right, Milroy and Schenck, the two generals who had withstood
Jackson so stubbornly at M'Dowell, advanced on their own initiative
through the woods. They had driven in the Confederate skirmishers,
and had induced Ewell to strengthen this portion of his line from his
reserve, when they were recalled by Fremont, alarmed by Trimble's
vigorous attack, to defend the main position.

The Southerners followed slowly. The day was late, and Ewell,
although his troops were eager to crown their victory, was too cool a
soldier to yield to their impatience; and, as at Cedar Creek, where
also he had driven back the "Dutch" division, so at Cross Keys he
rendered the most loyal support to his commander. Yet he was a
dashing fighter, chafing under the restraint of command, and
preferring the excitement of the foremost line. "On two occasions in
the Valley," says General Taylor, "during the temporary absence of
Jackson, he summoned me to his side, and immediately rushed forward
amongst the skirmishers, where sharp work was going on. Having
refreshed himself, he returned with the hope that "Old Jack would not
catch him at it.""* (*Destruction and Reconstruction, page 39.)

How thoroughly Jackson trusted his subordinate may be inferred from
the fact that, although present on the field, he left Ewell to fight
his own battle. The only instructions he gave showed that he had
fathomed the temper of Fremont's troops. "Let the Federals," he said,
"get very close before your infantry fire; they won't stand long." It
was to Ewell's dispositions, his wise use of his reserves, and to
Trimble's ready initiative, that Fremont's defeat was due. Beyond
sending up a couple of brigades from Port Republic, Jackson gave no
orders. His ambition was of too lofty a kind to appropriate the
honours which another might fairly claim; and, when once battle had
been joined, interference with the plan on which it was being fought
did not commend itself to him as sound generalship. He was not one of
those suspicious commanders who believe that no subordinate can act
intelligently. If he demanded the strictest compliance with his
instructions, he was always content to leave their execution to the
judgment of his generals; and with supreme confidence in his own
capacity, he was still sensible that his juniors in rank might be
just as able. His supervision was constant, but his interference
rare; and it was not till some palpable mistake had been committed
that he assumed direct control of his divisions or brigades. Nor was
any peculiar skill needed to beat back the attack of Fremont. Nothing
proves the Federal leader's want of confidence more clearly than the
tale of losses. The Confederate casualties amounted to 288, of which
nearly half occurred in Trimble's counterstroke. The Federal reports
show 684 killed, wounded, and missing, and of these Trimble's
riflemen accounted for nearly 500, one regiment, the 8th New York,
being almost annihilated; but such losses, although at one point
severe, were altogether insignificant when compared with the total
strength; and it was not the troops who were defeated but the
general.* (* The Confederates at Kernstown lost 20 per cent.; the
Federals at Port Republic 18 per cent. At Manassas the Stonewall
Brigade lost 16 per cent., at Cross Keys Ewell only lost 8 per cent.
and Fremont 5 per cent.)

Ewell's division bivouacked within sight of the enemy's watch-fires,
and within hearing of his outposts; and throughout the night the work
of removing the wounded, friend and foe alike, went on in the sombre
woods. There was work, too, at Port Republic. Jackson, while his men
slept, was all activity. His plans were succeeding admirably. From
Fremont, cowering on the defensive before inferior numbers, there was
little to be feared. It was unlikely that after his repulse he would
be found more enterprising on the morrow; a small force would be
sufficient to arrest his march until Shields had been crushed; and
then, swinging back across the Shenandoah, the soldiers of the Valley
would find ample compensation, in the rout of their most powerful
foe, for the enforced rapidity of their retreat from Winchester. But
to fight two battles in one day, to disappear completely from
Fremont's ken, and to recross the rivers before he had time to seize
the bridge, were manoeuvres of the utmost delicacy, and needed most
careful preparation.

It was Jackson's custom, whenever a subordinate was to be entrusted
with an independent mission, to explain the part that he was to play
in a personal interview. By such means he made certain, first, that
his instructions were thoroughly understood; and, second, that there
was no chance of their purport coming to the knowledge of the enemy.
Ewell was first summoned to headquarters, and then Patton, whose
brigade, together with that of Trimble, was to have the task of
checking Fremont the next day. "I found him at 2 A.M.," says Patton,
"actively engaged in making his dispositions for battle. He
immediately proceeded to give me particular instructions as to the
management of the men in covering the rear, saying: "I wish you to
throw out all your men, if necessary, as skirmishers, and to make a
great show, so as to cause the enemy to think the whole army are
behind you. Hold your position as well as you can, then fall back
when obliged; take a new position, hold it in the same way, and I
will be back to join you in the morning.""

Colonel Patton reminded him that his brigade was a small one, and
that the country between Cross Keys and the Shenandoah offered few
advantages for protracting such manoeuvres. He desired, therefore, to
know for how long he would be expected to hold the enemy in check.
Jackson replied, "By the blessing of Providence, I hope to be back by
ten o'clock."* (* Southern Historical Society Papers volume 9 page

These interviews were not the only business which occupied the
commanding general. He arranged for the feeding of his troops before
their march next day,* (* Rations appear to have been short, for
General Ewell reports that when he marched against Shields the next
day many of his men had been without food for four-and-twenty hours.)
for the dispositions of his trains and ammunition waggons; and at the
rising of the moon, which occurred about midnight, he was seen on the
banks of the South River, superintending the construction of a bridge
to carry his infantry dryshod across the stream.

An hour before daybreak he was roused from his short slumbers. Major
Imboden, who was in charge of a mule battery,* (* The mule battery
does not appear to have done much more than afford the Confederate
soldiers an opportunity of airing their wit. With the air of men
anxiously seeking for information they would ask the gunners whether
the mule or the gun was intended to go off first? and whether the gun
was to fire the mule or the mule the gun?) looking for one of the
staff, entered by mistake the general's room.

"I opened the door softly, and discovered Jackson lying on his face
across the bed, fully dressed, with sword, sash, and boots all on.
The low-burnt tallow-candle on the table shed a dim light, yet enough
by which to recognise him. I endeavoured to withdraw without waking
him. He turned over, sat upon the bed, and called out, "Who is that?"

"He checked my apology with, "That is all right. It's time to be up.
I am glad to see you. Were the men all up as you came through camp?"

""Yes, General, and cooking."

""That's right; we move at daybreak. Sit down. I want to talk to you."

"I had learned never to ask him questions about his plans, for he
would never answer such to anyone. I therefore waited for him to
speak first. He referred very feelingly to Ashby's death, and spoke
of it as an irreparable loss. When he paused I said, "General, you
made a glorious winding-up of your four weeks with yesterday." He
replied, "Yes, God blessed our army again yesterday, and I hope with
His protection and blessing we shall do still better to-day.""* (*
Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 293.) Then followed instructions as
to the use of the mule battery in the forests through which lay
Shields' line of advance.

Before 5 A.M. the next morning the Stonewall Brigade had assembled in
Port Republic, and was immediately ordered to advance. On the plain
beyond, still dark in the shadow of the mountains, where the cavalry
formed the outposts, the fire of the pickets, which had been
incessant throughout the night, was increasing in intensity. The
Federals were making ready for battle.

Winder had with him four regiments, about 1200 strong, and two
batteries. In rear came Taylor with his Louisianians; and Jackson,
leaving Major Dabney to superintend the passage of the river, rode
with the leading brigade. The enemy's pickets were encountered about
a mile and a half down the river, beyond a strip of woods, on either
side of the Luray road. They were quickly driven in, and the Federal
position became revealed. From the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge,
clothed to their crests with under-growth and timber, the plain, over
a mile in breadth, extended to the Shenandoah. The ground was
terraced; the upper level, immediately beneath the mountain, was
densely wooded, and fifty or sixty feet above the open fields round
the Lewis House. Here was the hostile front. The Federal force was
composed of two brigades of infantry and sixteen guns, not more than
4000 all told, for Shields, with the remainder of the division, was
still far in rear. The right rested on the river; the left on a
ravine of the upper level, through which a shallow stream flowed down
from the heights above. On the northern shoulder of this ravine was
established a battery of seven guns, sweeping every yard of the
ground beneath, and a country road, which led directly to the
Shenandoah, running between stiff banks and strongly fenced, was
lined with riflemen. Part of the artillery was on the plain, near the
Lewis House, with a section near the river; on the hillside, beyond
the seven guns, two regiments were concealed within the forest, and
in rear of the battery was a third. The position was strong, and the
men who held it were of different calibre from Blenker's Germans, and
the leaders of stauncher stuff than Fremont. Six of the seven
battalions had fought at Kernstown. Tyler, who on that day had seen
the Confederates retreat before him, was in command; and neither
general nor soldiers had reason to dread the name of Stonewall
Jackson. In the sturdy battalions of Ohio and West Virginia the
Stonewall Brigade were face to face with foemen worthy of their
steel; and when Jackson, anxious to get back to Fremont, ordered
Winder to attack, he set him a formidable task.

It was first necessary to dislodge the hostile guns. Winder's two
batteries were insufficient for the work, and two of his four
regiments were ordered into the woods on the terrace, in order to
outflank the battery beyond the stream. This detachment, moving with
difficulty through the thickets, found a stronger force of infantry
within the forest; the guns opened with grape at a range of one
hundred yards, and the Confederates, threatened on either flank, fell
back in some confusion.

The remainder of Winder's line had meanwhile met with a decided
check. The enemy along the hollow road was strongly posted. Both guns
and skirmishers were hidden by the embankment; and as the mists of
the morning cleared away, and the sun, rising in splendour above the
mountains, flooded the valley with light, a long line of hostile
infantry, with colours flying and gleaming arms, was seen advancing
steadily into battle. The Federal Commander, observing his
opportunity, had, with rare good judgment, determined on a
counterstroke. The Louisiana brigade was moving up in support of
Winder, but it was still distant. The two regiments which supported
the Confederate batteries were suffering from the heavy artillery
fire, and the skirmishers were already falling back. "Below," says
General Taylor, "Ewell was hurrying his men over the bridge; but it
looked as if we should be doubled up on him ere he could cross and
develop much strength. Jackson was on the road, a little in advance
of his line, where the fire was hottest, with the reins on his
horse's neck. Summoning a young officer from his staff, be pointed up
the mountain. The head of my approaching column was turned short up
the slope, and within the forest came speedily to a path which came
upon the gorge opposite the battery.* (* Destruction and
Reconstruction page 90. Jackson's order to the staff officer (Major
Hotchkiss) was brief: "Sweeping with his hand to the eastward, and
then towards the Lewis House, where the Federal guns were raking the
advance, he said: "Take General Taylor around and take that

But, as Taylor's regiments disappeared within the forest, Winder's
brigade was left for the moment isolated, bearing up with difficulty
against overwhelming numbers. Ewell's division had found great
difficulty in crossing the South River. The bridge, a construction of
planks laid on the running gear of waggons, had proved unserviceable.
At the deepest part there was a step of two feet between two
axletrees of different height; and the boards of the higher stage,
except one, had broken from their fastenings. As the men passed over,
several were thrown from their treacherous platform into the rushing
stream, until at length they refused to trust themselves except to
the centre plank. The column of fours was thus reduced to single
file; men, guns, and waggons were huddled in confusion on the river
banks; and the officers present neglected to secure the footway, and
refused, despite the order of Major Dabney, to force their men
through the breast-high ford.

So, while his subordinates were trifling with the time, which, if
Fremont was to be defeated as well as Shields, was of such extreme
importance, Jackson saw his old brigade assailed by superior numbers
in front and flank. The Federals, matching the rifles of the
Confederate marksmen with weapons no less deadly, crossed over the
road and bore down upon the guns. The 7th Louisiana, the rear
regiment of Taylor's column, was hastily called up, and dashed
forward in a vain attempt to stem the tide.

A most determined and stubborn conflict now took place, and, as at
Kernstown, at the closest range. The Ohio troops repelled every
effort to drive them back. Winder's line was thin. Every man was
engaged in the firing line. The flanks were scourged by bursting
shells. The deadly fire from the road held back the front. Men and
officers were falling fast. The stream of wounded was creeping to the
rear; and after thirty minutes of fierce fighting, the wavering line
of the Confederates, breaking in disorder, fell back upon the guns.
The artillery, firing a final salvo at a range of two hundred yards,
was ordered to limber up. One gun alone, standing solitary between
the opposing lines, essayed to cover the retreat; but the enemy was
within a hundred yards, men and horses were shot down; despite a
shower of grape, which rent great gaps in the crowded ranks, the long
blue wave swept on, and leaving the captured piece in rear, advanced
in triumph across the fields.

In vain two of Ewell's battalions, hurrying forward to the sound of
battle, were thrown against the flank of the attack. For an instant
the Federal left recoiled, and then, springing forward with still
fiercer energy, dashed back their new antagonists as they had done
the rest. In vain Jackson, galloping to the front, spurred his horse
into the tumult, and called upon his men to rally. Winder's line, for
the time being at least, had lost all strength and order; and
although another regiment had now come up, the enemy's fire was still
so heavy that it was impossible to reform the defeated troops, and
two fresh Federal regiments were now advancing to strengthen the
attack. Tyler had ordered his left wing to reinforce the centre and
it seemed that the Confederates would be defeated piecemeal. But at
this moment the lines of the assailant came to a sudden halt; and
along the slopes of the Blue Ridge a heavy crash of musketry, the
rapid discharges of the guns, and the charging yell of the Southern
infantry, told of a renewed attack upon the battery on the mountain

The Louisianians had come up in the very nick of time. Pursuing his
march by the forest path, Taylor had heard the sounds of battle pass
beyond his flank, and the cheers of the Federals proved that Winder
was hard pressed. Rapidly deploying on his advanced guard, which, led
by Colonel Kelley, of the 8th Louisiana, was already in line, he led
his companies across the ravine. Down the broken slopes, covered with
great boulders and scattered trees, the men slipped and stumbled, and
then, splashing through the stream, swarmed up the face of the bank
on which the Federal artillery was in action. Breaking through the
undergrowth they threw themselves on the guns. The attention of the
enemy had been fixed upon the fight that raged over the plain below,
and the thick timber and heavy smoke concealed the approach of
Taylor's regiments. The surprise, however, was a failure. The trails
were swung round in the new direction, the canister crashed through
the laurels, the supporting infantry rushed forward, and the
Southerners were driven back. Again, as reinforcements crowded over
the ravine, they returned to the charge, and with bayonet and rammer
the fight surged to and fro within the battery. For the second time
the Federals cleared their front; but some of the Louisiana
companies, clambering up the mountain to the right, appeared upon
their flank, and once more the stormers, rallying in the hollow,
rushed forward with the bayonet. The battery was carried, one gun
alone escaping, and the Federal commander saw the key of his position
abandoned to the enemy. Not a moment was to be lost. The bank was
nearly a mile in rear of his right and centre, and commanded his line
of retreat at effective range. Sending his reserves to retake the
battery, he directed his attacking line, already pressing heavily on
Winder, to fall back at once. But it was even then too late. The rest
of Ewell's division had reached the field. One of his brigades had
been ordered to sustain the Lousianians; and across the plain a long
column of infantry and artillery was hurrying northwards from Port

The Stonewall Brigade, relieved of the pressure in front, had already
rallied; and when Tyler's reserves, with their backs to the river,
advanced to retake the battery, Jackson's artillery was once more
moving forward. The guns captured by Taylor were turned against the
Federals--Ewell, it is said, indulging to the full his passion for
hot work, serving as a gunner--and within a short space of time Tyler
was in full retreat, and the Confederate cavalry were thundering on
his traces.

It was half-past ten. For nearly five hours the Federals had held
their ground, and two of Jackson's best brigades had been severely
handled. Even if Trimble and Patton had been successful in holding
Fremont back, the Valley soldiers were in no condition for a rapid
march and a vigorous attack, and their commander had long since
recognised that he must rest content with a single victory.

(MAP of the Battle of Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8th and 9th,

Before nine o'clock, about the time of Winder's repulse, finding the
resistance of the enemy more formidable than be had anticipated, he
had recalled his brigades from the opposite bank of the Shenandoah,
and had ordered them to burn the bridge. Trimble and Patton abandoned
the battle-field of the previous day, and fell back to Port Republic.
Hardly a shot was fired during their retreat, and when they took up
their march only a single Federal battery had been seen. Fremont's
advance was cautious in the extreme. He was actually aware that
Shields had two brigades beyond the river, for a scout had reached
him, and from the ground about Mill Creek the sound of Tyler's battle
could be plainly heard. But he could get no direct information of
what was passing. The crest of the Massanuttons, although the sun
shone bright on the cliffs below, was shrouded in haze, completely
forbidding all observation; and it was not till near noon, after a
march of seven miles, which began at dawn and was practically
unopposed, that Fremont reached the Shenandoah. There, in the charred
and smoking timbers of the bridge, the groups of Federal prisoners on
the plain, the Confederates gathering the wounded, and the faint
rattle of musketry far down the Luray Valley, he saw the result of
his timidity.

Massing his batteries on the western bluffs, and turning his guns in
impotent wrath upon the plain, he drove the ambulances and their
escort from the field. But the Confederate dead and wounded had
already been removed, and the only effect of his spiteful salvoes was
that his suffering comrades lay under a drenching rain until he
retired to Harrisonburg. By that time many, whom their enemies would
have rescued, had perished miserably, and "not a few of the dead,
with some perchance of the mangled living, were partially devoured by
swine before their burial."* (* Dabney volume 2.)

The pursuit of Tyler was pressed for nine miles down the river. The
Ohio regiments, dispersed at first by the Confederate artillery,
gathered gradually together, and held the cavalry in check. Near
Conrad's Store, where Shields, marching in desperate haste to the
sound of the cannonade, had put his two remaining brigades in
position across the road, the chase was stayed. The Federal commander
admits that he was only just in time. Jackson's horsemen, he says,
were enveloping the column; a crowd of fugitives was rushing to the
rear, and his own cavalry had dispersed. The Confederate army, of
which some of the brigades and nearly the whole artillery had been
halted far in rear, was now withdrawn; but, compelled to move by
circuitous paths in order to avoid the fire of Fremont's batteries,
it was after midnight before the whole had assembled in Brown's Gap.
More than one of the regiments had marched over twenty miles and had
been heavily engaged.

Port Republic was the battle most costly to the Army of the Valley
during the whole campaign. Out of 5900 Confederates engaged 804 were

(* The troops actually engaged were as follows:--

4 Regiments of Winder's Brigade 1200

The Louisiana Brigade, 5 regiments 2500

Scott's Brigade, 3 regiments 900

31st Virginia

40th Virginia } 600

Artillery (5 batteries) 300

Cavalry 400


The Federal losses were heavier. The killed, wounded, and missing
(including 450 captured) amounted to 1001, or one-fourth of Tyler's

The success which the Confederates had achieved was undoubtedly
important. The Valley army, posted in Brown's Gap, was now in direct
communication with Richmond. Not only had its pursuers been roughly
checked, but the sudden and unexpected counterstroke, delivered by an
enemy whom they believed to be in full flight, had surprised Lincoln
and Stanton as effectively as Shields and Fremont. On June 6, the day
Jackson halted near Port Republic, McCall's division of McDowell's
Army Corps, which had been left at Fredericksburg, had been sent to
the Peninsula by water; and two days later McDowell himself, with the
remainder of his force, was directed to join McClellan as speedily as
possible overland. Fremont, on the same date, was instructed to halt
at Harrisonburg, and Shields to march to Fredericksburg. But before
Stanton's dispatches reached their destination both Fremont and
Shields had been defeated, and the plans of the Northern Cabinet were
once more upset.

Instead of moving at once on Fredericksburg, and in spite of
McDowell's remonstrances, Shields was detained at Luray, and
Ricketts, who had succeeded Ord, at Front Royal; while Fremont,
deeming himself too much exposed at Harrisonburg, fell back to Mount
Jackson. It was not till June 20 that Ricketts and Shields were
permitted to leave the Valley, ten days after the order had been
issued for McDowell to move on Richmond. For that space of time,
then, his departure was delayed; and there was worse to come. The
great strategist at Richmond had not yet done with Lincoln. There was
still more profit to be derived from the situation; and from the
subsidiary operations in the Valley we may now turn to the main

By Jackson's brilliant manoeuvres McDowell had been lured westward at
the very moment he was about to join McClellan. The gap between the
two Federal armies had been widened from five to fifteen marches,
while Jackson at Brown's Gap was no more than nine marches distant
from Richmond. McClellan, moreover, had been paralysed by the vigour
of Jackson's blows.

On May 16, as already related, he had reached White House on the
Pamunkey, twenty miles from the Confederate capital. Ten miles south,
and directly across his path, flowed the Chickahominy, a formidable
obstacle to the march of a large army.

On the 24th, having already been informed that he was to be
reinforced by McDowell, he was told that the movement of the latter
for Fredericksburg was postponed until the Valley had been cleared.
This change of plan placed him in a most awkward predicament. A
portion of his army, in order to lend a hand to McDowell, had already
crossed the Chickahominy, a river with but few points of passage, and
over which, by reason of the swamps, the construction of military
bridges was a difficult and tedious operation. On May 30, two army
corps were south of the Chickahominy, covering, in a partially
intrenched position, the building of the bridges, while three army
corps were still on the further bank.

McClellan's difficulties had not escaped the observation of his
watchful adversaries, and on the morning of May 31 the Federal lines
were heavily attacked by Johnston. The left of the position on the
south side of the Chickahominy was protected by the White Oak Swamp,
a broad and almost impassable morass; but the right, thrown back to
the river, was unprotected by intrenchments, and thinly manned. The
defence of the first line had been assigned to one corps only; the
second was five miles in rear. The assailants should have won an easy
triumph. But if McClellan had shown but little skill in the
distribution of his troops on the defensive, the Confederate
arrangements for attack were even more at fault. The country between
Richmond and the Chickahominy is level and well wooded. It was
intersected by several roads, three of which led directly to the
enemy's position. But the roads were bad, and a tremendous
rain-storm, which broke on the night of the 30th, transformed the
fields into tracts of greasy mud, and rendered the passage of
artillery difficult. The natural obstacles, however, were not the

The force detailed for the attack amounted to 40,000 men, or
twenty-three brigades. The Federal works were but five miles from
Richmond, and the Confederates were ordered to advance at dawn. But
it was the first time that an offensive movement on so large a scale
had been attempted; the woods and swamps made supervision difficult,
and the staff proved unequal to the task of ensuring co-operation.
The orders for attack were badly framed. The subordinate generals did
not clearly comprehend what was expected from them. There were
misunderstandings as to the roads to be followed, and as to who was
to command the wings. The columns crossed, and half the day was
wasted in getting into position. It was not till 1 P.M. that the
first gun was fired, and not till 4 P.M. that the commanding general,
stationed with the left wing, was made acquainted with the progress
of his right and centre. When it was at last delivered, the attack
was piecemeal; and although successful in driving the enemy from his
intrenchments, it failed to drive him from the field. The Federals
fell back to a second line of earthworks, and were strongly
reinforced from beyond the river. During the battle Johnston himself
was severely wounded, and the command devolved on General G.W. Smith.
Orders were issued that the attack should be renewed next morning;
but for reasons which have never been satisfactorily explained, only
five of the twenty-three brigades were actively engaged, and the
battle of Seven Pines ended with the unmolested retreat of the
Confederates. Smith fell sick, and General Lee was ordered by the
President to take command of the army in the field.

McClellan, thanks to the bad work of the Confederate staff at the
battle of Seven Pines, had now succeeded in securing the passages
across the Chickahominy. But for the present he had given up all idea
of an immediate advance. Two of his army corps had suffered severely,
both in men and in moral; the roads were practically impassable for
artillery; the bridges over the Chickahominy had been much injured by
the floods; and it was imperative to re-establish the communications.
Such is his own explanation of his inactivity; but his official
correspondence with the Secretary of War leaves no doubt that his
hope of being reinforced by McDowell was a still more potent reason.
During the first three weeks in June he received repeated assurances
from Mr. Stanton that large bodies of troops were on their way to
join him, and it was for these that he was waiting. This expectant
attitude, due to McDowell's non-arrival, entailed on him a serious
disadvantage. If he transferred his whole army to the right bank of
the Chickahominy, his line of supply, the railway to West Point,
would be exposed; and, secondly, when McDowell approached from
Fredericksburg, it would be possible for Leo to drive that general
back before the Army of the Potomac could give him direct support, or
in any case to cut off all communication with him. McClellan was
consequently compelled to retain his right wing north of the river;
and indeed in so doing he was only obeying his instructions. On May
18 Stanton had telegraphed: "You are instructed to co-operate so as
to establish this communication [with McDowell], by extending your
right wing north of Richmond."

The Federal army, then, whilst awaiting the promised reinforcements,
was divided into two parts by a stream which another storm might
render impassable. It will thus be seen that Jackson's operations not
only deprived McClellan of the immediate aid of 40,000 men and 100
guns, but placed him in a most embarrassing situation. "The faulty
location of the Union army," says General Porter, commanding the
Fifth Federal Army Corps, "was from the first realised by General
McClellan, and became daily an increasing cause of care and anxiety;
not the least disturbing element of which was the impossibility of
quickly reinforcing his right wing or promptly withdrawing it to the
south bank."* (*Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 324.)

Seeing that the Confederates were no more than 60,000 strong, while
the invading army mustered 100,000, it would seem that the knot
should have been cut by an immediate attack on the Richmond lines.
But McClellan, who had been United States Commissioner in the Crimea,
knew something of the strength of earthworks; and moreover, although
the comparatively feeble numbers developed by the Confederates at
Seven Pines should have enlightened him, he still believed that his
enemy's army was far larger than his own. So, notwithstanding his
danger, he preferred to postpone his advance till Jackson's defeat
should set M'Dowell free.

Fatal was the mistake which retained McDowell's divisions in the
Valley, and sent Shields in pursuit of Jackson. While the Federal
army, waiting for reinforcements, lay astride the noisome swamps of
the Chickahominy, Lee was preparing a counterstroke on the largest

The first thing to do was to reduce the disparity of numbers; and to
effect this troops were to be brought up from the south, Jackson was
to come to Richmond, and McDowell was to be kept away. This last was
of more importance than the rest, and, at the same time, more
difficult of attainment. Jackson was certainly nearer to Richmond
than was McDowell; but to defeat McClellan would take some time, and
it was essential that Jackson should have a long start, and not
arrive upon the battlefield with McDowell on his heels. It was
necessary, therefore, that the greater part of the latter's force
should be detained on the Shenandoah; and on June 8, while Cross Keys
was being fought, Lee wrote to Jackson: "Should there be nothing
requiring your attention in the Valley, so as to prevent you leaving
it in a few days, and you can make arrangements to deceive the enemy
and impress him with the idea of your presence, please let me know,
that you may unite at the decisive moment with the army near
Richmond. Make your arrangements accordingly; but should an
opportunity occur of striking the enemy a successful blow, do not let
it escape you."

June 11.

At the same time a detachment of 7000 infantry was ordered to the
Valley. "Your recent successes," wrote Lee on the 11th, when the news
of Cross Keys and Port Republic had been received, "have been the
cause of the liveliest joy in this army as well as in the country.
The admiration excited by your skill and boldness has been constantly
mingled with solicitude for your situation. The practicability of
reinforcing you has been the subject of gravest consideration. It has
been determined to do so at the expense of weakening this army.
Brigadier-General Lawton with six regiments from Georgia is on his
way to you, and Brigadier-General Whiting with eight veteran
regiments leaves here to-day. The object is to enable you to crush
the forces opposed to you. Leave your enfeebled troops to watch the
country and guard the passes covered by your cavalry and artillery,
and with your main body, including Ewell's division and Lawton's and
Whiting's commands, move rapidly to Ashland by rail or otherwise, as
you may find most advantageous, and sweep down between the
Chickahominy and the Pamunkey, cutting up the enemy's communications,
etc., while this army attacks McClellan in front. He will then, I
think, be forced to come out of his intrenchments, where he is
strongly posted on the Chickahominy, and apparently preparing to move
by gradual approaches on Richmond."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page

Before the reinforcements reached the Valley both Fremont and Shields
were out of reach. To have followed them down the Valley would have
been injudicious. Another victory would have doubtless held M'Dowell
fast, but it would have drawn Jackson too far from Richmond. The
Confederate generals, therefore, in order to impose upon their
enemies, and to maintain the belief that Washington was threatened,
had recourse to stratagem. The departure of Whiting and Lawton for
the Valley was ostentatiously announced. Federal prisoners, about to
be dismissed upon parole, were allowed to see the trains full of
soldiers proceeding westward, to count the regiments. And learn their
destination. Thus Lee played his part in the game of deception, and
meanwhile Jackson had taken active measures to the same end.

Fremont had retired from Port Republic on the morning of the 10th. On
the 11th the Confederate cavalry, now under Colonel Munford, a worthy
successor of the indefatigable Ashby, crossed the Shenandoah, and
followed the retreating enemy. So active was the pursuit that Fremont
evacuated Harrisonburg, abandoning two hundred wounded in the
hospitals, besides medical and other stores.

June 14.

"Significant demonstrations of the enemy," to use his own words,
drove him next day from the strong position at Mount Jackson; and on
June 14 he fell back to Strasburg, Banks, who had advanced to
Middletown, being in close support.

On the 12th the Army of the Valley had once more moved westward, and,
crossing South River, had encamped in the woods near Mount Meridian.
Here for five days, by the sparkling waters of the Shenandoah, the
wearied soldiers rested, while their indefatigable leader employed
ruse after ruse to delude the enemy. The cavalry, though far from
support, was ordered to manoeuvre boldly to prevent all information
reaching the Federals, and to follow Fremont so long as he
retreated.* (* "The only true rule for cavalry is to follow as long
as the enemy retreats."--Jackson to Munford, June 13.) The bearers of
flags of truce were impressed with the idea that the Southerners were
advancing in great strength. The outpost line was made as close as
possible; no civilians were allowed to pass; and the troopers, so
that they should have nothing to tell it they were captured, were
kept in ignorance of the position of their own infantry. The
general's real intentions were concealed from everyone except Colonel
Munford. The officers of the staff fared worse than the remainder of
the army. Not only were they debarred from their commander's
confidence, but they became the unconscious instruments whereby false
intelligence was spread. "The engineers were directed to prepare a
series of maps of the Valley; and all who acquired a knowledge of
this carefully divulged order told their friends in confidence that
Jackson was going at once in pursuit of Fremont. As those friends
told their friends without loss of time, it was soon the well-settled
conviction of everybody that nothing was further from Jackson's
intention than an evacuation of the Valley."

June 17.

On June 17 arrived a last letter from Lee:--

"From your account of the position of the enemy I think it would be
difficult for you to engage him in time to unite with this army in
the battle for Richmond. Fremont and Shields are apparently
retrograding, their troops shaken and disorganised, and some time
will be required to set them again in the field. If this is so, the
sooner you unite with this army the better. McClellan is being
strengthened...There is much sickness in his ranks, but his
reinforcements by far exceed his losses. The present, therefore,
seems to be favourable for a junction of your army and this. If you
agree with me, the sooner you can make arrangements to do so the
better. In moving your troops you could let it be understood that it
was to pursue the enemy in your front. Dispose those to hold the
Valley, so as to deceive the enemy, keeping your cavalry well in
their front, and at the proper time suddenly descending upon the
Pamunkey. To be efficacious the movement must be secret. Let me know
the force you can bring, and be careful to guard from friends and
foes your purpose and your intention of personally leaving the
Valley. The country is full of spies, and our plans are immediately
carried to the enemy."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 913.)

The greater part of these instructions Jackson had already carried
out on his own initiative. There remained but to give final
directions to Colonel Munford, who was to hold the Valley, and to set
the army in motion. Munford was instructed to do his best to spread
false reports of an advance to the Potomac. Ewell's division was
ordered to Charlottesville. The rest of the Valley troops were to
follow Ewell; and Whiting and Lawton, who, in order to bewilder
Fremont, had been marched from Staunton to Mount Meridian, and then
back to Staunton, were to take train to Gordonsville. It was above
all things important that the march should be secret. Not only was it
essential that Lincoln should not be alarmed into reinforcing
McClellan, but it was of even more importance that McClellan should
not be alarmed into correcting the faulty distribution of his army.
So long as he remained with half his force on one bank of the
Chickahominy and half on the other, Lee had a fair chance of
concentrating superior numbers against one of the fractions. But if
McClellan, warned of Jackson's approach, were to mass his whole force
on one bank or the other, there would be little hope of success for
the Confederates.

The ultimate object of the movement was therefore revealed to no one,
and the most rigorous precautions were adopted to conceal it.
Jackson's letters from Richmond, in accordance with his own
instructions, bore no more explicit address than "Somewhere." A long
line of cavalry, occupying every road, covered the front, and
prevented anyone, soldier or civilian, preceding them toward
Richmond. Far out to either flank rode patrols of horsemen, and a
strong rear-guard swept before it campfollowers and stragglers. At
night, every road which approached the bivouacs was strongly
picketed, and the troops were prevented from communicating with the
country people. The men were forbidden to ask the names of the
villages through which they passed; and it was ordered that to all
questions they should make the one answer: "I don't know." "This was
just as much license as the men wanted," says an eye-witness, "and
they forthwith knew nothing of the past, present, or future." An
amusing incident, it is said, grew out of this order. One of General
Hood's* (* Whiting's division.) Texans left the ranks on the march,
and was climbing a fence to go to a cherry-tree near at hand, when
Jackson rode by and saw him.

"Where are you going?" asked the general.

"I don't know," replied the soldier.

"To what command do you belong?"

"I don't know."

"Well, what State are you from?"

"I don't know."

"What is the meaning of all this?" asked Jackson of another.

"Well," was the reply, "Old Stonewall and General Hood gave orders
yesterday that we were not to know anything until after the next

Jackson laughed and rode on.* (* Cooke page 205.)

The men themselves, intelligent as they were, were unable to
penetrate their general's design. When they reached Charlottesville
it was reported in the ranks that the next march would be northwards,
to check a movement of Banks across the Blue Ridge. At Gordonsville
it was supposed that they would move on Washington.

"I recollect," says one of the Valley soldiers, "that the pastor of
the Presbyterian church there, with whom Jackson spent the night,
told me, as a profound secret, not to be breathed to mortal man, that
we would move at daybreak on Culpeper Court House to intercept a
column of the enemy coming across the mountains. He said there could
be no mistake about this, for he had it from General Jackson himself.
We did move at daybreak, but instead of moving on Culpeper Court
House we marched in the opposite direction. At Hanover Junction we
expected to head towards Fredericksburg to meet McDowell, and the
whole movement was so secretly conducted that the troops were
uncertain of their destination until the evening of June 26, when
they heard A.P. Hill's guns at Mechanicsville, and made the woods
vibrate with their shouts of anticipated victory."* (* Communicated
by the Reverend J.W. Jones, D.D.)

At Gordonsville a rumour, which proved to be false, arrested the
march of the army for a whole day. On the 21st the leading division
arrived at Frederickshall, fifty miles from Richmond, and there
halted for the Sunday. They had already marched fifty miles, and the
main body, although the railway had been of much service, was still
distant. There was not sufficient rolling stock available to
transport all the infantry simultaneously, and, in any case, the
cavalry, artillery, and waggons must have proceeded by road. The
trains, therefore, moving backwards and forwards along the line, and
taking up the rear brigades in succession, forwarded them in a couple
of hours a whole day's march. Beyond Frederickshall the line had been
destroyed by the enemy's cavalry.

At 1 A.M. on Monday morning, Jackson, accompanied by a single
orderly, rode to confer with Lee, near Richmond.

June 28.

He was provided with a pass, which Major Dabney had been instructed
to procure from General Whiting, the next in command, authorising him
to impress horses; and he had resorted to other expedients to blind
his friends. The lady of the house which he had made his headquarters
at Frederickshall had sent to ask if the general would breakfast with
her next morning. He replied that he would be glad to do so if he
were there at breakfast time; and upon her inquiry as to the time
that would be most convenient, he said: "Have it at your usual time,
and send for me when it is ready." When Mrs. Harris sent for him,
Jim, his coloured servant, replied to the message: "Sh! you don't
'spec' to find the general here at this hour, do you? He left here
'bout midnight, and I 'spec' by this time he's whippin' Banks in the

During the journey his determination to preserve his incognito was
the cause of some embarrassment. A few miles from his quarters he was
halted by a sentry. It was in vain that he represented that he was an
officer on duty, carrying dispatches. The sentry, one of the
Stonewall Brigade, was inexorable, and quoted Jackson's own orders.
The utmost that he would concede was that the commander of the picket
should be called. When this officer came he recognised his general.
Jackson bound them both to secrecy, and praising the soldier for his
obedience, continued his ride. Some hours later his horse broke down.
Proceeding to a plantation near the road, he told his orderly to
request that a couple of horses might be supplied for an officer on
important duty. It was still dark, and the indignant proprietor, so
unceremoniously disturbed by two unknown soldiers, who declined to
give their names, refused all aid. After some parley Jackson and his
orderly, finding argument wasted, proceeded to the stables, selected
the two best horses, shifted the saddles, and left their own chargers
as a temporary exchange.

At three o'clock in the afternoon, after passing rapidly through
Richmond, he reached the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief. It
is unfortunate that no record of the meeting that took place has been
preserved. There were present, besides Lee and Jackson, the three
officers whose divisions were to be employed in the attack upon the
Federals, Longstreet, A.P. Hill, and D.H. Hill. The names of the two
former are associated with almost every Confederate victory won upon
the soil of Virginia. They were trusted by their great leader, and
they were idolised by their men. Like others, they made mistakes; the
one was sometimes slow, the other careless; neither gave the
slightest sign that they were capable of independent command, and
both were at times impatient of control. But, taking them all in all,
they were gallant soldiers, brave to a fault, vigorous in attack, and
undaunted by adverse fortune. Longstreet, sturdy and sedate, his "old
war-horse" as Lee affectionately called him, bore on his broad
shoulders the weight of twenty years' service in the old army. Hill's
slight figure and delicate features, instinct with life and energy,
were a marked contrast to the heavier frame and rugged lineaments of
his older colleague.

Already they were distinguished. In the hottest of the fight they had
won the respect that soldiers so readily accord to valour; yet it is
not on these stubborn fighters, not on their companion, less popular,
but hardly less capable, that the eye of imagination rests. Were some
great painter, gifted with the sense of historic fitness, to place on
his canvas the council in the Virginia homestead, two figures only
would occupy the foreground: the one weary with travel, white with
the dust of many leagues, and bearing on his frayed habiliments the
traces of rough bivouacs and mountain roads; the other, tall,
straight, and stately; still, for all his fifty years, remarkable for
his personal beauty, and endowed with all the simple dignity of a
noble character and commanding intellect. In that humble chamber,
where the only refreshment the Commander-in-Chief could offer was a
glass of milk, Lee and Jackson met for the first time since the war
had begun. Lee's hours of triumph had yet to come. The South was
aware that he was sage in council; he had yet to prove his mettle in
the field. But there was at least one Virginia soldier who knew his
worth. With the prescient sympathy of a kindred spirit Jackson had
divined his daring and his genius, and although he held always to his
own opinions, he had no will but that of his great commander. With
how absolute a trust his devotion was repaid one of the brightest
pages in the history of Virginia tells us; a year crowded with
victories bears witness to the strength begotten of their mutual
confidence. So long as Lee and Jackson led her armies hope shone on
the standards of the South. Great was the constancy of her people;
wonderful the fortitude of her soldiers; but on the shoulders of her
twin heroes rested the burden of the tremendous struggle.

To his four major-generals Lee explained his plan of attack, and
then, retiring to his office, left them to arrange the details. It
will be sufficient for the present to state that Jackson's troops
were to encamp on the night of the 25th east of Ashland, fifteen
miles north of Richmond, between the village and the Virginia Central
Railway. The day following the interview, the 24th, he returned to
his command, rejoining the column at Beaver Dam Station.

June 24.

His advanced guard were now within forty miles of Richmond, and, so
far from McDowell being on his heels, that general was still north of
Fredericksburg. No reinforcements could reach McClellan for several
days; the Confederates were concentrated round Richmond in full
strength; and Lee's strategy had been entirely successful. Moreover,
with such skill had Jackson's march been made that the Federal
generals were absolutely ignorant of his whereabouts. McClellan
indeed seems to have had some vague suspicion of his approach; but
Lincoln, McDowell, Banks, Fremont, together with the whole of the
Northern people and the Northern press, believed that he was still
west of Gordonsville. Neither scout, spy, nor patrol was able to
penetrate the cordon of Munford's outposts. Beyond his pickets,
strongly posted at New Market and Conrad's Store, all was dim and
dark. Had Jackson halted, awaiting reinforcements? Was he already in
motion, marching swiftly and secretly against some isolated garrison?
Was he planning another dash on Washington, this time with a larger
army at his back? Would his advance be east or west of the Blue
Ridge, across the sources of the Rappahannock, or through the
Alleghanies? Had he 15,000 men or 50,000?

Such were the questions which obtruded themselves on the Federal
generals, and not one could give a satisfactory reply. That a blow
was preparing, and that it would fall where it was least expected,
all men knew. "We have a determined and enterprising enemy to contend
with," wrote one of Lincoln's generals. "Jackson," said another,
"marches thirty miles a day." The successive surprises of the Valley
campaign had left their mark; and the correspondence preserved in the
Official Records is in itself the highest tribute to Jackson's skill.
He had gained something more than the respect of his enemies. He had
brought them to fear his name, and from the Potomac to the
Rappahannock uncertainty and apprehension reigned supreme. Not a
patrol was sent out which did not expect to meet the Confederate
columns, pressing swiftly northward; not a general along the whole
line, from Romney to Fredericksburg, who did not tremble for his own

There was sore trouble on the Shenandoah. The disasters of M'Dowell
and Front Royal had taught the Federal officers that when the Valley
army was reported to be sixty miles distant, it was probably
deploying in the nearest forest; and with the rout of Winchester
still fresh in their memories they knew that pursuit would be as
vigorous as attack would be sudden. The air was full of rumours, each
more alarming than its predecessor, and all of them contradictory.
The reports of the cavalry, of spies, of prisoners, of deserters, of
escaped negroes, told each a different story.

Jackson, it was at first reported, had been reinforced to the number
of 35,000 men.* (* The telegrams and letters containing the reports
quoted on pages 399-400 are to be found in O.R. volume 11 part 3 and
volume 12 part 3.) A few days later his army had swelled to 60,000
with 70 guns, and he was rebuilding the bridge at Port Republic in
order to follow Fremont. On June 13 he was believed to be moving
through Charlottesville against one or other of McDowell's divisions.
"He was either going against Shields at Luray, or King at Catlett's,
or Doubleday at Fredericksburg, or going to Richmond." On the 16th it
was absolutely certain that he was within striking distance of Front
Royal. On the 18th he had gone to Richmond, but Ewell was still in
the Valley with 40,000 men. On the 19th Banks had no doubt but that
another immediate movement down the Valley was intended "with 80,000
or more." On the 20th Jackson was said to be moving on Warrenton,
east of the Blue Ridge. On the 22nd "reliable persons" at Harper's
Ferry had learned that he was about to attack Banks at Middletown;
and on the same day Ewell, who was actually near Frederickshall, was
discovered to be moving on Moorefield! On the 25th Fremont had been
informed that large reinforcements had reached Jackson from
Tennessee; and Banks was on the watch for a movement from the west.
Fremont heard that Ewell designed to attack Winchester in rear, and
the threat from so dangerous a quarter made Lincoln anxious.

"We have no definite information," wrote Stanton to McClellan, "as to
the numbers or position of Jackson's force. Within the last two days
the evidence is strong that for some purpose the enemy is circulating
rumours of Jackson's advance in various directions, with a view to
conceal the real point of attack. Neither McDowell nor Banks nor
Fremont appear to have any accurate knowledge of the subject."

This was on June 25, the day the Valley army halted at Ashland; but
the climax was reached on the 28th. For forty-eight hours Jackson had
been fighting McClellan, yet Banks, although "quite confident that he
was not within thirty miles, believed that he was preparing for an
attack on Middletown." To reach Middletown Jackson would have had to
march one hundred and fifty miles!

Under the influence of these rumours the movements of the Federal
troops were erratic in the extreme.

Fremont, who had originally been ordered to remain at Harrisonburg,
had fallen back on Banks at Middletown, although ordered to Front
Royal, was most reluctant to move so far south. Shields was first
ordered to stand fast at Luray, where he would be reinforced by
Ricketts, and was then ordered to fall back on Front Royal.
Reinforcements were ordered to Romney, to Harper's Ferry, and to
Winchester; and McDowell, who kept his head throughout, struggled in
vain to reunite his scattered divisions. Divining the true drift of
the Confederate strategy, he realised that to protect Washington, and
to rescue McClellan, the surest method was for his own army corps to
march as rapidly as possible to the Chickahominy. But his pleadings
were disregarded. Lincoln and Stanton had not yet discovered that the
best defence is generally a vigorous attack. They had learned nothing
from the Valley campaign, and they were infected with the fears of
Banks and Fremont. Jackson was well on his way to Richmond before
Shields and Ricketts were permitted to cross the Blue Ridge; and it
was not till the 25th that McDowell's corps was once more
concentrated at Fredericksburg. The Confederates had gained a start
of five marches, and the Northern Government was still ignorant that
they had left the Valley.

McClellan was equally in the dark. Faint rumours had preceded the
march of Jackson's army, but he had given them scant credit. On the
morning of the 26th, however, he was rudely enlightened. It was but
too clear that Jackson, strongly reinforced from Richmond, was
bearing down upon his most vulnerable point--his right wing, which,
in anticipation of McDowell's advance, remained exposed on the north
bank of the Chickahominy.

Nor was this the sum of his troubles. On this same day, when his
outposts were falling back before superior numbers, and the Valley
regiments were closing round their flank, he received a telegram from
Stanton, informing him that the forces commanded by McDowell, Banks,
and Fremont were to form one army under Major-General Pope; and that
this army was "to attack and overcome the rebel forces under Jackson
and Ewell, and threaten the enemy in the direction of
Charlottesville!" All hope of succour passed away, and the "Young
Napoleon" was left to extricate himself as best he could, from his
many difficulties; difficulties which were due in part to his own
political blindness, in part to the ignorance of Lincoln, but, in a
far larger degree, to the consummate strategy of Lee and Jackson.


The Marches in the Valley Campaign, March 22 to June 25, 1862.

March 22 Mount Jackson-Strasburg 28
March 23 Strasburg-Kernstown-Newtown 18 Battle of
March 24-26 Newtown-Mt. Jackson 35
April 17-19 Mt. Jackson-Elk Run Valley 50
April 30-May 8 Elk Run Valley-Mechum's River Station 60
May 7-8 Staunton-Shenandoah Mt. 32 Battle of
May 9-11 Bull Pasture Mount-Franklin 30 Skirmishes
May 12-15 Franklin-Lebanon Springs 40
May 17 Lebanon Springs-Bridgewater 18
May 19-20 Bridgewater-New Market 24
May 1 New Market-Luray 12
May 22 Luray-Milford 12
May 23 Milford-Front Royal-Cedarville 22 Action at
Front Royal
May 24 Cedarville-Abraham's Creek 22 Action at
Middletown and Newtown
May 25 Abraham's Creek-Stevenson's 7 Battle of
May 28 Stevenson's-Charlestown 15 Skirmish
May 29 Charlestown-Halltown 5 Skirmish
May 30 Halltown-Winchester 25
May 31 Winchester-Strasburg 18
June 1 Strasburg-Woodstock 12 Skirmish
June 2 Woodstock-Mount Jackson 12
June 3 Mount Jackson-New Market 7
June 4-5 New Market-Port Republic 30
June 8 Battle of Cross Keys
June 9 Cross Keys-Brown's Gap 16 Battle of
Port Republic
June 12 Brown's Gap-Mount Meridian 10
June 17-25 Mount Meridian-Ashland Station
(one rest day) 120
676 miles in 48
marching days
Average 14
miles per diem


In March, 1862, more than 200,000 Federals were prepared to invade
Virginia. McClellan, before McDowell was withheld, reckoned on
placing 150,000 men at West Point. Fremont, in West Virginia,
commanded 30,000, including the force in the Kanawha Valley; and
Banks had crossed the Potomac with over 30,000.

Less than 60,000 Confederate soldiers were available to oppose this
enormous host, and the numerical disproportion was increased by the
vast material resources of the North. The only advantages which the
Southerners possessed were that they were operating in their own
country, and that their cavalry was the more efficient. Their
leaders, therefore, could count on receiving more ample and more
accurate information than their adversaries.* (* "If I were mindful
only of my own glory, I would choose always to make war in my own
country, for there every man is a spy, and the enemy can make no
movement of which I am not informed." Frederick the Great's
Instructions to his Generals.) But, except in these respects,
everything was against them. In mettle and in discipline the troops
were fairly matched. On both sides the higher commands, with few
exceptions, were held by regular officers, who had received the same
training. On both sides the staff was inexperienced. If the
Confederate infantry were better marksmen than the majority of the
Federals, they were not so well armed; and the Federal artillery,
both in materiel and in handling, was the more efficient.

The odds against the South were great; and to those who believed that
Providence sides with the big battalions, that numbers, armament,
discipline, and tactical efficiency, are all that is required to
ensure success, the fall of Richmond must have seemed inevitable.

But within three months of the day that McClellan started for the
Peninsula the odds had been much reduced. The Confederates had won no
startling victories. Except in the Valley, and there only small
detachments were concerned, the fighting had been indecisive. The
North had no reason to believe that her soldiers, save only the
cavalry, were in any way inferior to their adversaries. And yet, on
June 26, where were the "big battalions?" 105,000 men were intrenched
within sight of the spires of Richmond; but where were the rest?
Where were the 70,000* (* At the date of the action at Front Royal,
May 23, the following was the strength of the detached forces: Banks,
10,000; Fremont, 25,000; McDowell (including Shields, but excluding
McCall), 35,000.) that should have aided McClellan, have encircled
the rebel capital on every side, cut the communications, closed the
sources of supply, and have overwhelmed the starving garrison? How
came it that Fremont and Banks were no further south than they were
in March? that the Shenandoah Valley still poured its produce into
Richmond? that McDowell had not yet crossed the Rappahannock? What
mysterious power had compelled Lincoln to retain a force larger than
the whole Confederate army "to protect the national capital from
danger and insult?"

It was not hard fighting. The Valley campaign, from Kernstown to Port
Republic, had not cost the Federals more than 7000 men; and, with the
exception of Cross Keys, the battles had been well contested. It was
not the difficulties of supply or movement. It was not absence of
information; for until Jackson vanished from the sight of both friend
and foe on June 17, spies and "contrabands"* (i.e. Fugitive slaves)
had done good work. (* The blacks, however, appear to have been as
unreliable as regards numbers as McClellan's detectives. "If a negro
were asked how many Confederates he had seen at a certain point, his
answer was very likely to be: "I dunno, Massa, but I guess about a
million.""--McClellan's Own Story page 254.) Nor was it want of will
on the part of the Northern Government. None were more anxious than
Lincoln and Stanton to capture Richmond, to disperse the rebels, and
to restore the Union. They had made stupendous efforts to organise a
sufficient army. To equip that army as no army had ever been equipped
before they had spared neither expense nor labour; and it can hardly
be denied that they had created a vast machine, perhaps in part
imperfect, but, considering the weakness of the enemy, not
ill-adapted for the work before it.

There was but one thing they had overlooked, and that was that their
host would require intelligent control. So complete was the
mechanism, so simple a matter it appeared to set the machine in
motion, and to keep it in the right course, that they believed that
their untutored hands, guided by common-sense and sound abilities,
were perfectly capable of guiding it, without mishap, to the
appointed goal. Men who, aware of their ignorance, would probably
have shrunk from assuming charge of a squad of infantry in action,
had no hesitation whatever in attempting to direct a mighty army, a
task which Napoleon has assured us requires profound study, incessant
application, and wide experience.* (* "In consequence of the
excessive growth of armies tactics have lost in weight, and the
strategical design, rather than the detail of the movements, has
become the decisive factor in the issue at a campaign. The
strategical design depends, as a rule, upon the decision of cabinets,
and upon the resources placed at the disposal of the commander.
Consequently, either the leading statesmen should have correct views
of the science of war, or should make up for their ignorance by
giving their entire confidence to the man to whom the supreme command
of the army is entrusted. Otherwise, the germs of defeat and national
ruin may be contained in the first preparations for war."--The
Archduke Charles of Austria.)

They were in fact ignorant--and how many statesmen, and even
soldiers, are in like case?--that strategy, the art of manoeuvring
armies, is an art in itself, an art which none may master by the
light of nature, but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must
serve a long apprenticeship.

The rules of strategy are few and simple. They may be learned in a
week. They may be taught by familiar illustrations or a dozen
diagrams. But such knowledge will no more teach a man to lead an army
like Napoleon than a knowledge of grammar will teach him to write
like Gibbon. Lincoln, when the army he had so zealously toiled to
organise, reeled back in confusion from Virginia, set himself to
learn the art of war. He collected, says his biographer, a great
library of military books; and, if it were not pathetic, it would be
almost ludicrous, to read of the great President, in the midst of his
absorbing labours and his ever-growing anxieties, poring night after
night, when his capital was asleep, over the pages of Jomini and
Clausewitz. And what was the result? In 1864, when Grant was
appointed to the command of the Union armies, he said: "I neither ask
nor desire to know anything of your plans. Take the responsibility
and act, and call on me for assistance." He had learned at last that
no man is a born strategist.

The mistakes of Lincoln and Stanton are not to be condoned by
pointing to McClellan.

McClellan designed the plan for the invasion of Virginia, and the
plan failed. But this is not to say that the plan was in itself a bad
one. Nine times out of ten it would have succeeded. In many respects
it was admirable. It did away with a long line of land
communications, passing through a hostile country. It brought the
naval power of the Federals into combination with the military. It
secured two great waterways, the York and the James, by which the
army could be easily supplied, which required no guards, and by which
heavy ordnance could be brought up to bombard the fortifications of
Richmond. But it had one flaw. It left Washington, in the opinion of
the President and of the nation, insecure; and this flaw, which would
have escaped the notice of an ordinary enemy, was at once detected by
Lee and Jackson. Moreover, had McClellan been left in control of the
whole theatre of war, Jackson's manoeuvres would probably have failed
to produce so decisive an effect. The fight at Kernstown would not
have induced McClellan to strike 40,000 men off the strength of the
invading army. He had not been deceived when Jackson threatened
Harper's Ferry at the end of May. The reinforcements sent from
Richmond after Port Republic had not blinded him, nor did he for a
moment believe that Washington was in actual danger. There is this,
however, to be said: had McClellan been in sole command, public
opinion, alarmed for Washington, would have possibly compelled him to
do exactly what Lincoln did, and to retain nearly half the army on
the Potomac.

So much for the leading of civilians. On the other hand, the failure
of the Federals to concentrate more than 105,000 men at the decisive
point, and even to establish those 105,000 in a favourable position,
was mainly due to the superior strategy of the Confederates. Those
were indeed skilful manoeuvres which prevented McDowell from marching
to the Chickahominy; and, at the critical moment, when Lee was on the
point of attacking McClellan, which drew McDowell, Banks, and Fremont
on a wild-goose chase towards Charlottesville. The weak joint in the
enemy's armour, the national anxiety for Washington, was early
recognised. Kernstown induced Lincoln, departing from the original
scheme of operations, to form four independent armies, each acting on
a different line. Two months later, when McClellan was near Richmond
it was of essential importance that the move of these armies should
be combined, Jackson once more intervened; Banks was driven across
the Potomac, and again the Federal concentration was postponed.
Lastly, the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, followed by the
dispatch of Whiting and Lawton to the Valley, led the Northern
President to commit his worst mistake. For the second time the plan
of campaign was changed, and McClellan was left isolated at the
moment he most needed help.

The brains of two great leaders had done more for the Confederacy
than 200,000 soldiers had done for the Union. Without quitting his
desk, and leaving the execution of his plans to Jackson, Lee had
relieved Richmond of the pressure of 70,000 Federals, and had lured
the remainder into the position he most wished to find them. The
Confederacy, notwithstanding the enormous disparity of force, had
once more gained the upper hand; and from this instance, as from a
score of others, it may be deduced that Providence is more inclined
to side with the big brains than with the big battalions.

It was not mere natural ability that had triumphed. Lee, in this
respect, was assuredly not more highly gifted than Lincoln, or
Jackson than McClellan. But, whether by accident or design, Davis had
selected for command of the Confederate army, and had retained in the
Valley, two past masters in the art of strategy. If it was accident
he was singularly favoured by fortune. He might have selected many
soldiers of high rank and long service, who would have been as
innocent of strategical skill as Lincoln himself. His choice might
have fallen on the most dashing leader, the strictest disciplinarian,
the best drill, in the Confederate army; and yet the man who united
all these qualities might have been altogether ignorant of the higher
art of war. Mr. Davis himself had been a soldier. He was a graduate
of West Point, and in the Mexican campaign he had commanded a
volunteer regiment with much distinction. But as a director of
military operations he was a greater marplot than even Stanton. It by
no means follows that because a man has lived his life in camp and
barrack, has long experience of command, and even long experience of
war, that he can apply the rules of strategy before the enemy. In the
first place he may lack the character, the inflexible resolution, the
broad grasp, the vivid imagination, the power of patient thought, the
cool head, and, above all, the moral courage. In the second place,
there are few schools where strategy may be learned, and, in any
case, a long and laborious course of study is the only means of
acquiring the capacity to handle armies and outwit an equal
adversary. The light of common-sense alone is insufficient; nor will
a few months' reading give more than a smattering of knowledge.

"Read and RE-READ," said Napoleon, "the eighty-eight campaigns of
Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus, Turenne, Eugene, and
Frederick. Take them as your models, for it is the only means of
becoming a great leader, and of mastering the secrets of the art of
war. Your intelligence, enlightened by such study, will then reject
methods contrary to those adopted by these great men."

In America, as elsewhere, it had not been recognised before the Civil
War, even by the military authorities, that if armies are to be
handled with success they must be directed by trained strategists. No
Kriegsakademie or its equivalent existed in the United States, and
the officers whom common-sense induced to follow the advice of
Napoleon had to pursue their studies by themselves. To these the
campaigns of the great Emperor offered an epitome of all that had
gone before; the campaigns of Washington explained how the principles
of the art might be best applied to their own country, and Mexico had
supplied them with practical experience. Of the West Point graduates
there were many who had acquired from these sources a wide knowledge
of the art of generalship, and among them were no more earnest
students than the three Virginians, Lee, Jackson, and Johnston.

When Jackson accepted an appointment for the Military Institute, it
was with the avowed intention of training his intellect for war. In
his retirement at Lexington he had kept before his eyes the
possibility that he might some day be recalled to the Army. He had
already acquired such practical knowledge of his profession as the
United States service could afford. He had become familiar with the
characteristics of the regular soldier. He knew how to command, to
maintain discipline, and the regulations were at his fingers' ends. A
few years had been sufficient to teach him all that could be learned
from the routine of a regiment, as they had been sufficient to teach
Napoleon, Frederick, and Lee. But there remained over and above the
intellectual part of war, and with characteristic thoroughness he had
set himself to master it. His reward came quickly. The Valley
campaign practically saved Richmond. In a few short months the quiet
gentleman of Lexington became, in the estimation of both friend and
foe, a very thunderbolt of war; and his name, which a year previous
had hardly been known beyond the Valley, was already famous.

It is, perhaps, true that Johnston and Lee had a larger share in
Jackson's success than has been generally recognised. It was due to
Johnston that Jackson was retained in the Valley when McClellan moved
to the Peninsula; and his, too, was the fundamental idea of the
campaign, that the Federals in the Valley were to be prevented from
reinforcing the army which threatened Richmond. To Lee belongs still
further credit. From the moment he assumed command we find the
Confederate operations directed on a definite and well-considered
plan; a defensive attitude round Richmond, a vigorous offensive in
the Valley, leading to the dispersion of the enemy, and a Confederate
concentration on the Chickahominy. His operations were very bold.
When McClellan, with far superior numbers, was already within twenty
miles of Richmond, he had permitted Jackson to retain Ewell's 8000 in
the Valley, and he would have given him the brigades of Branch and
Mahone. From Lee, too, came the suggestion that a blow should be
struck at Banks, that he should be driven back to the Potomac, and
that the North should be threatened with invasion. From him, too, at
a moment when McClellan's breastworks could be actually seen from
Richmond, came the 7000 men under Whiting and Lawton, the news of
whose arrival in the Valley had spread such consternation amongst the
Federals. But it is to be remembered that Jackson viewed the
situation in exactly the same light as his superiors. The
instructions he received were exactly the instructions he would have
given had he been in command at Richmond; and it may be questioned
whether even he would have carried them out with such whole-hearted
vigour if he had not thoroughly agreed with every detail.

Lee's strategy was indeed remarkable. He knew McClellan and he knew
Lincoln. He knew that the former was over-cautious; he knew that the
latter was over-anxious. No sudden assault on the Richmond lines,
weak as they were, was to be apprehended, and a threat against
Washington was certain to have great results. Hence the audacity
which, at a moment apparently most critical, sent 17,000 of the best
troops in the Confederacy as far northward as Harper's Ferry, and, a
fortnight later, weakened the garrison of Richmond by 7000 infantry.
He was surely a great leader who, in the face of an overwhelming
enemy, dared assume so vast a responsibility. But it is to be
remembered that Lee made no suggestion whatever as to the manner in
which his ideas were to be worked out. Everything was left to
Jackson. The swift manoeuvres which surprised in succession his
various enemies emanated from himself alone. It was his brain that
conceived the march by Mechum's Station to M'Dowell, the march that
surprised Fremont and bewildered Banks. It was his brain that
conceived the rapid transfer of the Valley army from the one side of
the Massanuttons to the other, the march that surprised Kenly and
drove Banks in panic to the Potomac. It was his brain that conceived
the double victory of Cross Keys and Port Republic; and if Lee's
strategy was brilliant, that displayed by Jackson on the minor
theatre of war was no less masterly. The instructions he received at
the end of April, before he moved against Milroy, were simply to the
effect that a successful blow at Banks might have the happiest
results. But such a blow was not easy. Banks was strongly posted and
numerically superior to Jackson, while Fremont, in equal strength,
was threatening Staunton. Taking instant advantage of the separation
of the hostile columns, Jackson struck at Milroy, and having checked
Fremont, returned to the Valley to find Banks retreating. At this
moment he received orders from Lee to threaten Washington. Without an
instant's hesitation he marched northward. By May 28, had the
Federals received warning of his advance, they might have
concentrated 80,000 men at Strasburg and Front Royal; or, while Banks
was reinforced, McDowell might have moved on Gordonsville, cutting
Jackson's line of retreat on Richmond.

But Jackson took as little count of numbers as did Cromwell.
Concealing his march with his usual skill he dashed with his 16,000
men into the midst of his enemies. Driving Banks before him, and well
aware that Fremont and McDowell were converging in his rear, he
advanced boldly on Harper's Ferry, routed Saxton's outposts, and
remained for two days on the Potomac, with 62,000 Federals within a
few days' march. Then, retreating rapidly up the Valley, beneath the
southern peaks of the Massanuttons he turned fiercely at bay; and the
pursuing columns, mustering together nearly twice his numbers, were
thrust back with heavy loss at the very moment they were combining to
crush him.* (* "An operation which stamps him as a military genius of
the highest order." Lord Wolseley, North American Review volume 149
No. 2 page 166.) A week later he had vanished, and when he appeared
on the Chickahominy, Banks, Fremont, and McDowell were still guarding
the roads to Washington, and McClellan was waiting for McDowell.
175,000 men absolutely paralysed by 16,000! Only Napoleon's campaign
of 1814 affords a parallel to this extraordinary spectacle.* (* "These
brilliant successes appear to me models of their kind, both in
conception and execution. They should be closely studied by all
officers who wish to learn the art and science of war."--Ibid.)

Jackson's task was undoubtedly facilitated by the ignorance of
Lincoln and the incapacity of his political generals. But in
estimating his achievements, this ignorance and incapacity are only
of secondary importance. The historians do not dwell upon the
mistakes of Colli, Beaulieu, and Wurmser in 1796, but on the
brilliant resolution with which Napoleon took advantage of them; and
the salient features, both of the Valley Campaign and of that of
1796, are the untiring vigilance with which opportunities were looked
for, the skill with which they were detected, and the daring rapidity
with which they were seized.

History often unconsciously injures the reputation of great soldiers.
The more detailed the narrative, the less brilliant seems success,
the less excusable defeat. When we are made fully acquainted with the
dispositions of both sides, the correct solution of the problem,
strategical or tactical, is generally so plain that we may easily be
led to believe that it must needs have spontaneously suggested itself
to the victorious leader; and, as a natural corollary, that success
is due rather to force of will than to force of intellect; to
vigilance, energy, and audacity, rather than to insight and
calculation. It is asserted, for instance, by superficial critics
that both Wellington and Napoleon, in the campaign of 1815, committed
unpardonable errors. Undoubtedly, at first sight, it is inconceivable
that the one should have disregarded the probability of the French
invading Belgium by the Charleroi road, or that the other, on the
morning of the great battle, should never have suspected that Blucher
was close at hand. But the critic's knowledge of the situation is far
more ample and accurate than that of either commander. Had either
Wellington before Quatre Bras, or Napoleon on the fateful June 18
known what we know now, matters would have turned out very
differently. "If," said Frederick the Great, "we had exact
information of our enemy's dispositions, we should beat him every
time;" but exact information is never forthcoming. A general in the
field literally walks in darkness, and his success will be in
proportion to the facility with which his mental vision can pierce
the veil. His manoeuvres, to a greater or less degree, must always be
based on probabilities, for his most recent reports almost invariably
relate to events which, at best, are several hours old; and,
meanwhile, what has the enemy been doing? This it is the most
essential part of his business to discover, and it is a matter of
hard thinking and sound judgment. From the indications furnished by
his reports, and from the consideration of many circumstances, with
some of which he is only imperfectly acquainted, he must divine the
intentions of his opponent. It is not pretended that even the widest
experience and the finest intellect confer infallibility. But
clearness of perception and the power of deduction, together with the
strength of purpose which they create, are the fount and origin of
great achievements; and when we find a campaign in which they played
a predominant part, we may fairly rate it as a masterpiece of war. It
can hardly be disputed that these qualities played such a part on the
Shenandoah. For instance; when Jackson left the Valley to march
against Milroy, many things might have happened which would have
brought about disaster:--

1. Banks, who was reported to have 21,000 men at Harrisonburg, might
have moved on Staunton, joined hands with Milroy, and crushed Edward

2. Banks might have attacked Ewell's 8000 with superior numbers.

3. Fremont, if he got warning of Jackson's purpose, might have
reinforced Milroy, occupied a strong position, and requested Banks to
threaten or attack the Confederates in rear.

4. Fremont might have withdrawn his advanced brigade, and have
reinforced Banks from Moorefield.

5. Banks might have been reinforced by Blenker, of whose whereabouts
Jackson was uncertain.

6. Banks might have marched to join McDowell at Fredericksburg.

7. McClellan might have pressed Johnston so closely that a decisive
battle could not have been long delayed.

8. McDowell might have marched on Richmond, intervening between the
Valley army and the capital.

Such an array of possibilities would have justified a passive
attitude on Elk Run. A calculation of the chances, however, showed
Jackson that the dangers of action were illusory. "Never take counsel
of your fears," was a maxim often on his lips. Unlike many others, he
first made up his mind what he wanted to do, and then, and not till
then, did he consider what his opponents might do to thwart him. To
seize the initiative was his chief preoccupation, and in this case it
did not seem difficult to do so. He knew that Banks was
unenterprising. It was improbable that McDowell would advance until
McClellan was near Richmond, and McClellan was very slow. To prevent
Fremont getting an inkling of his design in time to cross it was not
impossible, and Lincoln's anxiety for Washington might be relied on
to keep Banks in the Valley.

It is true that Jackson's force was very small. But the manifestation
of military genius is not affected by numbers. The handling of masses
is a mechanical art, of which knowledge and experience are the key;
but it is the manner in which the grand principles of war are applied
which marks the great leader, and these principles may be applied as
resolutely and effectively with 10,000 men as with 100,000.

"In meditation," says Bacon, "all dangers should be seen; in
execution none, unless they are very formidable." It was on this
precept that Jackson acted. Not a single one of his manoeuvres but
was based on a close and judicial survey of the situation. Every risk
was weighed. Nothing was left to chance. "There was never a
commander," says his chief of the staff, "whose foresight was more
complete. Nothing emerged which had not been considered before in his
mind; no possibility was overlooked; he was never surprised."* (*
Dabney volume 1 page 76.) The character of his opponent, the morale
of the hostile troops, the nature of the ground, and the manner in
which physical features could be turned to account, were all matters
of the most careful consideration. He was a constant student of the
map, and his topographical engineer was one of the most important
officers on his staff. "It could readily be seen," writes Major
Hotchkiss, "that in the preparations he made for securing success he
had fully in mind what Napoleon had done under similar circumstances;
resembling Napoleon especially in this, that he was very particular
in securing maps, and in acquiring topographical information. He
furnished me with every facility that I desired for securing
topographical information and for making maps, allowing me a complete
transportation outfit for my exclusive use and sending men into the
enemy's country to procure copies of local maps when I expressed a
desire to have them. I do not think he had an accurate knowledge of
the Valley previous to the war. When I first reported to him for
duty, at the beginning of March 1862, he told me that he wanted "a
complete map of the entire Shenandoah Valley from Harper's Ferry to
Lexington, one showing every point of offence and defence," and to
that task I immediately addressed myself. As a rule he did not refer
to maps in the field, making his study of them in advance. He
undoubtedly had the power of retaining the topography of the country
in his imagination. He had spent his youth among the mountains, where
there were but few waggon roads but many bridle and foot paths. His
early occupation made it necessary for him to become familiar with
such intricate ways; and I think this had a very important bearing on
his ability to promptly recognise the topographical features of the
country, and to recall them whenever it became necessary to make use
of them. He was quick in comprehending topographical features. I made
it a point, nevertheless, to be always ready to give him a graphic
representation of any particular point of the region where operations
were going on, making a rapid sketch of the topography in his
presence, and using different coloured pencils for greater clearness
in the definition of surface features. The carefully prepared map
generally had too many points of detail, and did not sufficiently
emphasise features apparently insignificant, but from a military
standpoint most important. I may add that Jackson not only studied
the general maps of the country, but made a particular study of those
of any district where he expected to march or fight, constantly using
sketch maps made upon the ground to inform him as to portions of the
field of operations that did not immediately come under his own
observation. I often made rough sketches for him when on the march,
or during engagements, in answer to his requests for information."*
(* Letter to the author.)

It is little wonder that it should have been said by his soldiers
that "he knew every hole and corner of the Valley as if he had made
it himself."

But to give attention to topography was not all that Jackson had
learned from Napoleon. "As a strategist," says Dabney, "the first
Napoleon was undoubtedly his model. He had studied his campaigns
diligently, and he was accustomed to remark with enthusiasm upon the
evidences of his genius. "Napoleon," he said, "was the first to show
what an army could be made to accomplish. He had shown what was the
value of time as an element of strategic combination, and that good
troops, if well cared for, could be made to march twenty-five miles
daily, and win battles besides." And he had learned more than this.
"We must make this campaign," he said at the beginning of 1868, "an
exceedingly active one. Only thus can a weaker country cope with a
stronger; it must make up in activity what it lacks in strength. A
defensive campaign can only be made successful by taking the
aggressive at the proper time. Napoleon never waited for his
adversary to become fully prepared, but struck him the first blow.""

It would perhaps be difficult, in the writings of Napoleon, to find a
passage which embodies his conception of war in terms as definite as
these; but no words could convey it more clearly. It is sometimes
forgotten that Napoleon was often outnumbered at the outset of a
campaign. It was not only in the campaigns of Italy, of Leipsic, of
1814, and of Waterloo, that the hostile armies were larger than his
own. In those of Ulm, Austerlitz, Eckmuhl, and Dresden, he was
numerically inferior on the whole theatre of war; but while the
French troops were concentrated under a single chief, the armies of
the Allies were scattered over a wide area, and unable to support
each other. Before they could come together, Napoleon, moving with
the utmost rapidity, struck the first blow, and they were defeated in
succession. The first principle of war is to concentrate superior
force at the decisive point, that is, upon the field of battle. But
it is exceedingly seldom that by standing still, and leaving the
initiative to the enemy, that this principle can be observed, for a
numerically inferior force, if it once permits its enemy to
concentrate, can hardly hope for success. True generalship is,
therefore, "to make up in activity for lack of strength; to strike
the enemy in detail, and overthrow his columns in succession. And the
highest art of all is to compel him to disperse his army, and then to
concentrate superior force against each fraction in turn."

It is such strategy as this that "gains the ends of States and makes
men heroes." Napoleon did not discover it. Every single general who
deserves to be entitled great has used it. Frederick, threatened by
Austria, France, Russia, Saxony, and Sweden, used it in self-defence,
and from the Seven Years' War the little kingdom of Prussia emerged
as a first-class Power. It was such strategy which won back the
Peninsula; not the lines of Torres Vedras, but the bold march
northwards to Vittoria.* (* "In six weeks, Wellington marched with
100,000 men six hundred miles, passed six great rivers, gained one
decisive battle, invested two fortresses, and drove 120,000 veteran
troops from Spain." The War in the Peninsula, Napier volume 5 page
132.) It was on the same lines that Lee and Jackson acted. Lee, in
compelling the Federals to keep their columns separated, manoeuvred
with a skill which has seldom been surpassed; Jackson, falling as it
were from the skies into the midst of his astonished foes, struck
right and left before they could combine, and defeated in detail
every detachment which crossed his path.

It is when regarded in connection with the operations of the main
armies that the Valley campaign stands out in its true colours; but,
at the same time, even as an isolated incident, it is in the highest
degree interesting. It has been compared, and not inaptly, with the
Italian campaign of 1796. And it may even be questioned whether, in
some respects, it was not more brilliant. The odds against the
Confederates were far greater than against the French. Jackson had to
deal with a homogeneous enemy, with generals anxious to render each
other loyal support, and not with the contingents of different
States. His marches were far longer than Napoleon's. The theatre of
war was not less difficult. His troops were not veterans, but, in
great part, the very rawest of recruits. The enemy's officers and
soldiers were not inferior to his own; their leaders were at least
equal in capacity to Colli, Beaulieu, and Alvinzi, and the statesmen
who directed them were not more purblind than the Aulic Council.
Moreover, Jackson was merely the commander of a detached force, which
might at any moment be required at Richmond. The risks which Napoleon
freely accepted he could not afford. He dared not deliver battle
unless he were certain of success, and his one preoccupation was to
lose as few men as possible. But be this as it may, in the secrecy of
the Confederate movements, the rapidity of the marches, and the
skilful use of topographical features, the Valley campaign bears
strong traces of the Napoleonic methods. Seldom has the value of
these methods been more forcibly illustrated. Three times was
McDowell to have marched to join McClellan: first, at the beginning
of April, when he was held back by Kernstown; second, on May 26, when
he was held back by Front Royal and Winchester; third, on June 25,
when he was held back by Jackson's disappearance after Port Republic.
Above all, the campaign reveals a most perfect appreciation of the
surest means of dealing with superior numbers. "In my personal
intercourse with Jackson," writes General Imboden, "in the early part
of the war, he often said that there were two things never to be lost
sight of by a military commander. "Always mystify, mislead, and
surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome
him, never give up the pursuit as long as your men have strength to
follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken,
and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is,
never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible manoeuvering you
can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of
your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time, and a
small army may thus destroy a large one in detail, and repeated
victory will make it invincible."* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2
page 297.) And again: "To move swiftly, strike vigorously, and secure
all the fruits of victory, is the secret of successful war.""

These maxims were the outcome of his studies, "drawn absolutely and
merely," says Lord Wolseley, "from his knowledge of war, as learned
from the great leaders of former days; "* (* North American Review
volume 149 page 168.) and if he made war by rule, as he had regulated
his conduct as a cadet, it can hardly be denied that his rules were
of the soundest. They are a complete summary of the tactics which
wrought such havoc in the Valley. The order in which they are placed
is interesting. "To mystify, mislead, and surprise," is the first
precept. How thoroughly it was applied! The measures by which his
adversaries were to be deceived were as carefully thought out as the
maps had been closely studied. The troops moved almost as often by
country roads and farm tracks as by the turnpikes. The longer route,
even when time was of importance, was often preferred, if it was well
concealed, to the shorter. No precaution, however trivial, that might
prevent information reaching the enemy was neglected. In order that
he might give his final instructions to Colonel Munford before
marching to Richmond, he told that officer to meet him at ten o'clock
at night in Mount Sidney. "I will be on my horse," he wrote, "at the
north end of the town, so you need not inquire after me."* (* O.R.
volume 12 part 3 page 914.) "Le bon general ordinaire" would have
scoffed at the atmosphere of mystery which enveloped the Confederate
camp. The march from Elk Run Valley to Port Republic, with its
accompaniments of continuous quagmire and dreary bivouacs, he would
have ridiculed as a most useless stratagem. The infinite pains with
which Jackson sought to conceal, even from his most trusted staff
officers, his movements, his intentions, and his thoughts, a
commander less thorough would have pronounced useless. The long night
ride to Richmond, on June 22, with its untoward delays and provoking
contretemps, sounds like an excess of precaution which was absolutely
pedantic.* (* He instructed the orderly that accompanied him, and who
knew the roads, to call him "Colonel') But war, according to
Napoleon, is made up of accidents. The country was full of spies; the
Southern newspapers were sometimes indiscreet; and the simple fact
that Jackson had been seen near Richmond would have warned McClellan
that his right wing was in jeopardy. Few men would have taken such
infinite trouble to hide the departure from the Valley and the march
across Virginia to attack McClellan. But soldiers of experience,
alive to the full bearing of seemingly petty details, appreciate his
skill.* (* "The manner," says Lord Wolseley, "in which he thus
mystified his enemy regarding this most important movement is a
masterpiece." North American Review volume 149 pages 166 and 167.)
According to the dictum of Napoleon, "there are no such things as
trifles in war."

It was not, however, on such expedients that Jackson principally
relied to keep his enemy in the dark. The use he made of his cavalry
is perhaps the most brilliant tactical feature of the campaign.
Ashby's squadrons were the means whereby the Federals were mystified.
Not only was a screen established which perfectly concealed the
movements of the Valley army, but constant demonstrations, at far
distant points, alarmed and bewildered the Federal commanders. In his
employment of cavalry Jackson was in advance of his age. His patrols
were kept out two or three marches to front and flank; neither by day
nor by night were they permitted to lose touch of the enemy; and thus
no movement could take place without their knowledge. Such tactics
had not been seen since the days of Napoleon. The Confederate
horsemen in the Valley were far better handled than those of France
or Austria in 1859, of Prussia or Austria in 1866, of France in 1870,
of England, France, or Russia in the Crimea.

In the flank march on Sebastopol the hostile armies passed within a
few miles, in an open country, without either of them being aware of
the proximity of the other, and the English headquarter staff almost
rode into a Russian baggage-train. At Solferino and at Sadowa, armies
which were counted by hundreds of thousands encamped almost within
sight of each other's watch-fires, without the slightest suspicion
that the enemy lay over the next ridge. The practice of Napoleon had
been forgotten. The great cloud of horsemen which, riding sometimes a
hundred miles to the front, veiled the march of the Grand Army had
vanished from memory. The vast importance ascribed by the Emperor to
procuring early information of his enemy and hiding his own movements
had been overlooked; and it was left to an American soldier to revive
his methods.

The application of Jackson's second precept, "to hurl your own force
on the weakest part of the enemy's," was made possible by his
vigorous application of the first. The Federals, mystified and misled
by demonstrations of the cavalry, and unable to procure information,
never knew at what point they should concentrate, and support
invariably came too late. Jackson's tactical successes were achieved
over comparatively small forces. Except at Cross Keys, and there he
only intended to check Fremont for the moment, he never encountered
more than 10,000 men on any single field. No great victory, like
Austerlitz or Salamanca, was won over equal numbers. No
Chancellorsville, where a huge army was overthrown by one scarce half
the size, is reckoned amongst the triumphs of the Valley campaign.
But it is to be remembered that Jackson was always outnumbered, and
outnumbered heavily, on the theatre of war; and if he defeated his
enemies in detail, their overthrow was not less decisive than if it
had been brought about at one time and at one place. The fact that
they were unable to combine their superior numbers before the blow
fell is in itself the strongest testimony to his ability. "How
often," says Napier, "have we not heard the genius of Buonaparte
slighted, and his victories talked of as destitute of merit, because,
at the point of attack, he was superior in numbers to his enemies!
This very fact, which has been so often converted into a sort of
reproach, constitutes his greatest and truest praise. He so directed
his attack as at once to divide his enemy, and to fall with the mass
of his own forces upon a point where their division, or the
distribution of their army, left them unable to resist him. It is not
in man to defeat armies by the breath of his mouth; nor was
Buonaparte commissioned, like Gideon, to confound and destroy a host
with three hundred men. He knew that everything depended ultimately
upon physical superiority; and his genius was shown in this, that,
though outnumbered on the whole, he was always superior to his
enemies at the decisive point."*

(* The following table, of which the idea is borrowed from The
Principles of Strategy, by Captain Bigelow, U.S.A., may be found
interesting. Under the heading "Strategic" appear the numbers
available on the theatre of operations; under the heading "Tactical"
the numbers present on the field of battle. See also note at the end
of the volume.

Federal 30,000 2,500
Confederate 17,000 6,000
Federal 60,000 7,500
Confederate 16,000 16,000
Cross Keys
Federal 23,000 12,750
Confederate 13,000 8,000
Port Republic
Federal 22,000 4,500
Confederate 12,700 6,000

The material results of the Valley campaign were by no means
inconsiderable. 8500 prisoners were either paroled or sent to
Richmond. 3500 Federals were killed or wounded. An immense quantity
of stores was captured, and probably as much destroyed. 9 guns were
taken and over 10,000 rifles, while the loss of the Confederates was
no more than 2500 killed and wounded, 600 prisoners, and 3 guns. It
may be added that the constant surprises, together with the
successive conflict with superior numbers, had the worst effect on
the morale of the Federal soldiers. The troops commanded by Fremont,
Shields, Banks, Saxton, and Geary were all infected. Officers
resigned and men deserted. On the least alarm there was a decided
tendency to "stampede." The generals thought only of retreat.
Fremont, after Cross Keys, did not think that his men would stand,
and many of his men declared that it was "only murder" to fight
without reinforcements.* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 402.)

When to those results is added the strategical effect of the
campaign, it can hardly be denied that the success he achieved was
out of all proportion to Jackson's strength. Few generals have done
so much with means so small. Not only were the Valley troops
comparatively few in numbers, but they were volunteers, and
volunteers of a type that was altogether novel. Even in the War of
the Revolution many of the regimental officers, and indeed many of
the soldiers, were men who had served in the Indian and French wars
under the English flag. But there were not more than half a dozen
regular officers in the whole Army of the Valley. Except Jackson
himself, and his chief of artillery, not one of the staff had more
than a year's service. Twelve months previous several of the
brigadiers had been civilians. The regimental officers were as green
as the men; and although military offences were few, the bonds of
discipline were slight. When the march to M'Dowell was begun, which
was to end five weeks later at Port Republic, a considerable number
of the so-called "effectives" had only been drilled for a few hours.
The cavalry on parade was little better than a mob; on the line of
march they kept or left the ranks as the humour took them. It is true
that the Federals were hardly more efficient. But Jackson's
operations were essentially offensive, and offensive operations, as
was shown at Bull Run, are ill-suited to raw troops. Attack cannot be
carried to a triumphant issue unless every fraction of the force
co-operates with those on either hand; and co-operation is hardly to
be expected from inexperienced officers. Moreover, offensive
operations, especially when a small force is manoeuvring against the
fraction of a larger, depend for success on order, rapidity, and
endurance; and it is in these qualities, as a rule, that raw troops
are particularly deficient. Yet Jackson, like Napoleon at Ulm, might
have boasted with truth that he had "destroyed the enemy merely by
marches," and his men accomplished feats of which the hardiest
veterans might well be proud.

From April 29 to June 5, that is, in thirty-eight days, they marched
four hundred miles, fought three battles and numerous combats, and
were victorious in all. Several of the marches exceeded twenty-five
miles a day; and in retreat, from the Potomac to Port Republic, the
army made one hundred and four miles between the morning of May 30
and the night of June 5, that is, fifteen miles daily without a rest
day intervening. This record, if we take into consideration the
infamous roads, is remarkable; and it well may be asked by what means
these half-trained troops were enabled to accomplish such a feat?* (*
"Campaigning in France," says General Sheridan, who was with the
Prussian Headquarter Staff in 1870, "that is, the marching, camping,
and subsisting of an army, is an easy matter, very unlike anything we
had in the War of the Rebellion. To repeat: the country is rich,
beautiful, and densely populated, subsistence abundant, and the roads
all macadamised highways; thus the conditions are altogether
different from those existing with us...I can but leave to conjecture
how the Germans would have got along on bottomless roads--often none
at all--through the swamps and quicksands of Northern
Virginia."--Memoirs. volume 2 page 450.)

Jackson's rules for marching have been preserved. "He never broke
down his men by long-continued movement. He rested the whole column
very often, but only for a few minutes at a time. He liked to see the
men lie flat on the ground to rest, and would say, "A man rests all
over when he lies down.""* (* Battles and Leaders volume 2 pages 297,
298.) Nor did he often call upon his troops for extraordinary
exertions. In the period between his departure from Elk Run Mountain
to the battle of Port Republic there were only four series of forced
marches.* (* From April 17 to April 19, when he moved to Elk Run
Valley; May 6 to May 8, when he moved against Milroy; May 18 to May
25, when he moved against Banks; and May 29 to June 1, when he passed
south between Fremont and Shields.) "The hardships of forced
marches," he said, "are often more painful than the dangers of
battle." It was only, in short, when he intended a surprise, or when
a rapid retreat was imperative, that he sacrificed everything to
speed. The troops marched light, carrying only rifles, blankets,
haversacks, and ammunition. When long distances were to be covered,
those men who still retained their knapsacks were ordered to leave
them behind. No heavy trains accompanied the army. The ambulances and
ammunition waggons were always present; but the supply waggons were
often far in rear. In their haversacks the men carried several days'
rations; and when these were consumed they lived either on the
farmers, or on the stores they had captured from the enemy.

It is not to be supposed, however, that the ranks remained full. "I
had rather," said Jackson, "lose one man in marching than five in
fighting," and to this rule he rigorously adhered. He never gave the
enemy warning by a deliberate approach along the main roads; and if
there was a chance of effecting a surprise, or if the enemy was
already flying, it mattered little how many men fell out. And fall
out they did, in large numbers. Between May 17 and the battle of
Cross Keys the army was reduced from 16,500 men to 18,000. Not more
than 500 had been killed or wounded, so there were no less than 3000
absentees. Many were footsore and found no place in the ambulances.
Many were sick; others on detachment; but a large proportion had
absented themselves without asking leave. Two days after Winchester,
in a letter to Ewell, Jackson writes that "the evil of straggling has
become enormous."

Such severe exertion as the march against Kenly, the pursuit of
Banks, and the retreat from the Potomac, would have told their tale
upon the hardiest veterans. When the German armies, suddenly changing
direction from west to north, pushed on to Sedan by forced marches,
large numbers of the infantry succumbed to pure exhaustion. When the
Light Division, in 1818, pressing forward after Sauroren to intercept
the French retreat, marched nineteen consecutive hours in very sultry
weather, and over forty miles of mountain roads, "many men fell and
died convulsed and frothing at the mouth, while others, whose spirit
and strength had never before been quelled, leant on their muskets
and muttered in sullen tones that they yielded for the first time."*
(* The War in the Peninsula, Napier volume 5 page 244.)

But the men that fell out on the march to Sedan and in the passes of
the Pyrenees were physically incapable of further effort. They were
not stragglers in the true sense of the term; and in an army broken
to discipline straggling on the line of march is practically unknown.
The sickly and feeble may fall away, but every sound man may
confidently be relied upon to keep his place. The secret of full
ranks is good officers and strict discipline; and the most marked
difference between regular troops and those hastily organised is
this--with the former the waste of men will be small, with the latter


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