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Title: Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War
Author: Henderson, G. F. R., 1854-1903
Language: English
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Before the great Republic of the West had completed a century of
independent national existence, its political fabric was subjected to
the strain of a terrible internecine war. That the true cause of
conflict was the antagonism between the spirit of Federalism and the
theory of "States' Rights" is very clearly explained in the following
pages, and the author exactly expresses the feeling with which most
Englishmen regard the question of Secession, when he implies that had
he been a New Englander he would have fought to the death to preserve
the Union, while had he been born in Virginia he would have done as
much in defence of a right the South believed inalienable. The war
thus brought about dragged on its weary length from the spring of
1861 to the same season of 1865. During its progress reputations were
made that will live for ever in American history, and many remarkable
men came to the front. Among these not the least prominent was
"Stonewall Jackson," who to the renown of a great soldier and
unselfish patriot added the brighter fame of a Christian hero; and to
those who would know what manner of man this Stonewall Jackson was,
and why he was so universally revered, so beloved, so trusted by his
men, I can cordially recommend Colonel Henderson's delightful
volumes. From their perusal I have derived real pleasure and sound
instruction. They have taught me much; they have made me think still
more; and I hope they may do the same for many others in the British
Army. They are worth the closest study, for few military writers have
possessed Colonel Henderson's grasp of tactical and strategical
principles, or his knowledge of the methods which have controlled
their application by the most famous soldiers, from Hannibal to Von
Moltke. Gifted with a rare power of describing not only great
military events but the localities where they occurred, he places
clearly before his readers, in logical sequence, the circumstances
which brought them about. He has accomplished, too, the difficult
task of combining with a brilliant and critical history of a great
war the life-story of a great commander, of a most singular and
remarkable man. The figure, the character, the idiosyncrasies of the
famous Virginian, as well as the lofty motives which influenced him
throughout, are most sympathetically portrayed.

There have been few more fitted by natural instincts, by education,
by study, and by self-discipline to become leaders of men than
Stonewall Jackson. From the day he joined that admirable school at
West Point he may be said to have trained himself mentally, morally,
and physically, for the position to which he aspired, and which it
would seem he always believed he would reach. Shy as a lad, reserved
as a man, speaking little but thinking much, he led his own life,
devouring the experiences of great men, as recorded in military
history, in order that when his time came he should be capable of
handling his troops as they did. A man of very simple tastes and
habits, but of strong religious principles, drawn directly from the
Bible; a child in purity; a child in faith; the Almighty always in
his thoughts, his stay in trouble, his guide in every difficulty,
Jackson's individuality was more striking and more complete than that
of all others who played leading parts in the great tragedy of
Secession. The most reckless and irreligious of the Confederate
soldiers were silent in his presence, and stood awestruck and abashed
before this great God-fearing man; and even in the far-off Northern
States the hatred of the formidable "rebel" was tempered by an
irrepressible admiration of his piety, his sincerity, and his
resolution. The passions then naturally excited have now calmed down,
and are remembered no more by a reunited and chivalrous nation. With
that innate love of virtue and real worth which has always
distinguished the American people, there has long been growing up,
even among those who were the fiercest foes of the South, a feeling
of love and reverence for the memory of this great and true-hearted
man of war, who fell in what he firmly believed to be a sacred cause.
The fame of Stonewall Jackson is no longer the exclusive property of
Virginia and the South; it has become the birthright of every man
privileged to call himself an American.

Colonel Henderson has made a special study of the Secession War, and
it would be difficult, in my opinion, to find a man better qualified
in every respect for the task he has undertaken. I may express the
hope that he will soon give us the history of the war from the death
of Stonewall Jackson to the fall of Richmond. Extending as it did
over a period of four years, and marked by achievements which are a
lasting honour to the Anglo-Saxon name, the struggle of the South for
independence is from every point of view one of the most important
events in the second half of the century, and it should not be left
half told. Until the battle where Stonewall Jackson fell, the tide of
success was flowing, and had borne the flag of the new Confederacy
within sight of the gates of Washington. Colonel Henderson deals only
with what I think may be called the period of Southern victories, for
the tide began to ebb when Jackson fell; and those who read his
volumes will, I am convinced, look forward eagerly to his story of
the years which followed, when Grant, with the skill of a practised
strategist, threw a net round the Confederate capital, drawing it
gradually together until he imprisoned its starving garrison, and
compelled Lee, the ablest commander of his day, to surrender at

But the application of strategical and tactical principles, and the
example of noble lives, are not the only or even the most valuable
lessons of great wars. There are lessons which concern nations rather
than individuals; and there are two to be learnt from the Secession
War which are of peculiar value to both England and the United
States, whose armies are comparatively small and raised by voluntary
enlistment. The first is the necessity of maintaining at all times
(for it is impossible to predict what tomorrow may have in store for
us) a well-organised standing army in the highest state of
efficiency, and composed of thoroughly-trained and full-grown men.
This army to be large enough for our military requirements, and
adapted to the character, the habits, and the traditions of the
people. It is not necessary that the whole force should be actually
serving during peace: one half of it, provided it is periodically
drilled and exercised, can be formed into a Reserve; the essential
thing is that it should be as perfect a weapon as can be forged.

The second lesson is that to hand over to civilians the
administration and organisation of the army, whether in peace or in
war, or to allow them to interfere in the selection of officers for
command or promotion, is most injurious to efficiency; while, during
war, to allow them, no matter how high their political capacity, to
dictate to commanders in the field any line of conduct, after the
army has once received its commission, is simply to ensure disaster.

The first of these lessons is brought home to us by the opening
events of this unreasonably protracted war. As I have elsewhere said,
most military students will admit that had the United States been
able, early in 1861, to put into the field, in addition to their
volunteers, one Army Corps of regular troops, the war would have
ended in a few months. An enormous expenditure of life and money, as
well as a serious dislocation and loss of trade, would have been thus
avoided. Never have the evil consequences which follow upon the
absence of an adequate and well-organised army been more forcibly

But, alas! when this lesson is preached in a country governed
alternately by rival political parties, and when there is no
immediate prospect of national danger, it falls on deaf ears. The
demands made by the soldiers to put the army on a thoroughly
efficient footing are persistently ignored, for the necessary means
are almost invariably required for some other object, more popular at
the moment and in a parliamentary--or party--sense more useful. The
most scathing comment on such a system of administration is furnished
in the story told by Colonel Henderson. The fearful trials to which
the United States were subjected expose the folly and self-deception
of which even well-meaning party leaders are too often capable.
Ministers bluster about fighting and yet refuse to spend enough money
on the army to make it fit for use; and on both sides of the Atlantic
the lessons taught by the Peninsula, the Crimea, and the Secession
War are but seldom remembered.

The pleasing notion that, whenever war comes, money can obtain for
the nation all that it requires is still, it would seem, an article
of at least lip-faith with the politicians of the English-speaking
race throughout the world. Gold will certainly buy a nation powder,
pills, and provisions; but no amount of wealth, even when supported
by a patriotic willingness to enlist, can buy discipline, training,
and skilful leading. Without these there can be no such thing as an
efficient army, and success in the field against serious opposition
is merely the idle dream of those who know not war.

If any nation could improvise an army at short notice it would be the
United States, for its men, all round, are more hardy, more
self-reliant, and quicker to learn than those of older communities.
But, notwithstanding this advantage, both in 1861 and 1898 the United
States failed to create the thoroughly efficient armies so suddenly
required, and in both instances the unnecessary sufferings of the
private soldier were the price paid for the weakness and folly of the
politicians. In 1861 the Governors of the several Northern States
were ordered to call for volunteers to enlist for ninety days, the
men electing their own officers. It was generally believed throughout
the North that all Southern resistance would collapse before the
great armies that would thus be raised. But the troops sent out to
crush the rebellion, when they first came under fire, were soldiers
only in outward garb, and at Bull Run, face to face with shot and
shell, they soon lapsed into the condition of a terrified rabble, and
ran away from another rabble almost equally demoralised; and this,
not because they were cowards, for they were of the same breed as the
young regular soldiers who retreated from the same field in such
excellent order, but because they neither understood what discipline
was nor the necessity for it, and because the staff and regimental
officers, with few exceptions, were untrained and inexperienced.

Mr. Davis, having prevented the Southern army from following up the
victory at Bull Run, gave the Northern States some breathing time.
Mr. Lincoln was thus able to raise a new army of over 200,000 men for
the projected advance on Richmond.

The new army was liberally supplied with guns, pontoons, balloons,
hospitals, and waggons; but, with the exception of a few officers
spared from the regular army, it was without trained soldiers to lead
it, or staff officers to move and to administer its Divisions. It
must be admitted, I think, that General McClellan did all that a man
could do in the way of training this huge mass. But when the day came
for it to move forward, it was still unfit for an offensive campaign
against a regular army. To the practised eye of an able and
experienced soldier who accompanied McClellan, the Federal host was
an army only in name. He likened it to a giant lying prone upon the
earth, in appearance a Hercules, but wanting the bone, the muscle,
and the nervous organisation necessary to set the great frame in
motion. Even when the army was landed in the Peninsula, although the
process of training and organisation had been going on for over six
months, it was still a most unwieldy force. Fortunately for the
Union, the Confederate army, except as regards the superior leaders
and the cavalry, was hardly more efficient.

The United States, fully realising their need of a larger regular
army, are now on the point of increasing their existing force to
treble its present strength. Their troops, like our own, are raised
by voluntary enlistment for a short period of service with the
colours. England has always very great difficulty in filling the
ranks even with undeveloped youths. The United States obtain as many
full-grown men as they require, because they have the wisdom to pay
their men well, on a scale corresponding to the market rate of wages.
Here they are fortunate; but men are not everything, and I will still
draw the moral that a nation is more than blind when it deliberately
elects to entrust its defence to an army that is not as perfect as
training and discipline can make it, that is not led by practised
officers, staff and regimental, and that is not provided with a
powerful and efficient artillery. Overwhelming disaster is in store
for such nation if it be attacked by a large regular army; and when
it falls there will be none to pity. To hang the ministers who led
them astray, and who believed they knew better than any soldier how
the army should be administered, will be but poor consolation to an
angry and deluded people.

Let me now dwell briefly upon the second of the two great national
lessons taught by the Secession War. I shall say nothing here upon
civilian meddling with army organisation and with the selection of
officers for command, but I wish particularly to point out the result
of interference on the part of a legislative assembly or minister
with the plans and dispositions of the generals commanding in the
field. Take first the notorious instance of Mr. Lincoln's
interference with McClellan in the spring of 1862. McClellan, who was
selected to command the army which was to capture Richmond and end
the war, was a soldier of known ability, and, in my opinion, if he
had not been interfered with by the Cabinet in Washington, he would
probably have succeeded. It is true, as Colonel Henderson has said,
that he made a mistake in not playing up to Lincoln's
susceptibilities with regard to the safety of the Federal capital.
But Lincoln made a far greater mistake in suddenly reducing
McClellan's army by 40,000 men, and by removing Banks from his
jurisdiction, when the plan of campaign had been approved by the
Cabinet, and it was already too late to change it. It is possible,
considering the political situation, that the garrison of Washington
was too small, and it was certainly inefficient; but the best way of
protecting Washington was to give McClellan the means of advancing
rapidly upon Richmond. Such an advance would have made a Confederate
counterstroke against the Northern capital, or even a demonstration,
impossible. But to take away from McClellan 40,000 men, the very
force with which he intended to turn the Yorktown lines and drive the
enemy back on Richmond, and at the same time to isolate Banks in the
Shenandoah Valley, was simply playing into the enemy's hands. What
Lincoln did not see was that to divide the Federal army into three
portions, working on three separate lines, was to run a far greater
risk than would be incurred by leaving Washington weakly garrisoned.
I cannot bring myself to believe that he in the least realised all
that was involved in changing a plan of operations so vast as

Again, look at the folly of which Mr. Benjamin, the Confederate
Secretary of War, was guilty at the same period. The reader should
carefully study the chapter in which Colonel Henderson describes
Stonewall Jackson's resignation of his command when his arrangements
in the field were altered, without his cognizance, by the Secretary
of War.

I should like to emphasise his words: "That the soldier," he says,
"is but the servant of the statesman, as war is but an instrument of
diplomacy, no educated soldier will deny. Politics must always
exercise a supreme influence on strategy; yet it cannot be gainsaid
that interference with the commander in the field is fraught with the
gravest danger."* (* Volume 1 chapter 7.)

The absolute truth of this remark is proved, not only by many
instances in his own volumes, but by the history of war in all ages,
and the principle for which Jackson contended when he sent in his
resignation would seem too well founded to be open to the slightest
question. Yet there are those who, oblivious of the fact that neglect
of this principle has been always responsible for protracted wars,
for useless slaughter, and costly failures, still insist on the
omniscience of statesmen; who regard the protest of the soldier as
the mere outcome of injured vanity, and believe that politics must
suffer unless the politician controls strategy as well as the
finances. Colonel Henderson's pages supply an instructive commentary
on these ideas. In the first three years of the Secession War, when
Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton practically controlled the movements of
the Federal forces, the Confederates were generally successful.
Further, the most glorious epoch of the Confederacy was the critical
period of 1862, when Lee was allowed to exercise the full authority
of Commander-in-Chief; and lastly, the Northern prospects did not
begin to brighten until Mr. Lincoln, in March 1864, with that
unselfish intelligence which distinguished him, abdicated his
military functions in favour of General Grant. And yet while Lee and
Grant had a free hand over the military resources of their respective
nations the political situation suffered no harm whatever, no
extravagant demands were made upon the exchequer, and the Government
derived fresh strength from the successes of the armies.

The truth is that a certain class of civilians cannot rid themselves
of the suspicion that soldiers are consumed by an inordinate and
bloodthirsty ambition. They cannot understand that a man brought up
from his youth to render loyal obedience is less likely than most
others to run counter to constituted authority. They will not see
that a soldier's pride in his own army and in the manhood of his own
race tends to make him a devoted patriot. They do not realise that a
commander's familiarity with war, whether gained by study or
experience, must, unless his ability be limited, enable him to
accommodate his strategy to political exigencies. Nor will they admit
that he can possess a due sense of economy, although none knows
better than an educated soldier the part played in war by a sound and
thrifty administration of the national resources.

The soldier, on the other hand, knows that his art is most difficult,
that to apply strategical principles correctly experience, study,
knowledge of men, and an intimate acquaintance with questions of
supply, transport, and the movement of masses, are absolutely
necessary. He is aware that what may seem matters of small moment to
the civilian--such as the position of a brigade, the strength of a
garrison, the command of a detachment--may affect the whole course of
a campaign; and consequently, even if he had not the historical
examples of Aulic Councils and other such assemblies to warn him, he
would rebel against the meddling of amateurs. Let it not be forgotten
that an enormous responsibility rests on the shoulders of a commander
in the field: the honour of army committed to his charge, the lives
of the brave men under him, perhaps the existence of his country; and
that failure, even if he can plead that he only obeyed the orders of
his Government, or that he was supplied with inadequate means, will
be laid at his door. McDowell received no mercy after Bull Run,
although he had protested against attacking the Confederates; and it
was long before the reputation of Sir John Moore was cleared in the
eyes of the English people.

Such, to my mind, are the most important lessons to be drawn from
this history of the first period of the Secession War. But it is not
alone to draw attention to the teaching on these points that I have
acceded, as an old friend, to Colonel Henderson's request that I
should write an Introduction to his second edition. In these days of
sensational literature and superficial study there is a prejudice
against the story that fills more than one volume. But the reader who
opens these pages is so carried away by the intense interest of the
subject, clothed as it is in forcible and yet graceful language, that
he closes them with regret; and I am only too glad to ask others to
share the very great pleasure I have myself enjoyed in reading them.
I know of no book which will add more largely to the soldier's
knowledge of strategy and the art of war; and the ordinary reader
will find in this Life of Stonewall Jackson, true and accurate as it
is, all the charm and fascination of a great historical romance.


To write the life of a great general, to analyse his methods of war
and discipline, to appraise the weight of his responsibilities, and
to measure the extent of his capacity, it would seem essential that
the experience of the writer should have run on parallel lines. An
ordinary soldier, therefore, who notwithstanding his lack of such
experience attempts the task, may be justly accused of something
worse than presumption. But if we were to wait for those who are
really qualified to deal with the achievements of famous captains, we
should, as a rule, remain in ignorance of the lessons of their lives,
for men of the requisite capacity are few in a generation. So the
task, if it is to be done at all, must perforce be left to those who
have less knowledge but more leisure.

In the present case, however, the mass of contemporary testimony is
so large that any initial disadvantages, I venture to think, will be
less conspicuous than they might otherwise have been. The Official
Records of the War of the Rebellion contain every dispatch, letter,
and message, public or confidential, which has been preserved; and in
the daily correspondence of the generals on both sides, together with
the voluminous reports of officers of all grades, the tale of the
campaigns is written so plain that none can fail to read. Again,
Stonewall Jackson's military career, either in full or in part, has
been narrated by more than one of his staff officers, whose
intercourse with him was necessarily close and constant; and, in
addition, the literature of the war abounds with articles and
sketches contributed by soldiers of all ranks who, at one time or
another, served under his command. It has been my privilege,
moreover, to visit the battle-fields of Virginia with men who rode by
his side when he won his victories, to hear on the spot the
description of his manoeuvres, of his bearing under fire, and of his
influence over his troops. I can thus make fairly certain that my
facts are accurate. But in endeavouring to ascertain the strength of
the armies at different periods I have been less fortunate. For the
most part I have rested on the Official Records* (* Referred to in
the text as O.R.); it is to be regretted, however, that, so far as
the Confederates are concerned, there are several gaps in the series
of returns, and I have found it extremely difficult to arrive at a
fair estimate of the approximate strength at any period within these
intervals. For instance, the numbers at Lee's disposal at the end of
August 1862 rest on the basis of a return dated July 20, and in the
meantime several regiments and batteries had been transferred
elsewhere, while others had been added. I have done my best, however,
to trace all such changes; and where officers and employed men are
not included in the returns, I have been careful to add a normal
percentage to the official totals.

As regards Jackson's place in history, my labours have been greatly
facilitated by the published opinions of many distinguished
soldiers--American, English, French, and German; and I have
endeavoured, at every step, as the surest means of arriving at a just
conclusion, to compare his conduct of military affairs with that of
the acknowledged masters of war. His private life, from his boyhood
onwards, has been so admirably depicted by his widow* (* Memoirs of
Stonewall Jackson. The Prentice Press, Louisville, Kentucky.), that I
have had nothing more to do than to select from her pages such
incidents and letters as appear best suited to illustrate his
character, and to add a few traits and anecdotes communicated by his
personal friends.

Several biographies have already been published, and that written by
the late Reverend R.L. Dabney, D.D., sometime Major in the
Confederate army, and Jackson's Chief of the Staff for several
months, is so complete and powerful that the need of a successor is
not at once apparent. This work, however, was brought out before the
war had ceased, and notwithstanding his intimate relations with his
hero, it was impossible for the author to attain that fulness and
precision of statement which the study of the Official Records can
alone ensure. Nor was Dr. Dabney a witness of all the events he so
vigorously described. It is only fitting, however, that I should
acknowledge the debt I owe to a soldier and writer of such
conspicuous ability. Not only have I quoted freely from his pages,
but he was good enough, at my request, to write exhaustive memoranda
on many episodes of Jackson's career.

Cooke's Life of Jackson is still popular, and deservedly so; but
Cooke, like Dr. Dabney, had no access to the Official Records, and
his narrative of the battles, picturesque and lifelike as it is, can
hardly be accepted as sober history. On the other hand, the several
works of the late Colonel William Allan, C.S.A., in collaboration
with Major Hotchkiss, C.S.A., are as remarkable for their research
and accuracy as for their military acumen; while the volumes of the
Southern Historical Society, together with the remarkable series of
articles entitled "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," written by
the leading participants on either side, are a perfect mine of wealth
to the historical student. I need hardly add that the memoirs and
biographies of both the Federal and Confederate generals, of Lee,
Grant, Stuart, Sherman, Johnston, Longstreet, Beauregard, McClellan,
Hancock, Pendleton and others, are a necessary complement to the
Official Records.

Nevertheless, with all this mass of information at my command, had it
not been for the exceeding kindness of the friends and comrades of
Stonewall Jackson, I much doubt whether I should have been able to
complete my task. To the late Major Hotchkiss, his trusted staff
officer, whatever of value these volumes may contain is largely due.
Not only did he correct the topographical descriptions, but he
investigated most carefully many disputed points; and in procuring
the evidence of eye-witnesses, and thus enabling me to check and
amplify the statements of previous writers, he was indefatigable. Dr.
Hunter McGuire, Medical Director of Jackson's successive commands,
has given me much of his valuable time. The Reverend J.P. Smith,
D.D., Jackson's aide-de-camp, has rendered me great assistance; and
from many officers and men of the Stonewall Brigade, of Jackson's
Division, and of the Second Army Corps, I have received contributions
to this memorial of their famous chief. Generals Gustavus Smith,
Fitzhugh Lee, Stephen D. Lee, and N.G. Harris, Colonel Williams,
Colonel Poague, and R.E. Lee, Esquire, of Washington, D.C., all
formerly of the Confederate States Army, have supplied me with new
matter. Colonel Miller, U.S.A., most courteously responded to my
request for a copy of the services of his regiment, the First
Artillery, in the Mexican war. The late General John Gibbon, U.S.A.,
wrote for me his reminiscences of Jackson as a cadet at West Point,
and as a subaltern in Mexico; and many officers who fought for the
Union have given me information as to the tactics and discipline of
the Federal armies. The Reverend J. Graham, D.D., of Winchester,
Virginia; Dr. H.A. White, of Washington and Lee University,
Lexington, Virginia, author of an admirable life of General Lee; and
the Hon. Francis Lawley, once Special Correspondent of the Times in
the Confederate States, have been most kind in replying to my many
questions. To Major-General Hildyard, C.B., late Commandant of the
Staff College, I am indebted for much valuable criticism on the
campaigns of 1862; and my warmest thanks are here tendered to the
Commander-in-Chief, Field-Marshal Lord Wolseley, for much information
and more encouragement.

I cannot conceal from myself, however, that notwithstanding the
numerous authorities I have been enabled to consult, as well as the
intrinsic interest of my subject, many of the following chapters will
be found excessively dull by civilian readers. Stonewall Jackson's
military career was not all hard fighting; nor was it on the
battlefield alone that his supreme ability for war was made manifest.
His time and thoughts were more occupied by strategy, that is, by
combinations made out of the enemy's sight, than by tactics, that is,
by manoeuvres executed in the enemy's presence. But strategy,
unfortunately, is an unpopular science, even among soldiers,
requiring both in practice and in demonstration constant and careful
study of the map, the closest computation of time and space, a grasp
of many factors, and the strictest attention to the various steps in
the problems it presents. At the same time, it is a science which
repays the student, although he may have no direct concern with
military affairs; for not only will a comprehension of its immutable
principles add a new interest to the records of stirring times and
great achievements, but it will make him a more useful citizen.

In free countries like Great Britain, her colonies, and the United
States, the weight of intelligent opinion, in all matters of moment,
generally turns the scale; and if it were generally understood that,
in regular warfare, success depends on something more than rank and
experience, no Government would dare entrust the command of the army
to any other than the most competent soldier. The campaigns of the
Civil War show how much may be achieved, even with relatively feeble
means, by men who have both studied strategy and have the character
necessary for its successful practice; and they also show, not a whit
less forcibly, what awful sacrifices may be exacted from a nation
ignorant that such a science exists. And such ignorance is
widespread. How seldom do we hear a knowledge of strategy referred to
as an indispensable acquirement in those who aspire to high command?
How often is it repeated, although in so doing the speakers betray
their own shortcomings, that strategy is a mere matter of
common-sense? Yet the plain truth is that strategy is not only the
determining factor in civilised warfare, but that, in order to apply
its principles, the soundest common-sense must be most carefully
trained. Of all the sciences connected with war it is the most
difficult. If the names of the great captains, soldiers and sailors,
be recalled, it will be seen that it is to the breadth of their
strategical conceptions rather than to their tactical skill that they
owe their fame. An analysis of the great wars shows that their course
was generally marked by the same vicissitudes. First we have the
great strategist, a Hannibal, or a Napoleon, or a Lee, triumphing
with inferior numbers over adversaries who are tacticians and nothing
more. Then, suddenly, the tide of victory is checked, and brilliant
manoeuvres no longer avail. Fabius and Scipio, Wellington, Nelson,
and St. Vincent, Grant, Sherman, and Farragut, have replaced the mere
tacticians; and the superior resources, wielded with strategical
skill, exert their inevitable effect. Or it may be that fortune is
constant throughout to her first favourite; and that a Marlborough, a
Frederick, a Washington, a Moltke, opposed only by good fighting men,
never by an accomplished strategist, marches from victory to victory.
It is impossible, then, to estimate the ability of any general
without considering his strategy. Moreover, in this age of
inventions, of rapid movement, and of still more rapid communication,
the science is more complicated and even more important than
heretofore; and it is deserving, therefore, of far closer attention,
from both soldiers and civilians, than it has hitherto received. It
is for these reasons that I have described and discussed in such
minute detail the strategy of the campaigns with which Jackson had to

I have only to add that should anything in these pages wound the
susceptibilities of any one of those splendid soldiers and gallant
gentlemen who took part in the Civil War, whether he be Northerner or
Southerner, I here tender him my humblest apologies; assuring him, at
the same time, that while compiling these pages I have always borne
in mind the words of General Grant: "I would like to see truthful
history written. Such history will do full credit to the courage,
endurance, and ability of the American citizen, no matter what
section he hailed from, or in what ranks he fought." I am very
strongly of opinion that any fair-minded man may feel equal sympathy
with both Federal and Confederate. Both were so absolutely convinced
that their cause was just, that it is impossible to conceive either
Northerner or Southerner acting otherwise than he did. If Stonewall
Jackson had been a New Englander, educated in the belief that
secession was rebellion, he would assuredly have shed the last drop
of his blood in defence of the Union; if Ulysses Grant had been a
Virginian, imbibing the doctrine of States' rights with his mother's
milk, it is just as certain that he would have worn the Confederate
grey. It is with those Northerners who would have allowed the Union
to be broken, and with those Southerners who would have tamely
surrendered their hereditary rights, that no Englishman would be
willing to claim kinship.




1.2. MEXICO. 1846 TO 1847.

1.3. LEXINGTON. 1851 TO 1861.

1.4. SECESSION. 1860 TO 1861.



1.7. ROMNEY.


1.9. M'DOWELL.




















SITUATION, MAY 18, 1862.








In the first quarter of the century, on the hills which stand above
the Ohio River, but in different States of the Union, were born two
children, destined, to all appearance, to lives of narrow interests
and thankless toil. They were the sons of poor parents, without
influence or expectations; their native villages, deep in the
solitudes of the West, and remote from the promise and possibilities
of great cities, offered no road to fortune. In the days before the
railway, escape from the wilderness, except for those with long
purses, was very difficult; and for those who remained, if their
means were small, the farm and the store were the only occupations.
But a farmer without capital was little better than a hired hand;
trade was confined to the petty dealings of a country market; and
although thrift and energy, even under such depressing conditions,
might eventually win a competence, the most ardent ambition could
hardly hope for more. Never was an obscure existence more
irretrievably marked out than for these children of the Ohio; and
yet, before either had grown grey, the names of Abraham Lincoln,
President of the United States, and of Stonewall Jackson,
Lieutenant-General in the Confederate Army, were household words in
both America and Europe. Descendants of the pioneers, those hardy
borderers, half soldiers and half farmers, who held and reclaimed,
through long years of Indian warfare, the valleys and prairies of the
West, they inherited the best attributes of a frank and valiant race.
Simple yet wise, strong yet gentle, they were gifted with all the
qualities which make leaders of men. Actuated by the highest
principles, they both ennobled the cause for which they fought; and
while the opposition of such kindred natures adds to the dramatic
interest of the Civil War, the career of the great soldier, although
a theme perhaps less generally attractive, may be followed as
profitably as that of the great statesmen. Providence dealt with them
very differently. The one was struck down by a mortal wound before
his task was well begun; his life, to all human seeming, was given in
vain, and his name will ever be associated with the mournful memories
of a lost cause and a vanished army. The other, ere he fell beneath
the assassin's stroke, had seen the abundant fruits of his mighty
labours; his sun set in a cloudless sky. And yet the resemblance
between them is very close. Both dared:

For that sweet mother-land which gave them birth
Nobly to do, nobly to die. Their names,
Graven on memorial columns, are a song
Heard in the future;...more than wall
And rampart, their examples reach a hand
Far thro' all years, and everywhere they meet
And kindle generous purpose, and the strength
To mould it into action pure as theirs.

Jackson, in one respect, was more fortunate than Lincoln. Although
born to poverty, he came of a Virginia family which was neither
unknown nor undistinguished, and as showing the influences which went
to form his character, its history and traditions may be briefly

It is an article of popular belief that the State of Virginia, the
Old Dominion of the British Crown, owes her fame to the blood of the
English Cavaliers. The idea, however, has small foundation in fact.
Not a few of her great names are derived from a less romantic source,
and the Confederate general, like many of his neighbours in the
western portion of the State, traced his origin to the Lowlands of
Scotland. An ingenious author of the last century, himself born on
Tweed-side, declares that those Scotch families whose patronymics end
in "son," although numerous and respectable, and descended, as the
distinctive syllable denotes, from the Vikings, have seldom been
pre-eminent either in peace or war. And certainly, as regards the
Jacksons of bygone centuries, the assertion seems justified. The name
is almost unknown to Border history. In neither lay nor legend has it
been preserved; and even in the "black lists" of the wardens, where
the more enterprising of the community were continually proclaimed as
thieves and malefactors, it is seldom honoured with notice. The
omission might be held as evidence that the family was of peculiar
honesty, but, in reality, it is only a proof that it was
insignificant. It is not improbable that the Jacksons were one of the
landless clans, whose only heritages were their rude "peel" towers,
and who, with no acknowledged chief of their own race, followed, as
much for protection as for plunder, the banner of some more powerful
house. In course of time, when the Marches grew peaceful and morals
improved, when cattle-lifting, no longer profitable, ceased to be an
honourable occupation, such humbler marauders drifted away into the
wide world, leaving no trace behind, save the grey ruins of their
grim fortalices, and the incidental mention of some probably
disreputable scion in a chapman's ballad. Neither mark nor memory of
the Jacksons remains in Scotland. We only know that some members of
the clan, impelled probably by religious persecution, made their way
to Ulster, where a strong colony of Lowlanders had already been

Under a milder sky and a less drastic government the expatriated
Scots lost nothing of their individuality. Masterful and independent
from the beginning, masterful and independent they remained,
inflexible of purpose, impatient of justice, and staunch to their
ideals. Something, perhaps, they owed to contact with the Celt.
Wherever the Ulster folk have made their home, the breath of the
wholesome North has followed them, preserving untainted their
hereditary virtues. Shrewd, practical, and thrifty, prosperity has
consistently rewarded them; and yet, in common with the Irishmen of
English stock, they have found in the trade of arms the most
congenial outlet for their energies. An abiding love of peace can
hardly be enumerated amongst their more prominent characteristics;
and it is a remarkable fact, which, unless there is some mysterious
property in the air, can only be explained by the intermixture of
races, that Ireland "within the Pale" has been peculiarly prolific of
military genius. As England has bred admirals, so the sister isle has
bred soldiers. The tenacious courage of the Anglo-Saxon, blended with
the spirit of that people which above all others delights in war, has
proved on both sides of the Atlantic a most powerful combination of
martial qualities. The same mixed strain which gave England Wolfe and
Wellington, the Napiers and the Lawrences, has given America some of
her greatest captains; and not the least famous of her Presidents is
that General Jackson who won the battle of New Orleans in 1814. So,
early in the century the name became known beyond the seas; but
whether the same blood ran in the veins of the Confederate general
and of the soldier President is a matter of some doubt. The former,
in almost every single respect, save his warm heart, was the exact
converse of the typical Irishman, the latter had a hot temper and a
ready wit. Both, however, were undeniably fond of fighting, and a
letter still preserved attests that their ancestors had lived in the
same parish of Londonderry.* (* This letter is in the possession of
Thomas Jackson Arnold, Esquire, of Beverly, West Virginia, nephew of
General "Stonewall" Jackson.)


John Jackson, the great-grandfather of our hero, landed in America in
1748, and it was not long before he set his face towards the
wilderness. The emigrants from Ulster appear as a rule to have moved
westward. The States along the coast were already colonised, and,
despite its fertility, the country was little to their taste. But
beyond the border, in the broad Appalachian valley which runs from
the St. Lawrence to Alabama, on the banks of the great rivers, the
Susquehanna, the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, they found
a land after their own heart, a soil with whose properties they were
familiar, the sweet grasses and soft contours of their native hills.
Here, too, there was ample room for their communities, for the West
was as yet but sparsely tenanted. No inconsiderable number,
penetrating far into the interior, settled eventually about the
headwaters of the Potomac and the James. This highland region was the
debatable ground of the United States. So late as 1756 the State of
Virginia extended no further than the crests of the Blue Ridge. Two
hundred miles westward forts flying French colours dominated the
valley of the Ohio, and the wild and inhospitable tract, a very
labyrinth of mountains, which lay between, was held by the fierce
tribes of the "Six Nations" and the Leni-Lenape. Two years later the
French had been driven back to Canada; but it was not till near the
close of the century that the savage was finally dispossessed of his
spacious hunting grounds.

It was on these green uplands, where fight and foray were as frequent
as once on the Scottish border, that John Jackson and his wife, a
fellow passenger to America, by name Elizabeth Cummins, first pitched
their camp, and here is still the home of their descendants.

January 21, 1824.

In the little town of Clarksburg, now the county-seat of Harrison,
but then no more than a village in the Virginia backwoods, Thomas
Jonathan Jackson was born on January 21, 1824. His father was a
lawyer, clever and popular, who had inherited a comfortable
patrimony. The New World had been generous to the Jacksons. The
emigrant of 1748 left a valuable estate, and his many sons were
uniformly prosperous. Nor was their affluence the reward of energy
and thrift alone, for the lands reclaimed by axe and plough were held
by a charter of sword and musket. The redskin fought hard for his
ancestral domains. The stockaded forts, which stood as a citadel of
refuge in every settlement, were often the scene of fierce attack and
weary leaguer, and the nursing mothers of the frontier families were
no strangers to war and bloodshed. The last great battle with the
Indians east of the Ohio was fought in 1774, but the military
experience of the pioneers was not confined to the warfare of the
border. John Jackson and his sons bore arms in the War of
Independence, and the trained riflemen of West Virginia were welcome
recruits in the colonial ranks. With the exception of the Highlanders
of the '45, who had been deported in droves to the plantations, no
race had less cause to remain loyal to the Crown than the men of
Ulster blood. Even after the siege of Londonderry they had been
proscribed and persecuted; and in the War of Independence the
fiercest enemies of King George were the descendants of the same
Scotch-Irish who had held the north of Ireland for King William.

In Washington's campaigns more than one of the Jacksons won rank and
reputation; and when peace was established they married into
influential families. Nor was the next generation less successful.
Judges, senators, and soldiers upheld the honour of the name, and
proved the worth of the ancestral stock. They were marked, it is
said, by strong and characteristic features, by a warm feeling of
clanship, a capacity for hard work, and a decided love of roving.
Some became hunters, others explorers, and the race is now scattered
from Virginia to Oregon. A passion for litigation was a general
failing, and none of them could resist the fascination of machinery.
Every Jackson owned a mill or factory of some sort--many of them more
than one--and their ventures were not always profitable. Jackson's
father, among others, found it easier to make money than to keep it.
Generous and incautious, he became deeply involved by becoming
security for others; high play increased his embarrassments; and when
he died in 1827 every vestige of his property was swept away. His
young widow, left with three small children, two sons and a daughter,
became dependent on the assistance of her kinsfolk for a livelihood,
and on the charity of the Freemasons for a roof. When Thomas, her
second son, was six years old, she married a Captain Woodson; but her
second matrimonial venture was not more fortunate than her first. Her
husband's means were small, and necessity soon compelled her to
commit her two boys to the care of their father's relatives.


Within a year the children stood round her dying bed, and at a very
early age our little Virginian found himself a penniless orphan. But,
as he never regretted his poverty, so he never forgot his mother. To
the latest hour of his life he loved to recall her memory, and years
after she had passed away her influence still remained. Her beauty,
her counsels, their last parting, and her happy death, for she was a
woman of deep religious feeling, made a profound impression on him.
To his childhood's fancy she was the embodiment of every grace; and
so strong had been the sympathy between them, that even in the midst
of his campaigns she was seldom absent from his thoughts. After her
death the children found a home with their father's half-brother, who
had inherited the family estates, and was one of the largest
slave-owners in the district. Their surroundings, however, could
hardly be called luxurious. Life on the Ohio was very different from
life on the coast. The western counties of Virginia were still
practically on the frontier of the United States. The axe had thinned
the interminable woods; mills were busy on each mountain stream, and
the sunny valleys were rich in fruit and corn. But as yet there was
little traffic. Steam had not yet come to open up the wilderness. The
population was small and widely scattered; and the country was cut
off as much by nature as by distance from the older civilisation of
the East. The parallel ranges of the Alleghanies, with their pathless
forests and great canyons, were a formidable barrier to all
intercourse. The West was a world in itself. The only outlets
eastward were the valleys of the Potomac and the James, the one
leading to Washington, the other to Richmond; and so seldom were they
used that the yeomen of the Ohio uplands were almost as much opposed,
both in character and in mode of life, to the planters beyond the
Blue Ridge, as the Covenanters of Bothwell Brig to the gentlemen of
Dundee's Life Guards.

Although the sturdy independence and simple habits of the borderers
were not affected by contact with wealthier communities, isolation
was not in every way a blessing. Served by throngs of slaves, the
great landowners of East Virginia found leisure to cultivate the arts
which make life more pleasant. The rambling houses on the banks of
the James, the Rappahannock, and the Potomac, built on the model of
English manors, had their libraries and picture-galleries. A
classical academy was the boast of every town, and a university
training was considered as essential to the son of a planter as to
the heir of an English squire. A true aristocracy, in habit and in
lineage, the gentlemen of Virginia long swayed the councils of the
nation, and among them were many who were intimate with the best
representatives of European culture. Beyond the Alleghanies there
were no facilities for education; and even had opportunities offered
few would have had the leisure to enjoy them. Labour was scarce,
either slave or hired. The owners of farms were their own managers
and overseers, and young men had to serve a practical apprenticeship
to lumbering and agriculture. To this rule, despite his uncle's
wealth, Jackson was no exception. He had to fight his own battle, to
rub shoulders with all sorts and conditions of men, and to hold his
own as best he could.

It was a hard school, then, in which he grew to manhood. But for that
very reason it was a good school for the future soldier. For a man
who has to push his own way in the world, more especially if he has
to carve it with his sword, a boyhood passed amidst surroundings
which boast of no luxury and demand much endurance, is the best
probation. Von Moltke has recorded that the comfortless routine of
the Military Academy at Copenhagen inured him to privation, and
Jackson learned the great lesson of self-reliance in the rough life
of his uncle's homestead.

The story of his early years is soon told. As a blue-eyed child, with
long fair hair, he was curiously thoughtful and exceedingly
affectionate. His temper was generous and cheerful. His truthfulness
was proverbial, and his little sister found in him the kindest of
playmates and the sturdiest of protectors. He was distinguished, too,
for his politeness, although good manners were by no means rare in
the rustic West. The manly courtesy of the true American is no exotic
product; nor is the universal deference to woman peculiar to any
single class. The farmer of the backwoods might be ignorant of the
conventionalities, but the simplicity and unselfishness which are the
root of all good breeding could be learned in West Virginia as
readily as in Richmond.

Once, tempted by his brother, the boy left his adopted home, and the
two children, for the elder was no more than twelve, wandered down
the Ohio to the Mississippi, and spent the summer on a lonely and
malarious island, cutting wood for passing steamers. No one opposed
their going, and it seems to have been considered quite natural in
that independent community that the veriest urchins should be allowed
to seek their fortunes for themselves. Returning, ragged and
fever-stricken, the little adventurers submitted once more to the
routine of the farm and to the intermittent studies of a country
school. After his failure as a man of business, our small hero showed
no further inclination to seek his fortunes far afield. He was fond
of his home. His uncle, attracted by his steadiness and good sense,
treated him more as a companion than a child; and in everything
connected with the farm, as well as in the sports of the country
side, the boy took the keenest interest. Delicate by nature, with a
tendency to consumption inherited from his mother, his physique and
constitution benefited by a life of constant exercise and wholesome
toil. At school he was a leader in every game, and his proficiency in
the saddle proved him a true Virginian. Fox-hunting and horse-racing
were popular amusements, and his uncle not only kept a stable of
well-bred horses, but had a four-mile race-course on his own grounds.
As a light-weight jockey the future general was a useful member of
the household, and it was the opinion of the neighbourhood that "if a
horse had any winning qualities whatever in him, young Jackson never
failed to bring them out."

In the management of the estate he learned early to put his shoulder
to the wheel. Transporting timber from the forest to the saw-mill was
one of his most frequent tasks, and tradition records that if a tree
were to be moved from ground of unusual difficulty, or if there were
one more gigantic than the rest, the party of labourers was put under
his control, and the work was sure to be effected.

One who knew him well has described his character. "He was a youth of
exemplary habits, of indomitable will and undoubted courage. He was
not what is nowadays termed brilliant, but he was one of those
untiring, matter-of-fact persons who would never give up an
undertaking until he accomplished his object. He learned slowly, but
what he got into his head he never forgot. He was not quick to
decide, except when excited, and then, when he made up his mind to do
a thing, he did it on short notice and in quick time. Once, while on
his way to school, an overgrown rustic behaved rudely to one of the
school-girls. Jackson fired up, and told him he must apologise at
once or he would thrash him. The big fellow, supposing that he was
more than a match for him, refused, whereupon Jackson pitched into
him, and gave him a severe pounding."

His surroundings, then, although neither refined nor elevating, were
not unwholesome; but of the moral influences to which he was
subjected, so much cannot be said, while the stock of piety that the
original settlers brought with them had not entirely vanished. There
was much irregularity of life; few men gave any thought to religion,
and young Jackson drifted with the tide. Yet there was something that
preserved him from contamination. His uncle, kindest of guardians,
though irreligious and a sportsman, was scrupulously exacting in
matters of integrity and veracity. His associates included the most
respectable, yet the morals of the sporting fraternity of a frontier
settlement are not likely to have been edifying. That his nephew, as
he himself declares, was an ardent frequenter of races,
"house-raisings,"* (* Anglice, house-warmings.) and country dances is
hardly surprising, and it is assuredly no ground whatever for
reproach. Nor is it strange that, amid much laxity, he should have
retained his integrity, that his regard for truth should have
remained untarnished, and that he should have consistently held aloof
from all that was mean and vile. His mother was no mere memory to
that affectionate nature.

His good qualities, however, would scarcely of themselves have done
more than raise him to a respectable rank amongst the farmers of West
Virginia. A spur was wanting to urge him beyond the limits of so
contracted an existence, and that spur was supplied by an honourable
ambition. Penniless and dependent as he was, he still remembered that
his ancestors had been distinguished beyond the confines of their
native county, and this legitimate pride in his own people, a far-off
reflection, perhaps, of the traditional Scottish attitude towards
name and pedigree, exercised a marked influence on his whole career.
"To prove himself worthy of his forefathers was the purpose of his
early manhood. It gives us a key to many of the singularities of his
character; to his hunger for self-improvement; to his punctilious
observance, from a boy, of the essentials of gentlemanly bearing, and
to the uniform assertion of his self-respect."* (* Dabney volume 1
page 29.)


It was his openly expressed wish for larger advantages than those
offered by a country school that brought about his opportunity. In
1841, at the age of seventeen, he became a constable of the county. A
sort of minor sheriff, he had to execute the decrees of the justices,
to serve their warrants, to collect small debts, and to summon
witnesses. It was a curious office for a boy, but a year or two
before he had been seized with some obscure form of dyspepsia, and
the idea that a life on horseback, which his duties necessitated,
might restore his health, had induced his relatives to obtain the
post for him. Jackson himself seems to have been influenced by the
hope that his salary would help towards his education, and by the
wish to become independent of his uncle's bounty. His new duties were
uncongenial, but, despite his youth, he faced his responsibilities
with a determination which men of maturer years might well have
envied. In everything he was scrupulously exact. His accounts were
accurately kept; he was punctuality itself, and his patience was
inexhaustible. For two years he submitted cheerfully to the drudgery
of his position, re-establishing his health, but without advancing a
single step towards the goal of his ambition. But before he was
nineteen his hopes were unexpectedly realised.


The Military Academy at West Point not only provided, at the expense
of the nation, a sound and liberal education, but offered an opening
to an honourable career. Nominations to cadetships were made by the
Secretary of War, on the recommendation of members of Congress, and
in 1842 a vacancy occurred which was to be filled by a youth from the
Congressional District in which Clarksburg was included. Jackson,
informed of the chance by a friendly blacksmith, eagerly embraced it,
and left no stone unturned to attain his object. Every possible
influence that could be brought to bear on the member for the
district was immediately enlisted. To those who objected that his
education was too imperfect to enable him even to enter the Academy,
he replied that he had the necessary application, that he hoped he
had the capacity, and that he was at least determined to try. His
earnestness and courage won upon all. His application was strongly
backed by those who had learned to value his integrity and exactness,
and Mr. Hays, the member for the district, wrote that he would do all
in his power to secure the appointment. No sooner had the letter been
read than Jackson determined to go at once to Washington, in order
that he might be ready to proceed to West Point without a moment's
delay. Packing a few clothes into a pair of saddlebags, he mounted
his horse, and accompanied by a servant, who was to bring the animal
home, rode off to catch the coach at Clarksburg. It had already
passed, but galloping on, he overtook it at the next stage, and on
his arrival at Washington, Mr. Hays at once introduced him to the
Secretary of War. On presenting him, he explained the disadvantages
of his education, but begged indulgence for him on account of his
pluck and determination. The Secretary plied him with questions, but
Jackson was not to be diverted from his purpose; and so good was the
impression which he made that he then and there received his warrant,
accompanied by some excellent advice. "Sir," said the Secretary, "you
have a good name. Go to West Point, and the first man who insults
you, knock him down, and have it charged to my account!"

Mr. Hays proposed that the new-fledged cadet should stay with him for
a few days in order to see the sights of Washington. But as the
Academy was already in session, Jackson, with a strong appreciation
of the value of time, begged to decline. He was content to ascend to
the roof of the Capitol, then still building, and look once on the
magnificent panorama of which it is the centre.

At his feet lay the city, with its busy streets and imposing
edifices. To the south ran the Potomac, bearing on its ample tide the
snowy sails of many merchantmen, and spanned by a bridge more than a
mile in length. Over against the Capitol, looking down on that
wide-watered shore, stood the white porch of Arlington, once the
property of Washington, and now the home of a young officer of the
United States army, Robert Edward Lee. Beyond Arlington lay Virginia,
Jackson's native State, stretching back in leafy hills and verdant
pastures, and far and low upon the western horizon his own mountains
loomed faintly through the summer haze. It was a strange freak of
fortune that placed him at the very outset of his career within sight
of the theatre of his most famous victories. It was a still stranger
caprice that was to make the name of the simple country youth,
ill-educated and penniless, as terrible in Washington as the name of
the Black Douglas was once in Durham and Carlisle.


It was in July 1842 that one of America's greatest soldiers first
answered to his name on the parade-ground at West Point. Shy and
silent, clad in Virginia homespun, with the whole of his personal
effects carried in a pair of weather-stained saddle bags, the
impression that he made on his future comrades, as the Secretary of
War appears to have anticipated, was by no means favourable. The West
Point cadets were then, as now, remarkable for their upright
carriage, the neatness of their appointments, and their soldierly
bearing towards their officers and towards each other. The grey
coatee, decorated with bright buttons and broad gold lace, the shako
with tall plumes, the spotless white trousers, set off the trim young
figures to the best advantage; and the full-dress parade of the cadet
battalion, marked by discipline and precision in every movement, is
still one of the most attractive of military spectacles.

These natty young gentlemen were not slow to detect the superficial
deficiencies of the newcomer. A system of practical joking, carried
to extremes, had long been a feature of West Point life. Jackson,
with the rusticity of the backwoods apparent at every turn, promised
the highest sport. And here it may be written, once for all, that
however nearly in point of character the intended victim reached the
heroic standard, his outward graces were few. His features were well
cut, his forehead high, his mouth small and firm, and his complexion
fresh. Yet the ensemble was not striking, nor was it redeemed by
grave eyes and a heavy jaw, a strong but angular frame, a certain
awkwardness of movement, and large hands and feet. His would-be
tormentors, however, soon found they had mistaken their man. The
homespun jacket covered a natural shrewdness which had been sharpened
by responsibility. The readiness of resource which had characterised
the whilom constable was more than a match for their most ingenious
schemes; and baffled by a temper which they were powerless to
disturb, their attempts at persecution, apparently more productive of
amusement to their victim than to themselves, were soon abandoned.

Rough as was the life of the Virginia border, it had done something
to fit this unpromising recruit for the give and take of his new
existence. Culture might be lacking in the distant West, but the air
men breathed was at least the blessed breath of independence. Each
was what he made himself. A man's standing depended on his success in
life, and success was within the reach of all. There, like his
neighbours, Jackson had learned to take his own part; like them he
acknowledged no superiority save that of actual merit, and believing
that the richest prize might be won by energy and perseverance,
without diffidence or misgiving he faced his future. He knew nothing
of the life of the great nation of which he was so insignificant an
atom, of the duties of the army, of the manners of its officers. He
knew only that even as regards education he had an uphill task before
him. He was indeed on the threshold of a new world, with his own way
to make, and apparently no single advantage in his favour. But he
came of a fighting race; he had his own inflexible resolution to
support him, and his determination expressed itself in his very
bearing. Four cadets, three of whom were afterwards Confederate
generals,* (* A.P. Hill, G.E. Pickett, and D.H. Maury.) were standing
together when he first entered the gates of the Academy. "There was
about him," says one of them, "so sturdy an expression of purpose
that I remarked, "That fellow looks as if he had come to stay.""

Jackson's educational deficiencies were more difficult of conquest
than the goodwill of his comrades. His want of previous training
placed him at a great disadvantage. He commenced his career amongst
"the Immortals" (the last section of the class), and it was only by
the most strenuous efforts that he maintained his place. His
struggles at the blackboard were often painful to witness. In the
struggle to solve a problem he invariably covered both his face and
uniform with chalk, and he perspired so freely, even in the coldest
weather, that the cadets, with boyish exaggeration, declared that
whenever "the General," as he had at once been dubbed in honour of
his namesake, the victor of New Orleans, got a difficult proposition
he was certain to flood the classroom. It was all he could do to pass
his first examination.* (* Communicated by General John Gibbon,

"We were studying," writes a classmate, "algebra and analytical
geometry that winter, and Jackson was very low in his class. Just
before the signal lights out he would pile up his grate with
anthracite coal, and lying prone before it on the floor, would work
away at his lessons by the glare of the fire, which scorched his very
brain, till a late hour of the night. This evident determination to
succeed not only aided his own efforts directly, but impressed his
instructors in his favour. If he could not master the portion of the
text-book assigned for the day, he would not pass it over, but
continued to work at it till he understood it. Thus it often happened
that when he was called out to repeat his task, he had to reply that
he had not yet reached the lesson of the day, but was employed upon
the previous one. There was then no alternative but to mark him as
unprepared, a proceeding which did not in the least affect his

Despite all drawbacks, his four years at the Academy were years of
steady progress. "The Immortals" were soon left far behind. At the
end of the first twelve months he stood fifty-first in a class of
seventy-two, but when he entered the first class, and commenced the
study of logic, that bugbear to the majority, he shot from near the
foot of the class to the top. In the final examination he came out
seventeenth, notwithstanding that the less successful years were
taken into account, and it was a frequent remark amongst his brother
cadets that if the course had been a year longer he would have come
out first. His own satisfaction was complete. Not only was his
perseverance rewarded by a place sufficiently high to give him a
commission in the artillery, but his cravings for knowledge had been
fully gratified. West Point was much more than a military school. It
was a university, and a university under the very strictest
discipline, where the science of the soldier formed only a portion of
the course. Subjects which are now considered essential to a military
education were not taught at all. The art of war gave place to ethics
and engineering; and mathematics and chemistry were considered of far
more importance than topography and fortification. Yet with French,
history, and drawing, it will be admitted that the course was
sufficiently comprehensive. No cadet was permitted to graduate unless
he had reached a high standard of proficiency. Failures were
numerous. In the four years the classes grew gradually smaller, and
the survival of the fittest was a principle of administration which
was rigidly observed.

The fact, then, that a man had passed the final examination at West
Point was a sufficient certificate that he had received a thorough
education, that his mental faculties had been strengthened by four
years of hard work, and that he was well equipped to take his place
amongst his fellow men. And it was more than this. Four years of the
strictest discipline, for the cadets were allowed only one vacation
during their whole course, were sufficient to break in even the most
careless and the most slovenly to neatness, obedience, and
punctuality. Such habits are not easily unlearned, and the West Point
certificate was thus a guarantee of qualities that are everywhere
useful. It did not necessarily follow that because a cadet won a
commission he remained a soldier. Many went to civil life, and the
Academy was an excellent school for men who intended to find a career
as surveyors or engineers. The great railway system of the United
States was then in its infancy; its development offered endless
possibilities, and the work of extending civilisation in a vast and
rapidly improving country had perhaps more attraction for the
ambitious than the career of arms. The training and discipline of
West Point were not, then, concentrated in one profession, but were
disseminated throughout the States; and it was with this purpose that
the institution of the Academy had been approved by Congress.

In the wars with England the militia of the different States had
furnished the means both of resistance and aggression, but their
grave shortcomings, owing principally to the lack of competent
officers, had been painfully conspicuous. After 1814, the principle
that the militia was the first line of defence was still adhered to,
and the standing army was merely maintained as a school for generals
and a frontier guard. It was expected, however, that in case of war
the West Point graduates would supply the national forces with a
large number of officers who, despite their civil avocations, would
at least be familiar with drill and discipline. This fact is to be
borne in mind in view of the Civil War. The demands of the enormous
armies then put into the field were utterly unprecedented, and the
supply of West Pointers was altogether inadequate to meet them; but
the influence of the Military Academy was conspicuous throughout. Not
a few of the most able generals were little more than boys; and yet,
as a rule, they were far superior to those who came from the militia
or volunteers. Four years of strict routine, of constant drill, and
implicit subordination, at the most impressionable period of life,
proved a far better training for command than the desultory and
intermittent service of a citizen army.

During his stay at West Point Jackson's development was not all in
one direction. He gained in health and strength. When he joined he
had not yet attained his full height, which fell short of six feet by
two inches. The constant drilling developed his frame. He grew
rapidly, and soon acquired the erect bearing of the soldier; but
notwithstanding the incessant practice in riding, fencing and
marching, his anatomical peculiarities still asserted themselves. It
was with great difficulty that he mastered the elementary process of
keeping step, and despite his youthful proficiency as a jockey, the
regulation seat of the dragoon, to be acquired on the back of a rough
cavalry trooper, was an accomplishment which he never mastered. If it
be added that his shyness never thawed, that he was habitually
silent, it is hardly surprising to find that he had few intimates at
the Academy. Caring nothing for the opinion of others, and tolerant
of association rather than seeking it, his self-contained nature
asked neither sympathy nor affection. His studious habits never left
him. His only recreation was a rapid walk in the intervals of the
classes. His whole thoughts and his whole energy were centred on
doing his duty, and passing into the army with all the credit he
could possibly attain. Although he was thoroughly happy at West
Point, life to him, even at that early age, was a serious business,
and most seriously he set about it.

Still, unsociable and irresponsive as he was, there were those in
whose company he found pleasure, cadets who had studied subjects not
included in the West Point course, and from whom there was something
to be learned. It was an unwritten law of the Academy that those of
the senior year should not make companions of their juniors. But
Jackson paid no heed to the traditionary code of etiquette. His
acquaintances were chosen regardless of standing, as often from the
class below him as his own; and in yet another fashion his strength
of character was displayed. Towards those who were guilty of
dishonourable conduct he was merciless almost to vindictiveness. He
had his own code of right and wrong, and from one who infringed it he
would accept neither apology nor excuse. His musket, which was always
scrupulously clean, was one day replaced by another in most slovenly
order. He called the attention of his captain to his loss, and
described the private mark by which it was to be identified. That
evening, at the inspection of arms, it was found in the hands of
another cadet, who, when taxed with his offence, endeavoured to
shield himself by falsehood. Jackson's anger was unbounded, and for
the moment his habitual shyness completely disappeared. He declared
that such a creature should not continue a member of the Academy, and
demanded that he should be tried by court-martial and expelled. It
was only by means of the most persevering remonstrances on the part
of his comrades and his officers that he could be induced to waive
his right of pressing the charge. His regard for duty, too, was no
less marked than his respect for truth. During one half-year his
room-mate was orderly-sergeant of his company, and this good-natured
if perfunctory young gentleman often told Jackson that he need not
attend the reveille roll-call, at which every cadet was supposed to
answer to his name. Not once, however, did he avail himself of the
privilege.* (* Communicated by Colonel P.T. Turnley.)

At the same time he was not altogether so uncompromising as at first
sight he appeared. At West Point, as in after years, those who saw
him interested or excited noticed that his smile was singularly
sweet, and the cadets knew that it revealed a warm heart within.
Whenever, from sickness or misfortune, a comrade stood in need of
sympathy, Jackson was the first to offer it, and he would devote
himself to his help with a tenderness so womanly that it sometimes
excited ridicule. Sensitive he was not, for of vanity he had not the
slightest taint; but of tact and sensibility he possessed more than
his share. If he was careless of what others thought of him, he
thought much of them. Though no one made more light of pain on his
own account, no one could have more carefully avoided giving pain to
others, except when duty demanded it; and one of his classmates* (*
Colonel Turnley.) testifies that he went through the trying ordeal of
four years at West Point without ever having a hard word or bad
feeling from cadet or professor.

Nor did his comrades fail to remember that when he was unjustly
blamed he chose to bear the imputation silently rather than expose
those who were really at fault. And so, even in that lighthearted
battalion, his sterling worth compelled respect. All honoured his
efforts and wished him God-speed. "While there were many," says
Colonel Turnley, "who seemed to surpass him in intellect, in
geniality, and in good-fellowship, there was no one of our class who
more absolutely possessed the respect and confidence of all; and in
the end Old Jack, as he was always called, with his desperate
earnestness, his unflinching straightforwardness, and his high sense
of honour, came to be regarded by his comrades with something very
like affection."

One peculiarity cannot be passed by.

When at study he always sat bolt upright at his table with his book
open before him, and when he was not using pencil and paper to solve
a problem, he would often keep his eyes fixed on the wall or ceiling
in the most profound abstraction. "No one I have ever known," says a
cadet who shared his barrack-room, "could so perfectly withdraw his
mind from surrounding objects or influences, and so thoroughly
involve his whole being in the subject under consideration. His
lessons were uppermost in his mind, and to thoroughly understand them
was always his determined effort. To make the author's knowledge his
own was ever the point at which he aimed. This intense application of
mind was naturally strengthened by constant exercise, and month by
month, and year by year, his faculties of perception developed
rapidly, until he grasped with unerring quickness the inceptive
points of all ethical and mathematical problems."

This power of abstraction and of application is well worth noting,
for not only was it remarkable in a boy, but, as we shall see
hereafter, it had much to do with the making of the soldier.

At West Point Jackson was troubled with the return of the obscure
complaint which had already threatened him, and he there began that
rigid observance of the laws of health which afterwards developed to
almost an eccentricity. His peculiar attitude when studying was due
to the fear that if he bent over his work the compression of his
internal organs might increase their tendency to disease.

And not only did he lay down rules for his physical regimen. A book
of maxims which he drew up at West Point has been preserved, and we
learn that his scrupulous exactness, his punctilious courtesy, and
his choice of companions were the outcome of much deliberation.

Nothing in this curious volume occurs to show that his thoughts had
yet been turned to religion. It is as free from all reference to the
teachings of Christianity as the maxims of Marcus Aurelius.

Every line there written shows that at this period of Jackson's life
devotion to duty was his guiding rule; and, notwithstanding his
remarkable freedom from egotism, the traces of an engrossing ambition
and of absolute self-dependence are everywhere apparent. Many of the
sentiments he would have repudiated in after-life as inconsistent
with humility; but there can be no question that it was a strong and
fearless hand that penned on a conspicuous page the sentence: "You
can be what you resolve to be."


Jackson was already a man in years when he passed his final
examination, and here the record of his boyhood may fitly close. He
had made no particular mark at the Academy. His memory, in the minds
of his comrades, was associated with his gravity, his silence, his
kind heart, and his awkward movements. No one suspected him of nobler
qualities than dogged perseverance and a strict regard for truth. The
officers and sergeants of the cadet battalion were supplied by the
cadets themselves; but Jackson was never promoted. In the mimic
warfare of the playground at Brienne Napoleon was master of the
revels. His capacity for command had already been detected; but
neither comrade nor teacher saw beneath the unpromising exterior of
the West Point student a trace of aught save what was commonplace.

And yet there is much in the boyhood of Stonewall Jackson that
resembles the boyhood of Napoleon, of all great soldiers the most
original. Both were affectionate. Napoleon lived on bread and water
that he might educate his brothers; Jackson saved his cadet's pay to
give his sister a silk dress. Both were indefatigable students,
impressed with the conviction that the world was to be conquered by
force of intellect. Jackson, burning his lessons into his brain, is
but the counterpart of the young officer who lodged with a professor
of mathematics that he might attend his classes, and who would wait
to explain the lectures to those who had not clearly understood them.
Both were provincial, neither was prepossessing. If the West Point
cadets laughed at Jackson's large hands and feet, was not Napoleon,
with his thin legs thrust into enormous boots, saluted by his
friend's children, on his first appearance in uniform, with the
nickname of Le Chat Botte? It is hard to say which was the more
laughable: the spare and bony figure of the cadet, sitting bolt
upright like a graven image in a tight uniform, with his eyes glued
to the ceiling of his barrack-room, or the young man, with gaunt
features, round shoulders, and uncombed hair, who wandered alone
about the streets of Paris in 1795.

They had the same love of method and of order. The accounts of the
Virginian constable was not more scrupulously kept than the ledgers
of Napoleon's household, nor could they show a greater regard for
economy than the tailor's bill, still extant, on which the future
Emperor gained a reduction of four sous. But it was not on such
trivial lines alone that they run parallel. An inflexibility of
purpose, an absolute disregard of popular opinion, and an unswerving
belief in their own capacity, were predominant in both. They could
say "No." Neither sought sympathy, and both felt that they were
masters of their own fate. "You can be whatever you resolve to be"
may be well placed alongside the speech of the brigadier of
five-and-twenty: "Have patience. I will command in Paris presently.
What should I do there now?"

But here the parallel ends. In Jackson, even as a cadet, self was
subordinate to duty. Pride was foreign to his nature. He was
incapable of pretence, and his simplicity was inspired by that
disdain of all meanness which had been his characteristic from a
child. His brain was disturbed by no wild visions; no intemperate
ambition confused his sense of right and wrong. "The essence of his
mind," as has been said of another of like mould, "was clearness,
healthy purity, incompatibility with fraud in any of its forms." It
was his instinct to be true and straightforward as it was Napoleon's
to be false and subtle. And, if, as a youth, he showed no trace of
marked intellectual power; if his instructors saw no sign of
masterful resolution and a genius for command, it was because at West
Point, as elsewhere, his great qualities lay dormant, awaiting the
emergency that should call them forth.

CHAPTER 1.2. MEXICO. 1846-47.


On June 30, 1846, Jackson received the brevet rank of second
lieutenant of artillery. He was fortunate from the very outset of his
military career. The officers of the United States army, thanks to
the thorough education and Spartan discipline of West Point, were
fine soldiers; but their scope was limited. On the western frontier,
far beyond the confines of civilisation, stood a long line of forts,
often hundreds of miles apart, garrisoned by a few troops of cavalry
or companies of infantry. It is true that there was little chance of
soldierly capacity rusting in these solitary posts. From the borders
of Canada to the banks of the Rio Grande swarmed thousands of savage
warriors, ever watchful for an opportunity to pay back with bloody
interest the aggression of the whites. Murder, robbery, and massacre
followed each other in rapid succession, and the troops were allowed
few intervals of rest. But the warfare was inglorious--a mere series
of petty incidents, the punishment of a raid, or the crushing of an
isolated revolt. The scanty butcher's bills of the so-called battles
made small appeal to the popular imagination, and the deeds of the
soldiers in the western wilderness, gallant as they might be, aroused
less interest in the States than the conflicts of the police with the
New York mob. But although pursuits which carried the adversaries
half across the continent, forays which were of longer duration than
a European war, and fights against overwhelming odds, where no
quarter was asked or given, kept the American officers constantly
employed, their training was hardly sufficient for the needs of a
great campaign. In the running fights against Apache or Blackfoot the
rules of strategy and tactics were of small account. The soldier was
constrained to acknowledge the brave and the trapper as his teachers;
and Moltke himself, with all his lore, would have been utterly
baffled by the cunning of the Indian. Before the war of 1845-6 the
strength of the regular army was not more than 8500 men; and the
whole of this force, with the exception of a few batteries, was
scattered in small detachments along the frontier. The troops were
never brought together in considerable bodies; and although they were
well drilled and under the strictest discipline, neither the
commanders nor the staff had the least experience of handling men in
masses. Many of the infantry officers had never drilled with a whole
battalion since they left West Point. A brigade of cavalry--that is,
two or three regiments working together as a single unit--had never
been assembled; and scarcely a single general had ever commanded a
force composed of the three arms, either on service or on parade.
"During my twenty years of service on the frontier," said one of the
most famous of the Confederate leaders,* (* General R.S. Ewell.) "I
learned all about commanding fifty United States dragoons and forgot
everything else."

Nevertheless, this life of enterprise and hard work, the constant
struggle against nature, for the illimitable space of the
inhospitable wilderness was a more formidable antagonist than the
stealthy savage, benefited the American soldier in more ways than
one. He grew accustomed to danger and privation. He learned to use
his wits; to adapt his means to his end; to depend on his
intelligence rather than on rule. Above all, even the most junior had
experience of independent command before the enemy. A ready
assumption of responsibility and a prompt initiative distinguished
the regular officers from the very outset of the Civil War; and these
characteristics had been acquired on the western prairies.

But the warfare of the frontier had none of the glamour of the
warfare which is waged with equal arms against an equal enemy, of the
conflict of nation against nation. To bring the foe to bay was a
matter of the utmost difficulty. A fight at close quarters was of
rare occurrence, and the most successful campaign ended in the
destruction of a cluster of dirty wigwams, or the surrender of a
handful of starving savages. In such unsatisfactory service Jackson
was not called upon to take a part. It is doubtful if he ever crossed
the Mississippi. His first experience of campaigning was to be on a
field where gleams of glory were not wanting. The ink on his
commission was scarcely dry when the artillery subaltern was ordered
to join his regiment, the First Artillery, in Mexico. The war with
the Southern Republic had blazed out on the Texan border in 1845, and
the American Government had now decided to carry it into the heart of
the hostile territory. With the cause of quarrel we have no concern.
General Grant has condemned the war as "one of the most unjust ever
waged by a stronger against a weaker nation."* (* Grant's Memoirs
volume 1 page 53.) Be this as it may, it is doubtful whether any of
Grant's brother officers troubled themselves at all with the equity
of invasion. It was enough for them that the expedition meant a
struggle with a numerous enemy, armed and organised on the European
model, and with much experience of war; that it promised a campaign
in a country which was the very region of romance, possessing a
lovely climate, historic cities, and magnificent scenery. The genius
of Prescott had just disentombed from dusty archives the marvellous
story of the Spanish conquest, and the imagination of many a youthful
soldier had been already kindled by his glowing pages. To follow the
path of Cortez, to traverse the golden realms of Montezuma, to look
upon the lakes and palaces of Mexico, the most ancient city of
America, to encamp among the temples of a vanished race, and to hear,
while the fireflies flitted through the perfumed night, the music of
the black-eyed maidens of New Spain--was ever more fascinating
prospect offered to a subaltern of two-and-twenty?

The companies of the First Artillery which had been detailed for
foreign service were first transferred to Point Isabel, at the mouth
of the Rio Grande. Several engagements had already taken place. Palo
Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterey were brilliant American
victories, won by hard fighting over superior numbers; and a vast
extent of territory had been overrun. But the Mexicans were still
unconquered. The provinces they had lost were but the fringe of the
national domains; the heart of the Republic had not yet felt the
pressure of war, and more than six hundred miles of difficult country
intervened between the invaders and the capital. The American
proposals for peace had been summarily rejected. A new President,
General Santa Anna, had been raised to power, and under his vigorous
administration the war threatened to assume a phase sufficiently
embarrassing to the United States.

Jackson had been attached to a heavy battery, and his first duty was
to transport guns and mortars to the forts which protected Point
Isabel. The prospect of immediate employment before the enemy was
small. Operations had come to a standstill. It was already apparent
that a direct advance upon the capital, through the northern
provinces, was an enterprise which would demand an army much larger
than the Government was disposed to furnish. It seemed as if the
First Artillery had come too late. Jackson was fearful that the war
might come to an end before his regiment should be sent to the front.
The shy cadet had a decided taste for fighting. "I envy you men," he
said to a comrade more fortunate than himself,* (* Lieutenant D.H.
Hill, afterwards his brother-in-law.) "who have been in battle. How I
should like to be in ONE battle!" His longing for action was soon
gratified. Mexico had no navy and a long sea-board. The fleet of the
United States was strong, their maritime resources ample, and to land
an army on a shorter route to the distant capital was no difficult


General Winfield Scott, who had been sent out as commander-in-chief,
was permitted, early in 1847, to organise a combined naval and
military expedition for the reduction of Vera Cruz, the principal
port of the Republic, whence a good road leads to Mexico. The line of
advance would be thus reduced to two hundred and sixty miles; and the
natural obstacles, though numerous enough, were far less serious than
the deserts which barred invasion from the north. For this enterprise
most of the regular regiments were withdrawn from the Rio Grande; and
General Taylor, the hero of Palo Alto and Monterey, was left with a
small army, composed principally of volunteers, to hold the conquered
provinces. Scott's troops assembled in the first instance at Tampico.
The transports, eighty in number, having embarked their freight, were
directed to rendezvous in the road stead of Lobos, one hundred and
twenty miles north of Vera Cruz; and when the whole had assembled,
the fleet set sail for Los Sacrificios, the island where Cortez had
landed in 1520, three miles south of the city. The army of invasion,
in which the First Regiment of Artillery was included, consisted of
13,000 men.

March 9.

On the morning of March 9 the sun shone propitiously on the
expedition. The surf-boats, each holding from seventy to eighty men,
were quickly arrayed in line. Then, dashing forward simultaneously,
with the strains of martial music sweeping over the smooth waters of
the bay, they neared the shore. The landing was covered by seven
armed vessels, and as the boats touched the beach the foremost men
leaped into the water and ran up the sandy shore. In one hour General
Worth's division, numbering 4500 men, was disembarked; and by the
same precise arrangements the whole army was landed in six hours
without accident or confusion. To the astonishment of the Americans
the enemy offered no resistance, and the troops bivouacked in line of
battle on the beach.

Little more than a mile north, across a waste of sand-hills, rose the
white walls of Vera Cruz. The city was held by 4000 men, and its
armament was formidable. The troops, however, but partially
organised, were incapable of operations in the open field. The
garrison had not been reinforced. Santa Anna, on learning that the
American army on the Rio Grande had been reduced, had acted with
commendable promptitude. Collecting all the troops that were
available he had marched northwards, expecting, doubtless, to
overwhelm Taylor and still to be in time to prevent Scott from
seizing a good harbour. But distance was against him, and his
precautions were inadequate. Even if he defeated Taylor, he would
have to march more than a thousand miles to encounter Scott, and Vera
Cruz was ill provided for a siege. It was difficult, it is true, for
the Mexican general to anticipate the point at which the Americans
would disembark. An army that moves by sea possesses the advantage
that its movements are completely veiled. But Vera Cruz was decidedly
the most probable objective of the invaders, and, had it been made
secure, the venture of the Americans would have been rendered
hazardous. As it was, with Santa Anna's army far away, the reduction
of the fortress presented little difficulty. An immediate assault
would in all likelihood have proved successful. Scott, however,
decided on a regular siege. His army was small, and a march on the
capital was in prospect. The Government grudged both men and money,
and an assault would have cost more lives than could well be spared.
On March 18 the trenches were completed. Four days later, sufficient
heavy ordnance having been landed, the bombardment was begun.

March 27.

On the 27th the town surrendered; the garrison laid down their arms,
and 400 cannon, many of large calibre, fell into the hands of the

The fall of Vera Cruz was brought about by the heavy artillery, aided
by the sailors, and the First Regiment was continuously engaged. The
Mexican fire, notwithstanding their array of guns, was comparatively
harmless. The garrison attempted no sortie; and only 64 of the
investing force were killed or wounded. Nevertheless, Jackson's
behaviour under fire attracted notice, and a few months later he was
promoted to first lieutenant "for gallant and meritorious conduct at
the siege of Vera Cruz."* (* He had been promoted second lieutenant
on March 3. Records of the First Regiment of Artillery.)

Scott had now secured an admirable line of operations; but the
projected march upon the city of Mexico was a far more arduous
undertaking than the capture of the port. The ancient capital of
Montezuma stands high above the sea. The famous valley which
surrounds it is embosomed in the heart of a vast plateau, and the
roads which lead to this lofty region wind by steep gradients over
successive ranges of rugged and precipitous mountains. Between Vera
Cruz and the upland lies a level plain, sixty miles broad, and
covered with tropical forest. Had it been possible to follow up the
initial victory by a rapid advance, Cerro Gordo, the first, and the
most difficult, of the mountain passes, might have been occupied
without a blow. Santa Anna, defeated by Taylor at Buena Vista, but
returning hot foot to block Scott's path, was still distant, and
Cerro Gordo was undefended. But the progress of the Americans was
arrested by the difficulties inherent in all maritime expeditions.

An army landing on a hostile coast has to endure a certain period of
inactivity. Under ordinary circumstances, as at Vera Cruz, the
process of disembarking men is rapidly accomplished. The field-guns
follow with but little delay, and a certain proportion of cavalry
becomes early available. But the disembarkation of the
impedimenta--the stores, waggons, hospitals, ammunition, and
transport animals--even where ample facilities exist, demands far
more time than the disembarkation of the fighting force. In the
present case, as all the animals had to be requisitioned in the
country, it was not till the middle of April that supplies and
transport sufficient to warrant further movement had been
accumulated; and meanwhile General Santa Anna, halting in the
mountains, had occupied the pass of Cerro Gordo with 13,000 men and
42 pieces of artillery. The Mexican position was exceedingly strong.
The right rested on a deep ravine, with precipitous cliffs; the left,
on the hill of Cerro Gordo, covered with batteries, and towering to
the height of several hundred feet above the surrounding ridges;
while the front, strongly intrenched, and commanding the road which
wound zigzag fashion up the steep ascent, followed the crest of a
lofty ridge.

The Americans reached the foot of the pass without difficulty. The
enemy had made no attempt to check their passage through the forest.
Confident in the inaccessibility of his mountain crags, in his
numerous guns and massive breastworks, Santa Anna reserved his
strength for battle on ground of his own selection.

Several days were consumed in reconnaissance. The engineers, to whom
this duty was generally assigned in the American army, pushed their
explorations to either flank. At length the quick eye of a young
officer, Captain Robert Lee, already noted for his services at Vera
Cruz, discovered a line of approach, hidden from the enemy, by which
the position might be turned. In three days a rough road was
constructed by which guns could be brought to bear on the hill of
Cerro Gordo, and infantry marched round to strike the Mexicans in

April 18.

The attack, delivered at daylight on April 18, was brilliantly
successful. The enemy was completely surprised. Cerro Gordo was
stormed with the bayonet, and Santa Anna's right, assaulted from a
direction whence he confessed that he had not believed a goat could
approach his lines, was rolled back in confusion on his centre. 1200
Mexicans were killed and wounded, and 3000 captured, together with
the whole of their artillery.* (* The Americans had about 8500 men
upon the field, and their loss was 431, including two generals.
Memoirs of Lieutenant-General Scott.) The next day the pursuit was
pushed with uncompromising resolution. Amidst pathless mountains,
6000 feet above the sea, where every spur formed a strong position,
the defeated army was permitted neither halt nor respite. The
American dragoons, undeterred by numbers, pressed forward along the
road, making hundreds of prisoners, and spreading panic in the broken

May 15.

The infantry followed, sturdily breasting the long ascent; a second
intrenched position, barring the La Hoya pass, was abandoned on their
approach; the strong castle of Perote, with an armament of 60 guns
and mortars, opened its gates without firing a shot, and on May 15
the great city of Puebla, surrounded by glens of astonishing
fertility, and only eighty miles from Mexico, was occupied without

At Cerro Gordo the First Artillery were employed as infantry. Their
colours were amongst the first to be planted on the enemy's
breastworks. But in none of the reports does Jackson's name occur.*
(* According to the Regimental Records his company (K) was not
engaged in the battle, but only in the pursuit.) The battle, however,
brought him good luck. Captain Magruder, an officer of his own
regiment, who was to win distinction on wider fields, had captured a
Mexican field battery, which Scott presented to him as a reward for
his gallantry. Indian wars had done but little towards teaching
American soldiers the true use of artillery. Against a rapidly moving
enemy, who systematically forebore exposing himself in mass, and in a
country where no roads existed, only the fire-arm was effective. But
already, at Palo Alto and Resaca, against the serried lines and
thronging cavalry of the Mexicans, light field-guns had done
extraordinary execution. The heavy artillery, hitherto the more
favoured service, saw itself eclipsed. The First Regiment, however,
had already been prominent on the fighting line. It had won
reputation with the bayonet at Cerro Gordo, and before Mexico was
reached there were other battles to be fought, and other positions to
be stormed. A youth with a predilection for hard knocks might have
been content with the chances offered to the foot-soldier. But
Jackson's partiality for his own arm was as marked as was Napoleon's,
and the decisive effect of a well-placed battery appealed to his
instincts with greater force than the wild rush of a charge of
infantry. Skilful manoeuvring was more to his taste than the mere
bludgeon work of fighting at close quarters.

Two subalterns were required for the new battery. The position meant
much hard work, and possibly much discomfort. Magruder was restless
and hot-tempered, and the young officers of artillery showed no
eagerness to go through the campaign as his subordinates. Not so
Jackson. He foresaw that service with a light battery, under a bold
and energetic leader, was likely to present peculiar opportunities;
and with his thorough devotion to duty, his habits of industry, and
his strong sense of self-reliance, he had little fear of
disappointing the expectations of the most exacting superior. "I
wanted to see active service," he said in after years, "to be near
the enemy in the fight; and when I heard that John Magruder had got
his battery I bent all my energies to be with him, for I knew if any
fighting was to be done, Magruder would be "on hand."" His soldierly
ambition won its due reward. The favours of fortune fall to the men
who woo more often than to those who wait. The barrack-room proverb
which declares that ill-luck follows the volunteer must assuredly
have germinated in a commonplace brain. It is characteristic of men
who have cut their way to fame that they have never allowed the
opportunity to escape them. The successful man pushes to the front
and seeks his chance; those of a temper less ardent wait till duty
calls and the call may never come. Once before, when, despite his
manifold disadvantages, he secured his nomination to West Point,
Jackson had shown how readily he recognised an opening; now, when his
comrades held back, he eagerly stepped forward, to prove anew the
truth of the vigorous adage, "Providence helps those who help

The American army was delayed long at Puebla. Several regiments of
volunteers, who had engaged only for a short term of service,
demanded their discharge, and reinforcements were slow in arriving.

August 7.

It was not until the first week in August that Scott was able to move
upon the capital. The army now numbered 14,000 men. Several hundred
were sick in hospital, and 600 convalescents, together with 600
effectives, were left to garrison Puebla. The field force was
organised in four divisions: the first, under Major-General Worth;
the second, under Major-General Twiggs; the third, to which
Magruder's battery was attached, under Major-General Pillow; the
fourth (volunteers and marines), under Major-General Pierce. Four
field batteries, a small brigade of dragoons, and a still smaller
siege train* (* Two 24-pounders, two 8-inch howitzers, and two light
pieces. Ripley's History of the Mexican War.) made up a total of
11,500 officers and men. During the three months that his enemy was
idle at Puebla, Santa Anna had reorganised his army; and 30,000
Mexicans, including a formidable body of cavalry, fine horsemen and
well trained,* (* It is said, however, that their horses were little
more than ponies, and far too light for a charge. Semmes' Campaign of
General Scott.) and a large number of heavy batteries, were now ready
to oppose the advance of the invaders.

On August 10 the American army crossed the Rio Frio Mountains, 10,000
feet above the sea, the highest point between the Atlantic and the
Pacific, and as the troops descended the western slopes the valley of
Mexico first broke upon their view. There, beneath the shadow of her
mighty mountains, capped with eternal snows, stood

The Imperial city, her far circling walls,
Her garden groves, and stately palaces.

There lay the broad plain of Tenochtitlan, with all its wealth of
light and colour, the verdure of the forest, the warmer hues of the
great corn-fields, ripening to the harvest, and the sheen and sparkle
of the distant lakes. There it lay, as it burst upon the awe-struck
vision of Cortez and his companions, "bathed in the golden sunshine,
stretched out as it were in slumber, in the arms of the giant hills."

On every hand were the signs of a teeming population. White villages
and substantial haciendas glistened in the woodlands; roads broad and
well-travelled crossed the level; and in the clear atmosphere of
those lofty altitudes the vast size of the city was plainly visible.
The whole army of Mexico formed the garrison; hills crowned with
batteries commanded the approaches, while a network of canals on
either flank and a broad area of deep water enhanced the difficulties
of manoeuvre. The line of communication, far too long to be
maintained by the small force at Scott's disposal, had already been
abandoned. The army depended for subsistence on what it could
purchase in the country; the sick and wounded were carried with the
troops, and there was no further reserve of ammunition than that
which was packed in the regimental waggons. Cortez and his four
hundred when they essayed the same enterprise were not more
completely isolated, for, while the Spaniard had staunch allies in
the hereditary foes of the Aztecs, Scott's nearest supports were at
Puebla, eighty miles from Mexico, and these numbered only 1200
effective soldiers. The most adventurous of leaders might well have
hesitated ere he plunged into the great valley, swarming with
enemies, and defended by all the resources of a civilised State. But
there was no misgiving in the ranks of the Americans. With that
wholesome contempt for a foreign foe which has wrought more good than
evil for the Anglo-Saxon race, the army moved forward without a halt.
"Recovering," says Scott, "from the trance into which the magnificent
spectacle had thrown them, probably not a man in the column failed to
say to his neighbour or himself, "That splendid city shall soon be

The fortifications which protected Mexico on the east were found to
be impregnable. The high ridge of El Penon, manned by nearly the
whole of Santa Anna's army, blocked the passage between the lakes,
and deep morasses added to the difficulties of approach. To the
south, however, on the far side of Lake Chalco, lay a more level
tract, but accessible only by roads which the Mexicans deemed
impracticable. Despite the difficulties of the route, the manoeuvre
of Cerro Gordo was repeated on a grander scale.

August 16 to 18.

After a toilsome march of seven-and-twenty miles from Ayotla, over
the spurs of the sierras, the troops reached the great road which
leads to the capital from the south. Across this road was more than
one line of fortifications, to which the Mexican army had been
hurriedly transferred. The hacienda of San Antonio, six miles from
the city, strengthened by field-works and defended by heavy guns,
commanded the highway. To the east was a morass, and beyond the
morass were the blue waters of Lake Chalco; while to the west the
Pedregal, a barren tract of volcanic scoriae, over whose sharp rocks
and deep fissures neither horse nor vehicle could move, flanked the
American line of march. The morass was absolutely impassable.

August 19.

The gloomy solitude of the Pedregal, extending to the mountains, five
miles distant, seemed equally forbidding; but the engineer officers
came once more to the rescue. A road across the Pedregal, little
better than a mule track, was discovered by Captain Lee. Under cover
of a strong escort it was rapidly improved, and Pillow's and Worth's
divisions, accompanied by Magruder's battery, were directed to cross
the waste of rocks. Beyond the Pedregal was a good road, approaching
the city from the south-west; and by this road the post of San
Antonio might be assailed in rear.

Overlooking the road, however, as well as the issues from the
Pedregal, was a high ridge, backed by the mountains, and held by 6000
Mexicans. Opposite this ridge the Americans came out on cultivated
ground, but all further progress was completely checked. Shortly
after midday the leading brigade, with Magruder's battery on hand,
reached the summit of a hill within a thousand yards of the enemy's
breastworks. Magruder came at once into action, and the infantry
attempted to push forward. But the Mexican artillery was far
superior, both in number of pieces and weight of metal, and the
ground was eminently unfavourable for attack. Two-and-twenty heavy
cannon swept the front; the right of the position was secured by a
deep ravine; masses of infantry were observed in rear of the
intrenchments, and several regiments of lancers were in close
support. For three hours the battle raged fiercely. On the right the
Americans pushed forward, crossing with extreme difficulty an
outlying angle of the Pedregal, covered with dense scrub, and
occupied the village of Contreras. But elsewhere they made no
impression. They were without cavalry, and Magruder's guns were far
too few and feeble to keep down the fire of the hostile batteries.
"The infantry," says Scott, "could not advance in column without
being mowed down by grape and canister, nor advance in line without
being ridden down by the enemy's numerous horsemen." Nor were the
Mexicans content on this occasion to remain passively in their works.
Both infantry and cavalry attempted to drive the assailants back upon
the Pedregal; and, although these counterstrokes were successfully
repulsed, when darkness fell the situation of the troops was by no
means favourable. Heavy columns of Mexicans were approaching from the
city; the remainder of the American army was opposite San Antonio,
five miles distant, on the far side of the Pedregal, and no support
could be expected. To add to their discomfort, it rained heavily; the
thunder crashed in the mountains, and torrents of water choked the
streams. The men stood in the darkness drenched and dispirited, and
an attack made by a Mexican battalion induced General Pillow to
withdraw Magruder's battery from the ridge. The senior subaltern had
been killed. 15 gunners and as many horses had fallen. The slopes
were covered with huge boulders, and it was only by dint of the most
strenuous exertions that the guns were brought down in safety to the
lower ground.

A council of war was then held in Contreras Church, and, contrary to
the traditionary conduct of such conventions, a most desperate
expedient was adopted. The Mexican reinforcements, 12,000 strong, had
halted on the main road, their advanced guard within a few hundred
yards of the village. Leaving two regiments to hold this imposing
force in check, it was determined to make a night march and turn the
rear of the intrenchments on the ridge. The Commander-in-Chief was
beyond the Pedregal, opposite San Antonio, and it was necessary that
he should be informed of the projected movement.

"I have always understood," says an officer present in this quarter
of the field, "that what was devised and determined on was suggested
by Captain Lee; at all events the council was closed by his saying
that he desired to return to General Scott with the decision, and
that, as it was late, the decision must be given as soon as possible,
since General Scott wished him to return in time to give directions
for co-operation. During the council, and for hours after, the rain
fell in torrents, whilst the darkness was so intense that one could
move only by groping."

The Pedregal was infested by straggling bands of Mexicans; and yet,
over those five miles of desolation, with no guide but the wind, or
an occasional flash of lightning, Lee, unaccompanied by a single
orderly, made his way to Scott's headquarters. This perilous
adventure was characterised by the Commander-in-Chief as "the
greatest feat of physical and moral courage performed by any
individual during the entire campaign."

August 20.

The night march, although it entailed the passage of a deep ravine,
and was so slow that one company in two hours made no more than four
hundred yards, was completely successful. The Mexicans, trusting to
the strength of their position, and to the presence of the
reinforcements, had neglected to guard their left. The lesson of
Cerro Gordo had been forgotten. The storming parties, guided by the
engineers, Lee, Beauregard, and Gustavus Smith, established
themselves, under cover of the darkness, within five hundred paces of
the intrenchments, and as the day broke the works were carried at the
first rush. Seventeen minutes after the signal had been given, the
garrison, attacked in front and rear simultaneously, was completely
dispersed. 800 Mexicans were captured, and nearly as many killed.* (*
4500 Americans (rank and file) were engaged, and the losses did not
exceed 50. Scott's Memoirs.) The reinforcements, unable to intervene,
and probably demoralised by this unlooked-for defeat, fell back to
the village of Churubusco, and San Antonio was evacuated. The pursuit
was hotly pressed. Churubusco was heavily bombarded. For two hours
the American batteries played upon the church and hacienda, both
strongly fortified, and after a counterstroke had been beaten back a
vigorous onslaught, made by the whole line of battle, compelled the
enemy to give way. A brilliant charge of General Shields' brigade
dispersed their last reserves, and the whole of the hostile army fled
in confusion to the city. The American cavalry followed at speed,
using their sabres freely on the panic-stricken masses, and one
squadron, not hearing the recall, dashed up to the very gates of the
city. Scott's losses amounted to 1053, including 76 officers. The
Mexican casualties were 3000 prisoners, and 3250 killed and wounded.
37 field-guns were abandoned, and, a still more valuable capture, a
large supply of ammunition fell into the hands of the victors.

Magruder's battery, it appears, was retained in reserve throughout
the battle of Churubusco, and Jackson's share in the victory was
confined to the engagement of the previous day. But his small charge
of three guns had been handled with skill and daring. Magruder was
more than satisfied. "In a few moments," ran his official report,
"Lieutenant Jackson, commanding the second section of the battery,
who had opened fire upon the enemy's works from a position on the
right, hearing our fire still further in front, advanced in handsome
style, and kept up the fire with equal briskness and effect. His
conduct was equally conspicuous during the whole day, and I cannot
too highly commend him to the Major-General's favourable

The extreme vigour with which the Americans had prosecuted their
operations now came to an untimely pause. After his double victory at
Contreras and Churubusco, General Scott proposed an armistice. The
whole of the Mexican army had been encountered. It had been
decisively defeated. Its losses, in men and materiel, had been very
heavy. The troops were utterly demoralised. The people were filled
with consternation, and a rapid advance would probably have been
followed by an immediate peace. But Scott was unwilling to drive his
foes to desperation, and he appears to have believed that if they
were spared all further humiliation they would accede without further
resistance to his demands.

The Mexicans, however, were only playing for time. During the
negotiations, in direct defiance of the terms of the armistice, Santa
Anna strengthened his fortifications, rallied his scattered army, and
prepared once more to confront the invader. Scott's ultimatum was
rejected, and on September 5 hostilities were renewed.

September 8.

Three days later the position of Molino del Rey, garrisoned by the
choicest of the Mexican troops, was stormed at dawn. But the enemy
had benefited by his respite. The fighting was desperate. 800
Americans were killed and wounded before the intrenchments and strong
buildings were finally carried; and although the Mexicans again lost
3000 men, including two generals, their spirit of resistance was not
yet wholly crushed.

Driven from their outworks, they had fallen back on a still more
formidable line. Behind the Molino del Rey rose the hill of
Chapultepec, crowned by the great castle which had been the palace of
Montezuma and of the Spanish viceroys, now the military college of
the Republic and the strongest of her fortresses. Three miles from
the city walls, the stronghold completely barred the line of advance
on the San Cosme Gate. Heavy guns mounted on the lofty bastions which
encircled the citadel, commanded every road, and the outflanking
movements which had hitherto set at nought the walls and parapets of
the Mexicans were here impracticable. Still, careful reconnaissance
had shown that, with all its difficulties, this was the most
favourable approach for the invading army. The gates of Belen and San
Antonio were beset by obstacles even more impracticable. The ground
over which the troops would advance to storm the fortress was far
firmer than elsewhere, there was ample space for the American
batteries, and if the hill were taken, the Mexicans, retreating along
two narrow causeways, with deep marshes on either hand, might easily
be deprived of all opportunity of rallying.

September 13.

On the night of the 11th four batteries of heavy guns were
established within easy range. On the 12th they opened fire; and the
next morning the American army, covered by the fire of the artillery,
advanced to the assault. In the victory of Molino del Rey, Magruder's
battery had taken little part. Jackson, posted with his section on
the extreme flank of the line, had dispersed a column of cavalry
which threatened a charge; but, with this brief interlude of action,
he had been merely a spectator. At Chapultepec he was more fortunate.
Pillow's division, to which the battery was attached, attacked the
Mexicans in front, while Worth's division assailed them from the
north. The 14th Infantry, connecting the two attacks, moved along a
road which skirts the base of the hill, and Magruder was ordered to
detach a section of his battery in support. Jackson was selected for
the duty, and as he approached the enemy's position dangers
multiplied at every step. The ground alongside was so marshy that the
guns were unable to leave the road. A Mexican fieldpiece, covered by
a breastwork, raked the causeway from end to end, while from the
heights of Chapultepec cannon of large calibre poured down a
destructive fire. The infantry suffered terribly. It was impossible
to advance along the narrow track; and when the guns were ordered up
the situation was in no way bettered. Nearly every horse was killed
or wounded. A deep ditch, cut across the road, hindered effective
action, and the only position where reply to the enemy's fire was
possible lay beyond this obstacle. Despite the losses of his command
Jackson managed to lift one gun across by hand. But his men became
demoralised. They left their posts. The example of their lieutenant,
walking up and down on the shot-swept road and exclaiming calmly,
"There is no danger: see! I am not hit," failed to inspire them with
confidence. Many had already fallen. The infantry, with the exception
of a small escort, which held its ground with difficulty, had
disappeared; and General Worth, observing Jackson's perilous
situation, sent him orders to retire. He replied it was more
dangerous to withdraw than to stand fast, and if they would give him
fifty veterans he would rather attempt the capture of the breastwork.
At this juncture Magruder, losing his horse as he galloped forward,
reached the road.

The ditch was crowded with soldiers; many wounded; many already dead;
many whose hearts had failed them. Beyond, on the narrow causeway,
the one gun which Jackson had brought across the ditch was still in

Deserted by his gunners, and abandoned by the escort which had been
ordered to support him, the young subaltern still held his ground.
With the sole assistance of a sergeant, of stauncher mettle than the
rest, he was loading and firing his solitary field-piece, rejoicing,
as became the son of a warrior race, in the hot breath of battle, and
still more in the isolation of his perilous position. To stand alone,
in the forefront of the fight, defying the terrors from which others
shrank, was the situation which of all others he most coveted; and
under the walls of Chapultepec, answering shot for shot, and plying
sponge and handspike with desperate energy, the fierce instincts of
the soldier were fully gratified. Nor was Magruder the man to proffer
prudent counsels. A second gun was hoisted across the ditch; the men
rallied; the Mexican artillery was gradually overpowered, and the
breastwork stormed. The crisis of the struggle was already past.
Pillow's troops had driven the enemy from their intrenchments at the
base of the hill, and beneath the shadows of the majestic cypresses,
which still bear the name of the Grove of Montezuma, and up the
rugged slopes which tower above them, pressed the assaulting columns.
A redoubt which stood midway up the height was carried. The Mexicans
fell back from shelter to shelter; but amid smoke and flame the
scaling ladders were borne across the castle ditch, and reared
against the lofty walls were soon covered with streams of men. The
leaders, hurled from the battlements on to the crowd below, failed to
make good their footing, but there were others to take their places.
The supports came thronging up; the enemy, assailed in front and
flank, drew back disheartened, and after a short struggle the
American colours, displayed upon the keep, announced to the citizens
of Mexico that Chapultepec had been captured. Yet the victory was not
complete. The greater part of the garrison had fled from their
intrenchments before the castle had been stormed; and infantry,
cavalry, and artillery, in wild confusion, were crowding in panic on
the causeways. But their numbers were formidable, and the city,
should the army be rallied, was capable of a protracted defence. Not
a moment was to be lost if the battle was to be decisive of the war.
The disorder on Chapultepec was hardly less than that which existed
in the ranks of the defeated Mexicans. Many of the stormers had
dispersed in search of plunder, and regiments and brigades had become
hopelessly intermingled in the assault of the rocky hill. Still the
pursuit was prompt. Towards the San Cosme Gate several of the younger
officers, a lieutenant by name Ulysses Grant amongst the foremost,
followed the enemy with such men as they could collect, and Jackson's
guns were soon abreast of the fighting line. His teams had been
destroyed by the fire of the Mexican batteries. Those of his waggons,
posted further to the rear, had partially escaped. To disengage the
dead animals from the limbers and to replace them by others would
have wasted many minutes, and he had eagerly suggested to Magruder
that the guns should be attached to the waggon-limbers instead of to
their own. Permission was given, and in a few moments his section was
thundering past the cliffs of Chapultepec. Coming into action within
close range of the flying Mexicans, every shot told on their
demoralised masses; but before the San Cosme Gate the enemy made a
last effort to avert defeat. Fresh troops were brought up to man the
outworks; the houses and gardens which lined the road were filled
with skirmishers; from the high parapets of the flat house-tops a
hail of bullets struck the head of the pursuing column; and again and
again the American infantry, without cover and with little space for
movement, recoiled from the attack.

The situation of the invading army, despite the brilliant victory of
Chapultepec, was not yet free from peril. The greater part of the
Mexican forces was still intact. The city contained 180,000
inhabitants, and General Scott's battalions had dwindled to the
strength of a small division. In the various battles before the
capital nearly 3000 officers and men had fallen, and the soldiers who
encompassed the walls of the great metropolis were spent with
fighting.* (* 862 officers and men fell at Chapultepec. Scott's
Memoirs.) One spark of the stubborn courage which bore Cortez and his
paladins through the hosts of Montezuma might have made of that
stately city a second Saragossa. It was eminently defensible. The
churches, the convents, the public buildings, constructed with that
solidity which is peculiarly Spanish, formed each of them a fortress.
The broad streets, crossing each other at right angles, rendered
concentration at any threatened point an easy matter, and beyond the
walls were broad ditches and a deep canal.

Nor was the strength of the city the greatest of Scott's
difficulties. Vera Cruz, his base of operations, was two hundred and
sixty miles distant; Puebla, his nearest supply-depot, eighty miles.
He had abandoned his communications. His army was dependent for food
on a hostile population. In moving round Lake Chalco, and attacking
the city from the south, he had burned his boats. A siege or an
investment were alike impossible. A short march would place the
enemy's army across his line of retreat, and nothing would have been
easier for the Mexicans than to block the road where it passes
between the sierras and the lake. Guerillas were already hovering in
the hills; one single repulse before the gates of the capital would
have raised the country in rear; and hemmed in by superior numbers,
and harassed by a cavalry which was at least equal to the task of
cutting off supplies, the handful of Americans must have cut their
way through to Puebla or have succumbed to starvation.

Such considerations had doubtless been at the root of the temporising
policy which had been pursued after Churubusco. But the uselessness
of half-measures had then been proved. The conviction had become
general that a desperate enterprise could only be pushed to a
successful issue by desperate tactics, and every available battalion
was hurried forward to the assault. Before the San Cosme Gate the
pioneers were ordered up, and within the suburb pick and crowbar
forced a passage from house to house. The guns, moving slowly
forward, battered the crumbling masonry at closest range. The
Mexicans were driven back from breastwork to breastwork; and a
mountain howitzer, which Lieutenant Grant had posted on the tower of
a neighbouring church, played with terrible effect, at a range of two
or three hundred yards, on the defenders of the Gate.

By eight o'clock in the evening the suburb had been cleared, and the
Americans were firmly established within the walls. To the
south-east, before the Belen Gate, another column had been equally
successful. During the night Santa Anna withdrew his troops, and when
day dawned the white flag was seen flying from the citadel. After a
sharp fight with 2000 convicts whom the fugitive President had
released, the invaders occupied the city, and the war was virtually
at an end. From Cerro Gordo to Chapultepec the power of discipline
had triumphed. An army of 30,000 men, fighting in their own country,
and supported by a numerous artillery, had been defeated by an
invading force of one-third the strength. Yet the Mexicans had shown
no lack of courage. "At Chapultepec and Molino del Rey, as on many
other occasions," says Grant, "they stood up as well as any troops
ever did."* (* Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page 169.) But their officers
were inexperienced; the men were ill-instructed; and against an army
of regular soldiers, well led and obedient, their untutored valour,
notwithstanding their superior numbers, had proved of no avail. They
had early become demoralised. Their strongest positions had been
rendered useless by the able manoeuvres of their adversaries.
Everywhere they had been out-generalled. They had never been
permitted to fight on the ground which they had prepared, and in
almost every single engagement they had been surprised. Nor had the
Government escaped the infection which had turned the hearts of the
troops to water.

September 14.

The energy of the pursuit after the fall of Chapultepec had wrought
its full effect, and on September 14 the city of Mexico was
surrendered, without further parley, to a force which, all told,
amounted to less than 7000 men.* (* The total loss in the battles
before the capital was 2703, including 383 officers. Scott's Memoirs.)

With such portion of his force as had not disbanded Santa Anna
undertook the siege of Puebla; and the guerillas, largely reinforced
from the army, waged a desultory warfare in the mountains. But these
despairing efforts were without effect upon the occupation of the
capital. The Puebla garrison beat back every attack; and the bands of
irregular horse men were easily dispersed. During these operations
Magruder's battery remained with headquarters near the capital, and
so far as Jackson was concerned all opportunities for distinction
were past.

February 1848.

The peace negotiations were protracted from September to the
following February, and in their camps beyond the walls the American
soldiers were fain to content themselves with their ordinary duties.

It cannot be said that Jackson had failed to take advantage of the
opportunities which fortune had thrown in his way. As eagerly as he
had snatched at the chance of employment in the field artillery he
had welcomed the tactical emergency which had given him sole command
of his section at Chapultepec. It was a small charge; but he had
utilised it to the utmost, and it had filled the cup of his ambition
to the brim. Ambitious he certainly was. "He confessed," says Dabney,
"to an intimate friend that the order of General Pillow, separating
his section on the day of Chapultepec from his captain, had excited
his abiding gratitude; so much so that while the regular officers
were rather inclined to depreciate the general as an unprofessional
soldier, he loved him because he gave him an opportunity to win
distinction." His friends asked him, long after the war, if he felt
no trepidation when so many were falling round him. He replied: "No;
the only anxiety of which I was conscious during the engagements was
a fear lest I should not meet danger enough to make my conduct


His share of the glory was more than ample. Contreras gave him the
brevet rank of captain. For his conduct at Chapultepec he was
mentioned in the Commander-in-Chief's dispatches, and publicly
complimented on his courage. Shortly after the capture of the city,
General Scott held a levee, and amongst others presented to him was
Lieutenant Jackson. When he heard the name, the general drew himself
up to his full height, and, placing his hands behind him, said with
affected sternness, "I don't know that I shall shake hands with Mr.
Jackson." Jackson, blushing like a girl, was overwhelmed with
confusion. General Scott, seeing that he had called the attention of
every one in the room, said, "If you can forgive yourself for the way
in which you slaughtered those poor Mexicans with your guns, I am not
sure that I can," and then held out his hand. "No greater
compliment," says General Gibbon, "could have been paid a young
officer, and Jackson apparently did not know he had done anything
remarkable till his general told him so."* (* Letter to the author.)
Magruder could find no praise high enough for his industry, his
capacity, and his gallantry, and within eighteen months of his first
joining his regiment he was breveted major. Such promotion was
phenomenal even in the Mexican war, and none of his West Point
comrades made so great a stride in rank. His future in his profession
was assured. He had acquired something more than the spurs of a field
officer in his seven months of service. A subaltern, it has been
said, learns but little of the higher art of war in the course of a
campaign. His daily work so engrosses his attention that he has
little leisure to reflect on the lessons in strategy and tactics
which unfold themselves before him. Without maps, and without that
information of the enemy's numbers and dispositions which alone
renders the manoeuvres intelligible, it is difficult, even where the
inclination exists, to discuss or criticise the problems, tactical
and strategical, with which the general has to deal. But siege and
battle, long marches and rough roads, gave the young American
officers an insight into the practical difficulties of war. It is
something to have seen how human nature shows itself under fire; how
easily panics may be generated; how positions that seem impregnable
may be rendered weak; to have witnessed the effect of surprise, and
to have realised the strength of a vigorous attack. It is something,
too, if a man learns his own worth in situations of doubt and danger;
and if he finds, as did Jackson, that battle sharpens his faculties,
and makes his self-control more perfect, his judgment clearer and
more prompt, the gain in self-confidence is of the utmost value.

Moreover, whether a young soldier learns much or little from his
first campaign depends on his intellectual powers and his previous
training. Jackson's brain, as his steady progress at West Point
proves, was of a capacity beyond the average. He was naturally
reflective. If, at the Military Academy, he had heard little of war;
if, during his service in Mexico, his knowledge was insufficient to
enable him to compare General Scott's operations with those of the
great captains, he had at least been trained to think. It is
difficult to suppose that his experience was cast away. He was no
thoughtless subaltern, but already an earnest soldier; and in after
times, when he came to study for himself the campaigns of Washington
and Napoleon, we may be certain that the teaching he found there was
made doubly impressive when read by the light of what he had seen
himself. Nor is it mere conjecture to assert that in his first
campaign his experience was of peculiar value to a future general of
the Southern Confederacy. Some of the regiments who fought under
Scott and Taylor were volunteers, civilians, like their successors in
the great Civil War, in all but name, enlisted for the war only, or
even for a shorter term, and serving under their own officers.
Several of these regiments had fought well; others had behaved
indifferently; and the problem of how discipline was to be maintained
in battle amongst these unprofessional soldiers obtruded itself as
unpleasantly in Mexico as it had in the wars with England. Amongst
the regular officers, accustomed to the absolute subordination of the
army, the question provoked perplexity and discussion.

So small was the military establishment of the States that in case of
any future war, the army, as in Mexico, would be largely composed of
volunteers; and, despite the high intelligence and warlike enthusiasm
of the citizen battalions, it was evident that they were far less
reliable than the regulars. Even General Grant, partial as he was to
the volunteers, admitted the superiority conferred by drill,
discipline, and highly trained officers. "A better army," he wrote,
"man for man, probably never faced an enemy than the one commanded by
General Taylor in the earlier engagements of the Mexican war."* (*
Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page 168.) These troops were all regulars,
and they were those who carried Scott in triumph from the shores of
the Gulf to the palace of Santa Anna. The volunteers had proved
themselves exceedingly liable to panic. Their superior intelligence
had not enabled them to master the instincts of human nature, and,
although they had behaved well in camp and on the march, in battle
their discipline had fallen to pieces.* (* Ripley's History of the
Mexican War volume 2 page 73 etc.) It could hardly be otherwise. Men
without ingrained habits of obedience, who have not been trained to
subordinate their will to another's, cannot be expected to render
implicit obedience in moments of danger and excitement; nor can they
be expected, under such circumstances, to follow officers in whom
they can have but little confidence. The ideal of battle is a
combined effort, directed by a trained leader. Unless troops are
thoroughly well disciplined such effort is impossible; the leaders
are ignored, and the spasmodic action of the individual is
substituted for the concentrated pressure of the mass. The cavalry
which dissolves into a mob before it strikes the enemy but seldom
attains success; and infantry out of hand is hardly more effective.
In the Mexican campaign the volunteers, although on many occasions
they behaved with admirable courage, continually broke loose from
control under the fire of the enemy. As individuals they fought well;
as organised bodies, capable of manoeuvring under fire and of
combined effort, they proved to be comparatively worthless.

So Jackson, observant as he was, gained on Mexican battle-fields some
knowledge of the shortcomings inherent in half-trained troops. And
this was not all. The expedition had demanded the services of nearly
every officer in the army of the United States, and in the toils of
the march, in the close companionship of the camp, in the excitement
of battle, the shrewder spirits probed the characters of their
comrades to the quick. In the history of the Civil War there are few
things more remarkable than the use which was made of the knowledge
thus acquired. The clue to many an enterprise, daring even to
foolhardiness, is to be found in this. A leader so intimately
acquainted with the character of his opponent as to be able to
predict with certainty what he will do under any given circumstances
may set aside with impunity every established rule of war. "All the
older officers, who became conspicuous in the rebellion," says Grant,
"I had also served with and known in Mexico. The acquaintance thus
formed was of immense service to me in the War of the Rebellion--I
mean what I learned of the characters of those to whom I was
afterwards opposed. I do not pretend to say that all my movements, or
even many of them, were made with special reference to the
characteristics of the commander against whom they were directed. But
my appreciation of my enemies was certainly affected by this
knowledge."* (* Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page 192.)

Many of the generals with whom Jackson became intimately connected,
either as friends or enemies, are named in Scott's dispatches.
Magruder, Hooker, McDowell, and Ambrose Hill belonged to his own
regiment. McClellan, Beauregard, and Gustavus Smith served on the
same staff as Lee. Joseph E. Johnston, twice severely wounded, was
everywhere conspicuous for dashing gallantry. Shields commanded a
brigade with marked ability. Pope was a staff officer. Lieutenant
D.H. Hill received two brevets. Lieutenant Longstreet, struck down
whilst carrying the colours at Chapultepec, was bracketed for
conspicuous conduct with Lieutenant Pickett. Lieutenant Edward
Johnson is mentioned as having specially distinguished himself in the
same battle. Captain Huger, together with Lieutenants Porter and
Reno, did good service with the artillery, and Lieutenant Ewell had
two horses killed under him at Churubusco.

So having proved his mettle and "drunk delight of battle with his
peers," Jackson spent nine pleasant months in the conquered city. The
peace negotiations were protracted. The United States coveted the
auriferous provinces of California and New Mexico, a tract as large
as a European kingdom, and far more wealthy. Loth to lose their
birthright, yet powerless to resist, the Mexicans could only haggle
for a price. The States were not disposed to be ungenerous, but the
transfer of so vast a territory could not be accomplished in a
moment, and the victorious army remained in occupation of the capital.

Beneath the shadow of the Stars and Stripes conqueror and conquered
lived in harmony. Mexico was tired of war. Since the downfall of
Spanish rule revolution had followed revolution with startling
rapidity. The beneficent despotism of the great viceroys had been
succeeded by the cruel exactions of petty tyrants, and for many a
long year the country had been ravaged by their armies. The capital
itself had enjoyed but a few brief intervals of peace, and now,
although the bayonets of an alien race were the pledge of their
repose, the citizens revelled in the unaccustomed luxury. Nor were
they ungrateful to those who brought them a respite from alarms and
anarchy. Under the mild administration of the American generals the
streets resumed their wonted aspect. The great markets teemed with
busy crowds. Across the long causeways rolled the creaking waggons,
laden with the produce of far-distant haciendas. Trade was restored,
and even the most patriotic merchants were not proof against the
influence of the American dollar. Between the soldiers and the people
was much friendly intercourse. Even the religious orders did not
disdain to offer their hospitality to the heretics. The uniforms of
the victorious army were to be seen at every festive gathering, and
the graceful Mexicanas were by no means insensible to the admiration
of the stalwart Northerners. Those blue-eyed and fair-haired invaders
were not so very terrible after all; and the beauties of the capital,
accustomed to be wooed in liquid accents and flowery phrases,
listened without reluctance to harsher tones and less polished
compliments. Travellers of many races have borne willing witness to
the charms and virtues of the women of Mexico. "True daughters of
Spain," it has been said, "they unite the grace of Castile to the
vivacity of Andalusia; and more sterling qualities are by no means
wanting. Gentle and refined, unaffectedly pleasing in manners and
conversation, they evince a warmth of heart which wins for them the
respect and esteem of all strangers." To the homes made bright by the
presence of these fair specimens of womanhood Scott's officers were
always welcome; and Jackson, for the first time in his life, found
himself within the sphere of feminine attractions. The effect on the
stripling soldier, who, stark fighter as he was, had seen no more of
life than was to be found in a country village or within the
precincts of West Point, may be easily imagined. Who the magnet was
he never confessed; but that he went near losing his heart to some
charming senorita of sangre azul he more than once acknowledged, and
he took much trouble to appear to advantage in her eyes. The
deficiencies in his education which prevented his full enjoyment of
social pleasures were soon made up. He not only learned to dance, an
accomplishment which must have taxed his perseverance to the utmost,
but he spent some months in learning Spanish; and it is significant
that to the end of his life he retained a copious vocabulary of those
tender diminutives which fall so gracefully from Spanish lips.

But during his stay in Mexico other and more lasting influences were
at work. Despite the delights of her delicious climate, where the
roses bloom the whole year round, the charms of her romantic scenery,
and the fascinations of her laughter-loving daughters, Jackson's
serious nature soon asserted itself. The constant round of light
amusements and simple duties grew distasteful. The impress of his
mother's teachings and example was there to guide him; and his native
reverence for all that was good and true received an unexpected
impulse. There were not wanting in the American army men who had a
higher ideal of duty than mere devotion to the business of their
profession. The officer commanding the First Artillery, Colonel Frank
Taylor, possessed that earnest faith which is not content with
solitude. "This good man," says Dabney, "was accustomed to labour as
a father for the religious welfare of his young officers, and during
the summer campaign his instructions and prayers had produced so much
effect as to awake an abiding anxiety and spirit of inquiry in
Jackson's mind." The latter had little prejudice in favour of any
particular sect or church. There was no State Establishment in the
United States. His youth had been passed in a household where
Christianity was practically unknown, and with characteristic
independence he determined to discover for himself the rule that he
should follow. His researches took a course which his Presbyterian
ancestors would assuredly have condemned. But Jackson's mind was
singularly open, and he was the last man in the world to yield to
prejudice. Soon after peace was declared, he had made the
acquaintance of a number of priests belonging to one of the great
religious orders of the Catholic Church. They had invited him to take
up his quarters with them, and when he determined to examine for
himself into the doctrine of the ancient faith, he applied through
them for an introduction to the Archbishop of Mexico. Several
interviews took place between the aged ecclesiastic and the young
soldier. Jackson departed unsatisfied. He acknowledged that the
prelate was a sincere and devout Christian, and he was impressed as
much with his kindness as his learning. But he left Mexico without
any settled convictions on the subject which now absorbed his

June 12.

On June 12, peace having been signed at the end of May, the last of
the American troops marched out of the conquered capital. Jackson's
battery was sent to Fort Hamilton, on Long Island, seven miles below
New York, and there, with his honours thick upon him, he settled down
to the quiet life of a small garrison. He had gone out to Mexico a
second lieutenant; he had come back a field-officer. He had won a
name in the army, and his native State had enrolled him amongst her
heroes. He had gone out an unformed youth; he had come back a man and
a proved leader of men. He had been known merely as an indefatigable
student and a somewhat unsociable companion. He had come back with a
reputation for daring courage, not only the courage which glories in
swift action and the excitement of the charge, but courage of an
enduring quality. And in that distant country he had won more than
fame. He had already learned something of the vanity of temporal
success. He had gone out with a vague notion of ruling his life in
accordance with moral precepts and philosophic maxims; but he was to
be guided henceforward by loftier principles than even devotion to
duty and regard for honour, and from the path he had marked out for
himself in Mexico he never deviated.

CHAPTER 1.3. LEXINGTON. 1851 TO 1861.


Of Jackson's life at Fort Hamilton there is little to tell. His
friend and mentor, Colonel Taylor, was in command. The chaplain, once
an officer of dragoons, was a man of persuasive eloquence and earnest
zeal; and surrounded by influences which had now become congenial,
the young major of artillery pursued the religious studies he had
begun in Mexico. There was some doubt whether he had been baptised as
a child. He was anxious that no uncertainty should exist as to his
adhesion to Christianity, but he was unwilling that the sacrament
should bind him to any particular sect.


On the understanding that no surrender of judgment would be involved,
he was baptised and received his first communion in the Episcopal

Two years passed without incident, and then Jackson was transferred
to Florida. In his new quarters his stay was brief.


In March 1851 he was appointed Professor of Artillery Tactics and
Natural Philosophy at the Virginia Military Institute. His success,
for such he deemed it, was due to his own merit. One of his Mexican
comrades, Major D.H. Hill, afterwards his brother-in-law, was a
professor in a neighbouring institution, Washington College, and had
been consulted by the Superintendent of the Institute as to the
filling of the vacant chair.

Hill remembered what had been said of Jackson at West Point: "If the
course had been one year longer he would have graduated at the head
of his class." This voluntary testimonial of his brother cadets had
not passed unheeded. It had weight, as the best evidence of his
thoroughness and application, with the Board of Visitors, and Jackson
was unanimously elected.

The Military Institute, founded twelve years previously on the model
of West Point, was attended by several hundred youths from Virginia
and other Southern States. At Lexington, in the county of Rockbridge,
a hundred miles west of Richmond, stand the castellated buildings and
the wide parade ground which formed the nursery of so many
Confederate soldiers. To the east rise the lofty masses of the Blue
Ridge. To the north successive ranges of rolling hills, green with
copse and woodland, fall gently to the lower levels; and stretching
far away at their feet, watered by that lovely river which the
Indians in melodious syllables called Shenandoah, "bright daughter of
the Stars," the great Valley of Virginia,

Deep-meadowed, happy, fair with orchard lawns
And bowery hollows,

lies embosomed within its mountain walls. Of all its pleasant market
towns, Lexington is not the least attractive; and in this pastoral
region, where the great forests stand round about the corn-fields,
and the breezes blow untainted from the uplands, had been built the
College which Washington, greatest of Virginians and greatest of
American soldiers, had endowed. Under the shadow of its towers the
State had found an appropriate site for her military school.

The cadets of the Institute, although they wore a uniform, were
taught by officers of the regular army, were disciplined as soldiers,
and spent some months of their course in camp, were not destined for
a military career. All aspirants for commissions in the United States
army had to pass through West Point; and the training of the State
colleges--for Virginia was not solitary in the possession of such an
institution--however much it may have benefited both the minds and
bodies of the rising generation, was of immediate value only to those
who became officers of the State militia. Still in all essential
respects the Military Institute was little behind West Point. The
discipline was as strict, the drill but little less precise. The
cadets had their own officers and their own sergeants, and the whole
establishment was administered on a military footing. No pains were
spared either by the State or the faculty to maintain the peculiar
character of the school; and the little battalion, although the
members were hardly likely to see service, was as carefully trained
as if each private in the ranks might one day become a general
officer. It was fortunate indeed for Virginia, when she submitted her
destinies to the arbitrament of war, that some amongst her statesmen
had been firm to the conviction that to defend one's country is a
task not a whit less honourable than to serve her in the ways of
peace. She was unable to avert defeat. But she more than redeemed her
honour; and the efficiency of her troops was in no small degree due
to the training so many of her officers had received at the Military

Still, notwithstanding its practical use to the State, the offer of a
chair at Lexington would probably have attracted but few of Jackson's
contemporaries. But while campaigning was entirely to his taste, life
in barracks was the reverse. In those unenlightened days to be known
as an able and zealous soldier was no passport to preferment. So long
as an officer escaped censure his promotion was sure; he might reach
without further effort the highest prizes the service offered, and
the chances of the dull and indolent were quite as good as those of
the capable and energetic. The one had no need for, the other no
incentive to, self-improvement, and it was very generally neglected.
Unless war intervened--and nothing seemed more improbable than
another campaign--even a Napoleon would have had to submit to the
inevitable. Jackson caught eagerly at the opportunity of freeing
himself from an unprofitable groove.

"He believed," he said, "that a man who had turned, with a good
military reputation, to pursuits of a semi-civilian character, and
had vigorously prosecuted his mental improvement, would have more
chance of success in war than those who had remained in the treadmill
of the garrison."

It was with a view, then, of fitting himself for command that Jackson
broke away from the restraints of regimental life; not because those
restraints were burdensome or distasteful in themselves, but because
he felt that whilst making the machine they might destroy the man.
Those responsible for the efficiency of the United States army had
not yet learned that the mind must be trained as well as the body,
that drill is not the beginning and the end of the soldier's
education, that unless an officer is trusted with responsibility in
peace he is but too apt to lose all power of initiative in war. That
Jackson's ideas were sound may be inferred from the fact that many of
the most distinguished generals in the Civil War were men whose
previous career had been analogous to his own.* (* Amongst these may
be mentioned Grant, Sherman, and McClellan. Lee himself, as an
engineer, had but small acquaintance with regimental life. The men
who saved India for England in the Great mutiny were of the same

His duties at Lexington were peculiar. As Professor of Artillery he
was responsible for little more than the drill of the cadets and
their instruction in the theory of gunnery. The tactics of artillery,
as the word is understood in Europe, he was not called upon to
impart. Optics, mechanics, and astronomy were his special subjects,
and he seems strangely out of place in expounding their dry formulas.

In the well-stocked library of the Institute he found every
opportunity of increasing his professional knowledge. He was an
untiring reader, and he read to learn. The wars of Napoleon were his
constant study. He was an enthusiastic admirer of his genius; the
swiftness, the daring, and the energy of his movements appealed to
his every instinct. Unfortunately, both for the Institute and his
popularity, it was not his business to lecture on military history.
We can well imagine him, as a teacher of the art of war, describing
to the impressionable youths around him the dramatic incidents of
some famous campaign, following step by step the skilful strategy
that brought about such victories as Austerlitz and Jena. The
advantage would then have been with his pupils; in the work assigned
to him it was the teacher that benefited. He was by no means
successful as an instructor of the higher mathematics. Although the
theories of light and motion were doubtless a branch of learning
which the cadets particularly detested, his methods of teaching made
it even more repellent. A thorough master of his subject, he lacked
altogether the power of aiding others to master it. No flashes of
humour relieved the tedium of his long and closely-reasoned
demonstrations. He never descended to the level of his pupils'
understanding, nor did he appreciate their difficulties. Facts
presented themselves to his intellect in few lights. As one of his
chief characteristics as a commander was the clearness with which he
perceived the end to be aimed at and the shortest way of reaching it,
so, in his explanations to his stumbling class, he could only repeat
the process by which he himself had solved the problem at issue. We
may well believe that his self-reliant nature, trained to intense
application, overlooked the fact that others, weaker and less gifted,
could not surmount unaided the obstacles which only aroused his own
masterful instincts. Nevertheless, his conscientious industry was not
entirely thrown away. To the brighter intellects in his class he
communicated accurate scholarship; and although the majority lagged
far behind, the thoroughness of his mental drill was most useful, to
himself perhaps even more than to the cadets.

1854 to 1857.

The death of his first wife, daughter of the reverend Dr. Junkin,
President of Washington College, after they had been married but
fourteen months, the solution of his religious difficulties, and his
reception into the Presbyterian Church; a five months' tour in
Europe, through Scotland, England, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy;
his marriage to Miss Morrison, daughter of a North Carolina
clergyman: such were the chief landmarks of his life at Lexington.
Ten years, with their burden of joy and sorrow, passed away, of
intense interest to the individual, but to the world a story dull and
commonplace. Jackson was by no means a man of mark in Rockbridge
county. Although his early shyness had somewhat worn off, he was
still as reserved as he had been at West Point. His confidence was
rarely given outside his own home. Intimates he had few, either at
the Institute or elsewhere. Still he was not in the least unsociable,
and there were many houses where he was always welcome. The academic
atmosphere of Lexington did not preclude a certain amount of gaiety.
The presence of Washington College and the Military Institute drew
together a large number of families during the summer, and fair
visitors thronged the leafy avenues of the little town. During these
pleasant months the officers and cadets, as became their cloth, were
always well to the fore. Recreation was the order of the day, and a
round of entertainments enlivened the "Commencements." Major Jackson
attended these gatherings with unfailing regularity, but soon after
his arrival he drew the line at dancing, and musical parties became
the limit of his dissipation. He was anything but a convivial
companion. He never smoked, he was a strict teetotaller, and he never
touched a card. His diet, for reasons of health, was of a most
sparing kind; nothing could tempt him to partake of food between his
regular hours, and for many years he abstained from both tea and
coffee. In those peaceful times, moreover, there was nothing either
commanding or captivating about the Professor of Artillery. His
little romance in Mexico had given him no taste for trivial
pleasures; and his somewhat formal manner was not redeemed by any
special charm of feature. The brow and jaw were undoubtedly powerful;
but the eyes were gentle, and the voice so mild and soft as to belie
altogether the set determination of the thin straight lips. Yet, at
the same time, if Jackson was not formed for general society, he was
none the less capable of making himself exceedingly agreeable in a
restricted and congenial circle. Young and old, when once they had
gained his confidence, came under the spell of his noble nature; and
if his friends were few they were very firm.

Why Jackson should have preferred the Presbyterian denomination to
all others we are nowhere told. But whatever his reasons may have
been, he was a most zealous and hardworking member of his church. He
was not content with perfunctory attendances at the services. He
became a deacon, and a large portion of his leisure time was devoted
to the work which thus devolved on him. His duties were to collect
alms and to distribute to the destitute, and nothing was permitted to
interfere with their exact performance. He was exceedingly charitable
himself--one tenth of his income was laid aside for the church, and
he gave freely to all causes of benevolence and public enterprise. At
the church meetings, whether for business or prayer, he was a regular
attendant, and between himself and his pastor existed the most
confidential relations. Nor did he consider that this was all that
was demanded of him. In Lexington, as in other Southern towns, there
were many poor negroes, and the condition of these ignorant and
helpless creatures, especially of the children, excited his
compassion. Out of his own means he established a Sunday school, in
which he and his wife were the principal teachers. His friends were
asked to send their slaves, and the experiment was successful. The
benches were always crowded, and the rows of black, bright-eyed faces
were a source of as much pride to him as the martial appearance of
the cadet battalion.

Jackson's religion entered into every action of his life. No duty,
however trivial, was begun without asking a blessing, or ended
without returning thanks. "He had long cultivated," he said, "the
habit of connecting the most trivial and customary acts of life with
a silent prayer." He took the Bible as his guide, and it is possible
that his literal interpretation of its precepts caused many to regard
him as a fanatic. His observance of the Sabbath was hardly in
accordance with ordinary usage. He never read a letter on that day,
nor posted one; he believed that the Government in carrying the mails
were violating a divine law, and he considered the suppression of
such traffic one of the most important duties of the legislature.
Such opinions were uncommon, even amongst the Presbyterians, and his
rigid respect for truth served to strengthen the impression that he
was morbidly scrupulous. If he unintentionally made a
misstatement--even about some trifling matter--as soon as he
discovered his mistake he would lose no time and spare no trouble in
hastening to correct it. "Why, in the name of reason," he was asked,
"do you walk a mile in the rain for a perfectly unimportant thing?"
"Simply because I have discovered that it was a misstatement, and I
could not sleep comfortably unless I put it right."

He had occasion to censure a cadet who had given, as Jackson
believed, the wrong solution of a problem. On thinking the matter
over at home he found that the pupil was right and the teacher wrong.
It was late at night and in the depth of winter, but he immediately
started off to the Institute, some distance from his quarters, and
sent for the cadet. The delinquent, answering with much trepidation
the untimely summons, found himself to his astonishment the recipient
of a frank apology. Jackson's scruples carried him even further.
Persons who interlarded their conversation with the unmeaning phrase
"you know" were often astonished by the blunt interruption that he
did NOT know; and when he was entreated at parties or receptions to
break through his dietary rules, and for courtesy's sake to accept
some delicacy, he would always refuse with the reply that he had "no
genius for seeming." But if he carried his conscientiousness to
extremes, if he laid down stringent rules for his own governance, he
neither set himself up for a model nor did he attempt to force his
convictions upon others. He was always tolerant; he knew his own
faults, and his own temptations, and if he could say nothing good of
a man he would not speak of him at all. But he was by no means
disposed to overlook conduct of which he disapproved, and undue
leniency was a weakness to which he never yielded. If he once lost
confidence or discovered deception on the part of one he trusted, he
withdrew himself as far as possible from any further dealings with
him; and whether with the cadets, or with his brother-officers, if an
offence had been committed of which he was called upon to take
notice, he was absolutely inflexible. Punishment or report inevitably
followed. No excuses, no personal feelings, no appeals to the
suffering which might be brought upon the innocent, were permitted to
interfere with the execution of his duty.

Such were the chief characteristics of the great Confederate as he
appeared to the little world of Lexington. The tall figure, clad in
the blue uniform of the United States army, always scrupulously neat,
striding to and from the Institute, or standing in the centre of the
parade-ground, while the cadet battalion wheeled and deployed at his
command, was familiar to the whole community. But Jackson's heart was
not worn on his sleeve. Shy and silent as he was, the knowledge that
even his closest acquaintances had of him was hardly more than
superficial. A man who was always chary of expressing his opinions,
unless they were asked for, who declined argument, and used as few
words as possible, attracted but little notice. A few recognised his
clear good sense; the majority considered that if he said little it
was because he had nothing worth saying. Because he went his own way
and lived by his own rules he was considered eccentric; because he
was sometimes absent-minded, and apt to become absorbed in his own
thoughts, he was set down as unpractical; his literal accuracy of
statement was construed as the mark of a narrow intellect, and his
exceeding modesty served to keep him in the background.

At the Institute, despite his reputation for courage, he was no
favourite even with the cadets. He was hardly in sympathy with them.
His temper was always equable. Whatever he may have felt he never
betrayed irritation, and in the lecture-room or elsewhere he was
kindness itself; but his own life had been filled from boyhood with
earnest purpose and high ambition. Hard work was more to his taste
than amusement. Time, to his mind, was far too valuable to be wasted,
and he made few allowances for the thoughtlessness and indolence of
irresponsible youth. As a relief possibly to the educational
treadmill, his class delighted in listening to the story of Contreras
and Chapultepec; but there was nothing about Jackson which
corresponded with a boy's idea of a hero. His aggressive punctuality,
his strict observance of military etiquette, his precise
interpretation of orders, seemed to have as little in common with the
fierce excitement of battle as the uninteresting occupations of the
Presbyterian deacon, who kept a Sunday school for negroes, had with
the reckless gaiety of the traditional sabreur.

"And yet," says one who know him, "they imbibed the principles he
taught. Slowly and certainly were they trained in the direction which
the teacher wished. Jackson justly believed that the chief value of
the Institute consisted in the habits of system and obedience which
it impressed on the ductile characters of the cadets, and regarded
any relaxation of the rules as tending to destroy its usefulness. His
conscientiousness seemed absurd to the young gentlemen who had no
idea of the importance of military orders or of the implicit
obedience which a good soldier deems it his duty to pay to them. But
which was right--the laughing young cadet or the grave major of
artillery? Let the thousands who in the bitter and arduous struggle
of the Civil War were taught by stern experience the necessity of
strict compliance with all orders, to the very letter, answer the
question."* (* Cooke page 28.)

"As exact as the multiplication table, and as full of things military
as an arsenal," was the verdict passed on Jackson by one of his
townsmen, and it appears to have been the opinion of the community at

Jackson, indeed, was as inarticulate as Cromwell. Like the great
Protector he "lived silent," and like him he was often misunderstood.
Stories which have been repeated by writer after writer attribute to
him the most grotesque eccentricities of manner, and exhibit his
lofty piety as the harsh intolerance of a fanatic. He has been
represented as the narrowest of Calvinists; and so general was the
belief in his stern and merciless nature that a great poet did not
scruple to link his name with a deed which, had it actually occurred,
would have been one of almost unexampled cruelty. Such calumnies as
Whittier's "Barbara Frichtie" may possibly have found their source in
the impression made upon some of Jackson's acquaintances at
Lexington, who, out of all sympathy with his high ideal of life and
duty, regarded him as morose and morbid; and when in after years the
fierce and relentless pursuit of the Confederate general piled the
dead high upon the battle-field, this conception of his character was
readily accepted. As he rose to fame, men listened greedily to those
who could speak of him from personal knowledge; the anecdotes which
they related were quickly distorted; the slightest peculiarities of
walk, speech, or gesture were greatly exaggerated; and even
Virginians seemed to vie with one another in representing the humble
and kind-hearted soldier as the most bigoted of Christians and the
most pitiless of men.

But just as the majority of ridiculous stories which cluster round
his name rest on the very flimsiest foundation, so the popular
conception of his character during his life at Lexington was
absolutely erroneous. It was only within the portals of his home that
his real nature disclosed itself. The simple and pathetic pages in
which his widow has recorded the story of their married life unfold
an almost ideal picture of domestic happiness, unchequered by the
faintest glimpse of austerity or gloom. That quiet home was the abode
of much content; the sunshine of sweet temper flooded every nook and
corner; and although the pervading atmosphere was essentially
religious, mirth and laughter were familiar guests.

"Those who knew General Jackson only as they saw him in public would
have found it hard to believe that there could be such a
transformation as he exhibited in his domestic life. He luxuriated in
the freedom and liberty of his home, and his buoyancy and joyousness
often ran into a playfulness and abandon that would have been
incredible to those who saw him only when he put on his official
dignity."* (* Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson page 108.) It was seldom,
indeed, except under his own roof, or in the company of his
intimates, that his reserve was broken through; in society he was
always on his guard, fearful lest any chance word might be
misconstrued or give offence. It is no wonder, then, that Lexington
misjudged him. Nor were those who knew him only when he was absorbed
in the cares of command before the enemy likely to see far below the
surface. The dominant trait in Jackson's character was his intense
earnestness, and when work was doing, every faculty of his nature was
engrossed in the accomplishment of the task on hand. But precise,
methodical, and matter-of-fact as he appeared, his was no commonplace
and prosaic nature. He had "the delicacy and the tenderness which are
the rarest and most beautiful ornament of the strong."* (* Marion
Crawford.) Beneath his habitual gravity a vivid imagination,
restrained indeed by strong sense and indulging in no vain visions,
was ever at work; and a lofty enthusiasm, which seldom betrayed
itself in words, inspired his whole being. He was essentially
chivalrous. His deference to woman, even in a land where such
deference was still the fashion, was remarkable, and his sympathy
with the oppressed was as deep as his loyalty to Virginia. He was an
ardent lover of nature. The autumnal glories of the forest, the songs
of the birds, the splendours of the sunset, were sources of unfailing
pleasure. More than all, the strength of his imagination carried him
further than the confines of the material world, and he saw with
unclouded vision the radiant heights that lie beyond.

Jackson, then, was something more than a man of virile temperament;
he was gifted with other qualities than energy, determination, and
common sense. He was not witty. He had no talent for repartee, and
the most industrious collector of anecdotes will find few good things
attributed to him. But he possessed a kindly humour which found vent
in playful expressions of endearment, or in practical jokes of the
most innocent description; and if these outbursts of high spirits
were confined to the precincts of his own home, they proved at least
that neither by temperament nor principle was he inclined to look
upon the darker side. His eye for a ludicrous situation was very
quick, and a joke which told against himself always caused him the
most intense amusement. It is impossible to read the letters which
Mrs. Jackson has published and to entertain the belief that his
temper was ever in the least degree morose. To use her own words,
"they are the overflow of a heart full of tenderness;" it is true
that they seldom omit some reference to that higher life which both
husband and wife were striving hand in hand to lead, but they are
instinct from first to last with the serene happiness of a contented

Even more marked than his habitual cheerfulness was his almost
feminine sympathy with the poor and feeble. His servants, as was the
universal rule in Virginia, were his slaves; but his relations with
his black dependents were of almost a paternal character, and his
kindness was repaid by that childlike devotion peculiar to the negro
race. More than one of these servants--so great was his reputation
for kindness--had begged him to buy them from their former owners.
Their interests were his special care; in sickness they received all
the attention and comfort that the house afforded; to his favourite
virtues, politeness and punctuality, they were trained by their
master himself, and their moral education was a task he cheerfully
undertook. "There was one little servant in the family," says Mrs.
Jackson, "whom my husband took under his sheltering roof at the
solicitations of an aged lady; to whom the child became a care after
having been left an orphan. She was not bright, but he persevered in
drilling her into memorising a child's catechism, and it was a most
amusing picture to see her standing before him with fixed attention,
as if she were straining every nerve, and reciting her answers with
the drop of a curtsey at each word. She had not been taught to do
this, but it was such an effort for her to learn that she assumed the
motion involuntarily."

Jackson's home was childless. A little daughter, born at Lexington,
lived only for a few weeks, and her place remained unfilled. His
sorrow, although he submitted uncomplainingly, was very bitter, for
his love for children was very great. "A gentleman," says Mrs.
Jackson, "who spent the night with us was accompanied by his
daughter, but four years of age. It was the first time the child had
been separated from her mother, and my husband suggested that she
should be committed to my care during the night, but she clung to her
father. After our guests had both sunk in slumber, the father was
aroused by someone leaning over his little girl and drawing the
covering more closely round her. It was only his thoughtful host, who
felt anxious lest his little guest should miss her mother's guardian
care under his roof, and could not go to sleep himself until he was
satisfied that all was well with the child."

These incidents are little more than trivial. The attributes they
reveal seem of small import. They are not such as go towards building
up a successful career either in war or politics. And yet to arrive
at a true conception of Jackson's character it is necessary that such
incidents should be recorded. That character will not appear the less
admirable because its strength and energy were tempered by softer
virtues; and when we remember the great soldier teaching a negro
child, or ministering to the comfort of a sick slave, it becomes easy
to understand the feelings with which his veterans regarded him. The
quiet home at Lexington reveals more of the real man than the camps
and conflicts of the Civil War, and no picture of Stonewall Jackson
would be complete without some reference to his domestic life.

"His life at home," says his wife, "was perfectly regular and
systematic. He arose about six o'clock, and first knelt in secret
prayer; then he took a cold bath, which was never omitted even in the
coldest days of winter. This was followed by a brisk walk, in rain or

"Seven o'clock was the hour for family prayers, which he required all
his servants to attend promptly and regularly. He never waited for
anyone, not even his wife. Breakfast followed prayers, after which he
left immediately for the Institute, his classes opening at eight
o'clock and continuing to eleven. Upon his return home at eleven
o'clock he devoted himself to study until one. The first book he took
up daily was his Bible, which he read with a commentary, and the many
pencil marks upon it showed with what care he bent over its pages.
From his Bible lesson he turned to his text-books. During those hours
of study he would permit no interruption, and stood all the time in
front of a high desk. After dinner he gave himself up for half an
hour or more to leisure and conversation, and this was one of the
brightest periods in his home life. He then went into his garden, or
out to his farm to superintend his servants, and frequently joined
them in manual labour. He would often drive me to the farm, and find
a shady spot for me under the trees, while he attended to the work of
the field. When this was not the case, he always returned in time to
take me, if the weather permitted, for an evening walk or drive. In
summer we often took our drives by moonlight, and in the beautiful
Valley of Virginia the queen of night seemed to shine with more
brightness than elsewhere. When at home he would indulge himself in a
season of rest and recreation after supper, thinking it was injurious
to health to go to work immediately. As it was a rule with him never
to use his eyes by artificial light, he formed the habit of studying
mentally for an hour or so without a book. After going over his
lessons in the morning, he thus reviewed them at night, and in order
to abstract his thoughts from surrounding objects--a habit which he
had cultivated to a remarkable degree--he would, if alone with his
wife, ask that he might not be disturbed by any conversation; he
would then take his seat with his face to the wall, and remain in
perfect abstraction until he finished his mental task. He was very
fond of being read to, and much of our time in the evening was passed
in my ministering to him in this way. He had a library, which, though
small, was select, composed chiefly of scientific, historical, and
religious books, with some of a lighter character, and some in
Spanish and French. Nearly all of them were full of his pencil marks,
made with a view to future reference." Next to the Bible, history,
both ancient and modern, was his favourite study. Plutarch, Josephus,
Rollin, Robertson, Hallam, Macaulay, and Bancroft were his constant
companions. Shakespeare held an honoured place upon his shelves; and
when a novel fell into his hands he became so absorbed in the story
that he eventually avoided such literature as a waste of time. "I am
anxious," he wrote to a relative, "to devote myself to study until I
shall become master of my profession."

The Jacksons were far from affluent. The professor had nothing but
his salary, and his wife, one of a large family, brought no increase
to their income. But the traditional hospitality of Virginia was a
virtue by no means neglected. He was generous but unostentatious in
his mode of living, and nothing gave him more pleasure than to bid
his friends welcome to his own home.

His outdoor recreations were healthful but not exciting. The hills
round Lexington teemed with game, the rivers with fish, and shooting
and fishing were the favourite amusements of his colleagues. But
Jackson found no pleasure in rod or gun; and although fond of riding
and a good horseman, he never appears to have joined in any of those
equestrian sports to which the Virginians were much addicted. He
neither followed the hunt nor tilted at the ring. His exercise was
taken after more utilitarian fashion, in the garden or the farm.

It need hardly be said that such a lover of order and method was
strictly economical, and the wise administration of the farm and
household permitted an annual expenditure on travel. Many of the most
beautiful localities and famous cities of the east and north were
visited in these excursions. Sometimes he wandered with his wife in
search of health; more often the object of their journey was to see
with their own eyes the splendid scenery of their native land. The
associations which were ever connected in Jackson's mind with his
tour through Europe show how intensely he appreciated the marvels
both of nature and of art.

"I would advise you," he wrote to a friend, "never to name my
European trip to me unless you are blest with a superabundance of
patience, as its very mention is calculated to bring up with it an
almost inexhaustible assemblage of grand and beautiful associations.
Passing over the works of the Creator, which are far the most
impressive, it is difficult to conceive of the influences which even
the works of His creatures exercise over the mind of one who lingers
amidst their master productions. Well do I remember the influence of
sculpture upon me during my short stay in Florence, and how there I
began to realise the sentiment of the Florentine: "Take from me my
liberty, take what you will, but leave me my statuary, leave me these
entrancing productions of art." And similar to this is the influence
of painting."

But delightful as were these holiday expeditions, the day of
Jackson's return to Lexington and his duties never came too soon. In
the quiet routine of his home life, in his work at the Institute, in
the supervision of his farm and garden, in his evenings with his
books, and in the services of his church, he was more than contented.
Whatever remained of soldierly ambition had long been eradicated. Man
of action as he essentially was, he evinced no longing for a wider
sphere of intellectual activity or for a more active existence. Under
his own roof-tree he found all that he desired. "There," says his
wife, "all that was best in his nature shone forth;" and that temper
was surely of the sweetest which could utter no sterner rebuke than
"Ah! that is not the way to be happy!"

Nor was it merely his own gentleness of disposition and the many
graces of his charming helpmate that secured so large a degree of
peace and happiness. Jackson's religion played even a greater part.
It was not of the kind which is more concerned with the terrors of
hell than the glories of paradise. The world to him was no place of
woe and lamentation, its beauties vanity, and its affections a snare.
As he gazed with delight on the gorgeous tints of the autumnal
forests, and the lovely landscapes of his mountain home, so he
enjoyed to the utmost the life and love which had fallen to his lot,
and thanked God for that capacity for happiness with which his nature
was so largely gifted. Yet it cannot be said that he practised no
self-denial. His life, in many respects, was one of constant
self-discipline, and when his time came to sacrifice himself, he
submitted without a murmur. But in his creed fear had no place. His
faith was great. It was not, however, a mere belief in God's
omnipotence and God's justice, but a deep and abiding confidence in
His infinite compassion and infinite love; and it created in him an
almost startling consciousness of the nearness and reality of the
invisible world. In a letter to his wife it is revealed in all its

"You must not be discouraged at the slowness of recovery. Look up to
Him who giveth liberally for faith to be resigned to His divine will,
and trust Him for that measure of health which will most glorify Him,
and advance to the greatest extent your own real happiness. We are
sometimes suffered to be in a state of perplexity that our faith may
be tried and grow stronger. See if you cannot spend a short time
after dark in looking out of your window into space, and meditating
upon heaven, with all its joys unspeakable and full of glory..."All
things work together for good" to God's children. Try to look up and
be cheerful, and not desponding. Trust our kind Heavenly Father, and
by the eye of faith see that all things are right and for your best
interests. The clouds come, pass over us, and are followed by bright
sunshine; so in God's moral dealings with us, He permits to have
trouble awhile. But let us, even in the most trying dispensations of
His Providence, be cheered by the brightness which is a little ahead."

It would serve no useful purpose to discuss Jackson's views on
controversial questions. It may be well, however, to correct a common
error. It has been asserted that he was a fatalist, and therefore
careless of a future over which he believed he had no control. Not a
word, however, either in his letters or in his recorded conversations
warrants the assumption. It is true that his favourite maxim was
"Duty is ours, consequences are God's," and that knowing "all things
work together for good," he looked forward to the future without
misgiving or apprehension.

But none the less he believed implicitly that the destiny of men and
of nations is in their own hands. His faith was as sane as it was
humble, without a touch of that presumptuous fanaticism which stains
the memory of Cromwell, to whom he has been so often compared. He
never imagined, even at the height of his renown, when victory on
victory crowned his banners, that he was "the scourge of God," the
chosen instrument of His vengeance. He prayed without ceasing, under
fire as in the camp; but he never mistook his own impulse for a
revelation of the divine will. He prayed for help to do his duty, and
he prayed for success. He knew that:

"More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of;"

but he knew, also, that prayer is not always answered in the way
which man would have it. He went into battle with supreme confidence,
not, as has been alleged, that the Lord had delivered the enemy into
his hands, but that whatever happened would be the best that could
happen. And he was as free from cant as from self-deception. It may
be said of Jackson, as has been said so eloquently of the men whom,
in some respects, he closely resembled, that "his Bible was literally
food to his understanding and a guide to his conduct. He saw the
visible finger of God in every incident of life...That which in our
day devout men and women feel in their earnest moments of prayer, the
devout Puritan felt, as a second nature, in his rising up and in his
lying down; in the market-place and in the home; in society and in
business; in Parliament, in Council, and on the field of battle. And
feeling this, the Puritan had no shame in uttering the very words of
the Bible wherein he had learned so to feel; nay, he would have
burned with shame had he faltered in using the words. It is very hard
for us now to grasp what this implies...But there was a generation in
which this phraseology was the natural speech of men."* (* Oliver
Cromwell by Frederic Harrison page 29.) Of this generation, although
later in time, was Stonewall Jackson. To him such language as he used
in his letters to his wife, in conversation with his intimates, and
not rarely in his official correspondence, was "the literal assertion
of truths which he felt to the roots of his being," which absorbed
his thoughts, which coloured every action of his life, and which,
from the abundance of his heart, rose most naturally to his lips.

There is no need for further allusion to his domestic or religious
life. If in general society Jackson was wanting in geniality; if he
was so little a man of the world that his example lost much of the
influence which, had he stood less aloof from others, it must have
exercised, it was the fruit of his early training, his natural
reserve, and his extreme humility. It is impossible, however, that so
pure a life should have been altogether without reflex upon others.
If the cadets profited but indirectly, the slaves had cause to bless
his practical Christianity; the poor and the widow knew him as a
friend, and his neighbours looked up to him as the soul of sincerity,
the enemy of all that was false and vile. And for himself--what share
had those years of quiet study, of self-communing, and of
self-discipline, in shaping the triumphs of the Confederate arms? The
story of his military career is the reply.

Men of action have before now deplored the incessant press of
business which leaves them no leisure to think out the problems which
may confront them in the future. Experience is of little value
without reflection, and leisure has its disadvantages. "One can
comprehend," says Dabney, referring to Jackson's peculiar form of
mental exercise, "how valuable was the training which his mind
received for his work as a soldier. Command over his attention was
formed into a habit which no tempest of confusion could disturb. His
power of abstraction became unrivalled. His imagination was trained
and invigorated until it became capable of grouping the most
extensive and complex considerations. The power of his mind was
drilled like the strength of an athlete, and his self-concentration
became unsurpassed."

Such training was undoubtedly the very best foundation for the
intellectual side of a general's business. War presents a constant
succession of problems to be solved by mental processes. For some
experience and resource supply a ready solution. Others, involving
the movements of large bodies, considerations of time and space, and
the thousand and one circumstances, such as food, weather, roads,
topography, and morale, which a general must always bear in mind, are
composed of so many factors, that only a brain accustomed to hard
thinking can deal with them successfully. Of this nature are the
problems of strategy--those which confront a general in command of an
army or of a detached portion of an army, and which are worked out on
the map. The problems of the battle-field are of a different order.
The natural characteristics which, when fortified by experience,
carry men through any dangerous enterprise, win the majority of
victories. But men may win battles and be very poor generals. They
may be born leaders of men, and yet absolutely unfitted for
independent command. Their courage, coolness, and common sense may
accomplish the enemy's overthrow on the field, but with strategical
considerations their intellects may be absolutely incapable of
grappling. In the great wars of the early part of the century Ney and
Blucher were probably the best fighting generals of France and
Prussia. But neither could be trusted to conduct a campaign. Blucher,
pre-eminent on the battle-field, knew nothing of the grand
combinations which prepare and complete success. If he was the strong
right hand of the Prussian army, his chief of staff was the brain.
"Gneisenau," said the old Marshal, "makes the pills which I
administer." "Ney's best qualities," says Jomini, who served long on
his staff, "his heroic valour, his quick coup d'oeil, and his energy,
diminished in the same proportion that the extent of his command
increased his responsibility. Admirable on the field of battle, he
displayed less assurance, not only in council, but whenever he was
not actually face to face with the enemy." It is not of such material
as Ney and Blucher, mistrustful of their own ability, that great
captains are made. Marked intellectual capacity is the chief
characteristic of the most famous soldiers. Alexander, Hannibal,
Caesar, Marlborough, Washington, Frederick, Napoleon, Wellington, and
Nelson were each and all of them something more than mere fighting
men. Few of their age rivalled them in strength of intellect. It was
this, combined with the best qualities of Ney and Blucher, that made
them masters of strategy, and lifted them high above those who were
tacticians and nothing more; and it was strength of intellect that
Jackson cultivated at Lexington.

So, in that quiet home amidst the Virginian mountains, the years sped
by, peaceful and uneventful, varied only by the holiday excursions of
successive summers. By day, the lecture at the Institute, the drill
of the cadet battery, the work of the church, the pleasant toil of
the farm and garden. When night fell, and the curtains were drawn
across the windows that looked upon the quiet street, there in that
home where order reigned supreme, where, as the master wished, "each
door turned softly on a golden hinge," came those hours of thought
and analysis which were to fit him for great deeds.

The even tenor of this calm existence was broken, however, by an
incident which intensified the bitter feeling which already divided
the Northern and Southern sections of the United States. During the
month of January, 1859, Jackson had marched with the cadet battalion
to Harper's Ferry, where, on the northern frontier of Virginia, the
fanatic, John Brown, had attempted to raise an insurrection amongst
the negroes, and had been hung after trial in presence of the troops.
By the South Brown was regarded as a madman and a murderer; by many
in the North he was glorified as a martyr; and so acute was the
tension that early in 1860, during a short absence from Lexington,
Jackson wrote in a letter to his wife, "What do you think about the
state of the country? Viewing things at Washington from human
appearances, I think we have great reason for alarm." A great crisis
was indeed at hand. But if to her who was ever beside him, while the
storm clouds were rising dark and terrible over the fair skies of the
prosperous Republic, the Christian soldier seemed the man best fitted
to lead the people, it was not so outside. None doubted his sincerity
or questioned his resolution, but few had penetrated his reserve. As
the playful tenderness he displayed at home was never suspected, so
the consuming earnestness, the absolute fearlessness, whether of
danger or of responsibility, the utter disregard of man, and the
unquestioning faith in the Almighty, which made up the individuality
which men called Stonewall Jackson, remained hidden from all but one.

To his wife his inward graces idealised his outward seeming; but
others, noting his peculiarities, and deceived by his modesty, saw
little that was remarkable and much that was singular in the staid
professor. Few detected, beneath that quiet demeanour and absent
manner, the existence of energy incarnate and an iron will; and still
fewer beheld, in the plain figure of the Presbyterian deacon, the
potential leader of great armies, inspiring the devotion of his
soldiers, and riding in the forefront of victorious battle.

CHAPTER 1.4. SECESSION. 1860 TO 1861.


Jackson spent ten years at Lexington, and he was just five-and-thirty
when he left it. For ten years he had seen no more of military
service than the drills of the cadet battalion. He had lost all touch
with the army. His name had been forgotten, except by his comrades of
the Mexican campaign, and he had hardly seen a regular soldier since
he resigned his commission. But, even from a military point of view,
those ten years had not been wasted. His mind had a wider grasp, and
his brain was more active. Striving to fit himself for such duties as
might devolve on him, should he be summoned to the field, like all
great men and all practical men he had gone to the best masters. In
the campaigns of Napoleon he had found instruction in the highest
branch of his profession, and had made his own the methods of war
which the greatest of modern soldiers both preached and practised.
Maturer years and the search for wisdom had steadied his restless
daring; and his devotion to duty, always remarkable, had become a
second nature. His health, under careful and self-imposed treatment,
had much improved, and the year 1861 found him in the prime of
physical and mental vigour. Already it had become apparent that his
life at Lexington was soon to end. The Damascus blade was not to rust
upon the shelf. During the winter of 1860-61 the probability of a
conflict between the free and slave-holding States, that is, between
North and South, had become almost a certainty. South Carolina,
Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, had
formally seceded from the Union; and establishing a Provisional
Government, with Jefferson Davis as President, at Montgomery in
Alabama, had proclaimed a new Republic, under the title of the
Confederate States of America. In order to explain Jackson's attitude
at this momentous crisis, it will be necessary to discuss the action
of Virginia, and to investigate the motives which led her to take the
side she did.

Forces which it was impossible to curb, and which but few detected,
were at the root of the secession movement. The ostensible cause was
the future status of the negro.

Slavery was recognised in fifteen States of the Union. In the North
it had long been abolished, but this made no difference to its
existence in the South. The States which composed the Union were
semi-independent communities, with their own legislatures, their own
magistracies, their own militia, and the power of the purse. How far
their sovereign rights extended was a matter of contention; but,
under the terms of the Constitution, slavery was a domestic
institution, which each individual State was at liberty to retain or
discard at will, and over which the Federal Government had no control
whatever. Congress would have been no more justified in declaring
that the slaves in Virginia were free men than in demanding that
Russian conspirators should be tried by jury. Nor was the
philanthropy of the Northern people, generally speaking, of an
enthusiastic nature. The majority regarded slavery as a necessary
evil; and, if they deplored the reproach to the Republic, they made
little parade of their sentiments. A large number of Southerners
believed it to be the happiest condition for the African race; but
the best men, especially in the border States, of which Virginia was
the principal, would have welcomed emancipation. But neither
Northerner nor Southerner saw a practicable method of giving freedom
to the negro. Such a measure, if carried out in its entirety, meant
ruin to the South. Cotton and tobacco, the principal and most
lucrative crops, required an immense number of hands, and in those
hands--his negro slaves--the capital of the planter was locked up.
Emancipation would have swept the whole of this capital away.
Compensation, the remedy applied by England to Jamaica and South
Africa, was hardly to be thought of. Instead of twenty millions
sterling, it would have cost four hundred millions. It was doubtful,
too, if compensation would have staved off the ruin of the planters.
The labour of the free negro, naturally indolent and improvident, was
well known to be most inefficient as compared with that of the slave.
For some years, to say the least, after emancipation it would have
been impossible to work the plantations except at a heavy loss.
Moreover, abolition, in the judgment of all who knew him, meant ruin
to the negro. Under the system of the plantations, honesty and
morality were being gradually instilled into the coloured race. But
these virtues had as yet made little progress; the Christianity of
the slaves was but skin-deep; and if all restraint were removed, if
the old ties were broken, and the influence of the planter and his
family should cease to operate, it was only too probable that the
four millions of Africans would relapse into the barbaric vices of
their original condition. The hideous massacres which had followed
emancipation in San Domingo had not yet been forgotten. It is little
wonder, then, that the majority shrank before a problem involving
such tremendous consequences.

A party, however, conspicuous both in New England and the West, had
taken abolition for its watchword. Small in numbers, but vehement in
denunciation, its voice was heard throughout the Union. Zeal for
universal liberty rose superior to the Constitution. That instrument
was repudiated as an iniquitous document. The sovereign rights of the
individual States were indignantly denied. Slavery was denounced as
the sum of all villainies, the slave-holder as the worst of tyrants;
and no concealment was made of the intention, should political power
be secured, of compelling the South to set the negroes free. In the
autumn of 1860 came the Presidential election. Hitherto, of the two
great political parties, the Democrats had long ruled the councils of
the nation, and nearly the whole South was Democratic. The South, as
regards population, was numerically inferior to the North; but the
Democratic party had more than held its own at the ballot-boxes, for
the reason that it had many adherents in the North. So long as the
Southern and Northern Democrats held together, they far outnumbered
the Republicans. In 1860, however, the two sections of the Democratic
party split asunder. The Republicans, favoured by the schism, carried
their own candidate, and Abraham Lincoln became President. South
Carolina at once seceded and the Confederacy was soon afterwards

It is not at first sight apparent why a change of government should
have caused so sudden a disruption of the Union. The Republican
party, however, embraced sections of various shades of thought. One
of these, rising every day to greater prominence, was that which
advocated immediate abolition; and to this section, designated by the
South as "Black Republicans," the new President was believed to
belong. It is possible that, on his advent to office, the political
leaders of the South, despite the safeguards of the Constitution, saw
in the near future the unconditional emancipation of the slaves; and
not only this, but that the emancipated slaves would receive the
right of suffrage, and be placed on a footing of complete equality
with their former masters.* (* Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page 214.) As
in many districts the whites were far outnumbered by the negroes,
this was tantamount to transferring all local government into the
hands of the latter, and surrendering the planters to the mercies of
their former bondsmen.

It is hardly necessary to say that an act of such gross injustice was
never contemplated, except by hysterical abolitionists and those who
truckled for their votes. It was certainly not contemplated by Mr.
Lincoln; and it was hardly likely that a President who had been
elected by a minority of the people would dare, even if he were so
inclined, to assume unconstitutional powers. The Democratic party,
taking both sections together, was still the stronger; and the
Northern Democrats, temporarily severed as they were from their
Southern brethren, would most assuredly have united with them in
resisting any unconstitutional action on the part of the Republicans.

If, then, it might be asked, slavery ran no risk of unconditional
abolition, why should the Southern political leaders have acted with
such extraordinary precipitation? Why, in a country in which, to all
appearances, the two sections had been cordially united, should the
advent to power of one political party have been the signal for so
much disquietude on the part of the other? Had the presidential seat
been suddenly usurped by an abolitionist tyrant of the type of
Robespierre the South could hardly have exhibited greater
apprehension. Few Americans denied that a permanent Union, such as
had been designed by the founders of the Republic, was the best
guarantee of prosperity and peace. And yet because a certain number
of misguided if well-meaning men clamoured for emancipation, the
South chose to bring down in ruin the splendid fabric which their
forefathers had constructed. In thus refusing to trust the good sense
and fair dealing of the Republicans, it would seem, at a superficial
glance, that the course adopted by the members of the new
Confederacy, whether legitimate or not, could not possibly be
justified.* (* I have been somewhat severely taken to task for
attaching the epithets "misguided," "unpractical," "fanatical," to
the abolitionists. I see no reason, however, to modify my language.
It is too often the case that men of the loftiest ideals seek to
attain them by the most objectionable means, and the maxim Fiat
justitia ruat coelum cannot be literally applied to great affairs.
The conversion of the Mahomedan world to Christianity would be a
nobler work than even the emancipation of the negro, but the
missionary who began with reviling the faithful, and then proceeded
to threaten them with fire and the sword unless they changed their
creed, would justly be called a fanatic. Yet the abolitionists did
worse than this, for they incited the negroes to insurrection. Nor do
I think that the question is affected by the fact that many of the
abolitionists were upright, earnest, and devout. A good man is not
necessarily a wise man, and I remember that Samuel Johnson and John
Wesley supported King George against the American colonists.)

Unfortunately, something more than mere political rancour was at
work. The areas of slave and of free labour were divided by an
artificial frontier. "Mason and Dixon's line," originally fixed as
the boundary between Pennsylvania on the north and Virginia and
Maryland on the south, cut the territory of the United States into
two distinct sections; and, little by little, these two sections,
geographically as well as politically severed, had resolved
themselves into what might almost be termed two distinct nations.

Many circumstances tended to increase the cleavage. The South was
purely agricultural; the most prosperous part of the North was purely
industrial. In the South, the great planters formed a landed
aristocracy; the claims of birth were ungrudgingly admitted; class
barriers were, to a certain extent, a recognised part of the social
system, and the sons of the old houses were accepted as the natural
leaders of the people. In the North, on the contrary, the only
aristocracy was that of wealth; and even wealth, apart from merit,
had no hold on the respect of the community. The distinctions of
caste were slight in the extreme. The descendants of the Puritans, of
those English country gentlemen who had preferred to ride with
Cromwell rather than with Rupert, to pray with Baxter rather than
with Laud, made no parade of their ancestry; and among the extreme
Republicans existed an innate but decided aversion to the recognition
of social grades. Moreover, divergent interests demanded different
fiscal treatment. The cotton and tobacco of the South, monopolising
the markets of the world, asked for free trade. The manufacturers of
New England, struggling against foreign competition, were strong
protectionists, and they were powerful enough to enforce their will
in the shape of an oppressive tariff. Thus the planters of Virginia
paid high prices in order that mills might flourish in Connecticut;
and the sovereign States of the South, to their own detriment, were
compelled to contribute to the abundance of the wealthier North. The
interests of labour were not less conflicting. The competition
between free and forced labour, side by side on the same continent,
was bound in itself, sooner or later, to breed dissension; and if it
had not yet reached an acute stage, it had at least created a certain
degree of bitter feeling. But more than all--and the fact must be
borne in mind if the character of the Civil War is to be fully
appreciated--the natural ties which should have linked together the
States on either side of Mason and Dixon's line had weakened to a
mere mechanical bond. The intercourse between North and South, social
or commercial, was hardly more than that which exists between two
foreign nations. The two sections knew but little of each other, and
that little was not the good points but the bad.

For more than fifty years after the election of the first President,
while as yet the crust of European tradition overlaid the young
shoots of democracy, the supremacy, social and political, of the
great landowners of the South had been practically undisputed. But
when the young Republic began to take its place amongst the nations,
men found that the wealth and talents which led it forward belonged
as much to the busy cities of New England as to the plantations of
Virginia and the Carolinas; and with the growing sentiment in favour
of universal equality began the revolt against the dominion of a
caste. Those who had carved out their own fortunes by sheer hard work
and ability questioned the superiority of men whose positions were no
guarantee of personal capacity, and whose wealth was not of their own
making. Those who had borne the heat and burden of the day deemed
themselves the equals and more than equals of those who had loitered
in the shade; and, esteeming men for their own worth and not for that
of some forgotten ancestor, they had come to despise those who toiled
not neither did they spin. Tenaciously the Southerners clung to the
supremacy they had inherited from a bygone age. The contempt of the
Northerner was repaid in kind. In the political arena the struggle
was fierce and keen. Mutual hatred, fanned by unscrupulous agitators,
increased in bitterness; and, hindering reconciliation, rose the
fatal barrier of slavery.

It is true that, prior to 1860, the abolitionists were not numerous
in the North; and it is equally true that by many of the best men in
the South the institution which had been bequeathed to them was
thoroughly detested. Looking back over the years which have elapsed
since the slaves were freed, the errors of the two factions are
sufficiently manifest. If, on the one hand, the abolitionist,
denouncing sternly, in season and out of season, the existence of
slavery on the free soil of America, was unjust and worse to the
slave-owner, who, to say the least, was in no way responsible for the
inhuman and shortsighted policy of a former generation; on the other
hand the high-principled Southerner, although in his heart deploring
the condition of the negro, and sometimes imitating the example of
Washington, whose dying bequest gave freedom to his slaves, made no
attempt to find a remedy.* (* On the publication of the first edition
my views on the action of the abolitionists were traversed by critics
whose opinions demand consideration. They implied that in condemning
the unwisdom and violence of the anti-slavery party, I had not taken
into account the aggressive tendencies of the Southern politicians
from 1850 onwards, that I had ignored the attempts to extend slavery
to the Territories, and that I had overlooked the effect of the
Fugitive Slave Law. A close study of abolitionist literature,
however, had made it very clear to me that the advocates of
emancipation, although actuated by the highest motives, never at any
time approached the question in a conciliatory spirit; and that long
before 1850 their fierce cries for vengeance had roused the very
bitterest feelings in the South. In fact they had already made war
inevitable. Draper, the Northern historian, admits that so early as
1844 "the contest between the abolitionists on one side and the
slave-holders on the other hand had become a mortal duel." It may be
argued, perhaps, that the abolitionists saw that the slave-power
would never yield except to armed force, and that they therefore
showed good judgment in provoking the South into secession and civil
war. But forcing the hand of the Almighty is something more than a
questionable doctrine.)

The latter had the better excuse. He knew, were emancipation granted,
that years must elapse before the negro could be trained to the
responsibilities of freedom, and that those years would impoverish
the South. It appears to have been forgotten by the abolitionists
that all races upon earth have required a protracted probation to fit
them for the rights of citizenship and the duties of free men. Here
was a people, hardly emerged from the grossest barbarism, and
possibly, from the very beginning, of inferior natural endowment, on
whom they proposed to confer the same rights without any probation
whatsoever. A glance at the world around them should have induced
reflection. The experience of other countries was not encouraging.
Hayti, where the blacks had long been masters of the soil, was still
a pandemonium; and in Jamaica and South Africa the precipitate action
of zealous but unpractical philanthropists had wrought incalculable
mischief. Even Lincoln himself, redemption by purchase being
impracticable, saw no other way out of the difficulty than the
wholesale deportation of the negroes to West Africa.

In time, perhaps, under the influence of such men as Lincoln and Lee,
the nation might have found a solution of the problem, and North and
South have combined to rid their common country of the curse of human
servitude. But between fanaticism on the one side and helplessness on
the other there was no common ground. The fierce invectives of the
reformers forbade all hope of temperate discussion, and their
unreasoning denunciations only provoked resentment. And this
resentment became the more bitter because in demanding emancipation,
either by fair means or forcible, and in expressing their intention
of making it a national question, the abolitionists were directly
striking at a right which the people of the South held sacred.

It had never been questioned, hitherto, that the several States of
the Union, so far at least as concerned their domestic institutions,
were each and all of them, under the Constitution, absolutely
self-governing. But the threats which the Black Republicans held out
were tantamount to a proposal to set the Constitution aside. It was
their charter of liberty, therefore, and not only their material
prosperity, which the States that first seceded believed to be
endangered by Lincoln's election. Ignorant of the temper of the great
mass of the Northern people, as loyal in reality to the Constitution
as themselves, they were only too ready to be convinced that the
denunciations of the abolitionists were the first presage of the
storm that was presently to overwhelm them, to reduce their States to
provinces, to wrest from them the freedom they had inherited, and to
make them hewers of wood and drawers of water to the detested
plutocrats of New England.

But the gravamen of the indictment against the Southern people is not
that they seceded, but that they seceded in order to preserve and to
perpetuate slavery; or, to put it more forcibly, that the liberty to
enslave others was the right which most they valued. This charge, put
forward by the abolitionists in order to cloak their own revolt
against the Constitution, is true as regards a certain section, but
as regards the South as a nation it is quite untenable, for
three-fourths of the population derived rather injury than benefit
from the presence in their midst of four million serfs.* (* Of 8.3
million whites in the fifteen slave-holding States, only 346,000 were
slave-holders, and of these 69,000 owned only one negro.) "Had
slavery continued, the system of labour," says General Grant, "would
soon have impoverished the soil and left the country poor. The
non-slave-holder must have left the country, and the small
slave-holder have sold out to his more fortunate neighbour."* (*
Battles and Leaders volume 3 page 689.) The slaves neither bought nor
sold. Their wants were supplied almost entirely by their own labour;
and the local markets of the South would have drawn far larger profit
from a few thousand white labourers than they did from the multitude
of negroes. It is true that a party in the South, more numerous
perhaps among the political leaders than among the people at large,
was averse to emancipation under any form or shape. There were men
who looked upon their bondsmen as mere beasts of burden, more
valuable but hardly more human than the cattle in their fields, and
who would not only have perpetuated but have extended slavery. There
were others who conscientiously believed that the negro was unfit for
freedom, that he was incapable of self-improvement, and that he was
far happier and more contented as a slave. Among these were ministers
of the Gospel, in no small number, who, appealing to the Old
Testament, preached boldly that the institution was of divine origin,
that the coloured race had been created for servitude, and that to
advocate emancipation was to impugn the wisdom of the Almighty.

But there were still others, including many of those who were not
slave-owners, who, while they acquiesced in the existence of an
institution for which they were not personally accountable, looked
forward to its ultimate extinction by the voluntary action of the
States concerned. It was impossible as yet to touch the question
openly, for the invectives and injustice of the abolitionists had so
wrought upon the Southern people, that such action would have been
deemed a base surrender to the dictation of the enemy; but they
trusted to time, to the spread of education, and to a feeling in
favour of emancipation which was gradually pervading the whole
country.* (* There is no doubt that a feeling of aversion to slavery
was fast spreading among a numerous and powerful class in the South.
In Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri the number of slaves was
decreasing, and in Delaware the institution had almost disappeared.)

The opinions of this party, with which, it may be said, the bulk of
the Northern people was in close sympathy,* (* Grant's Memoirs page
214.) are perhaps best expressed in a letter written by Colonel
Robert Lee, the head of one of the oldest families in Virginia, a
large landed proprietor and slave-holder, and the same officer who
had won such well-deserved renown in Mexico. "In this enlightened
age," wrote the future general-in-chief of the Confederate army,
"there are few, I believe, but will acknowledge that slavery as an
institution is a moral and political evil. It is useless to expatiate
on its disadvantages. I think it a greater evil to the white than to
the coloured race, and while my feelings are strongly interested in
the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The
blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa--morally,
socially, and physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing
is necessary for their instruction as a race, and, I hope, will
prepare them for better things. How long their subjection may be
necessary is known and ordered by a merciful Providence. Their
emancipation will sooner result from the mild and melting influence
of Christianity than from the storms and contests of fiery
controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. The doctrines and
miracles of our Saviour have required nearly two thousand years to
convert but a small part of the human race, and even among Christian
nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the
final abolition of slavery is still onward, and we give it the aid of
our prayers and all justifiable means in our power, we must leave the
progress as well as the result in His hands, who sees the end and who
chooses to work by slow things, and with whom a thousand years are
but as a single day. The abolitionist must know this, and must see
that he has neither the right nor the power of operating except by
moral means and suasion; if he means well to the slave, he must not
create angry feelings in the master. Although he may not approve of
the mode by which it pleases Providence to accomplish its purposes,
the result will nevertheless be the same; and the reason he gives for
interference in what he has no concern holds good for every kind of
interference with our neighbours when we disapprove of their conduct."

With this view of the question Jackson was in perfect agreement. "I
am very confident," says his wife, "that he would never have fought
for the sole object of perpetuating slavery...He found the
institution a responsible and troublesome one, and I have heard him
say that he would prefer to see the negroes free, but he believed
that the Bible taught that slavery was sanctioned by the Creator
Himself, who maketh all men to differ, and instituted laws for the
bond and free. He therefore accepted slavery, as it existed in the
South, not as a thing desirable in itself, but as allowed by
Providence for ends which it was not his business to determine."

It may perhaps be maintained that to have had no dealings with "the
accursed thing," and to have publicly advocated some process of
gradual emancipation, would have been the nobler course. But, setting
aside the teaching of the Churches, and the bitter temper of the
time, it should be remembered that slavery, although its hardships
were admitted, presented itself in no repulsive aspect to the people
of the Confederate States. They regarded it with feelings very
different from those of the abolitionists, whose acquaintance with
the condition they reprobated was small in the extreme. The lot of
the slaves, the Southerners were well aware, was far preferable to
that of the poor and the destitute of great cities, of the victims of
the sweater and the inmates of fever dens. The helpless negro had
more hands to succour him in Virginia than the starving white man in
New England. The children of the plantation enjoyed a far brighter
existence than the children of the slums. The worn and feeble were
maintained by their masters, and the black labourer, looking forward
to an old age of ease and comfort among his own people, was more
fortunate than many a Northern artisan. Moreover, the brutalities
ascribed to the slave-owners as a class were of rare occurrence. The
people of the South were neither less humane nor less moral than the
people of the North or of Europe, and it is absolutely inconceivable
that men of high character and women of gentle nature should have
looked with leniency on cruelty, or have failed to visit the offender
with something more than reprobation. Had the calumnies* (* Uncle
Tom's Cabin to wit.) which were scattered broadcast by the
abolitionists possessed more than a vestige of truth, men like Lee
and Jackson would never have remained silent. In the minds of the
Northern people slavery was associated with atrocious cruelty and
continual suffering. In the eyes of the Southerners, on the other
hand, it was associated with great kindness and the most affectionate
relations between the planters and their bondsmen. And if the
Southerners were blind, it is most difficult to explain the
remarkable fact that throughout the war, although thousands of
plantations and farms, together with thousands of women and children,
all of whose male relatives were in the Confederate armies, were left
entirely to the care of the negroes, both life and property were
perfectly secure.

Such, then, was the attitude of the South towards slavery. The
institution had many advocates, uncompromising and aggressive, but
taking the people as a whole it was rather tolerated than approved;
and, even if no evidence to the contrary were forthcoming, we should
find it hard to believe that a civilised community would have plunged
into revolution in order to maintain it. There can be no question but
that secession was revolution; and revolutions, as has been well
said, are not made for the sake of "greased cartridges." To bring
about such unanimity of purpose as took possession of the whole
South, such passionate loyalty to the new Confederacy, such intense
determination to resist coercion to the bitter end, needed some
motive of unusual potency, and the perpetuation of slavery was not a
sufficient motive. The great bulk of the population neither owned
slaves nor was connected with those who did; many favoured
emancipation; and the working men, a rapidly increasing class, were
distinctly antagonistic to slave-labour. Moreover, the Southerners
were not only warmly attached to the Union, which they had done so
much to establish, but their pride in their common country, in its
strength, its prestige, and its prosperity, was very great. Why,
then, should they break away? History supplies us with a pertinent

Previous to 1765 the honour of England was dear to the people of the
American colonies. King George had no more devoted subjects; his
enemies no fiercer foes. And yet it required very little to reverse
the scroll. The right claimed by the Crown to tax the colonists
hardly menaced their material prosperity. A few shillings more or
less would neither have added to the burdens nor have diminished the
comforts of a well-to-do and thrifty people, and there was some
justice in the demand that they should contribute to the defence of
the British Empire. But the demand, as formulated by the Government,
involved a principle which they were unwilling to admit, and in
defence of their birthright as free citizens they flew to arms. So,
in defence of the principle of States' Rights the Southern people
resolved upon secession with all its consequences.

It might be said, however, that South Carolina and her sister States
seceded under the threat of a mere faction; that there was nothing in
the attitude of the Federal Government to justify the apprehension
that the Constitution would be set aside; and that their action,
therefore, was neither more nor less than rank rebellion. But,
whether their rights had been infringed or not, a large majority of
the Southern people believed that secession, at any moment and for
any cause, was perfectly legitimate. The several States of the Union,
according to their political creed, were each and all of them
sovereign and independent nations. The Constitution, they held, was
nothing more than a treaty which they had entered into for their own
convenience, and which, in the exercise of their sovereign powers,
individually or collectively, they might abrogate when they pleased.
This interpretation was not admitted in the North, either by
Republicans or Democrats; yet there was nothing in the letter of the
Constitution which denied it, and as regards the spirit of that
covenant North and South held opposite opinions. But both were
perfectly sincere, and in leaving the Union, therefore, and in
creating for themselves a new government, the people of the seceding
States considered that they were absolutely within their right.* (*
For an admirable statement of the Southern doctrine, see Ropes'
History of the Civil War volume 1 chapter 1.)

It must be admitted, at the same time, that the action of the States
which first seceded was marked by a petulant haste; and it is only
too probable that the people of these States suffered themselves to
be too easily persuaded that the North meant mischief. It is
impossible to determine how far the professional politician was
responsible for the Civil War. But when we recall the fact that
secession followed close on the overthrow of a faction which had long
monopolised the spoils of office, and that this faction found
compensation in the establishment of a new government, it is not easy
to resist the suspicion that the secession movement was neither more
nor less than a conspiracy, hatched by a clever and unscrupulous

It would be unwise, however, to brand the whole, or even the
majority, of the Southern leaders as selfish and unprincipled. Unless
he has real grievances on which to work, or unless those who listen
to him are supremely ignorant, the mere agitator is powerless; and it
is most assuredly incredible that seven millions of Anglo-Saxons, and
Anglo-Saxons of the purest strain--English, Lowland Scottish, and
North Irish--should have been beguiled by silver tongues of a few
ambitious or hare-brained demagogues. The latter undoubtedly had a
share in bringing matters to a crisis. But the South was ripe for
revolution long before the presidential election. The forces which
were at work needed no artificial impulse to propel them forward. It
was instinctively recognised that the nation had outgrown the
Constitution; and it was to this, and not to the attacks upon
slavery, that secession was really due. The North had come to regard
the American people as one nation, and the will of the majority as
paramount.* (* "The Government had been Federal under the Articles of
Confederation (1781), but the [Northern] people quickly recognised
that that relation was changing under the Constitution (1789). They
began to discern that the power they thought they had delegated was
in fact surrendered, and that henceforth no single State could meet
the general Government as sovereign and equal." Draper's History of
the American Civil War volume 1 page 286.) The South, on the other
hand, holding, as it had always held, that each State was a nation in
itself, denied in toto that the will of the majority, except in
certain specified cases, had any power whatever; and where political
creeds were in such direct antagonism no compromise was possible.
Moreover, as the action of the abolitionists very plainly showed,
there was a growing tendency in the North to disregard altogether the
rights of the minority. Secession, in fact, was a protest against mob
rule. The weaker community, hopeless of maintaining its most
cherished principles within the Union, was ready to seize the first
pretext for leaving it; and the strength of the popular sentiment may
be measured by the willingness of every class, gentle and simple,
rich and poor, to risk all and to suffer all, in order to free
themselves from bonds which must soon have become unbearable. It is
always difficult to analyse the motives of those by whom revolution
is provoked; but if a whole people acquiesce, it is a certain proof
of the existence of universal apprehension and deep-rooted
discontent. The spirit of self-sacrifice which animated the
Confederate South has been characteristic of every revolution which
has been the expression of a nation's wrongs, but it has never yet
accompanied mere factious insurrection.

When, in process of time, the history of Secession comes to be viewed
with the same freedom from prejudice as the history of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it will be clear that the
fourth great Revolution of the English-speaking race differs in no
essential characteristic from those which preceded it. It was not
simply because the five members were illegally impeached in 1642, the
seven bishops illegally tried in 1688, men shot at Lexington in 1775,
or slavery threatened in 1861, that the people rose. These were the
occasions, not the causes of revolt. In each case a great principle
was at stake: in 1642 the liberty of the subject; in 1688 the
integrity of the Protestant faith; in 1775 taxation only with consent
of the taxed; in 1861 the sovereignty of the individual States.* (*
It has been remarked that States' Rights, as a political principle,
cannot be placed on the same plane as those with which it is here
grouped. History, however, proves conclusively that, although it may
be less vital to the common weal, the right of self-government is
just as deeply cherished. A people that has once enjoyed independence
can seldom be brought to admit that a Union with others deprives it
of the prerogatives of sovereignty, and it would seem that the
treatment of this instinct of nationality is one of the most delicate
and important tasks of statesmanship.)

The accuracy of this statement, as already suggested, has been
consistently denied. That the only principle involved in Secession
was the establishment of slavery on a firmer basis, and that the cry
of States' Rights was raised only by way of securing sympathy, is a
very general opinion. But before it can be accepted, it is necessary
to make several admissions; first, that the Southerners were
absolutely callous to the evils produced by the institution they had
determined to make permanent; second, that they had persuaded
themselves, in face of the tendencies of civilisation, that it was
possible to make it permanent; and third, that they conscientiously
held their progress and prosperity to be dependent on its continued
existence. Are we to believe that the standard of morals and
intelligence was so low as these admissions would indicate? Are we to
believe that if they had been approached in a charitable spirit, that
if the Republican party, disclaiming all right of interference, had
offered to aid them in substituting, by some means which would have
provided for the control of the negro and, at the same time, have
prevented an entire collapse of the social fabric, a system more
consonant with humanity, the Southerners would have still preferred
to leave the Union, and by creating a great slave-power earn the
execration of the Christian world?

Unless the South be credited with an unusual measure of depravity and
of short-sightedness, the reply can hardly be in the affirmative. And
if it be otherwise, there remains but one explanation of the conduct
of the seceding States--namely the dread that if they remained in the
Union they would not be fairly treated.

It is futile to argue that the people were dragooned into secession
by the slave-holders. What power had the slave-holders over the great
mass of the population, over the professional classes, over the small
farmer, the mechanic, the tradesman, the labourer? Yet it is
constantly asserted by Northern writers, although the statement is
virtually an admission that only the few were prepared to fight for
slavery, that the Federal sentiment was so strong among the
Southerners that terrorism must have had a large share in turning
them into Separatists. The answer, putting aside the very patent fact
that the Southerner was not easily coerced, is very plain.
Undoubtedly, throughout the South there was much affection for the
Union; but so in the first Revolution there was much loyalty to the
Crown, and yet it has never been asserted that the people of Virginia
or of New England were forced into sedition against their will. The
truth is that there were many Southerners who, in the vain hope of
compromise, would have postponed the rupture; but when the right of
secession was questioned, and the right of coercion was proclaimed,
all differences of opinion were swept away, and the people,
thenceforward, were of one heart and mind. The action of Virginia is
a striking illustration.

The great border State, the most important of those south of Mason
and Dixon's line, was not a member of the Confederacy when the
Provisional Government was established at Montgomery. Nor did the
secession movement secure any strong measure of approval. In fact,
the people of Virginia, owing to their closer proximity to, and to
their more intimate knowledge of, the North, were by no means
inclined to make of the Black Republican President the bugbear he
appeared to the States which bordered on the Gulf of Mexico. Whilst
acknowledging that the South had grievances, they saw no reason to
believe that redress might not be obtained by constitutional means.
At the same time, although they questioned the expediency, they held
no half-hearted opinion as to the right, of secession, and in their
particular case the right seems undeniable. When the Constitution of
the United States was ratified, Virginia, by the mouth of its
Legislature, had solemnly declared "that the powers granted [to the
Federal Government] under the Constitution, being truly derived from
the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whenever the
same shall be perverted to their injury and oppression." And this
declaration had been more than once reaffirmed. As already stated,
this view of the political status of the Virginia citizen was not
endorsed by the North. Nevertheless, it was not definitely rejected.
The majority of the Northern people held the Federal Government
paramount, but, at the same time, they held that it had no power
either to punish or coerce the individual States. This had been the
attitude of the founders of the Republic, and it is perfectly clear
that their interpretation of the Constitution was this: although the
several States were morally bound to maintain the compact into which
they had voluntarily entered, the obligation, if any one State chose
to repudiate it, could not be legally enforced. Their ideal was a
Union based upon fraternal affection; and in the halcyon days of
Washington's first presidency, when the long and victorious struggle
against a common enemy was still fresh in men's minds, and the sun of
liberty shone in an unclouded sky, a vision so Utopian perhaps seemed
capable of realisation. At all events, the promise of a new era of
unbroken peace and prosperity was not to be sullied by cold
precautions against civil dissensions and conflicting interests. The
new order, under which every man was his own sovereign, would surely
strengthen the links of kindly sympathy, and by those links alone it
was believed that the Union would be held together. Such was the
dream of the unselfish patriots who ruled the destinies of the infant
Republic. Such were the ideas that so far influenced their
deliberations that, with all their wisdom, they left a legacy to
their posterity which deluged the land in blood.

Mr. Lincoln's predecessor in the presidential chair had publicly
proclaimed that coercion was both illegal and inexpedient; and for
the three months which intervened between the secession of South
Carolina and the inauguration of the Republican President, the
Government made not the slightest attempt to interfere with the
peaceable establishment of the new Confederacy. Not a single soldier
reinforced the garrisons of the military posts in the South. Not a
single regiment was recalled from the western frontiers; and the
seceded States, without a word of protest, were permitted to take
possession, with few exceptions, of the forts, arsenals, navy yards
and custom  houses which stood on their own territory. It seemed that
the Federal Government was only waiting until an amicable arrangement
might be arrived at as to the terms of separation.

If, in addition to the words in which she had assented to the
Constitution, further justification were needed for the belief of
Virginia in the right of secession, it was assuredly to be found in
the apparent want of unanimity on so grave a question even in the
Republican party, and in the acquiescent attitude of the Federal

The people of Virginia, however, saw in the election of a Republican
President no immediate danger of the Constitution being "perverted to
their injury and oppression." The North, generally speaking, regarded
the action of the secessionists with that strange and good-humoured
tolerance with which the American citizen too often regards internal
politics. The common sense of the nation asserted itself in all its
strength. A Union which could only be maintained by force was a
strange and obnoxious idea to the majority. Amid the storm of abuse
and insult in which the two extreme parties indulged, the
abolitionists on the one side, the politicians on the other, Lincoln,

"The still strong man in a blatant land,"

stood calm and steadfast, promising justice to the South, and eager
for reconciliation. And Lincoln represented the real temper of the
Northern people.

So, in the earlier months of 1861, there was no sign whatever that
the Old Dominion might be compelled to use the alternative her
original representatives had reserved. The question of slavery was no
longer to the fore. While reprobating the action of the Confederates,
the President, in his inaugural address (March 4, 1861), had declared
that the Government had no right to interfere with the domestic
institutions of the individual States; and throughout Virginia the
feeling was strong in favour of the Union. Earnest endeavours were
made to effect a compromise, under which the seceded communities
might renew the Federal compact. The Legislature called a Convention
of the People to deliberate on the part that the State should play,
and the other States were invited to join in a Peace Conference at

It need hardly be said that during the period of negotiation
excitement rose to the highest pitch. The political situation was the
sole theme of discussion. In Lexington as elsewhere the one absorbing
topic ousted all others, and in Lexington as elsewhere there was much
difference of opinion. But the general sentiment was strongly
Unionist, and in the election of members of the Convention an
overwhelming majority had pronounced against secession. Between the
two parties, however, there were sharp conflicts. A flagstaff flying
the national ensign had been erected in Main Street, Lexington. The
cadets fired on the flag, and substituting the State colours placed a
guard over them. Next morning a report reached the Institute that the
local company of volunteers had driven off the guard, and were about
to restore the Stars and Stripes. It was a holiday, and there were no
officers present. The drums beat to arms. The boys rushed down to
their parade-ground, buckling on their belts, and carrying their
rifles. Ammunition was distributed, and the whole battalion, under
the cadet officers, marched out of the Institute gates, determined to
lower the emblem of Northern tyranny and drive away the volunteers. A
collision would certainly have ensued had not the attacking column
been met by the Commandant.

In every discussion on the action of the State Jackson had spoken
strongly on the side of the majority. In terse phrase he had summed
up his view of the situation. He was no advocate of secession. He
deprecated the hasty action of South Carolina. "It is better," he
said, "for the South to fight for her rights in the Union than out of
it." But much as they loved the Union, the people of Virginia revered
still more the principles inculcated by their forefathers, the right
of secession and the illegality of coercion. And when the proposals
of the Peace Conference came to nothing, when all hope of compromise
died away, and the Federal Government showed no sign of recognising
the Provisional Government, it became evident even to the staunchest
Unionist that civil war could no longer be postponed. From the very
first no shadow of a doubt had existed in Jackson's mind as to the
side he should espouse, or the course he should pursue. "If I know
myself," he wrote, "all I am and all I have is at the service of my

According to his political creed his country was his native State,
and such was the creed of the whole South. In conforming to the
Ordinance of Secession enacted by the legislatures of their own
States, the people, according to their reading of the Constitution,
acted as loyal and patriotic citizens; to resist that ordinance was
treason and rebellion; and in taking up arms "they were not, in their
own opinion, rebels at all; they were defending their States--that
is, the nations to which they conceived themselves to belong, from
invasion and conquest."* (* History of the Civil War, Ropes chapter 1
page 3.)

When, after the incident described above, the cadets marched back to
barracks, it was already so certain that the Stars and Stripes would
soon be torn down from every flagstaff in Virginia that their breach
of discipline was easily condoned. They were addressed by the
Commandant, and amid growing excitement officer after officer, hardly
concealing his sympathy with their action, gave vent to his opinions
on the approaching crisis. Jackson was silent. At length, perhaps in
anticipation of some amusement, for he was known to be a stumbling
speaker, the cadets called on him by name. In answer to the summons
he stood before them, not, as was his wont in public assemblies, with
ill-dissembled shyness and awkward gesture, but with body erect and
eyes sparkling. "Soldiers," he said, "when they make speeches should
say but few words, and speak them to the point, and I admire, young
gentlemen, the spirit you have shown in rushing to the defence of
your comrades; but I must commend you particularly for the readiness
with which you listened to the counsel and obeyed the commands of
your superior officer. The time may come," he continued, and the deep
tones, vibrating with unsuspected resolution, held his audience
spellbound, "when your State will need your services; and if that
time does come, then draw your swords and throw away the scabbards."

The crisis was not long postponed. Fort Sumter, in Charleston
Harbour, the port of South Carolina, was held by a Federal garrison.
The State had demanded its surrender, but no reply had been
vouchsafed by Lincoln. On April 8 a message was conveyed to the
Governor of the State that an attempt would be made to supply the
troops with provisions. This message was telegraphed to Montgomery,
still the capital of the Confederacy, and the Government ordered the
reduction of the fort. On the morning of April 12 the Southern
batteries opened fire, and the next day, when the flames were already
scorching the doors of the magazine, the standard of the Union was
hauled down.

Two days later Lincoln spoke with no uncertain voice. 75,000 militia
were called out to suppress the "rebellion." The North gave the
President loyal support. The insult to the flag set the blood of the
nation, of Democrat and Republican, aflame. The time for
reconciliation was passed. The Confederates had committed an
unpardonable crime. They had forfeited all title to consideration;
and even in the minds of those Northerners who had shared their
political creed the memory of their grievances was obliterated.

So far Virginia had given no overt sign of sympathy with the
revolution. But she was now called upon to furnish her quota of
regiments for the Federal army. To have acceded to the demand would
have been to abjure the most cherished principles of her political
existence. As the Federal Government, according to her political
faith, had no jurisdiction whatever within the boundaries of States
which had chosen to secede, it had not the slightest right to
maintain a garrison in Fort Sumter. The action of the Confederacy in
enforcing the withdrawal of the troops was not generally approved of,
but it was held to be perfectly legitimate; and Mr. Lincoln's appeal
to arms, for the purpose of suppressing what, in the opinion of
Virginia, was a strictly constitutional movement, was instantly and
fiercely challenged.

Neutrality was impossible. She was bound to furnish her tale of
troops, and thus belie her principles; or to secede at once, and
reject with a clean conscience the President's mandate. On April 17
she chose the latter, deliberately and with her eyes open, knowing
that war would be the result, and knowing the vast resources of the
North. She was followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.*
(* Kentucky and Missouri attempted to remain neutral. Maryland was
held in check by the Federal Government, and Delaware sided with the
North. The first three, however, supplied large contingents to the
Confederate armies.)

The world has long since done justice to the motives of Cromwell and
of Washington, and signs are not wanting that before many years have
passed it will do justice to the motives of the Southern people. They
were true to their interpretation of the Constitution; and if the
morality of secession may be questioned, if South Carolina acted with
undue haste and without sufficient provocation, if certain of the
Southern politicians desired emancipation for themselves that they
might continue to enslave others, it can hardly be denied that the
action of Virginia was not only fully justified, but beyond
suspicion. The wildest threats of the Black Republicans, their loudly
expressed determination, in defiance of the Constitution, to abolish
slavery, if necessary by the bullet and the sabre, shook in no degree
whatever her loyalty to the Union. Her best endeavours were exerted
to maintain the peace between the hostile sections; and not till her
liberties were menaced did she repudiate a compact which had become
intolerable. It was to preserve the freedom which her forefathers had
bequeathed her, and which she desired to hand down unsullied to
future generations, that she acquiesced in the revolution.

The North, in resolving to maintain the Union by force of arms, was
upheld by the belief that she was acting in accordance with the
Constitution. The South, in asserting her independence and resisting
coercion, found moral support in the same conviction, and the
patriotism of those who fought for the Union was neither purer nor
more ardent than the patriotism of those who fought for States'
Rights. Long ago, a parliament of that nation to which Jackson and so
many of his compatriots owed their origin made petition to the Pope
that he should require the English king "to respect the independence
of Scotland, and to mind his own affairs. So long as a hundred of us
are left alive," said the signatories, "we will never in any degree
be subjected to the English. It is not for glory, or for riches, or
for honour that we fight, but for liberty alone, which no good man
loses but with his life." More than five hundred years later, for the
same noble cause and in the same uncompromising spirit, the people of
Virginia made appeal to the God of battles.



Immediately it became apparent that the North was bent upon
re-conquest Jackson offered his sword to his native State. He was
determined to take his share in defending her rights and liberties,
even if it were only as a private soldier. Devotion to Virginia was
his sole motive. He shrank from the horrors of civil strife. The
thought that the land he loved so well was to be deluged with the
blood of her own children, that the happy hearths of America were to
be desecrated by the hideous image of war, stifled the promptings of
professional ambition. "If the general Government," he said, "should
persist in the measures now threatened, there must be war. It is
painful enough to discover with what unconcern they speak of war, and
threaten it. They do not know its horrors. I have seen enough of it
to make me look upon it as the sum of all evils."

The methods he resorted to in order that the conflict might be
averted were characteristic. He proposed to the minister of his
church that all Christian people should be called upon to unite in
prayer; and in his own devotions, says his wife, he asked with
importunity that, if it were God's will, the whole land might be at

His work, after the Ordinance of Secession had been passed, was
constant and absorbing. The Governor of Virginia had informed the
Superintendent of the Institute that he should need the services of
the more advanced classes as drill-masters, and that they must be
prepared to leave for Richmond, under the command of Major Jackson,
at a moment's notice.

The Lexington Presbytery was holding its spring meeting in the church
which Jackson attended, and some of the members were entertained at
his house; but he found no time to attend a single service--every
hour was devoted to the duty he had in hand.

On the Saturday of that eventful week he expressed the hope that he
would not be called upon to leave till Monday; and, bidding his wife
dismiss from her thoughts everything pertaining to the war and his
departure, they spent that evening as they had been accustomed,
reading aloud from religious magazines, and studying together the
lesson which was to be taught on the morrow in the Sunday-school.

But at dawn the next morning came a telegram, directing Major Jackson
to bring the cadets to Richmond immediately. He repaired at once to
the Institute; and at one o'clock, after divine service, at his
request, had been held at the head of the command, the cadet
battalion marched to Staunton, on the Virginia Central Railway, and
there took train.

Camp Lee, the rendezvous of the Virginia army, presented a peculiar
if animated scene. With few exceptions, every man capable of serving
in the field belonged either to the militia or the volunteers. Some
of the companies had a smattering of drill, but the majority were
absolutely untaught, and the whole were without the slightest
conception of what was meant by discipline. And it was difficult to
teach them. The non-commissioned officers and men of the United
States army were either Irish or Germans, without State ties, and
they had consequently no inducement to join the South. With the
officers it was different. They were citizens first, and soldiers
afterwards; and as citizens, their allegiance, so far as those of
Southern birth were concerned, was due to their native States. Out of
the twelve hundred graduates of West Point who, at the beginning of
1861, were still fit for service, a fourth were Southerners, and
these, almost without exception, at once took service with the
Confederacy. But the regular officers were almost all required for
the higher commands, for technical duties, and the staff; thus very
few were left to instruct the volunteers. The intelligence of the men
was high, for every profession and every class was represented in the
ranks, and many of the wealthiest planters preferred, so earnest was
their patriotism, to serve as privates; but as yet they were merely
the elements of a fine army, and nothing more. Their equipment left
as much to be desired as their training. Arms were far scarcer than
men. The limited supply of rifles in the State arsenals was soon
exhausted. Flintlock muskets, converted to percussion action, were
then supplied; but no inconsiderable numbers of fowling-pieces and
shot-guns were to be seen amongst the infantry, while the cavalry, in
default of sabres, carried rude lances fabricated by country
blacksmiths. Some of the troops wore uniform, the blue of the militia
or the grey of the cadet; but many of the companies drilled and
manoeuvred in plain clothes; and it was not till three months later,
on the eve of the first great battle, that the whole of the infantry
had received their bayonets and cartridge boxes.

An assemblage so motley could hardly be called an army; and the
daring of the Government, who, with this levee en masse as their only
bulwark against invasion, had defied a great power, seems at first
sight strongly allied to folly. But there was little cause for
apprehension. The Federal authorities were as yet powerless to
enforce the policy of invasion on which the President had resolved.
The great bulk of the Northern troops were just as far from being
soldiers as the Virginians, and the regular army was too small to be

The people of the United States had long cherished the Utopian dream
that war was impossible upon their favoured soil. The militia was
considered an archeological absurdity. The regular troops, admirable
as was their work upon the frontier, were far from being a source of
national pride. The uniform was held to be a badge of servitude. The
drunken loafer, bartering his vote for a dollar or a dram, looked
down with the contempt of a sovereign citizen upon men who submitted
to the indignity of discipline; and, in denouncing the expense of a
standing army, unscrupulous politicians found a sure path to popular
favour. So, when secession became something more than a mere threat,
the armed forces of the commonwealth had been reduced almost to
extinction; and when the flag was fired upon, the nation found itself
powerless to resent the insult. The military establishment mustered
no more than 16,000 officers and men. There was no reserve, no
transport, no organisation for war, and the troops were scattered in
distant garrisons. The navy consisted of six screw-frigates, only one
of which was in commission, of five steam sloops, some twenty sailing
ships, and a few gun-boats. The majority of the vessels, although
well armed, were out of date. 9000 officers and men were the extent
of the personnel, and several useful craft, together with more than
1200 guns, were laid up in Norfolk dockyard, on the coast of
Virginia, within a hundred miles of Richmond.*

(* Strength of the Federal Navy at different periods:--
March 4, 1861: 42 ships in commission.
December 1, 1861: 264 ships in commission.
December 1, 1862: 427 ships in commission.
December 1, 1863: 588 ships in commission.
December 1, 1864: 671 ships in commission.)

The cause of the Confederacy, although her white population of seven
million souls was smaller by two-thirds than that of the North, was
thus far from hopeless. The North undoubtedly possessed immense
resources. But an efficient army, even when the supply of men and
arms be unlimited, cannot be created in a few weeks, or even in a few
months, least of all an army of invasion. Undisciplined troops, if
the enemy be ill-handled, may possibly stand their ground on the
defensive, as did Jackson's riflemen at New Orleans, or the colonials
at Bunker's Hill. But fighting behind earthworks is a very different
matter to making long marches, and executing complicated manoeuvres
under heavy fire. Without a trained staff and an efficient
administration, an army is incapable of movement. Even with a
well-organised commissariat it is a most difficult business to keep a
marching column supplied with food and forage; and the problem of
transport, unless a railway or a river be available, taxes the
ability of the most experienced leader. A march of eighty or one
hundred miles into an enemy's country sounds a simple feat, but
unless every detail has been most carefully thought out, it will not
improbably be more disastrous than a lost battle. A march of two or
three hundred miles is a great military operation; a march of six
hundred an enterprise of which there are few examples. To handle an
army in battle is much less difficult than to bring it on to the
field in good condition; and the student of the Civil War may note
with profit how exceedingly chary were the generals, during the first
campaigns, of leaving their magazines. It was not till their
auxiliary services had gained experience that they dared to manoeuvre
freely; and the reason lay not only in deficiencies of organisation,
but in the nature of the country. Even for a stationary force,
standing on the defensive, unless immediately backed by a large town
or a railway, the difficulties of bringing up supplies were enormous.
For an invading army, increasing day by day the distance from its
base, they became almost insuperable. In 1861, the population of the
United States, spread over a territory as large as Europe, was less
than that of England, and a great part of that territory was
practically unexplored. Even at the present day their seventy
millions are but a handful in comparison with the size of their
dominions, and their extraordinary material progress is not much more
than a scratch on the surface of the continent. In Europe Nature has
long since receded before the works of man. In America the struggle
between them has but just begun; and except upon the Atlantic
seaboard man is almost lost to sight in the vast spaces he has yet to
conquer. In many of the oldest States of the Union the cities seem
set in clearings of the primeval forest. The wild woodland encroaches
on the suburbs, and within easy reach of the very capital are
districts where the Indian hunter might still roam undisturbed. The
traveller lands in a metropolis as large as Paris; before a few hours
have passed he may find himself in a wilderness as solitary as the
Transvaal; and although within the boundaries of the townships he
sees little that differs from the England of the nineteenth
century--beyond them there is much that resembles the England of the
Restoration. Except over a comparatively small area an army operating
in the United States would meet with the same obstacles as did the
soldiers of Cromwell and Turenne. Roads are few and indifferent;
towns few and far between; food and forage are not easily obtainable,
for the country is but partially cultivated; great rivers, bridged at
rare intervals, issue from the barren solitudes of rugged plateaus;
in many low-lying regions a single storm is sufficient to convert the
undrained alluvial into a fetid swamp, and tracts as large as an
English county are covered with pathless forest. Steam and the
telegraph, penetrating even the most lonely jungles, afford, it is
true, such facilities for moving and feeding large bodies of men that
the difficulties presented by untamed Nature have undoubtedly been
much reduced. Nevertheless the whole country, even to-day, would be
essentially different from any European theatre of war, save the
steppes of Russia; and in 1861 railways were few, and the population
comparatively insignificant.

The impediments, then, in the way of military operations were such as
no soldier of experience would willingly encounter with an improvised
army. It was no petty republic that the North had undertaken to
coerce. The frontiers of the Confederacy were far apart. The coast
washed by the Gulf of Mexico is eight hundred miles south of Harper's
Ferry on the Potomac; the Rio Grande, the river boundary of Texas, is
seventeen hundred miles west of Charleston on the Atlantic. And over
this vast expanse ran but six continuous lines of railway:--


1. [Washington,] Richmond, Lynchburg, Chattanooga, Memphis, New

2. [Washington,] Richmond, Weldon, Greensboro, Columbia, Atlanta, New

(These connected Richmond with the Mississippi.)


3. Cairo, Memphis, New Orleans.

4. Cairo, Corinth, Mobile.

5. Louisville, Nashville, Dalton, Atlanta, Mobile.

(These connected the Ohio with the Gulf of Mexico.)

6. Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah.

(This connected Richmond with the ports on the Atlantic.)

Although in the Potomac and the Ohio the Federals possessed two
excellent bases of invasion, on which it was easy to accumulate both
men and supplies, the task before them, even had the regular army
been large and well equipped, would have been sufficiently
formidable. The city of Atlanta, which may be considered as the heart
of the Confederacy, was sixty days' march from the Potomac, the same
distance as Vienna from the English Channel, or Moscow from the
Niemen. New Orleans, the commercial metropolis, was thirty-six days'
march from the Ohio, the same distance as Berlin from the Moselle.
Thus space was all in favour of the South; even should the enemy
overrun her borders, her principal cities, few in number, were far
removed from the hostile bases, and the important railway junctions
were perfectly secure from sudden attack. And space, especially when
means of communication are scanty, and the country affords few
supplies, is the greatest of all obstacles. The hostile territory
must be subjugated piecemeal, state by state, province by province,
as was Asia by Alexander; and after each victory a new base of supply
must be provisioned and secured, no matter at what cost of time,
before a further advance can be attempted. Had Napoleon in the
campaign against Russia remained for the winter at Smolensko, and
firmly established himself in Poland, Moscow might have been captured
and held during the ensuing summer. But the occupation of Moscow
would not have ended the war. Russia in many respects was not unlike
the Confederacy. She had given no hostages to fortune in the shape of
rich commercial towns; she possessed no historic fortresses; and so
offered but few objectives to an invader. If defeated or retreating,
her armies could always find refuge in distant fastnesses. The
climate was severe; the internal trade inconsiderable; to bring the
burden of war home to the mass of the population was difficult, and
to hold the country by force impracticable. Such were the
difficulties which the genius of Napoleon was powerless to overcome,
and Napoleon invaded Russia with half a million of seasoned soldiers.

And yet with an army of 75,000 volunteers, and without the least
preparation, the Federal Government was about to attempt an
enterprise of even greater magnitude. The Northern States were not
bent merely on invasion, but on re-conquest; not merely on defeating
the hostile armies, on occupying their capital, and exacting
contributions, but on forcing a proud people to surrender their most
cherished principles, to give up their own government, and to submit
themselves, for good and all, to what was practically a foreign yoke.
And this was not all. It has been well said by a soldier of Napoleon,
writing of the war in Spain, that neither the government nor the army
are the real bulwarks against foreign aggression, but the national
character. The downfall of Austria and of Prussia was practically
decided by the first great battle. The nations yielded without
further struggle. Strangers to freedom, crushed by military
absolutism, the prostration of each and all to an irresponsible
despot had paralysed individual energy. Spain, on the other hand,
without an army and without a ruler, but deriving new strength from
each successive defeat, first taught Napoleon that he was not
invincible. And the same spirit of liberty which inspired the people
of the Peninsula inspired, to an even higher degree, the people of
the Confederate States.


The Northern States, moreover, were about to make a new departure in
war. The manhood of a country has often been called upon to defend
its borders; but never before had it been proposed to invade a vast
territory with a civilian army, composed, it is true, of the best
blood in the Republic, but without the least tincture of military
experience. Nor did the senior officers, professionals though they
were, appear more fitted for the enterprise than the men they led.
The command of a company or squadron against the redskins was hardly
an adequate probation for the command of an army,* or even a brigade,
of raw troops against a well-armed foe. (* Even after the Peninsular
War had enlarged the experience of the British army, Sir Charles
Napier declared that he knew but one general who could handle 100,000
men, and that was the Duke of Wellington.) Had the volunteers been
associated with an equal number of trained and disciplined soldiers,
as had been the case in Mexico,* (* Grant's Memoirs volume 1 page
168.) they would have derived both confidence from their presence,
and stability from their example; had there been even an experienced
staff, capable of dealing with large forces, and an efficient
commissariat, capable of rapid expansion, they might have crushed all
organised opposition. But only 3000 regulars could be drawn from the
Western borders; the staff was as feeble as the commissariat; and so,
from a purely military point of view, the conquest of the South
appeared impossible. Her self-sustaining power was far greater than
has been usually imagined. On the broad prairies of Texas, Arkansas,
and Louisiana ranged innumerable herds. The area under cultivation
was almost equal to that north of the Potomac and the Ohio. The
pastoral districts--the beautiful Valley of Virginia, the great
plains of Georgia, the fertile bottoms of Alabama, were inexhaustible
granaries. The amount of live stock--horses, mules, oxen, and
sheep--was actually larger than in the North; and if the acreage
under wheat was less extensive, the deficiency was more than balanced
by the great harvests of rice and maize.* (* Cf. U.S. Census Returns
1860.) Men of high ability, but profoundly ignorant of the conditions
which govern military operations, prophesied that the South would be
brought back to the Union within ninety days; General Winfield Scott,
on the other hand, Commander-in-Chief of the Federal armies, declared
that its conquest might be achieved "in two or three years, by a
young and able general--a Wolfe, a Desaix, a Hoche--with 300,000
disciplined men kept up to that number."

Nevertheless, despite the extent of her territory and her scanty
means of communication, the South was peculiarly vulnerable. Few
factories or foundries had been established within her frontiers. She
manufactured nothing; and not only for all luxuries, but for almost
every necessary of life, she was dependent upon others. Her cotton
and tobacco brought leather and cloth in exchange from England.
Metals, machinery, rails, rolling stock, salt, and even medicines
came, for the most part, from the North. The weapons which she put
into her soldiers' hands during the first year of the war, her
cannon, powder, and ammunition, were of foreign make. More than all,
her mercantile marine was very small. Her foreign trade was in the
hands of Northern merchants. She had ship-yards, for Norfolk and
Pensacola, both national establishments, were within her boundaries;
but her seafaring population was inconsiderable, and shipbuilding was
almost an unknown industry. Strong on land, she was powerless at sea,
and yet it was on the sea that her prosperity depended. Cotton, the
principal staple of her wealth, demanded free access to the European
markets. But without a navy, and without the means of constructing
one, or of manning the vessels that she might easily have purchased,
she was unable to keep open her communications across the Atlantic.

Nor was it on the ocean alone that the South was at a disadvantage.
The Mississippi, the main artery of her commerce, which brought the
harvests of the plantations to New Orleans, and which divided her
territory into two distinct portions, was navigable throughout; while
other great rivers and many estuaries, leading into the heart of her
dominions, formed the easiest of highways for the advance of an
invading army. Very early had her fatal weakness been detected.
Immediately Fort Sumter fell, Lincoln had taken measures to isolate
the seceding States, to close every channel by which they could
receive either succour or supplies, and if need be to starve them
into submission. The maritime resources of the Union were so large
that the navy was rapidly expanded. Numbers of trained seamen,
recruited from the merchant service and the fisheries, were at once

The Northern shipbuilders had long been famous; and both men and
vessels, if the necessity should arise, might be procured in Europe.
Judicious indeed was the policy which, at the very outset of the war,
brought the tremendous pressure of the sea-power to bear against the
South; and, had her statesmen possessed the knowledge of what that
pressure meant, they must have realised that Abraham Lincoln was no
ordinary foe. In forcing the Confederates to become the aggressors,
and to fire on the national ensign, he had created a united North; in
establishing a blockade of their coasts he brought into play a force,
which, like the mills of God, "grinds slowly, but grinds exceeding

But for the present the Federal navy was far too small to watch three
thousand miles of littoral indented by spacious harbours and secluded
bays, protected in many cases by natural breakwaters, and
communicating by numerous channels with the open sea. Moreover, it
was still an even chance whether cotton became a source of weakness
to the Confederacy or a source of strength. If the markets of Europe
were closed to her by the hostile battle-ships, the credit of the
young Republic would undoubtedly be seriously impaired; but the
majority of the Southern politicians believed that the great powers
beyond the Atlantic would never allow the North to enforce her
restrictive policy. England and France, a large portion of whose
population depended for their livelihood on the harvests of the
South, were especially interested; and England and France, both great
maritime States, were not likely to brook interference with their
trade. Nor had the Southern people a high opinion of Northern
patriotism. They could hardly conceive that the maintenance of the
Union, which they themselves considered so light a bond, had been
exalted elsewhere to the height of a sacred principle. Least of all
did they believe that the great Democratic party, which embraced so
large a proportion of the Northern people, and which, for so many
years, had been in close sympathy with themselves, would support the
President in his coercive measures.

History, moreover, not always an infallible guide, supplied many
plausible arguments to those who sought to forecast the immediate
future. In the War of Independence, not only had the impracticable
nature of the country, especially of the South, baffled the armies of
Great Britain, but the European powers, actuated by old grudges and
commercial jealousy, had come to the aid of the insurgents. On a
theatre of war where trained and well-organised forces had failed, it
was hardly to be expected that raw levies would succeed; and if
England, opposed in 1782 by the fleets of France, Spain, and Holland,
had been compelled to let the colonies go, it was hardly likely that
the North, confronted by the naval strength of England and France,
would long maintain the struggle with the South. Trusting then to
foreign intervention, to the dissensions of their opponents, and to
their own hardihood and unanimity, the Southerners faced the future
with few misgivings.

At Richmond, finding himself without occupation, Major Jackson
volunteered to assist in the drilling of the new levies. The duty to
which he was first assigned was distasteful. He was an indifferent
draughtsman, and a post in the topographical department was one for
which he was hardly fitted. The appointment, fortunately, was not
confirmed. Some of his friends in the Confederate Congress proposed
that he should be sent to command at Harper's Ferry, an important
outpost on the northern frontier of Virginia. There was some
opposition, not personal to Jackson and of little moment, but it
called forth a remark that shows the estimation in which he was held
by men who knew him.

"Who is this Major Jackson?" it was asked.

"He is one," was the reply, "who, if you order him to hold a post,
will never leave it alive to be occupied by the enemy."

Harper's Ferry, the spot where the first collision might confidently
be expected, was a charge after Jackson's own heart.

April 26.

"Last Saturday," he writes to his wife, "the Governor handed me my
commission as Colonel of Virginia Volunteers, the post I prefer above
all others, and has given me an independent command. Little one, you
must not expect to hear from me very often, as I expect to have more
work than I ever had in the same length of time before; but don't be
concerned about your husband, for our kind Heavenly Father will give
every needful aid."

The garrison at Harper's Ferry consisted of a large number of
independent companies of infantry, a few light companies, as they
were called, of cavalry, and fifteen smooth-bore cannon of small
calibre. This force numbered 4500 officers and men, of whom all but
400 were Virginians. Jackson's appearance was not hailed with
acclamation. The officers of the State militia had hitherto exercised
the functions of command over the ill-knit concourse of enthusiastic
patriots. The militia, however, was hardly more than a force on
paper, and the camps swarmed with generals and field-officers who
were merely civilians in gaudy uniform. By order of the State
Legislature these gentlemen were now deprived of their fine feathers.
Every militia officer above the rank of captain was deposed; and the
Governor of Virginia was authorised to fill the vacancies. This
measure was by no means popular. Both by officers and men it was
denounced as an outrage on freemen and volunteers; and the companies
met in convention for the purpose of passing denunciatory resolutions.

Their new commander was a sorry substitute for the brilliant figures
he had superseded. The militia generals had surrounded themselves
with a numerous staff, and on fine afternoons, it was said, the
official display in Harper's Ferry would have done no discredit to
the Champs-Elysees. Jackson had but two assistants, who, like
himself, still wore the plain blue uniform of the Military Institute.
To eyes accustomed to the splendid trappings and prancing steeds of
his predecessors there seemed an almost painful want of pomp and
circumstance about the colonel of volunteers. There was not a
particle of gold lace about him. He rode a horse as quiet as himself.
His seat in the saddle was ungraceful. His well-worn cadet cap was
always tilted over his eyes; he was sparing of speech; his voice was
very quiet, and he seldom smiled. He made no orations, he held no
reviews, and his orders were remarkable for their brevity. Even with
his officers he had little intercourse. He confided his plans to no
one, and not a single item of information, useful or otherwise,
escaped his lips.

Some members of the Maryland Legislature, a body whom it was
important to conciliate, visited Harper's Ferry during his tenure of
command. They were received with the utmost politeness, and in return
plied the general with many questions. His answers were
unsatisfactory, and at length one more bold than the rest asked him
frankly how many men he had at his disposal. "Sir," was the reply, "I
should be glad if President Lincoln thought I had fifty thousand."
Nor was this reticence observed only towards those whose discretion
he mistrusted. He was silent on principle. In the campaign of 1814,
the distribution of the French troops at a most critical moment was
made known to the allies by the capture of a courier carrying a
letter from Napoleon to the Empress. There was little chance of a
letter to Mrs. Jackson, who was now in North Carolina, falling into
the hands of the Federals; but even in so small a matter Jackson was

"You say," he wrote, "that your husband never writes you any news. I
suppose you mean military news, for I have written you a great deal
about your sposo and how much he loves you. What do you want with
military news? Don't you know that it is unmilitary and unlike an
officer to write news respecting one's post? You couldn't wish your
husband to do an unofficer-like thing, could you?"

And then, the claims of duty being thus clearly defined, he proceeds
to describe the roses which climbed round the window of his temporary
quarters, adding, with that lover-like devotion which every letter
betrays, "but my sweet little sunny face is what I want to see most
of all."

Careful as he was to keep the enemy in the dark, he was exceedingly
particular when he visited his distant posts on the Potomac that his
presence should be unobserved. Had it become known to the Federal
generals that the commander at Harper's Ferry had reconnoitred a
certain point of passage, a clue might have been given to his
designs. The Confederate officers, therefore, in charge of these
posts, were told that Colonel Jackson did not wish them to recognise
him. He rode out accompanied by a single staff officer, and the men
were seldom aware that the brigadier had been through their camps.

Never was a commander who fell so far short of the popular idea of a
dashing leader. This quiet gentleman, who came and went unnoticed,
who had nothing to say, and was so anxious to avoid observation, was
a type of soldier unfamiliar to the volunteers. He was duty
personified and nothing more.

But at the same time the troops instinctively felt that this absence
of ostentation meant hard work. They began to realise the magnitude
of the obligations they had assumed. Soldiering was evidently
something more than a series of brilliant spectacles and social
gatherings. Here was a man in earnest, who looked upon war as a
serious business, who was completely oblivious to what people said or
thought; and his example was not without effect. The conventions came
to nothing; and when the companies were organised in battalions, and
some of the deposed officers were reappointed to command, the men
went willingly to work. Their previous knowledge, even of drill, was
of the scantiest. Officers and men had to begin as recruits, and
Jackson was not the man to cut short essential preliminaries. Seven
hours' drill daily was a heavy tax upon enthusiasm; but it was
severely enforced, and the garrison of the frontier post soon learned
the elements of manoeuvre. Discipline was a lesson more difficult
than drill. The military code, in all its rigour, could not be at
once applied to a body of high-spirited and inexperienced civilians.
Undue severity might have produced the very worst results. The
observance, therefore, of those regulations which were not in
themselves essential to efficiency or health was not insisted on.
Lapses in military etiquette were suffered to pass unnoticed; no
attempt was made to draw a hard and fast line between officers and
men; and many things which in a regular army would be considered
grossly irregular were tacitly permitted. Jackson was well aware that
volunteers of the type he commanded needed most delicate and tactful
handling. The chief use of minute regulations and exacting routine is
the creation of the instinct of obedience. Time was wanting to instil
such instinct into the Confederate troops; and the intelligence and
patriotism of the men, largely of high class and good position, who
filled the ranks, might be relied upon to prevent serious misconduct.
Had they been burdened with the constant acknowledgment of superior
authority which becomes a second nature to the regular soldier,
disgust and discontent might have taken the place of high spirit and
good-will. But at the same time wilful misbehaviour was severely
checked. Neglect of duty and insubordination were crimes which
Jackson never forgave, and deliberate disobedience was in his eyes as
unmanly an offence as cowardice. He knew when to be firm as well as
when to relax, and it was not only in the administration of
discipline that he showed his tact. He was the most patient of
instructors. So long as those under him were trying to do their best,
no one could have been kinder or more forbearing; and he constantly
urged his officers to come to his tent when they required explanation
as to the details of their duty.

Besides discipline and instruction, Jackson had the entire
administration of his command upon his hands. Ammunition was
exceedingly scarce, and he had to provide for the manufacture of
ball-cartridges. Transport there was none, but the great waggons of
the Valley farmers supplied the deficiency. The equipment of the
artillery left much to be desired, and ammunition carts (or caissons)
were constructed by fixing roughly made chests on the running gear of
waggons. The supply and medical services were non-existent, and
everything had to be organised de novo. Thus the officer in command
at Harper's Ferry had his hands full; and in addition to his
administrative labours there was the enemy to be watched, information
to be obtained, and measures of defence to be considered. A glance at
the map will show the responsibilities of Jackson's position.

The Virginia of the Confederacy was cut in two by the Blue Ridge, a
chain of mountains three hundred and thirty miles in length, which,
rising in North Carolina, passes under different names through
Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont, and sinks to the level
on the Canadian frontier.

The Blue Ridge varies in height from 2000 to 6000 feet. Densely
wooded, it is traversed in Virginia only by the Gaps, through which
ran three railways and several roads. These Gaps were of great
strategic importance, for if they were once secured, a Northern army,
moving up the Valley of the Shenandoah, would find a covered line of
approach towards the Virginia and Tennessee railway, which connected
Richmond with the Mississippi. Nor was this the only advantage it
would gain. From Lexington at its head, to Harper's Ferry, where it
strikes the Potomac, throughout its whole length of one hundred and
forty miles, the Valley was rich in agricultural produce. Its average
width, for it is bounded on the west by the eastern ranges of the
Alleghanies, is not more than four-and-twenty miles; but there are
few districts of the earth's surface, of equal extent, more favoured
by Nature or more highly cultivated. It was the granary of Virginia;
and not Richmond only, but the frontier garrisons, depended largely
for subsistence on the farms of the Shenandoah.

Moreover, if the Valley were occupied by the Federals, North-western
Virginia would be cut off from the Confederacy; and Jackson's native
mountains, inhabited by a brave and hardy race, would be lost as a
recruiting ground.

In order, then, to secure the loyalty of the mountaineers, to supply
the armies, and to protect the railways, the retention of the Valley
was of the utmost importance to the Confederacy. The key of the
communication with the North-west was Winchester, the chief town of
the lower Valley, twenty-six miles, in an air-line, south-west of
Harper's Ferry. From Winchester two highways lead westward, by Romney
and Moorefield; four lead east and south-east, crossing the Blue
Ridge by Snicker's, Ashby's, Manassas, and Chester's Gaps; and the
first object of the Confederate force at Harper's Ferry was to cover
this nucleus of roads.

During the month of May the garrison of the frontier post was
undisturbed by the enemy. Lincoln's first call had been for 75,000
volunteers. On May 3 he asked for an additional 40,000; these when
trained, with 18,000 seamen and a detachment of regulars, would place
at his disposal 150,000 men. The greater part of this force had
assembled at Washington; but a contingent of 10,000 or 12,000 men
under General Patterson, a regular officer of many years' service,
was collecting in Pennsylvania, and an outpost of 3000 men was
established at Chambersburg, forty-five miles north of Harper's Ferry.

These troops, however, though formidable in numbers, were as
ill-prepared for war as the Confederates, and no immediate movement
was to be anticipated. Not only had the Federal authorities to equip
and organise their levies, but the position of Washington was the
cause of much embarrassment. The District of Columbia--the sixty
square miles set apart for the seat of the Federal Government--lies
on the Potomac, fifty miles south-east of Harper's Ferry, wedged in
between Virginia on the one side and Maryland on the other.

The loyalty of Maryland to the Union was more than doubtful. As a
slave-holding State, her sympathies were strongly Southern; and it
was only her geographical situation, north of the Potomac, and with
no strong frontier to protect her from invasion, which had held her
back from joining the Confederacy. As only a single line of railway
connected Washington with the North, passing through Baltimore, the
chief city of Maryland, a very hot-bed of secession sentiment, the
attitude of the State was a matter of the utmost anxiety to the
Federal Government. An attempt to send troops through Baltimore to
Washington had provoked a popular commotion and some bloodshed. Stern
measures had been necessary to keep the railway open. Baltimore was
placed under martial law, and strongly garrisoned. But despite these
precautions, for some weeks the feeling in Maryland was so hostile to
the Union that it was not considered safe for the Northern troops to
cross her territory except in large numbers; and the concentration at
Washington of a force sufficient to defend it was thus attended with
much difficulty.

A single railroad, too, the Baltimore and Ohio, connected Washington
with the West. Crossing the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, and following
the course of the river, it ran for one hundred and twenty miles
within the confines of Virginia. Thus the district commanded by
Jackson embraced an artery of supply and communication which was of
great importance to the enemy. The natural course would have been to
destroy the line at once; but the susceptibilities of both Maryland
and West Virginia had to be considered. The stoppage of all traffic
on their main trade route would have done much to alienate the people
from the South, and there was still hope that Maryland might throw in
her lot with her seceded sisters.

The line was therefore left intact, and the company was permitted to
maintain the regular service of trains, including the mails. For this
privilege, however, Jackson exacted toll. The Confederate railways
were deficient in rolling stock, and he determined to effect a large
transfer from the Baltimore and Ohio. From Point of Rocks, twelve
miles east of Harper's Ferry, to Martinsburg, fifteen miles west, the
line was double. "The coal traffic along it," says General Imboden,
"was immense, for the Washington Government was accumulating supplies
of coal on the seaboard. These coal trains passed Harper's Ferry at
all hours of the day and night, and thus furnished Jackson with a
pretext for arranging a brilliant capture. A detachment was posted at
Point of Rocks, and the 5th Virginia Infantry at Martinsburg. He then
complained to the President of the Baltimore and Ohio that the night
trains, eastward bound, disturbed the repose of his camp, and
requested a change of schedule that would pass all east-bound trains
by Harper's Ferry between eleven and one o'clock in the daytime. The
request was complied with, and thereafter for several days was heard
the constant roar of passing trains for an hour before and an hour
after noon. But since the "empties" were sent up the road at night,
Jackson again complained that the nuisance was as great as ever, and,
as the road had two tracks, said he must insist that the west-bound
trains should pass during the same hour as those going east. Again he
was obliged, and we then had, for two hours every day, the liveliest
railroad in America.

"One night, as soon as the schedule was working at its best, Jackson
instructed the officer commanding at Point of Rocks to take a force
of men across to the Maryland side of the river the next day at
eleven o'clock, and letting all west-bound trains pass till twelve
o'clock, to permit none to go east. He ordered the reverse to be done
at Martinsburg.

"Thus he caught all the trains that were going east or west between
these points, and ran them up to Winchester, thirty-two miles on the
branch line, whence they were removed by horse power to the railway
at Strasburg, eighteen miles further south."* (* Battles and Leaders
volume 1.)

May 24.

This capture was Jackson's only exploit whilst in command at Harper's
Ferry. On May 24 he was relieved by General Joseph E. Johnston, one
of the senior officers of the Confederate army. The transfer of
authority was not, however, at once effected. Johnston reached
Harper's Ferry in advance of his letter of appointment. Jackson had
not been instructed that he was to hand over his command, and,
strictly conforming to the regulations, he respectfully declined to
vacate his post. Fortunately a communication soon came from General
Lee, commanding the Virginia troops, in which he referred to Johnston
as in command at Harper's Ferry. Jackson at once recognised this
letter as official evidence that he was superseded, and from that
time forth rendered his superior the most faithful and zealous
support. He seems at first to have expected that he would be sent to
North-west Virginia, and his one ambition at this time was to be
selected as the instrument of saving his native mountains to the
South. But the Confederate Government had other views. At the
beginning of June a more compact organisation was given to the
regiments at Harper's Ferry, and Jackson was assigned to the command
of the First Brigade of the Army of the Shenandoah.* (* The Virginia
troops were merged in the army of the Confederate States on June 8,
1861. The total strength was 40,000 men and 115 guns. O.R. volume 2
page 928.)

Recruited in the Valley of the Shenandoah and the western mountains,
the brigade consisted of the following regiments:--

The 2nd Virginia, Colonel Allen.
The 4th Virginia, Colonel Preston.
The 5th Virginia, Colonel Harper.
The 27th Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Echols.
The 33rd Virginia, Colonel Cummings.

A battery of artillery, raised in Rockbridge County, was attached to
the brigade. Commanded by the Reverend Dr. Pendleton, the rector of
Lexington, an old West Point graduate, who was afterwards
distinguished as Lee's chief of artillery, and recruited largely from
theological colleges, it soon became peculiarly efficient.* (* When
the battery arrived at Harper's Ferry, it was quartered in a church,
already occupied by a company called the Grayson Dare-devils, who,
wishing to show their hospitality, assigned the pulpit to Captain
Pendleton as an appropriate lodging. The four guns were at once
christened Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.)
No better material for soldiers ever existed than the men of the
Valley. Most of them were of Scotch-Irish descent, but from the more
northern counties came many of English blood, and from those in the
centre of Swiss and German. But whatever their origin, they were
thoroughly well qualified for their new trade. All classes mingled in
the ranks, and all ages; the heirs of the oldest families, and the
humblest of the sons of toil; boys whom it was impossible to keep at
school, and men whose white beards hung below their cross-belts;
youths who had been reared in luxury, and rough hunters from their
lonely cabins. They were a mountain people, nurtured in a wholesome
climate, bred to manly sports, and hardened by the free life of the
field and forest. To social distinctions they gave little heed. They
were united for a common purpose; they had taken arms to defend
Virginia and to maintain her rights; and their patriotism was proved
by the sacrifice of all personal consideration and individual
interest. Nor is the purity of their motives to be questioned. They
had implicit faith in the righteousness of their cause. Slave-owners
were few in the Valley, and the farms were tilled mainly by free
labour. The abolition of negro servitude would have affected but
little the population west of the Blue Ridge. But, nevertheless, west
of the Blue Ridge the doctrine of State Rights was as firmly rooted
as in the Carolinas, the idea that a State could be coerced into
remaining within the Union as fiercely repudiated; and the men of the
Valley faced the gathering hosts of the North in the same spirit that
they would have faced the hosts of a foreign foe.

In the first weeks of June the military situation became more
threatening. The Union armies were taking shape. The levies of
volunteers seemed sufficiently trained to render reconquest
practicable, and the great wave of invasion had already mounted the
horizon. A force of 25,000 men, based on the Ohio, threatened
North-west Virginia. There had been collisions on the Atlantic
seaboard, where the Federals held Fortress Monroe, a strong citadel
within eighty miles of Richmond, and Richmond had become the capital
of the Confederacy. There had been fighting in Missouri, and the
partisans of the South in that State had already been badly worsted.
The vast power of the North was making itself felt on land, and on
the sea had asserted an ascendency which it never lost. The blue
waters of the Gulf of Mexico were patrolled by a fleet with which the
Confederates had no means of coping. From the sea-wall of Charleston,
the great Atlantic port of the South, the masts of the blockading
squadron were visible in the offing; and beyond the mouths of the
Mississippi, closing the approaches to New Orleans, the long black
hulls steamed slowly to and fro.

But it was about Manassas Junction--thirty miles south-west of
Washington and barring the road to Richmond--that all interest
centred during the first campaign. Here was posted the main army of
the Confederacy, 20,000 volunteers under General Beauregard, the
Manassas Gap Railway forming an easy means of communication with the
Army of the Shenandoah.

Johnston's force had been gradually increased to 10,000 officers and
men. But the general was by no means convinced of the desirability of
holding Harper's Ferry. The place itself was insignificant. It had
contained an arsenal, but this had been burnt by the Federals when
they evacuated the post; and it was absolutely untenable against
attack. To the east runs the Shenandoah; and immediately above the
river stands a spur of the Blue Ridge, the Loudoun Heights,
completely commanding the little town. Beyond the Potomac is a crest
of equal altitude, covered with forest trees and undergrowth, and
bearing the name of the Maryland Heights.

Jackson, without waiting for instructions, had taken on himself to
hold and fortify the Maryland Heights. "I am of opinion," he had
written to General Lee, "that this place should be defended with the
spirit which actuated the defenders of Thermopylae, and if left to
myself such is my determination. The fall of this place would, I
fear, result in the loss of the north-western part of the State, and
who can estimate the moral power thus gained to the enemy and lost to
ourselves?"* (* O.R. volume 2 page 814.)

Lee, also, was averse to evacuation. Such a measure, he said, would
be depressing to the cause of the South, and would leave Maryland
isolated. The post, it was true, could be easily turned. By crossing
the Potomac, at Williamsport and Shepherdstown, twenty and ten miles
north-west respectively, the Federals would threaten the
communications of the garrison with Winchester; in case they were
attacked, the Confederates would have to fight with their backs to
the Shenandoah, broad, deep, and unbridged; and the ground westward
of Harper's Ferry was ill adapted for defence. Attack, in Lee's
opinion, would have been best met by a resolute offensive.* (* Ibid
pages 881, 889, 897, 898, 901, 923.) Johnston, however, believed his
troops unfitted for active manoeuvres, and he was permitted to choose
his own course. The incident is of small importance, but it serves to
show an identity of opinion between Lee and Jackson, and a regard for
the moral aspect of the situation which was to make itself manifest,
with extraordinary results, at a later period.

June 14.

On June 14, Johnston destroyed the railway bridge over the Potomac,
removed the machinery that had been rescued from the arsenal, burned
the public buildings, and the next day retired on Winchester. His
immediate opponent, General Patterson, had crossed the Pennsylvania
border, and, moving through Maryland, had occupied Williamsport with
14,000 men. A detachment of Confederate militia had been driven from
Romney, thirty-five miles north-west of Winchester, and the general
forward movement of the enemy had become pronounced.

June 20.

On June 20 Jackson's brigade was ordered to destroy the workshops of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railway at Martinsburg, together with the
whole of the rolling stock that might there be found, and to support
the cavalry. The first of these tasks, although Martinsburg is no
more than ten miles distant from Williamsport, was easily
accomplished. Four locomotives were sent back to Winchester, drawn by
teams of horses; and several more, together with many waggons, were
given to the flames. The second task demanded no unusual exertions.
The Federals, as yet, manifested no intention of marching upon
Winchester, nor was the Confederate cavalry in need of immediate
assistance. The force numbered 300 sabres. The men were untrained;
but they were first-rate horsemen, they knew every inch of the
country, and they were exceedingly well commanded. Lieutenant-Colonel
J.E.B. Stuart, who had been a captain of dragoons in the United
States army, had already given token of those remarkable qualities
which were afterwards to make him famous. Of an old Virginia family,
he was the very type of the Cavalier, fearless and untiring,
"boisterous as March, yet fresh as May."

Educated at West Point, and trained in Indian fighting in the
prairies, he brought to the great struggle upon which he had now
entered a thorough knowledge of arms, a bold and fertile conception,
and a constitution of body which enabled him to bear up against
fatigues which would have prostrated the strength of other men. Those
who saw him at this time are eloquent in their description of the
energy and the habits of the man. They tell how he remained almost
constantly in the saddle; how he never failed to instruct personally
every squad which went out on picket; how he was everywhere present,
at all hours of the day and night, along the line which he guarded;
and how, by infusing into the raw cavalry his own activity and
watchfulness, he was enabled, in spite of the small force which he
commanded, to observe the whole part of the Potomac from Point of
Rocks to beyond Williamsport. His animal spirits were unconquerable,
his gaiety and humour unfailing; he had a ready jest for all, and
made the forests ring with his songs as he marched at the head of his
column. So great was his activity that General Johnston compared him
to that species of hornet called "a yellow jacket," and said that "he
was no sooner brushed off than he lit back again." When the general
was subsequently transferred to the West he wrote to Stuart: "How can
I eat, sleep, or rest in peace without you upon the outpost?"* (*
Cooke page 47.)

No officer in the Confederacy was more trusted by his superiors or
more popular with the men; and Jackson was no more proof than others
against the attractions of his sunny and noble nature. As a soldier,
Stuart was a colleague after his own heart; and, as a man, he was
hardly less congenial. The dashing horseman of eight-and-twenty, who
rivalled Murat in his fondness for gay colours, and to all appearance
looked upon war as a delightful frolic, held a rule of life as strict
as that of his Presbyterian comrade; and outwardly a sharp contrast,
inwardly they were in the closest sympathy. Stuart's fame as a leader
was to be won in larger fields than those west of the Blue Ridge,
and, although sprung from the same Scotch-Irish stock, he was in no
way connected with the Valley soldiers. But from the very outbreak of
the war he was intimately associated with Jackson and his men.
Fortune seemed to take a curious delight in bringing them together;
they were together in their first skirmish, and in their last great
victory; and now, on the banks of the Potomac, watching the hostile
masses that were assembling on the further shore, they first learned
to know each other's worth.

July 2.

On July 2 Patterson crossed the river. The movement was at once
reported by Stuart, and Jackson, with the 5th Virginia and a battery,
advanced to meet the enemy. His instructions from Johnston were to
ascertain the strength of the hostile force, and then to retire under
cover of the cavalry. Four regiments of his brigade were therefore
left in camp; the baggage was sent back, and when the 5th Virginia
had marched out a short distance, three of the four guns were halted.
Near Falling Waters, a country church some five miles south of the
Potomac, Patterson's advanced guard was discovered on the road. The
country on either hand, like the greater part of the Valley, was
open, undulating, and highly cultivated, view and movement being
obstructed only by rail fences and patches of high timber.

The Virginians were partially concealed by a strip of woodland, and
when the Federal skirmishers, deployed on either side of the highway,
moved forward to the attack, they were received by a heavy and
unexpected fire. As the enemy fell back, a portion of the Confederate
line was thrown forward, occupying a house and barn; and despite the
fire of two guns which the Federals had brought up, the men, with the
impetuous rashness of young troops, dashed out to the attack. But
Jackson intervened. The enemy, who had two brigades of infantry well
closed up, was deploying a heavy force; his skirmishers were again
advancing, and the 5th Virginia, in danger of being outflanked, was
ordered to retire to its first position. The movement was
misconstrued by the Federals, and down the high road, in solid
column, came the pursuing cavalry. A well-aimed shot from the single
field-piece sufficed to check their progress; a confused mass of
horsemen went flying to the rear; and the Confederate gunners turned
their attention to the hostile battery. Stuart, at the same time,
performed a notable feat. He had moved with fifty troopers to attack
the enemy's right flank, and in reconnoitring through the woods had
become detached for the moment from his command. As he rode along a
winding lane he saw resting in a field a company of Federal infantry.
He still wore the uniform of the United States army; the enemy
suspected nothing, taking him for one of their own cavalry, and he
determined to effect their capture. Riding up to the fence he bade
one of the men remove the bars. This was done with respectful
alacrity, and he then galloped among them, shouting "Throw down your
arms, or you are all dead men!" The stentorian order was at once
obeyed: the raw troops not only dropped their rifles but fell upon
their faces, and the Confederate troopers, coming to their leader's
aid, marched the whole company as prisoners to the rear.

So firm was the attitude of Jackson's command that General Patterson
was thoroughly imposed upon. Slowly and cautiously he pushed out
right and left, and it was not till near noon that the Confederates
were finally ordered to retreat. Beyond desultory skirmishing there
was no further fighting. The 5th Virginia fell back on the main body;
Stuart came in with his string of captives, and leaving the cavalry
to watch the enemy, the First Brigade went into camp some two miles
south of Martinsburg. Patterson reported to his Government that he
had been opposed by 3500 men, exactly ten times Jackson's actual
number.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 157.) The losses on either side were
inconsiderable, a few men killed and 10 or 15 wounded; and if the
Confederates carried off 50 prisoners, the Federals had the
satisfaction of burning some tents which Jackson had been unable to
remove. The engagement, however, had the best effect on the morale of
the Southern troops, and they were not so ignorant as to overlook the
skill and coolness with which they had been manoeuvred. It is
possible that their commander appeared in an unexpected light, and
that they had watched his behaviour with some amount of curiosity.
They certainly discovered that a distaste for show and frippery is no
indication of an unwarlike spirit. In the midst of the action, while
he was writing a dispatch, a cannon ball had torn a tree above his
head to splinters. Not a muscle moved, and he wrote on as if he were
seated in his own tent.

July 3.

The day after Falling Waters, on Johnston's recommendation, Jackson
received from General Lee his commission as brigadier-general in the
Confederate army. "My promotion," he wrote to his wife, "was beyond
what I had anticipated, as I only expected it to be in the Volunteer
forces of the State. One of my greatest desires for advancement is
the gratification it will give my darling, and (the opportunity) of
serving my country more efficiently. I have had all that I ought to
desire in the line of promotion. I should be very ungrateful if I
were not contented, and exceedingly thankful to our kind Heavenly

Of Patterson's further movements it is unnecessary to speak at
length. The Federal army crawled on to Martinsburg. Halting seven
miles south-west Jackson was reinforced by Johnston's whole command;
and here, for four days, the Confederates, drawn up in line of
battle, awaited attack. But the Federals stood fast in Martinsburg;
and on the fourth day Johnston withdrew to Winchester. The Virginia
soldiers were bitterly dissatisfied. At first even Jackson chafed. He
was eager for further action. His experiences at Falling Waters had
given him no exalted notion of the enemy's prowess, and he was ready
to engage them single-handed. "I want my brigade," he said, "to feel
that it can itself whip Patterson's whole army, and I believe we can
do it." But Johnston's self-control was admirable. He was ready to
receive attack, believing that, in his selected position, he could
repulse superior numbers. But he was deaf to all who clamoured for an
offensive movement, to the murmurs of the men, and to the
remonstrances of the officers. The stone houses of Martinsburg and
its walled inclosures were proof against assault, and promised at
most a bloody victory. His stock of ammunition was scanty in the
extreme; the infantry had but fourteen cartridges apiece; and
although his patience was construed by his troops as a want of
enterprise, he had in truth displayed great daring in offering battle
south of Martinsburg.

The Federal army at Washington, commanded by General McDowell,
amounted to 50,000 men; a portion of this force was already south of
the Potomac, and Beauregard's 20,000 Confederates, at Manassas
Junction, were seriously threatened. In West Virginia the enemy had
advanced, moving, fortunately, in the direction of Staunton, at the
southern end of the Valley, and not on Winchester.

July 11.

On July 11, this force of 20,000 men defeated a Confederate
detachment at Rich Mountain, not far from Jackson's birthplace; and
although it was still in the heart of the Alleghanies, a few marches,
which there were practically no troops to oppose, would give it the
control of the Upper Valley.

Thus menaced by three columns of invasion, numbering together over
80,000 men, the chances of the Confederates, who mustered no more
than 32,000 all told, looked small indeed. But the three Federal
columns were widely separated, and it was possible, by means of the
Manassas Gap Railway, for Johnston and Beauregard to unite with
greater rapidity than their opponents.

President Davis, acting on the advice of General Lee, had therefore
determined to concentrate the whole available force at Manassas
Junction, and to meet at that point the column advancing from
Washington.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 515.) The difficulty was for the
Army of the Shenandoah to give Patterson the slip. This could easily
have been done while that officer stood fast at Martinsburg; but, in
Lee's opinion, if the enemy found that the whole force of the
Confederacy was concentrating at Manassas Junction, the Washington
column would remain within its intrenchments round the capital, and
the Confederates "would be put to the great disadvantage of achieving
nothing, and leaving the other points (Winchester and Staunton)
exposed." The concentration, therefore, was to be postponed until the
Washington column advanced.* (* O.R. volume 2 page 507.)

But by that time Patterson might be close to Winchester or
threatening the Manassas Railway. Johnston had thus a most delicate
task before him; and in view of the superior numbers which the
Federals could bring against Manassas, it was essential that not a
man should he wasted in minor enterprises. The defeat of Patterson,
even had it been practicable, would not have prevented the Washington
column from advancing; and every Confederate rifleman who fell in the
Valley would be one the less at Manassas.

July 15.

On July 15 Patterson left Martinsburg and moved in the direction of
Winchester. On the 16th he remained halted at Bunker's Hill, nine
miles north; and on the 17th, instead of continuing his advance,
moved to his left and occupied Charlestown. His indecision was
manifest. He, too, had no easy part to play. His instructions were to
hold Johnston in the Valley, while McDowell advanced against
Beauregard. But his instructions were either too definite or not
definite enough, and he himself was overcautious. He believed, and so
did General Scott, that Johnston might be retained at Winchester by
demonstrations--that is, by making a show of strength and by feigned
attacks. For more vigorous action Patterson was not in the least
inclined; and we can hardly wonder if he hesitated to trust his
ill-trained regiments to the confusion and chances of an attack. Even
in that day of raw soldiers and inexperienced leaders his troops had
an unenviable reputation. They had enlisted for three months, and
their term of service was nearly up. Their commander had no influence
with them; and, turning a deaf ear to his appeals, they stubbornly
refused to remain with the colours even for a few days over their
term of service. They were possibly disgusted with the treatment they
had received from the Government. The men had received no pay. Many
were without shoes, and others, according to their general, were
"without pants!" "They cannot march," he adds, "and, unless a
paymaster goes with them, they will be indecently clad and have just
cause of complaint."* (* O.R. volume 2 pages 169, 170.)

Nevertheless, the Federal authorities made a grievous mistake when
they allowed Patterson and his sans-culottes to move to Charlestown.
McDowell marched against Beauregard on the afternoon of the 16th, and
Patterson should have been instructed to attack Johnston at any cost.
Even had the latter been successful, he could hardly have reinforced
the main army in time to meet McDowell.

July 18.

At 1 A.M. on the morning of the 18th Johnston received a telegram
from the President to the effect that McDowell was advancing on
Manassas. Stuart was immediately directed to keep Patterson amused;
and leaving their sick, 1700 in number, to the care of Winchester,
the troops were ordered to strike tents and prepare to march. No man
knew the object of the movement, and when the regiments passed
through Winchester, marching southward, with their backs to the
enemy, the step was lagging and the men dispirited. A few miles out,
as they turned eastward, the brigades were halted and an order was
read to them. "Our gallant army under General Beauregard is now
attacked by overwhelming numbers. The Commanding General hopes that
his troops will step out like men, and make a forced march to save
the country." The effect of this stirring appeal was instantaneous.
"The soldiers," says Jackson, "rent the air with shouts of joy, and
all was eagerness and animation." The march was resumed, and as mile
after mile was passed, although there was much useless delay and the
pace was slow, the faint outlines of the Blue Ridge, rising high
above the Valley, changed imperceptibly to a mighty wall of rock and
forest. As the night came down a long reach of the Shenandoah crossed
the road. The ford was waist-deep, but the tall Virginians, plunging
without hesitation into the strong current, gained the opposite shore
with little loss of time. The guns and waggons followed in long
succession through the darkling waters, and still the heavy tramp of
the toiling column passed eastward through the quiet fields. The Blue
Ridge was crossed at Ashby's Gap; and at two o'clock in the morning,
near the little village of Paris, the First Brigade was halted on the
further slope. They had marched over twenty miles, and so great was
their exhaustion that the men sank prostrate on the ground beside
their muskets.* (* "The discouragements of that day's march," says
Johnston, "to one accustomed to the steady gait of regular soldiers,
is indescribable. The views of military obedience and command then
taken both by officers and men confined their duties and obligations
almost exclusively to the drill-ground and guards. In camps and
marches they were scarcely known. Consequently, frequent and
unreasonable delays caused so slow a rate of marching as to make me
despair of joining General Beauregard in time to aid him." Johnston's
Narrative.) They were already sleeping, when an officer reminded
Jackson that there were no pickets round the bivouac. "Let the poor
fellows sleep," was the reply; "I will guard the camp myself." And
so, through the watches of the summer night, the general himself
stood sentry over his unconscious troops.* (* Letter to Mrs. Jackson,
Memoirs page 176.)

(MAP. SITUATION NIGHT OF JULY 17TH, 1861. Showing West: Winchester,
North: Harper's Ferry, South: Warrenton and East: Washington.)


July 19.

At the first streak of dawn, Jackson aroused his men and resumed the
march. Before the column gained the plain, Stuart's cavalry clattered
past, leaving Patterson at Charlestown, in ignorance of his
adversary's escape, and congratulating himself on the success of his
cautious strategy. At Piedmont, a station at the foot of the Blue
Ridge, trains were waiting for the conveyance of the troops; and at
four o'clock in the afternoon Jackson and his brigade had reached
Manassas Junction. The cavalry, artillery, and waggons moved by road;
and the remainder of Johnston's infantry was expected to follow the
First Brigade without delay. But in war, unless there has been ample
time for preparation, railways are not always an expeditious means of
travel. The line was single; so short notice had been given that it
was impossible to collect enough rolling-stock; the officials were
inexperienced; there was much mismanagement; and on the morning of
Sunday, July 21, only three brigades of the Army of the
Shenandoah--Jackson's, Bee's, and Bartow's--together with the cavalry
and artillery, had joined Beauregard. Kirby Smith's brigade, about
1900 strong, was still upon the railway.

The delay might easily have been disastrous. Happily, the Federal
movements were even more tardy. Had the invading army been well
organised, Beauregard would probably have been defeated before
Johnston could have reached him. McDowell had advanced from
Washington on the afternoon of the 16th with 35,000 men. On the
morning of the 18th, the greater part of his force was concentrated
at Centreville, twenty-two miles from Washington, and five and a half
north-east of Manassas Junction. Beauregard's outposts had already
fallen back to the banks of Bull Run, a stream made difficult by
wooded and precipitous banks, from two to three miles south, and of
much the same width as the Thames at Oxford.

It would have been possible to have attacked on the morning of the
19th, but the Federal commander was confronted by many obstacles. He
knew little of the country. Although it was almost within sight of
the capital, the maps were indifferent. Guides who could describe
roads and positions from a military point of view were not
forthcoming. All information had to be procured by personal
reconnaissance, and few of his officers had been trained to such
work. Moreover, the army was most unwieldy. 35,000 men, together with
ten batteries, and the requisite train of waggons, was a force far
larger than any American officer had yet set eyes upon; and the
movement of such a mass demanded precise arrangement on the part of
the staff, and on the part of the troops most careful attention to
order and punctuality; but of these both staff and troops were
incapable. The invading force might have done well in a defensive
position, which it would have had time to occupy, and where the
supply of food and forage, carried on from stationary magazines,
would have been comparatively easy; but directly it was put in
motion, inexperience and indiscipline stood like giants in the path.
The Federal troops were utterly unfitted for offensive movement, and
both Scott and McDowell had protested against an immediate advance.
The regiments had only been organised in brigades a week previously.
They had never been exercised in mass. Deployment for battle had not
yet been practised, and to deploy 10,000 or 20,000 men for attack is
a difficult operation, even with well-drilled troops and an
experienced staff. Nor were the supply arrangements yet completed.
The full complement of waggons had not arrived, and the drivers on
the spot were as ignorant as they were insubordinate. The troops had
received no instruction in musketry, and many of the regiments went
into action without having once fired their rifles. But the protests
of the generals were of no effect. The Federal Cabinet decided that
in face of the public impatience it was impossible to postpone the
movement. "On to Richmond" was the universal cry. The halls of
Congress resounded with the fervid eloquence of the politicians. The
press teemed with bombastic articles, in which the Northern troops
were favourably compared with the regular armies of Europe, and the
need of discipline and training for the fearless and intelligent
representatives of the sovereign people was scornfully repudiated.
Ignorance of war and contempt for the lessons of history were to cost
the nation dear.

The march from Washington was a brilliant spectacle. The roads south
of the Potomac were covered with masses of men, well armed and well
clothed, amply furnished with artillery, and led by regular officers.
To the sound of martial music they had defiled before the President.
They were accompanied by scores of carriages. Senators, members of
Congress, and even ladies swelled the long procession. A crowd of
reporters rode beside the columns; and the return of a victorious
army could hardly have been hailed with more enthusiasm than the
departure of these untrained and unblooded volunteers. Yet, pitiful
masquerade as the march must have appeared to a soldier's eye, the
majority of those who broke camp that summer morning were brave men
and good Americans. To restore the Union, to avenge the insult to
their country's flag, they had come forward with no other compulsion
than the love of their mother-land. If their self-confidence was
supreme and even arrogant, it was the self-confidence of a strong and
a fearless people, and their patriotism was of the loftiest kind. It
would have been easy for the North, with her enormous wealth, to have
organised a vast army of mercenaries wherewith to crush the South.
But no! her sons were not willing that their country's honour should
be committed to meaner hands.

As they advanced into Virginia, the men, animated by their
surroundings, stepped briskly forward, and the country-side was gay
with fantastic uniforms and gorgeous standards. But the heat was
oppressive, and the roads lay deep in dust. Knapsack, rifle, and
blankets became a grievous burden. The excitement died away, and
unbroken to the monotonous exertion of the march the three-months'
recruits lost all semblance of subordination. The compact array of
the columns was gradually lost, and a tail of laggards, rapidly
increasing, brought up the rear. Regiment mingled with regiment. By
each roadside brook the men fell out in numbers. Every blackberry
bush was surrounded by a knot of stragglers; and, heedless of the
orders of those officers who still attempted to keep them in the
ranks, scores of so-called soldiers sought the cool shade of the
surrounding woods.* (* Sherman's Memoirs volume 1 page 181.) When
darkness fell the army was but six miles from its morning bivouacs;
and it was not till late the next day that the stragglers rejoined
their regiments.

McDowell had intended to attack at once. "But I could not," he says,
"get the troops forward earlier than we did. I wished them to go to
Centreville the second day, but when I went to urge them forward, I
was told that it was impossible for the men to march further. They
had only come from Vienna, about six miles, and it was not more than
six and a half miles further to Centreville, in all a march of twelve
and a half miles; but the men were foot-weary--not so much, I was
told, by the distance marched, as by the time they had been on foot,
caused by the obstructions in the road, and the slow pace we had to
move to avoid ambuscades. The men were, moreover, unaccustomed to
marching, and not used to carrying even the load of "light marching
order..." The trains, hurriedly gotten together, with horses,
waggons, drivers, and waggon-masters all new and unused to each
other, moved with difficulty and disorder, and were the cause of a
day's delay in getting the provisions forward."* (* O.R. volume 2
page 324. McDowell's Report.)

On the morning of the 18th, in order to attract the enemy's attention
from his right, a brigade was sent south, in the direction of Bull
Run. The Confederate outposts fell back over Blackburn's Ford. The
woods about the stream concealed the defenders' forces, and the
Federals pushed on, bringing artillery into action. Two Confederate
guns, after firing a few shots, were withdrawn under cover, and the
attacking troops reached the ford. Suddenly, from the high timber on
the further bank, volleys of musketry blazed out in their very faces,
and then came proof that some at least of the Federal regiments were
no more to be relied upon in action than on the march. A portion of
the force, despite the strong position of the enemy and the heavy
fire, showed a bold front, but at least one regiment turned and fled,
and was only rallied far in rear. The whole affair was a mistake on
the part of the commander. His troops had been heedlessly pushed
forward, and General Longstreet, commanding the opposing brigade, by
carefully concealing his infantry, had drawn him into an ambuscade.
The results of the action were not without importance. The Federals
fell back with a loss of 83 officers and men, and the Confederates
were much elated at their easy success. Among some of the
Northerners, on the other hand, the sudden check to the advance, and
the bold bearing of the enemy, turned confidence and enthusiasm into
irrational despondency. A regiment and a battery, which had enlisted
for three months and whose time was up, demanded their discharge, and
notwithstanding the appeals of the Secretary of War, "moved to the
rear to the sound of the enemy's cannon."* (* O.R. volume 2 page 324.
McDowell's Report.)

McDowell's plans were affected by the behaviour of his troops. He was
still ignorant, so skilfully had the march from the Valley been
carried out, that Johnston had escaped Patterson. He was well aware,
however, that such movement was within the bounds of possibility, yet
he found himself compelled to postpone attack until the 21st. The
19th and 20th were spent in reconnaissance, and in bringing up
supplies; and the lack of organisation made the issue of rations a
long process. But it was the general's want of confidence in his
soldiers that was the main cause of delay.

The Confederates were strongly posted. The bridges and fords across
Bull Run, with the exception of Sudley Ford, a long way up stream to
the Federal right, were obstructed with felled trees, and covered by
rude intrenchments. Even with regular troops a direct attack on a
single point of passage would have been difficult. McDowell's first
idea was to pass across the front of the defences, and turn the right
at Wolf Run Shoals, five miles south-east of Union Mills. The
country, however, on this flank was found to be unfit for the
operations of large masses, and it was consequently determined to
turn the Confederate left by way of Sudley Springs.

The Federal army consisted of five divisions of infantry, forty-three
guns, and seven troops of regular cavalry. Nine batteries and eight
companies of infantry were supplied by the United States army, and
there was a small battalion of marines. The strength of the force
told off for the attack amounted to 30,000 all told.*

(* The rifles (muzzle-loaders) used throughout the war by both
Federals and Confederates compare as follows with more modern
                            Sighted to        Effective range
                            yards             yards
American                    1,000             250
Needle-gun (1866 and 1870)    660             250
Chassepot (1870)            1,320             350
Martini-Henry               2,100             400
Magazine                    3,200             600

By effective range is meant the distance where, under ordinary
conditions, the enemy's losses are sufficient to stop his advance.
The effective range of Brown Bess was about 60 yards. The American
rifled artillery was effective, in clear weather, at 2000 yards, the
12-pounder smooth-bore at 1600, the 6-pounder at 1200.)

The Confederates, along the banks of Bull Run, disposed of 26,000
infantry, 2500 cavalry, and 55 guns. Johnston, who had arrived on the
20th, had assumed command; but, ignorant of the country, he had
allowed Beauregard to make the dispositions for the expected battle.
The line occupied was extensive, six miles in length, stretching from
the Stone Bridge, where the Warrenton highroad crosses Bull Run, on
the left, to the ford at Union Mills on the right. Besides these two
points of passage there were no less than six fords, to each of which
ran a road from Centreville. The country to the north was undulating
and densely wooded, and it would have been possible for the Federals,
especially as the Southern cavalry was held back south of the stream,
to mass before any one of the fords, unobserved, in superior numbers.
Several of the fords, moreover, were weakly guarded, for Beauregard,
who had made up his mind to attack, had massed the greater part of
his army near the railroad. The Shenandoah troops were in reserve;
Bee's and Bartow's brigades between McLean's and Blackburn's fords,
Jackson's between Blackburn's and Mitchell's fords, in rear of the
right centre.

The position south of Bull Run, originally selected by General Lee,*
was better adapted for defence than for attack. (* O.R. volume 2 page
505.) The stream, with its high banks, ran like the ditch of a
fortress along the front; and to the south was the plateau on which
stands Manassas Junction. The plateau is intersected by several
creeks, running through deep depressions, and dividing the high
ground into a series of bold undulations, level on the top, and with
gentle slopes. The most important of the creeks is Young's Branch,
surrounding on two sides the commanding eminence crowned by the Henry
House, and joining Bull Run a short distance below the Stone Bridge.
That part of the field which borders on Flat Run, and lies
immediately north of Manassas Junction, is generally thickly wooded;
but shortly after passing New Market, the Manassas-Sudley road,
running north-west, emerges into more open country, and, from the
Henry House onward, passes over several parallel ridges, deep in
grass and corn, and studded between with groves of oak and pine. Here
the large fields, without hedges, and scantily fenced, formed an
admirable manoeuvre ground; the wide depressions of the creeks,
separating the crests of the ridges by a space of fifteen or sixteen
hundred yards, gave free play to the artillery; the long easy slopes
could be swept by fire, and the groves were no obstruction to the
view. The left flank of the Confederate position, facing north, on
either side of the Manassas-Sudley road, was thus an ideal

(MAP 2. Dispositions morning of July 21st, 1861. Showing West:
Groveton, North: Centreville, South: Manassas Junction and East:
Union Mills.)

July 21. 6.30 A.M.

Sunday morning, the 21st of July, broke clear and warm. Through a
miscarriage of orders, the Confederate offensive movement was
delayed; and soon after six o'clock the Federals opened with musketry
and artillery against the small brigade commanded by Colonel Evans,
which held the Stone Bridge on the extreme left of the Confederate
line. An hour later the Shenandoah brigades, Bee's, Bartow's, and
Jackson's, together with Bonham's, were ordered up in support.

8.30 A.M.

The attack was feebly pressed, and at 8.30 Evans, observing a heavy
cloud of dust rising above the woods to the north of the Warrenton
road, became satisfied that the movement to his front was but a
feint, and that a column of the enemy was meanwhile marching to turn
his flank by way of Sudley Springs, about two miles north-west.

9 A.M.

Sending back this information to the next brigade, he left four
companies to hold the bridge; and with six companies of riflemen, a
battalion called the Louisiana Tigers, and two six-pounder howitzers,
he moved across Young's Branch, and took post on the Matthews Hill, a
long ridge, which, at the same elevation, faces the Henry Hill.

Evans' soldierly instinct had penetrated the design of the Federal
commander, and his ready assumption of responsibility threw a strong
force across the path of the turning column, and gave time for his
superiors to alter their dispositions and bring up the reserves.

The Federal force opposite the Stone Bridge consisted of a whole
division; and its commander, General Tyler, had been instructed to
divert attention, by means of a vigorous demonstration, from the
march of Hunter's and Heintzleman's divisions to a ford near Sudley
Springs. Part of the Fifth Division was retained in reserve at
Centreville, and part threatened the fords over Bull Run below the
Stone Bridge. The Fourth Division had been left upon the railroad,
seven miles in rear of Centreville, in order to guard the
communications with Washington.

Already, in forming the line of march, there had been much confusion.
The divisions had bivouacked in loose order, without any regard for
the morrow's movements, and their concentration previous to the
advance was very tedious. The brigades crossed each other's route;
the march was slow; and the turning column, blocked by Tyler's
division on its way to the Stone Bridge, was delayed for nearly three

9.30 A.M.

At last, however, Hunter and Heintzleman crossed Sudley Ford; and
after marching a mile in the direction of Manassas Junction, the
leading brigade struck Evans' riflemen. The Confederates were
concealed by a fringe of woods, and the Federals were twice repulsed.
But supports came crowding up, and Evans sent back for
reinforcements. The fight had lasted for an hour. It was near eleven
o'clock, and the check to the enemy's advance had given time for the
Confederates to form a line of battle on the Henry Hill. Bee and
Bartow, accompanied by Imboden's battery, were in position; Hampton's
Legion, a regiment raised and commanded by an officer who was one of
the wealthiest planters in South Carolina, and who became one of the
finest soldiers in the Confederacy, was not far behind; and Jackson
was coming up.* (* Hunter and Heintzleman had 13,200 officers and
men; Tyler, 12,000. Bee and Barrow had 3200 officers and men;
Hampton, 630; Jackson, 3000.)

Again the situation was saved by the prompt initiative of a brigade
commander. Bee had been ordered to support the troops at the Stone
Bridge. Moving forward towards the Henry Hill, he had been informed
by a mounted orderly that the whole Federal army seemed to be moving
to the north-west. A signal officer on the plateau who had caught the
glint of the brass field-pieces which accompanied the hostile column,
still several miles distant, had sent the message. Bee waited for no
further instructions. Ordering Bartow to follow, he climbed the Henry
Hill. The wide and beautiful landscape lay spread before him; Evans'
small command was nearly a mile distant, on the Matthews Hill; and on
the ridges to the far north-west he saw the glitter of many bayonets.

11 A.M.

Rapidly placing his battery in position near the Henry House, Bee
formed a line of battle on the crest above Young's Branch; but very
shortly afterwards, acceding to an appeal for help from Evans, he
hurried his troops forward to the Matthews Hill. His new position
protected the rear of the companies which held the Stone Bridge; and
so long as the bridge was held the two wings of the Federal army were
unable to co-operate. But on the Matthews Hill, the enemy's strength,
especially in artillery, was overwhelming; and the Confederates were
soon compelled to fall back to the Henry Hill. McDowell had already
sent word to Tyler to force the Stone Bridge; and Sherman's brigade
of this division, passing the stream by a ford, threatened the flank
of Bee and Evans as they retreated across Young's Branch.

The Federals now swarmed over the Matthews Hill; but Imboden's
battery, which Bee had again posted on the Henry Hill, and Hampton's
Legion, occupying the Robinson House, a wooden tenement on the open
spur which projects towards the Stone Bridge, covered the retirement
of the discomfited brigades. They were not, however, suffered to fall
back unharassed.

A long line of guns, following fast upon their tracks, and crossing
the fields at a gallop, came into action on the opposite slope. In
vain Imboden's gunners, with their pieces well placed behind a swell
of ground, strove to divert their attention from the retreating
infantry, now climbing the slopes of the Henry Hill. The Federal
batteries, powerful in numbers, in discipline, and in materiel, plied
their fire fast. The shells fell in quick succession amongst the
disordered ranks of the Southern regiments, and not all the efforts
of their officers could stay their flight.

The day seemed lost. Strong masses of Northern infantry were moving
forward past the Stone House on the Warrenton turnpike. Hampton's
Legion was retiring on the right. Imboden's battery, with but three
rounds remaining for each piece, galloped back across the Henry Hill,
and this commanding height, the key of the battle-ground, was
abandoned to the enemy. But help was at hand. Jackson, like Bee and
Bartow, had been ordered to the Stone Bridge. Hearing the heavy fire
to his left increasing in intensity, he had turned the head of his
column towards the most pressing danger, and had sent a messenger to
Bee to announce his coming. As he pushed rapidly forward, part of the
troops he intended to support swept by in disorder to the rear.
Imboden's battery came dashing back, and that officer, meeting
Jackson, expressed with a profanity which was evidently displeasing
to the general his disgust at being left without support. "I'll
support your battery," was the brief reply; "unlimber right here."

11.30 A.M.

At this moment appeared General Bee, approaching at full gallop, and
he and Jackson met face to face. The latter was cool and composed;
Bee covered with dust and sweat, his sword in his hand, and his horse
foaming. "General," he said, "they are beating us back!" "Then, sir,
we will give them the bayonet;" the thin lips closed like a vice, and
the First Brigade, pressing up the slope, formed into line on the
eastern edge of the Henry Hill.

Jackson's determined bearing inspired Bee with renewed confidence. He
turned bridle and galloped back to the ravine where his officers were
attempting to reform their broken companies. Riding into the midst of
the throng, he pointed with his sword to the Virginia regiments,
deployed in well-ordered array on the height above. "Look!" he
shouted, "there is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind
the Virginians!" The men took up the cry; and the happy augury of the
expression, applied at a time when defeat seemed imminent and hearts
were failing, was remembered when the danger had passed away.

The position which Jackson had occupied was the strongest that could
be found. He had not gone forward to the crest which looks down upon
Young's Branch, and commands the slopes by which the Federals were
advancing. From that crest extended a wide view, and a wide field of
fire; but both flanks would have been exposed. The Henry House was
nothing more than a cottage; neither here nor elsewhere was there
shelter for his riflemen, and they would have been exposed to the
full force of the Federal artillery without power of reply. But on
the eastern edge of the hill, where he had chosen to deploy, ran a
belt of young pines, affording excellent cover, which merged into a
dense oak wood near the Sudley road.

Along the edge of the pines Jackson placed his regiments, with six
guns to support them. Lying in rear of the guns were the 4th and 27th
Virginia; on the right was the 5th; on the left the 2nd and 33rd.
Both flanks were in the woods, and Stuart, whom Jackson had called
upon to secure his left, was watching the ground beyond the road. To
the front, for a space of five hundred yards, stretched the level
crest of the hill; and the ground beyond the Henry House, dipping to
the valley of Young's Branch, where the Federals were now gathering,
was wholly unseen. But as the tactics of Wellington so often proved,
a position from which the view is limited, well in rear of a crest
line, may be exceedingly strong for defence, provided that troops who
hold it can use the bayonet. It would be difficult in the extreme for
the Federals to pave the way for their attack with artillery. From
the guns on the Matthews Hill the Virginia regiments were well
sheltered, and the range was long. To do effective work the hostile
batteries would have to cross Young's Branch, ascend the Henry Hill,
and come into action within five hundred yards of Jackson's line.
Even if they were able to hold their ground at so short a range, they
could make no accurate practice under the fire of the Confederate

12 noon.

In rear of Jackson's line, Bee, Bartow, and Evans were rallying their
men, when Johnston and Beauregard, compelled, by the unexpected
movement of the Federals, to abandon all idea of attack, appeared
upon the Henry Hill. They were accompanied by two batteries of
artillery, Pendleton's and Alburtis'. The colours of the broken
regiments were ordered to the front, and the men rallied, taking post
on Jackson's right. The moment was critical. The blue masses of the
Federals, the dust rolling high above them, were already descending
the opposite slopes. The guns flashed fiercely through the yellow
cloud; and the Confederate force was but a handful. Three brigades
had been summoned from the fords; but the nearest was four miles
distant, and many of the troops upon the plateau were already
half-demoralised by retreat. The generals set themselves to revive
the courage of their soldiers. Beauregard galloped along the line,
cheering the regiments in every portion of the field, and then, with
the colour-bearers accompanying him, rode forward to the crest.
Johnston was equally conspicuous. The enemy's shells were bursting on
every side, and the shouts of the Confederates, recognising their
leaders as they dashed across the front, redoubled the uproar.
Meanwhile, before the centre of his line, with an unconcern which had
a marvellous effect on his untried command, Jackson rode slowly to
and fro. Except that his face was a little paler, and his eyes
brighter, he looked exactly as his men had seen him so often on
parade; and as he passed along the crest above them they heard from
time to time the reassuring words, uttered in a tone which betrayed
no trace of excitement, "Steady, men! steady! all's well!"

It was at this juncture, while the confusion of taking up a new
position with shattered and ill-drilled troops was at the highest,
that the battle lulled. The Federal infantry, after defeating Bee and
Evans, had to cross the deep gully and marshy banks of Young's
Branch, to climb the slope of the Henry Hill, and to form for a fresh
attack. Even with trained soldiers a hot fight is so conducive of
disorder, that it is difficult to initiate a rapid pursuit, and the
Northern regiments were very slow in resuming their formations. At
the same time, too, the fire of their batteries became less heavy.
From their position beyond Young's Branch the rifled guns had been
able to ply the Confederate lines with shell, and their effective
practice had rendered the work of rallying the troops exceedingly
difficult. But when his infantry advanced, McDowell ordered one half
of his artillery, two fine batteries of regulars, made up principally
of rifled guns, to cross Young's Branch. This respite was of the
utmost value to the Confederates. The men, encouraged by the gallant
bearing of their leaders, fell in at once upon the colours, and when
Hunter's regiments appeared on the further rim of the plateau they
were received with a fire which for a moment drove them back. But the
regular batteries were close at hand, and as they came into action
the battle became general on the Henry Hill. The Federals had 16,000
infantry available; the Confederates no more than 6500. But the
latter were superior in artillery, 16 pieces confronting 12. The
Federal guns, however, were of heavier calibre; the gunners were old
soldiers, and both friend and foe testify to the accuracy of their
fire, their fine discipline, and staunch endurance. The infantry, on
the other hand, was not well handled. The attack was purely frontal.
No attempt whatever was made to turn the Confederate flanks, although
the Stone Bridge, except for the abattis, was now open, and
Johnston's line might easily have been taken in reverse. Nor does it
appear that the cavalry was employed to ascertain where the flanks
rested. Moreover, instead of massing the troops for a determined
onslaught, driven home by sheer weight of numbers, the attack was
made by successive brigades, those in rear waiting till those in
front had been defeated; and, in the same manner, the brigades
attacked by successive regiments. Such tactics were inexcusable. It
was certainly necessary to push the attack home before the
Confederate reinforcements could get up; and troops who had never
drilled in mass would have taken much time to assume the orthodox
formation of several lines of battle, closely supporting one another.
Yet there was no valid reason, beyond the inexperience of the
generals in dealing with large bodies, that brigades should have been
sent into action piecemeal, or that the flanks of the defence should
have been neglected. The fighting, nevertheless, was fierce. The
Federal regiments, inspirited by their success on the Matthews Hill,
advanced with confidence, and soon pushed forward past the Henry
House. "The contest that ensued," says General Imboden, "was
terrific. Jackson ordered me to go from battery to battery and see
that the guns were properly aimed and the fuses cut the right length.
This was the work of but a few minutes. On returning to the left of
the line of guns, I stopped to ask General Jackson's permission to
rejoin my battery. The fight was just then hot enough to make him
feel well. His eyes fairly blazed. He had a way of throwing up his
left hand with the open palm towards the person he was addressing.
And, as he told me to go, he made this gesture. The air was full of
flying missiles, and as he spoke he jerked down his hand, and I saw
that blood was streaming from it. I exclaimed, "General, you are
wounded." "Only a scratch--a mere scratch," he replied, and binding
it hastily with a handkerchief, he galloped away along his line."* (*
Battles and Leaders volume 1 page 236.)

1.30 P.M.

When the battle was at its height, and across that narrow space, not
more than five hundred yards in width, the cannon thundered, and the
long lines of infantry struggled for the mastery, the two Federal
batteries, protected by two regiments of infantry on their right,
advanced to a more effective position. The movement was fatal.
Stuart, still guarding the Confederate left, was eagerly awaiting his
opportunity, and now, with 150 troopers, filing through the fences on
Bald Hill, he boldly charged the enemy's right. The regiment thus
assailed, a body of Zouaves, in blue and scarlet, with white turbans,
was ridden down, and almost at the same moment the 33rd Virginia,
posted on Jackson's left, charged forward from the copse in which
they had been hidden. The uniforms in the two armies at this time
were much alike, and from the direction of their approach it was
difficult at first for the officers in charge of the Federal
batteries to make sure that the advancing troops were not their own.
A moment more and the doubtful regiment proved its identity by a
deadly volley, delivered at a range of seventy yards. Every gunner
was shot down; the teams were almost annihilated, and several
officers fell killed or wounded. The Zouaves, already much shaken by
Stuart's well-timed charge, fled down the slopes, dragging with them
another regiment of infantry.

Three guns alone escaped the marksmen of the 33rd. The remainder
stood upon the field, silent and abandoned, surrounded by dying
horses, midway between the opposing lines.

This success, however, brought but short relief to the Confederates.
The enemy was not yet done with. Fresh regiments passed to the
attack. The 33rd was driven back, and the thin line upon the plateau
was hard put to it to retain its ground. The Southerners had lost
heavily. Bee and Bartow had been killed, and Hampton wounded. Few
reinforcements had reached the Henry Hill. Stragglers and skulkers
were streaming to the rear. The Federals were thronging forward, and
it seemed that the exhausted defenders must inevitably give way
before the successive blows of superior numbers. The troops were
losing confidence. Yet no thought of defeat crossed Jackson's mind.
"General," said an officer, riding hastily towards him, "the day is
going against us." "If you think so, sir," was the quiet reply, "you
had better not say anything about it." And although affairs seemed
desperate, in reality the crisis of the battle had already passed.
McDowell had but two brigades remaining in reserve, and one of
these--of Tyler's division--was still beyond Bull Run. His troops
were thoroughly exhausted; they had been marching and fighting since
midnight; the day was intensely hot; they had encountered fierce
resistance; their rifled batteries had been silenced, and the
Confederate reinforcements were coming up. Two of Bonham's regiments
had taken post on Jackson's right, and a heavy force was approaching
on the left. Kirby Smith's brigade, of the Army of the Shenandoah,
coming up by train, had reached Manassas Junction while the battle
was in progress. It was immediately ordered to the field, and had
been already instructed by Johnston to turn the enemy's right.

But before the weight of Smith's 1900 bayonets could be thrown into
the scale, the Federals made a vigorous effort to carry the Henry
Hill. Those portions of the Confederate line which stood on the open
ground gave way before them. Some of the guns, ordered to take up a
position from which they could cover the retreat, were limbering up;
and with the exception of the belt of pines, the plateau was
abandoned to the hostile infantry, who were beginning to press
forward at every point. The Federal engineers were already clearing
away the abattis from the Stone Bridge, in order to give passage to
Tyler's third brigade and a battery of artillery; "and all were
certain," says McDowell, "that the day was ours."

2.45 P.M.

Jackson's men were lying beneath the crest of the plateau. Only one
of his regiments--the 33rd--had as yet been engaged in the open, and
his guns in front still held their own. Riding to the centre of his
line, where the 2nd and 4th Virginia were stationed, he gave orders
for a counterstroke. "Reserve your fire till they come within fifty
yards, then fire and give them the bayonet; and when you charge, yell
like furies!" Right well did the hot Virginian blood respond.
Inactive from the stroke of noon till three o'clock, with the crash
and cries of battle in their ears, and the shells ploughing gaps in
their recumbent ranks, the men were chafing under the stern
discipline which held them back from the conflict they longed to
join. The Federals swept on, extending from the right and left,
cheering as they came, and following the flying batteries in the
ardour of success. Suddenly, a long grey line sprang from the ground
in their very faces; a rolling volley threw them back in confusion;
and then, with their fierce shouts pealing high above the tumult, the
2nd and 4th Virginia, supported by the 5th, charged forward across
the hill. At the same moment that the enemy's centre was thus
unexpectedly assailed, Kirby Smith's fresh brigade bore down upon the
flank,* (* General Kirby Smith being severely wounded, the command of
this brigade devolved upon Colonel Elzey.) and Beauregard, with ready
judgment, dispatched his staff officers to order a general advance.
The broken remnants of Bee, Hampton, and Evans advanced upon
Jackson's right, and victory, long wavering, crowned the standards of
the South. The Federals were driven past the guns, now finally
abandoned, past the Henry House, and down the slope. McDowell made
one desperate endeavour to stay the rout. Howard's brigade was
rapidly thrown in. But the centre had been completely broken by
Jackson's charge; the right was giving way, and the Confederates,
manning the captured guns, turned them on the masses which covered
the fields below.

Howard, although his men fought bravely, was easily repulsed; in a
few minutes not a single Federal soldier, save the dead and dying,
was to be seen upon the plateau.

(MAP. THE FIELD OF BULL RUN. Showing West: Sudley Springs, North:
Centreville, South: Manassas Junction and East: Old Ox Road.)

3.30 P.M.

A final stand was made by McDowell along Young's Branch; and there,
at half-past three, a line of battle was once more established, the
battalion of regular infantry forming a strong centre. But another
Confederate brigade, under General Early, had now arrived, and again
the enemy's right was overthrown, while Beauregard, leaving Jackson,
whose brigade had lost all order and many men in its swift advance,
to hold the plateau, swept forward towards the Matthews Hill. The
movement was decisive. McDowell's volunteers broke up in the utmost
confusion. The Confederate infantry was in no condition to pursue,
but the cavalry was let loose, and before long the retreat became a
panic. The regular battalion, composed of young soldiers, but led by
experienced officers, alone preserved its discipline, moving steadily
in close order through the throng of fugitives, and checking the
pursuing troopers by its firm and confident bearing. The remainder of
the army dissolved into a mob. It was not that the men were
completely demoralised, but simply that discipline had not become a
habit. They had marched as individuals, going just so far as they
pleased, and halting when they pleased; they had fought as
individuals, bravely enough, but with little combination; and when
they found that they were beaten, as individuals they retreated. "The
old soldier," wrote one of the regular officers a week later, "feels
safe in the ranks, unsafe out of the ranks, and the greater the
danger the more pertinaciously he clings to his place. The volunteer
of three months never attains this instinct of discipline. Under
danger, and even under mere excitement, he flies away from his ranks,
and hopes for safety in dispersion. At four o'clock in the afternoon
of the 21st there were more than 12,000 volunteers on the
battle-field of Bull Run who had entirely lost their regimental
organisation. They could no longer be handled as troops, for the
officers and men were not together. Men and officers mingled together
promiscuously; and it is worthy of remark that this disorganisation
did not result from defeat or fear, for up to four o'clock we had
been uniformly successful. The instinct of discipline which keeps
every man in his place had not been acquired. We cannot suppose that
the enemy had attained a higher degree of discipline than our own,
but they acted on the defensive, and were not equally exposed to
disorganisation."* (* Report of Captain Woodbury, U.S. Engineers,
O.R. volume 2 page 334.)

"Cohesion was lost," says one of McDowell's staff; "and the men
walked quietly off. There was no special excitement except that
arising from the frantic efforts of officers to stop men who paid
little or no attention to anything that was said; and there was no
panic, in the ordinary sense and meaning of the word, until the
retiring soldiers, guns, waggons, Congressmen and carriages, were
fired upon, on the road east of Bull Run."* (* General J.B. Fry,
Battles and Leaders volume 1 page 191.)

At Centreville the reserve division stood fast; and the fact that
these troops were proof against the infection of panic and the
exaggerated stories of the fugitives is in itself strong testimony to
the native courage of the soldiery.

A lack of competent Staff officers, which, earlier in the day, had
prevented an advance on Centreville by the Confederate right, brought
Johnston's arrangements for pursuit to naught. The cavalry, weak in
numbers, was soon incumbered with squads of prisoners; darkness fell
upon the field, and the defeated army streamed over the roads to
Washington, followed only by its own fears.

Why the Confederate generals did not follow up their success on the
following day is a question round which controversy raged for many a
year. Deficiencies in commissariat and transport; the disorganisation
of the army after the victory; the difficulties of a direct attack
upon Washington, defended as it was by a river a mile broad, with but
a single bridge, and patrolled by gunboats; the determination of the
Government to limit its military operations to a passive defence of
Confederate territory, have all been pressed into service as excuses.
"Give me 10,000 fresh troops," said Jackson, as the surgeon dressed
his wound, "and I would be in Washington to-morrow." Before
twenty-four hours had passed reinforcements had increased the
strength of Johnston's army to 40,000. Want of organisation had
undoubtedly prevented McDowell from winning a victory on the 19th or
20th, but pursuit is a far less difficult business than attack. There
was nothing to interfere with a forward movement. There were supplies
along the railway, and if the mechanism for their distribution and
the means for their carriage were wanting, the counties adjoining the
Potomac were rich and fertile. Herds of bullocks were grazing in the
pastures, and the barns of the farmers were loaded with grain. It was
not a long supply train that was lacking, nor an experienced staff,
nor even well-disciplined battalions; but a general who grasped the
full meaning of victory, who understood how a defeated army, more
especially of new troops, yields at a touch, and who, above all, saw
the necessity of giving the North no leisure to develop her immense
resources. For three days Jackson impatiently awaited the order to
advance, and his men were held ready with three days' cooked rations
in their haversacks. But his superiors gave no sign, and he was
reluctantly compelled to abandon all hope of reaping the fruits of

It is true that the Confederates were no more fit for offensive
operations than McDowell's troops. "Our army," says General Johnston,
"was more disorganised by victory than that of the United States by
defeat." But it is to be remembered that if the Southerners had moved
into Maryland, crossing the Potomac by some of the numerous fords
near Harper's Ferry, they would have found no organised opposition,
save the debris of McDowell's army, between them and the Northern
capital. On July 26, five days after the battle, the general who was
to succeed McDowell arrived in Washington and rode round the city. "I
found," he wrote, "no preparations whatever for defence, not even to
the extent of putting the troops in military position. Not a regiment
was properly encamped, not a single avenue of approach guarded. All
was chaos, and the streets, hotels, and bar-rooms were filled with
drunken officers and men, absent from their regiments without leave,
a perfect pandemonium. Many had even gone to their homes, their
flight from Bull Run terminating in New York, or even in New
Hampshire and Maine. There was really nothing to prevent a small
cavalry force from riding into the city. A determined attack would
doubtless have carried Arlington Heights and placed the city at the
mercy of a battery of rifled guns. If the Secessionists attached any
value to the possession of Washington, they committed their greatest
error in not following up the victory of Bull Run." On the same date,
the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton, wrote as follows: "The capture of
Washington seems now to be inevitable; during the whole of Monday and
Tuesday [July 22 and 23] it might have been taken without resistance.
The rout, overthrow, and demoralisation of the whole army were
complete."* (* McClellan's Own Story pages 66 and 67.)

Of his own share in the battle, either at the time or afterwards,
Jackson said but little. A day or two after the battle an anxious
crowd was gathered round the post-office at Lexington, awaiting
intelligence from the front. A letter was handed to the Reverend Dr.
White, who, recognising the handwriting, exclaimed to the eager
groups about him, "Now we shall know all the facts." On opening it he
found the following, and no more:--

My dear Pastor,

In my tent last night, after a fatiguing day's service, I remembered
that I had failed to send you my contribution to our coloured Sunday
school. Enclosed you will find my check for that object, which please
acknowledge at your earliest convenience, and oblige yours faithfully,

T.J. Jackson.

To his wife, however, he was less reserved. "Yesterday," he wrote, we
"fought a great battle and gained a great victory, for which all the
glory is due to God alone...Whilst great credit is due to other parts
of our gallant army, God made my brigade more instrumental than any
other in repulsing the main attack. This is for your information
only--say nothing about it. Let others speak praise, not myself."

Again, on August 5: "And so you think the papers ought to say more
about your husband. My brigade is not a brigade of newspaper
correspondents. I know that the First Brigade was the first to meet
and pass our retreating forces--to push on with no other aid than the
smiles of God; to boldly take up its position with the artillery that
was under my command--to arrest the victorious foe in his onward
progress--to hold him in check until the reinforcements arrived--and
finally to charge bayonets, and, thus advancing, to pierce the
enemy's centre. I am well satisfied with what it did, and so are my
generals, Johnston and Beauregard. It is not to be expected that I
should receive the credit that Generals Johnston and Beauregard
would, because I was under them; but I am thankful to my ever-kind
Heavenly Father that He makes me content to await His own good time
and pleasure for commendation--knowing that all things work together
for my good. If my brigade can always play so important and useful a
part as it did in the last battle, I trust I shall ever be most
grateful. As you think the papers do not notice me enough, I send a
specimen, which you will see from the upper part of the paper is a
'leader.' My darling, never distrust our God, Who doeth all things
well. In due time He will make manifest all His pleasure, which is
all His people should desire. You must not be concerned at seeing
other parts of the army lauded, and my brigade not mentioned. Truth
is mighty and will prevail. When the official reports are published,
if not before, I expect to see justice done to this noble body of
patriots."* (* Both Johnston and Beauregard, in their official
reports, did full justice to Jackson and his brigade.)

These letters reveal a generous pride in the valour of his troops,
and a very human love of approbation struggles with the curb which
his religious principles had placed on his ambition. Like Nelson, he
felt perhaps that before long he would have "a Gazette of his own."
But still, of his own achievements, of his skilful tactics, of his
personal behaviour, of his well-timed orders, he spoke no word, and
the victory was ascribed to a higher power. "The charge of the 2nd
and 4th Virginia," he wrote in his modest report, "through the
blessing of God, Who gave us the victory, pierced the centre of the
enemy."* (* O.R. volume 2 page 482.)

And Jackson's attitude was that of the Southern people. When the news
of Bull Run reached Richmond, and through the crowds that thronged
the streets passed the tidings of the victory, there was neither wild
excitement nor uproarious joy. No bonfires lit the darkness of the
night; no cannon thundered out salutes; the steeples were silent till
the morrow, and then were heard only the solemn tones that called the
people to prayer. It was resolved, on the day following the battle,
by the Confederate Congress: "That we recognise the hand of the Most
High God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, in the glorious
victory with which He has crowned our arms at Manassas, and that the
people of these Confederate States are invited, by appropriate
services on the ensuing Sabbath, to offer up their united
thanksgivings and prayers for this mighty deliverance."

The spoils of Bull Run were large; 1500 prisoners, 25 guns, ten stand
of colours, several thousand rifles, a large quantity of ammunition
and hospital stores, twenty-six waggons, and several ambulances were
left in the victors' hands. The Federal losses were 460 killed and
1124 wounded; the Confederate, 387 killed, 1582 wounded, and 13
missing. The First Brigade suffered more severely than any other in
the Southern army. Of 3000 officers and men, 488 were killed or
wounded, nearly a fourth of the total loss.

A few days after the battle Johnston advanced to Centreville, and
from the heights above the broad Potomac his cavalry vedettes looked
upon the spires of Washington. But it was in vain that the
Confederate troopers rode to and fro on the river bank and watered
their horses within sight of the Capitol. The enemy was not to be
beguiled across the protecting stream. But it was not from fear.
Although the disaster had been as crushing as unexpected, it was
bravely met. The President's demand for another army was cheerfully
complied with. Volunteers poured in from every State. The men were no
longer asked to serve for three months, but for three years.
Washington became transformed into an enormous camp; great earthworks
rose on the surrounding heights; and the training of the new levies
went steadily forward. There was no cry for immediate action. Men
were not wanting who believed that the task of coercion was
impossible. Able statesmen and influential journalists advised the
President to abandon the attempt. But Lincoln, true to the trust
which had been committed to his keeping, never flinched from his
resolve that the Union should be restored. He, too, stood like a wall
between his defeated legions and the victorious foe. Nor was the
nation less determined. The dregs of humiliation had been drained,
and though the draught was bitter it was salutary. The President was
sustained with no half-hearted loyalty. His political opponents raved
and threatened; but under the storm of recrimination the work of
reorganising the army went steadily forward, and the people were
content that until the generals declared the army fit for action the
hour of vengeance should be postponed.

To the South, Bull Run was a Pyrrhic victory. It relieved Virginia of
the pressure of the invasion; it proved to the world that the
attitude of the Confederacy was something more than the reckless
revolt of a small section; but it led the Government to indulge vain
hopes of foreign intervention, and it increased the universal
contempt for the military qualities of the Northern soldiers. The
hasty judgment of the people construed a single victory as proof of
their superior capacity for war, and the defeat of McDowell's army
was attributed to the cowardice of his volunteers. The opinion was
absolutely erroneous. Some of the Federal regiments had misbehaved,
it is true; seized with sudden panic, to which all raw troops are
peculiarly susceptible, they had dispersed before the strong
counterstroke of the Confederates. But the majority had displayed a
sterling courage. There can be little question that the spirit of the
infantry depends greatly on the staunchness of the artillery. A
single battery, pushed boldly forward into the front of battle, has
often restored the vigour of a wavering line. Although the losses it
inflicts may not be large, the moral effect of its support is
undeniable. So long as the guns hold fast victory seems possible. But
when these useful auxiliaries are driven back or captured a general
depression becomes inevitable. The retreat of the artillery strikes a
chill into the fighting line which is ominous of defeat, and it is a
wise regulation that compels the batteries, even when their
ammunition is exhausted, to stand their ground. The Federal infantry
at Bull Run had seen their artillery overwhelmed, the teams
destroyed, the gunners shot down, and the enemy's riflemen swarming
amongst the abandoned pieces. But so vigorous had been their efforts
to restore the battle, that the front of the defence had been with
difficulty maintained; the guns, though they were eventually lost,
had been retaken; and without the assistance of their artillery, but
exposed to the fire, at closest range, of more than one battery, the
Northern regiments had boldly pushed forward across the Henry Hill.
The Confederates, during the greater part of the battle, were
certainly outnumbered; but at the close they were the stronger, and
the piecemeal attacks of the Federals neutralised the superiority
which the invading army originally possessed.

McDowell appears to have employed 18,000 troops in the attack;
Johnston and Beauregard about the same number.* (* For the strength
of divisions and brigades, see the Note at the end of the chapter.)

A comparison of the relative strength of the two armies, considering
that raw troops have a decided advantage on the defensive, detracts,
to a certain degree, from the credit of the victory; and it will
hardly be questioned that had the tactics of the Federals been better
the victory would have been theirs. The turning movement by Sudley
Springs was a skilful manoeuvre, and completely surprised both
Johnston and Beauregard. It was undoubtedly risky, but it was far
less dangerous than a direct attack on the strong position along Bull

The retention of the Fourth Division between Washington and
Centreville would seem to have been a blunder; another 5000 men on
the field of battle should certainly have turned the scale. But more
men were hardly wanted. The Federals during the first period of the
fight were strong enough to have seized the Henry Hill. Bee, Bartow,
Evans, and Hampton had been driven in, and Jackson alone stood fast.
A strong and sustained attack, supported by the fire of the regular
batteries, must have succeeded.* (* "Had an attack," said General
Johnston, "been made in force, with double line of battle, such as
any major-general in the United States service would now make, we
could not have held [the position] for half an hour, for they would
have enveloped us on both flanks." Campaigns of the Army of the
Potomac, W. Swinton page 58.) The Federal regiments, however, were
practically incapable of movement under fire. The least change of
position broke them into fragments; there was much wild firing; it
was impossible to manoeuvre; and the courage of individuals proved a
sorry substitute for order and cohesion. The Confederates owed their
victory simply and solely to the fact that their enemies had not yet
learned to use their strength.

The summer months went by without further fighting on the Potomac;
but the camps at Fairfax and at Centreville saw the army of Manassas
thinned by furloughs and by sickness. The Southern youth had come out
for battle, and the monotonous routine of the outpost line and the
parade-ground was little to their taste. The Government dared not
refuse the numberless applications for leave of absence, the more so
that in the crowded camps the sultry heat of the Virginia woodlands
bred disease of a virulent type. The First Brigade seems to have
escaped from all these evils. Its commander found his health improved
by his life in the open air. His wound had been painful. A finger was
broken, but the hand was saved, and some temporary inconvenience
alone resulted. As he claimed no furlough for himself, so he
permitted no absence from duty among his troops. "I can't be absent,"
he wrote to his wife, "as my attention is necessary in preparing my
troops for hard fighting, should it be required; and as my officers
and soldiers are not permitted to visit their wives and families, I
ought not to see mine. It might make the troops feel that they are
badly treated, and that I consult my own comfort, regardless of

In September his wife joined him for a few days at Centreville, and
later came Dr. White, at his invitation, to preach to his command.
Beyond a few fruitless marches to support the cavalry on the
outposts, of active service there was none. But Jackson was not the
man to let the time pass uselessly. He had his whole brigade under
his hand, a force which wanted but one quality to make it an
instrument worthy of the hand that wielded it, and that quality was
discipline. Courage and enthusiasm it possessed in abundance; and
when both were untrained the Confederate was a more useful soldier
than the Northerner. In the South nearly every man was a hunter,
accustomed from boyhood to the use of firearms. Game was abundant,
and it was free to all. Sport in one form or another was the chief
recreation of the people, and their pastoral pursuits left them much
leisure for its indulgence. Every great plantation had its pack of
hounds, and fox-hunting, an heirloom from the English colonists,
still flourished. His stud was the pride of every Southern gentleman,
and the love of horse-flesh was inherent in the whole population. No
man walked when he could ride, and hundreds of fine horsemen, mounted
on steeds of famous lineage, recruited the Confederate squadrons.

But, despite their skill with the rifle, their hunter's craft, and
their dashing horsemanship, the first great battle had been hardly
won. The city-bred Northerners, unused to arms and uninured to
hardship, had fought with extraordinary determination; and the same
want of discipline that had driven them in rout to Washington had
dissolved the victorious Confederates into a tumultuous mob.* (*
Colonel Williams, of the 5th Virginia, writes that the Stonewall
Brigade was a notable exception to the general disintegration, and
that it was in good condition for immediate service on the morning
after the battle.) If Jackson knew the worth of his volunteers, he
was no stranger to their shortcomings. His thoughts might be
crystallised in the words of Wellington, words which should never be
forgotten by those nations which depend for their defence on the
services of their citizen soldiery.

"They want," said the great Duke, speaking of the Portuguese in 1809,
"the habits and the spirit of soldiers,--the habits of command on one
side, and of obedience on the other--mutual confidence between
officers and men."

In order that during the respite now offered he might instil these
habits into his brigade, Jackson neither took furlough himself nor
granted it to others. His regiments were constantly exercised on the
parade-ground. Shoulder to shoulder they advanced and retired,
marched and countermarched, massed in column, formed line to front or
flank, until they learned to move as a machine, until the limbs
obeyed before the order had passed from ear to brain, until obedience
became an instinct and cohesion a necessity of their nature. They
learned to listen for the word of the officer, to look to him before
they moved hand or foot; and, in that subjection of their own
individuality to the will of their superior, they acquired that
steadiness in battle, that energy on the march, that discipline in
quarters which made the First Brigade worthy of the name it had
already won. "Every officer and soldier," said their commander, "who
is able to do duty ought to be busily engaged in military preparation
by hard drilling, in order that, through the blessing of God, we may
be victorious in the battles which in His all-wise providence may
await us."

Jackson's tactical ideas, as regards the fire of infantry, expressed
at this time, are worth recording. "I rather think," he said, "that
fire by file [independent firing] is best on the whole, for it gives
the enemy an idea that the fire is heavier than if it was by company
or battalion (volley firing). Sometimes, however, one may be best,
sometimes the other, according to circumstances. But my opinion is
that there ought not to be much firing at all. My idea is that the
best mode of fighting is to reserve your fire till the enemy get--or
you get them--to close quarters. Then deliver one deadly, deliberate
fire--and charge!"

Although the newspapers did scant justice to the part played by the
brigade in the battle of Bull Run, Lee's epithet survived, and
Jackson became known as Stonewall throughout the army. To one of his
acquaintances the general revealed the source of his composure under
fire. "Three days after the battle, hearing that Jackson was
suffering from his wound, I rode," writes Imboden, "to his quarters
near Centreville. Of course the battle was the only topic discussed
during breakfast. "General," I remarked, "how is it that you can keep
so cool, and appear so utterly insensible to danger in such a storm
of shell and bullets as rained about you when your hand was hit?" He
instantly became grave and reverential in his manner, and answered,
in a low tone of great earnestness: "Captain, my religious belief
teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the
time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be
always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a
pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should
live, and then all would be equally brave.""* (* Battles and Leaders,
volume 1 pages 122 and 123.)

Although the war upon the borders had not yet touched the cities of
the South, the patriotism of Virginia saw with uneasiness the inroads
of the enemy in that portion of the State which lies beyond the
Alleghanies, especially the north-west. The country was overrun with
Federal soldiers, and part of the population of the district had
declared openly for the Union. In that district was Jackson's
birth-place, the home of his childhood, and his mother's grave. His
interest and his affections were bound by many ties to the country
and the people, and in the autumn of 1861 he had not yet come to
believe that they were at heart disloyal to their native State. A
vigorous effort, he believed, might still restore to the Confederacy
a splendid recruiting-ground, and he made no secret of his desire for
employment in that region. The strategical advantages of this corner
of Virginia were clearly apparent, as will be seen hereafter, to his
perception. Along its western border runs the Ohio, a river navigable
to its junction with the Mississippi, and giving an easy line of
communication into the heart of Kentucky. Through its northern
counties passed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the main line of
communication between Washington and the West; and alongside the
railway ran the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, a second and most
important line of supply. Above all, projecting as it did towards the
great lakes of the North, the north-western angle, or Virginia
Panhandle, narrowed the passage between East and West to an isthmus
not more than a hundred miles in breadth. With this territory in the
possession of the Confederates, the Federal dominions would be
practically cut in two; and in North-western Virginia, traversed by
many ranges of well-nigh pathless mountains, with few towns and still
fewer roads, a small army might defy a large one with impunity.

November 4.

On November 4 Jackson's wish was partially granted. He was assigned
to the command of the Shenandoah Valley District, embracing the
northern part of the area between the Alleghanies and the Blue Ridge.
The order was received with gratitude, but dashed by the fact that he
had to depart alone. "Had this communication," he said to Dr. White,
"not come as an order, I should instantly have declined it, and
continued in command of my brave old brigade."

Whether he or his soldiers felt the parting most it is hard to say.
Certain it is that the men had a warm regard for their leader. There
was no more about him at Centreville to attract the popular fancy
than there had been at Harper's Ferry. When the troops passed in
review the eye of the spectator turned at once to the trim carriage
of Johnston and of Beauregard, to the glittering uniform of Stuart,
to the superb chargers and the martial bearing of young officers
fresh from the Indian frontier. The silent professor, absent and
unsmiling, who dressed as plainly as he lived, had little in common
with those dashing soldiers. The tent where every night the general
and his staff gathered together for their evening devotions, where
the conversation ran not on the merits of horse and hound, on
strategy and tactics, but on the power of faith and the mysteries of
the redemption, seemed out of place in an army of high-spirited
youths. But, while they smiled at his peculiarities, the Confederate
soldiers remembered the fierce counterstroke on the heights above
Bull Run. If the Presbyterian general was earnest in prayer, they
knew that he was prompt in battle and indefatigable in quarters. He
had the respect of all men, and from his own brigade he had something
more. Very early in their service, away by the rippling Shenandoah,
they had heard the stories of his daring in Mexico. They had
experienced his skill and coolness at Falling Waters; they had seen
at Bull Run, while the shells burst in never-ending succession among
the pines, the quiet figure riding slowly to and fro on the crest
above them; they had heard the stern command, "Wait till they come
within fifty yards and then give them the bayonet," and they had
followed him far in that victorious rush into the receding ranks of
their astonished foe.

Little wonder that these enthusiastic youths, new to the soldier's
trade, should have been captivated by a nature so strong and
fearless. The Stonewall Brigade had made Jackson a hero, and he had
won more from them than their admiration. His incessant watchfulness
for their comfort and well-being; the patient care with which he
instructed them; his courtesy to the youngest private; the tact and
thoughtfulness he showed in all his relations with them, had won
their affection. His very peculiarities endeared him to them. Old
Jack or Stonewall were his nicknames in the lines of his own command,
and stories went round the camp fire of how he had been seen walking
in the woods round Centreville absorbed in prayer, or lifting his
left hand with that peculiar gesture which the men believed was an
appeal to Heaven, but which, in reality, was made to relieve the pain
of his wounded finger. But while they discussed his oddities, not a
man in the brigade but acknowledged his ability, and when the time
came not a man but regretted his departure.

His farewell to his troops was a striking scene. The forest, already
donning its gorgeous autumnal robes, shut in the grassy clearing
where the troops were drawn up. There stood the grey columns of the
five regiments, with the colours, already tattered, waving in the
mild November air. The general rode up, their own general, and not a
sound was heard. Motionless and silent they stood, a veritable stone
wall, whilst his eye ran along the ranks and scanned the familiar
faces. "I am not here to make a speech," he said, "but simply to say
farewell. I first met you at Harper's Ferry, at the commencement of
the war, and I cannot take leave of you without giving expression to
my admiration of your conduct from that day to this, whether on the
march, in the bivouac, or on the bloody plains of Manassas, where you
gained the well-deserved reputation of having decided the fate of

"Throughout the broad extent of country through which you have
marched, by your respect for the rights and property of citizens, you
have shown that you are soldiers not only to defend, but able and
willing both to defend and protect. You have already won a brilliant
reputation throughout the army of the whole Confederacy; and I trust,
in the future, by your deeds in the field, and by the assistance of
the same kind Providence who has hitherto favoured our cause, you
will win more victories and add lustre to the reputation you now
enjoy. You have already gained a proud position in the future history
of this our second War of Independence. I shall look with great
anxiety to your future movements, and I trust whenever I shall hear
of the First Brigade on the field of battle, it will be of still
nobler deeds achieved, and higher reputation won!" Then there was a
pause; general and soldiers looked upon each other, and the heart of
the leader went out to those who had followed him with such devotion.
He had spoken his words of formal praise, but both he and they knew
the bonds between them were too strong to be thus coldly severed. For
once he gave way to impulse; his eye kindled, and rising in his
stirrups and throwing the reins upon his horse's neck, he spoke in
tones which betrayed the proud memories that thronged upon him:

"In the Army of the Shenandoah you were the First Brigade! In the
Army of the Potomac you were the First Brigade! In the Second Corps
of the army you are the First Brigade! You are the First Brigade in
the affections of your general, and I hope by your future deeds and
bearing you will be handed down to posterity as the First Brigade in
this our second War of Independence. Farewell!"

For a moment there was silence; then the pent-up feeling found
expression, and cheer upon cheer burst forth from the ranks of the
Valley regiments. Waving his hand in token of farewell, Jackson
galloped from the field.









TOTAL 18,000, AND 30 GUNS.



Kirby Smith.


7th Louisiana Regiment.
8th Louisiana Regiment.
Hampton's Legion.

TOTAL 18,000, AND 21 GUNS.


Lord Wolseley has been somewhat severely criticised for asserting
that in the Civil War, "from first to last, the co-operation of even
one army corps (35,000 men) of regular troops would have given
complete victory to whichever side it fought on." Whatever may be
argued as to the latter period of the conflict, it is impossible for
anyone who understands the power of organisation, of discipline, of
training, and of a proper system of command, to dispute the accuracy
of this statement as regards the year 1861, that is, for the first
eight months.

It is far too often assumed that the number of able-bodied men is the
true criterion of national strength. In the Confederate States, for
instance, there were probably 750,000 citizens who were liable for
service in the militia, and yet had the United States possessed a
single regular army corps, with a trained staff, an efficient
commissariat, and a fully-organised system of transport, it is
difficult to see how these 750,000 Southerners could have done more
than wage a guerilla warfare. The army corps would have absorbed into
itself the best of the Northern militia and volunteers; the staff and
commissariat would have given them mobility, and 60,000 or 70,000
men, moving on Richmond directly Sumter fell, with the speed and
certainty which organisation gives, would have marched from victory
to victory. Their 750,000 enemies would never have had time to arm,
to assemble, to organise, to create an army, to train a staff, or to
arrange for their supplies. Each gathering of volunteers would have
been swept away before it had attained consistency, and Virginia, at
least, must have been conquered in the first few months.

And matters would have been no different if the army corps had been
directed against the Union. In the Northern States there were over
2,000,000 men who were liable for service; and yet the Union States,
notwithstanding their superior resources, were just as vulnerable as
the Confederacy. Numbers, even if they amount to millions, are
useless, and worse than useless, without training and organisation;
the more men that are collected on the battle-field, the more
crushing and far-reaching their defeat. Nor can the theory be
sustained that a small army, invading a rich and populous country,
would be "stung to death" by the numbers of its foes, even if they
dared not oppose it in the open field. Of what avail were the
stupendous efforts of the French Republic in 1870 and 1871? Enormous
armies were raised and equipped; the ranks were filled with brave
men; the generals were not unskilful; and yet time after time they
were defeated by the far inferior forces of their seasoned enemies.
Even in America itself, on two occasions, at Sharpsburg in 1862, and
at Gettysburg in 1863, it was admitted by the North that the
Southerners were "within a stone's throw of independence." And yet
hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men had not yet joined the
Federal armies. Nor can Spain be quoted as an instance of an
unconquerable nation. Throughout the war with Napoleon the English
armies, not only that under Wellington, but those at Cadiz, Tarifa,
and Gibraltar, afforded solid rallying-points for the defeated
Spaniards, and by a succession of victories inspired the whole
Peninsula with hope and courage.

The patriot with a rifle may be equal, or even superior, man for man,
to the professional soldier; but even patriots must be fed, and to
win victories they must be able to manoeuvre, and to manoeuvre they
must have leaders. If it could remain stationary, protected by
earthworks, and supplied by railways, with which the enemy did not
interfere, a host of hastily raised levies, if armed and equipped,
might hold its own against even a regular army. But against troops
which can manoeuvre earthworks are useless, as the history of
Sherman's brilliant operations in 1864 conclusively shows. To win
battles and to protect their country armies must be capable of
counter-manoeuvre, and it is when troops are set in motion that the
real difficulty of supplying them begins.

If it is nothing else, the War of Secession, with its awful
expenditure of blood and treasure, is a most startling object-lesson
in National Insurance.


1861 November.

While the Indian summer still held carnival in the forests of
Virginia, Jackson found himself once more on the Shenandoah. Some
regiments of militia, the greater part of which were armed with
flint-lock muskets, and a few squadrons of irregular cavalry formed
his sole command.

The autumn of 1861 was a comparatively quiet season. The North,
silent but determined, was preparing to put forth her stupendous
strength. Scott had resigned; McDowell had been superseded; but the
President had found a general who had caught the confidence of the
nation. In the same month that had witnessed McDowell's defeat, a
young officer had gained a cheap victory over a small Confederate
force in West Virginia, and his grandiloquent dispatches had
magnified the achievement in the eyes of the Northern people. He was
at once nicknamed the "Young Napoleon," and his accession to the
chief command of the Federal armies was enthusiastically approved.
General McClellan had been educated at West Point, and had graduated
first of the class in which Jackson was seventeenth. He had been
appointed to the engineers, had served on the staff in the war with
Mexico, and as United States Commissioner with the Allied armies in
the Crimea. In 1857 he resigned, to become president of a railway
company, and when the war broke out he was commissioned by the State
of Ohio as Major-General of Volunteers. His reputation at the
Military Academy and in the regular army had been high. His ability
and industry were unquestioned. His physique was powerful, and he was
a fine horseman. His influence over his troops was remarkable, and he
was emphatically a gentleman.

It was most fortunate for the Union at this juncture that caution and
method were his distinguishing characteristics. The States had placed
at Lincoln's disposal sufficient troops to form an army seven times
greater than that which had been defeated at Bull Run. McClellan,
however, had no thought of committing the new levies to an enterprise
for which they were unfitted. He had determined that the army should
make no move till it could do so with the certainty of success, and
the winter months were to be devoted to training and organisation.
Nor was there any cry for immediate action. The experiment of a
civilian army had proved a terrible failure. The nation that had been
so confident of capturing Richmond, was now anxious for the security
of Washington. The war had been in progress for nearly six months,
and yet the troops were manifestly unfit for offensive operations.
Even the crude strategists of the press had become alive to the
importance of drill and discipline.

October 21.

A reconnaissance in force, pushed (contrary to McClellan's orders)
across the Potomac, was repulsed by General Evans at Ball's Bluff
with heavy loss; and mismanagement and misconduct were so evident
that the defeat did much towards inculcating patience.

So the work went on, quietly but surely, the general supported by the
President, and the nation giving men and money without remonstrance.
The South, on the other hand, was still apathetic. The people,
deluded by their decisive victory, underrated the latent strength of
their mighty adversary. They appear to have believed that the
earthworks which had transformed Centreville into a formidable
fortress, manned by the Army of Northern Virginia, as the force under
Johnston was now designated, were sufficient in themselves to end the
war. They had not yet learned that there were many roads to Richmond,
and that a passive defence is no safeguard against a persevering foe.
The Government, expecting much from the intervention of the European
Powers, did nothing to press the advantage already gained. In vain
the generals urged the President to reinforce the army at Centreville
to 60,000 men, and to give it transport and supplies sufficient to
permit the passage of the Potomac above Washington.

In vain they pointed out, in answer to the reply that the Government
could furnish neither men nor arms, that large bodies of troops were
retained at points the occupation of which by the enemy would cause
only a local inconvenience. "Was it not possible," they asked the
President, "by stripping other points to the last they would bear,
and even risking defeat at all other places, to put the Virginian
army in condition for a forward movement? Success," they said, "in
the neighbourhood of Washington was success everywhere, and it was
upon the north-eastern frontier that all the available force of the
Confederacy should be concentrated."

Mr. Davis was immovable. Although Lee, who had been appointed to a
command in West Virginia almost immediately after Bull Run, was no
longer at hand to advise him, he probably saw the strategical
requirements of the situation. That a concentrated attack on a vital
point is a better measure of security than dissemination along a
frontier, that the counter-stroke is the soul of the defence, and
that the true policy of the State which is compelled to take up arms
against a superior foe is to allow that foe no breathing-space, are
truisms which it would be an insult to his ability to say that he did
not realise. But to have surrendered territory to the temporary
occupation of the enemy, in order to seek a problematical victory
elsewhere, would have probably provoked a storm of discontent. The
authority of the new Government was not yet firmly established; nor
was the patriotism of the Southern people so entirely unselfish as to
render them willing to endure minor evils in order to achieve a great
result. They were willing to fight, but they were unwilling that
their own States should be left unprotected. To apply Frederick the
Great's maxim* requires greater strength of will in the statesman
than in the soldier. (* "A defensive war is apt to betray us into too
frequent detachments. Those generals who have had but little
experience attempt to protect every point, while those who are better
acquainted with their profession, having only the capital object in
view, guard against a decisive blow, and acquiesce in smaller
misfortunes to avoid greater." Frederick the Great's Instructions to
his Generals.) The cries and complaints of those who find themselves
abandoned do not penetrate to the camp, but they may bring down an
administration. It is easy to contrive excuses for the inaction of
the President, and it is no new thing to find the demands of strategy
sacrificed to political expediency. Nor did the army which had
suffered so heavily on the banks of Bull Run evince any marked desire
to be led across the Potomac. Furloughs were liberally granted.
Officers and privates dispersed to look after their farms and their
plantations. The harvests had to be gathered, the negroes required
the master's eye, and even the counties of Virginia asked that part
of the contingents they had furnished might be permitted to return to
agricultural pursuits.

The senior generals of the Virginia army were not alone in believing
that the victory they had won would be barren of result unless it
were at once utilised as a basis for further action. Jackson,
engrossed as he was with the training of his command, found time to
reflect on the broader aspects of the war. Before he left for the
Shenandoah Valley he sought an interview with General G.W. Smith,
recently appointed to the command of his division. "Finding me lying
down in my tent," writes this officer, "he expressed regret that I
was sick, and said he had come to confer with me on a subject of
great importance, but would not then trouble me with it. I told him
that I wished to hear whatever he desired to say, and could rest
whilst he was talking. He immediately sat down on the ground, near
the head of the cot on which I was lying, and entered on the subject
of his visit.

"'McClellan,' he said, 'with his army of recruits, will not attempt
to come out against us this autumn. If we remain inactive they will
have greatly the advantage over us next spring. Their raw recruits
will have then become an organised army, vastly superior in numbers
to our own. We are ready at the present moment for active operations
in the field, while they are not. We ought to invade their country
now, and not wait for them to make the necessary preparations to
invade ours. If the President would reinforce this army by taking
troops from other points not threatened, and let us make an active
campaign of invasion before winter sets in, McClellan's raw recruits
could not stand against us in the field.

"'Crossing the Upper Potomac, occupying Baltimore, and taking
possession of Maryland, we could cut off the communications of
Washington, force the Federal Government to abandon the capital, beat
McClellan's army if it came out against us in the open country,
destroy industrial establishments wherever we found them, break up
the lines of interior commercial intercourse, close the coal-mines,
seize and, if necessary, destroy the manufactories and commerce of
Philadelphia, and of other large cities in our reach; take and hold
the narrow neck of country between Pittsburg and Lake Erie; subsist
mainly the country we traverse, and making unrelenting war amidst
their homes, force the people of the North to understand what it will
cost them to hold the South in the Union at the bayonet's point.'

"He then requested me to use my influence with Generals Johnston and
Beauregard in favour of immediate aggressive operations. I told him
that I was sure that an attempt on my part to exert any influence in
favour of his proposition would do no good. Not content with my
answer he repeated his arguments, dwelling more at length on the
advantages of such strategy to ourselves and its disadvantages to the
enemy, and again urged me to use my influence to secure its adoption.
I gave him the same reply I had already made.

"After a few minutes' thought he abruptly said: 'General, you have
not expressed any opinion in regard to the views I have laid before
you. But I feel assured that you favour them, and I think you ought
to do all in your power to have them carried into effect.'

"I then said, 'I will tell you a secret.'

"He replied, 'Please do not tell me any secret. I would prefer not to
hear it.' I answered, 'I must tell it to you, and I have no
hesitation in doing so, because I am certain that it will not be
divulged.' I then explained to him that these views had already been
laid before the Government, in a conference which had taken place at
Fairfax Court House, in the first days of October, between President
Davis, Generals Johnston, Beauregard, and myself, and told him the

"When I had finished, he rose from the ground, on which he had been
seated, shook my hand warmly, and said, 'I am sorry, very sorry.'

"Without another word he went slowly out to his horse, a few feet in
front of my tent, mounted very deliberately, and rode sadly away. A
few days afterwards he was ordered to the Valley.* (* Letter of
General G.W. Smith to the author.)

November 5.

It was under such depressing circumstances that Jackson quitted the
army which, boldly used, might have ensured the existence of the
Confederacy. His headquarters were established at Winchester; and, in
communication with Centreville by road, rail, and telegraph, although
sixty miles distant, he was still subordinate to Johnston. The
Confederate front extended from Fredericksburg on the Rappahannock to
Winchester on the Opequon. Jackson's force, holding the Valley of the
Shenandoah and the line of the Potomac westward of Point of Rocks,
was the extreme outpost on the left, and was connected with the main
body by a detachment at Leesburg, on the other side of the Blue
Ridge, under his brother-in-law, General D.H. Hill.

At Winchester his wife joined him, and of their first meeting she
tells a pretty story:

"It can readily be imagined with what delight General Jackson's
domestic plans for the winter were hailed by me, and without waiting
for the promised 'aide' to be sent on escort, I joined some friends
who were going to Richmond, where I spent a few days to shop, to
secure a passport, and to await an escort to Winchester. The latter
was soon found in a kind-hearted, absent-minded old clergyman. We
travelled by stage coach from Strasburg, and were told, before
reaching Winchester, that General Jackson was not there, having gone
with his command on an expedition. It was therefore with a feeling of
sad disappointment and loneliness that I alighted in front of
Taylor's hotel, at midnight, in the early part of dreary cold
December, and no husband to meet me with a glad welcome. By the dim
lamplight I noticed a small group of soldiers standing in the wide
hall, but they remained silent spectators, and my escort led me up
the big stairway, doubtless feeling disappointed that he still had me
on his hands. Just before reaching the landing I turned to look back,
for one figure among the group looked startlingly familiar, but as he
had not come forward, I felt that I must be mistaken. However, my
backward glance revealed an officer muffled up in a military
greatcoat, cap drawn down over his eyes, following us in rapid
pursuit, and by the time we were upon the top step a pair of strong
arms caught me; the captive's head was thrown back, and she was
kissed again and again by her husband before she could recover from
the delightful surprise he had given her. The good old minister
chuckled gleefully, and was no doubt a sincere sharer in the joy and
relief experienced by his charge. When I asked my husband why he did
not come forward when I got out of the coach, he said he wanted to
assure himself that it was his own wife, as he didn't want to commit
the blunder of kissing anybody else's esposa!"

The people amongst whom they found themselves were Virginian to the
core. In Winchester itself the feeling against the North was
exceptionally bitter. The town was no mushroom settlement; its
history stretched back to the old colonial days; the grass-grown
intrenchments on the surrounding hills had been raised by Washington
during the Indian wars, and the traditions of the first struggle for
independence were not yet forgotten. No single section of the South
was more conservative. Although the citizens had been strong
Unionists, nowhere were the principles which their fathers had
respected, the sovereignty of the individual State and the right of
secession, more strongly held, and nowhere had the hereditary spirit
of resistance to coercive legislation blazed up more fiercely. The
soldiers of Bull Run, who had driven the invader from the soil of
Virginia, were the heroes of the hour, and the leader of the
Stonewall Brigade had peculiar claims on the hospitality of the town.
It was to the people of the Valley that he owed his command. "With
one voice," wrote the Secretary of War, "have they made constant and
urgent appeals that to you, in whom they have confidence, their
defence should be assigned."

"The Winchester ladies," says Mrs. Jackson, "were amongst the most
famous of Virginia housekeepers, and lived in a good deal of
old-fashioned elegance and profusion. The old border town had not
then changed hands with the conflicting armies, as it was destined to
do so many times during the war. Under the rose-coloured light in
which I viewed everything that winter, it seemed to me that no people
could have been more cultivated, attractive, and noble-hearted.
Winchester was rich in happy homes and pleasant people; and the
extreme kindness and appreciation shown to General Jackson by all
bound us to them so closely and warmly that ever after that winter he
called the place our 'war home.'"

But amid congenial acquaintances and lovely surroundings, with the
tumult of war quiescent, and the domestic happiness so dear to him
restored, Jackson allowed no relaxation either to himself or to his
men. His first care was to train and organise his new regiments. The
ranks were filled with recruits, and to their instruction he devoted
himself with unwearied energy. His small force of cavalry, commanded
by Colonel Turner Ashby, a gentleman of Virginia, whose name was to
become famous in the annals of the Confederacy, he at once despatched
to patrol the frontier.

Prompt measures were taken to discipline the troops, and that this
last was a task of no little difficulty the following incident
suggests. In the middle of November, to Jackson's great delight, the
Stonewall Brigade had been sent to him from Manassas, and after its
arrival an order was issued which forbade all officers leaving the
camp except upon passes from headquarters. A protest was immediately
drawn up by the regimental commanders, and laid before the general.
They complained that the obnoxious order was "an unwarranted
assumption of authority, disparaged their dignity, and detracted from
that respect of the force under their command which was necessary to
maintain their authority and enforce obedience." Jackson's reply well
illustrates his own idea of discipline, and of the manner in which it
should be upheld. His adjutant-general wrote as follows to the
discontented officers:

"The Major-General Commanding desires me to say that the within
combined protest is in violation of army regulations and subversive
of military discipline. He claims the right to give his pickets such
instructions as in his opinion the interests of the service require.

"Colonels ---- and ---- on the day that their regiments arrived at
their present encampment, either from incompetency to control their
commands, or from neglect of duty, so permitted their commands to
become disorganised and their officers and men to enter Winchester
without permission, as to render several arrests of officers

"If officers desire to have control over their commands, they must
remain habitually with them, industriously attend to their
instruction and comfort, and in battle lead them well, and in such a
manner as to command their admiration.

"Such officers need not apprehend loss of respect resulting from
inserting in a written pass the words 'on duty,' or 'on private
business,' should they have occasion to pass the pickets."

Even the Stonewall Brigade had yet much to learn.

At this time Jackson was besieged with numerous applications for
service on his staff. The majority of these were from persons without
experience, and they were made to the wrong man. "My desire," he
wrote, "is to get a staff specially qualified for their specific
duties. I know Mr. ---- personally, and was favourably impressed by
him. But if a person desires office in these times, the best thing
for him to do is to pitch into service somewhere, and work with such
energy, skill, and success as to impress those round him with the
conviction that such are his merits that he must be advanced, or the
interests of the service must suffer...My desire is to make merit the
basis of my recommendations."

Social claims had no weight with him whatever. He felt that the
interests at stake were too great to be sacrificed to favouritism or
friendship, and he had seen enough of war to know the importance of
staff work. Nor was he in the unfortunate position of being compelled
to accept the nominees of his superiors. The Confederate authorities
were wise enough to permit their generals to choose for themselves
the instruments on which they would have to rely for the execution of
their designs. Wellington, in 1815, had forced on him by the Horse
Guards, in the teeth of his indignant remonstrances, incompetent
officers whom he did not know and whom he could not trust. Jackson,
in a country which knew little of war, was allowed to please himself.
He need appoint no one without learning all about him, and his
inquiries were searching. Was he intelligent? Was he trustworthy? Was
he industrious? Did he get up early? If a man was wanting in any one
of these qualifications he would reject him, however highly
recommended. That his strict investigations and his insistence on the
possession of certain essential characteristics bore good fruit it is
impossible to gainsay. The absence of mishaps and errors in his often
complicated manoeuvres is sufficient proof that he was exceedingly
well served by his subordinates. The influence of a good staff is
seldom apparent except to the initiated. If a combination succeeds,
the general gets all the credit. If it fails, he gets all the blame;
and while no agents, however efficient, can compensate by their own
efforts for the weakness of a conception that is radically unsound,
many a brilliant plan has failed in execution through the
inefficiency of the staff. In his selection of such capable men as
his assistants must needs have been Jackson gave proof that he
possessed one at least of the attributes of a great leader. He was
not only a judge of character, but he could place men in the
positions to which they were best suited. His personal predilections
were never allowed to interfere. For some months his chief of the
staff was a Presbyterian clergyman, while his chief quartermaster was
one of the hardest swearers in Virginia. The fact that the former
could combine the duties of spiritual adviser with those of his
official position made him a congenial comrade; but it was his energy
and ability rather than this unusual qualification which attracted
Jackson; and although the profanity of the quartermaster offended his
susceptibilities, their relations were always cordial. It was to the
intelligence of his staff officers, their energy and their loyalty,
that he looked; for the business in hand these qualities were more
important than their morals.

That a civilian should be found serving as chief of the staff to a
general of division, one of the most important posts in the military
hierarchy, is a curious comment on the organisation of the
Confederate army. The regular officers who had thrown in their lot
with the South had, as a rule, been appointed to commands, and the
generals of lower rank had to seek their staff officers amongst the
volunteers. It may be noticed, however, that Jackson was by no means
bigoted in favour of his own cloth. He showed no anxiety to secure
their services on his staff. He thought many of them unfitted for
duties which brought them in immediate contact with the volunteers.
In dealing with such troops, tact and temper are of more importance
than where obedience has become mechanical, and the claims of rank
are instinctively reflected. In all his campaigns, too, Jackson was
practically his own chief of the staff. He consulted no one. He never
divulged his plans. He gave his orders, and his staff had only to see
that these orders were obeyed. His topographical engineer, his
medical director, his commissary and his quartermaster, were
selected, it is true, by reason of their special qualifications.
Captain Hotchkiss, who filled the first position, was a young man of
twenty-six, whose abilities as a surveyor were well known in the
Valley. Major Harman, his chief quartermaster, was one of the
proprietors of a line of stage coaches and a large farmer, and Major
Hawks, his commissary, was the owner of a carriage manufactory. But
the remainder of his assistants, with the exception of the chief of
artillery, owed their appointments rather to their character than to
their professional abilities. It is not to be understood, at the same
time, that Jackson underrated soldierly acquirements. He left no
complaints on record, like so many of his West Point comrades, of the
ignorance of the volunteer officers, and of the consequent
difficulties which attended every combination. But he was none the
less alive to their deficiencies. Early in 1862, when the military
system of the Confederacy was about to be reorganised, he urged upon
the Government, through the member of Congress for the district where
he commanded, that regimental promotion should not be obtained by
seniority, unless the applicant were approved by a board of
examination; and it was due to his representations that this
regulation, to the great benefit of the army, was shortly afterwards
adopted. With all his appreciation of natural aptitude for the
soldier's trade, so close a student of Napoleon could scarcely be
blind to the fact that the most heroic character, unsustained by
knowledge, is practically useless. If Napoleon himself, more highly
endowed by nature with every military attribute than any other
general of the Christian era, thought it essential to teach himself
his business by incessant study, how much more is such study
necessary for ordinary men?

But no man was less likely than Jackson to place an exaggerated value
on theoretical acquirements. No one realised more fully that
Napoleon's character won more victories than Napoleon's knowledge.
The qualities he demanded in his subordinates were those which were
conspicuous in Napoleon. Who was more industrious than the great
Corsican? Who displayed an intenser energy? Whose intelligence was
brighter? Who understood human nature better, or handled men with
more consummate tact? These were the very attributes which
distinguished Jackson himself. They are the key-note to his success,
more so than his knowledge of strategy and tactics, of the mechanism
of march and battle, and of the principles of the military art. In
selecting his staff officers, therefore, he deemed character of more
importance than erudition.

The men of the Stonewall Brigade had a saying that Jackson always
marched at dawn, except when he started the night before, and it was
perhaps this habit, which his enemies found so unreasonable, that led
him to lay so much stress on early rising. It is certain that, like
Wellington, he preferred "three o'clock in the morning men." In a
letter to his wife he says:

"If you will vouch for your brother's being an early riser during the
remainder of the war, I will give him an aide-ship. I do not want to
make an appointment on my staff except of such as are early risers;
but if you will vouch for him to rise regularly at dawn, I will offer
him the position."

Another characteristic he looked for was reticence; and it was
undeniably of the utmost importance, especially in an army which
spoke the same language as the enemy, where desertion was not
uncommon, and spies could easily escape detection, that the men who
might become cognisant of the plans of the commander should be gifted
with discretion. Absolute concealment is generally impracticable in a
camp. Maps must be drawn, and reports furnished. Reconnoitring
parties must be sent out, roads examined, positions surveyed, and
shelter and supplies requisitioned in advance. Thus the movements of
staff officers are a clue to the projected movements of the army, and
the smallest hint may set a hundred brains to the work of surmise.
There will always be many who are just as anxious to discover the
general's intentions as he is to conceal them; and if, by any
possibility whatever, the gossip and guesses of the camp may come to
the enemy's ears, it is well that curiosity should be baulked. Nor is
it undesirable that the privacy of headquarters should be respected.
The vanity of a little brief authority has before now tempted
subordinate officers to hint at weaknesses on the part of their
superiors. Ignorance of war and of the situation has induced them to
criticise and to condemn; and idle words, greedily listened to, and
quickly exaggerated, may easily destroy the confidence of the
soldiery in the abilities of their leader.

By the middle of December Jackson's small army had become fairly
effective. Its duties were simple. To watch the enemy, to keep open
the communication with Manassas, so as to be ready to join the main
army should McClellan advance--such were Johnston's orders. The Upper
Potomac was held by the enemy in force. General Banks, a volunteer
officer, who was yet to learn more of Stonewall Jackson, was in
command. The headquarters of his division, 18,000 strong, were at
Frederick City in Maryland; but his charge extended seventy-five
miles further west, as far as Cumberland on the Potomac. In addition
to Banks, General Kelly with 5000 men was at Romney, on the South
Branch of the Potomac, thirty-five miles north-west of Winchester by
a good road. The Federal troops guarding the Chesapeake and Ohio
Canal and that portion of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad which was
still intact were necessarily much dispersed, for the Confederate
guerillas were active, and dam and aqueduct, tunnel and viaduct,
offered tempting objectives to Ashby's cavalry. Still the force which
confronted Jackson was far superior to his own; the Potomac was broad
and bridgeless, and his orders appeared to impose a defensive
attitude. But he was not the man to rest inactive, no matter what the
odds against him, or to watch the enemy's growing strength without an
endeavour to interfere. Within the limits of his own command he was
permitted every latitude; and he was determined to apply the
aggressive strategy which he was so firmly convinced should be
adopted by the whole army. The Secretary of War, Mr. Benjamin, in
detaching him to the Valley, had asked him to "forward suggestions as
to the means of rendering his measures of defence effectual."* (*
O.R. volume 5 page 909.)

The earliest information he had received on his arrival at Winchester
pointed to the conclusion that the enemy was meditating an advance by
way of Harper's Ferry. His first suggestion thereupon was that he
should be reinforced by a division under General Loring and a brigade
under Colonel Edward Johnson, which were stationed within the
Alleghanies on the great highways leading to the Ohio, covering
Staunton from the west.* (* Loring was at Huntersville, Johnson on
Alleghany Mountain, not far from Monterey. General Lee, unable with
an inferior force to drive the enemy from West Virginia, had been
transferred to South Carolina on November 1.) His next was to the
effect that he should be permitted to organise an expedition for the
recapture and occupation of Romney. If he could seize this village,
the junction of several roads, more decisive operations would at once
become feasible. It has been said that the force of old associations
urged Jackson to drive the invader from the soil which held his
mother's grave; but, even if we had not the evidence of his interview
with General G.W. Smith,* (* Ante page 174.) a glance at the map
would in itself be sufficient to assure us that strategy prevailed
with him rather than sentiment.

The plan of campaign which first suggested itself to him was
sufficiently comprehensive.

"While the Northern people and the Federal authorities were still a
prey to the demoralisation which had followed Bull Run, he proposed
to advance with 10,000 troops into north-west Virginia, where he
would reclaim the whole country, and summon the inhabitants of
Southern sentiment to join his army. His information was extensive
and reliable, and he did not doubt his ability to recruit between
15,000 and 20,000 men, enough for his designs. These were bold and
simple. While the enemy was under the impression that his only object
was to reclaim and occupy North-west Virginia, he would move his
whole force rapidly across to the Monongahela, march down upon
Pittsburg, destroy the United States arsenal, and then, in
conjunction with Johnston's army (which was to cross the Potomac at
Leesburg), advance upon Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. From
Harrisburg he proposed that the army should advance upon
Philadelphia."* (* Cooke page 87.)

These suggestions, however, went no further than his friends in the
Legislative Assembly. Although, for his conduct at Bull Run, he had
now been promoted to major-general, the Lexington professor had as
yet no voice in the councils of the young republic. Nevertheless, the
President read and approved the less ambitious proposal for an attack
on the Federal force at Romney.

Romney, the county seat of Hampshire, lies in a rich district watered
by the South Branch of the Potomac. For more than a hundred miles,
from source to mouth, the river is bordered by alluvial meadows of
extraordinary fertility. Their prodigal harvests, together with the
sweetness of the upland pastures, make them the paradise of the
grazier; the farms which rest beneath the hills are of manorial
proportions, and the valley of the beautiful South Branch is a land
of easy wealth and old-fashioned plenty. From Romney an excellent
road runs south-east to Winchester, and another south-west by
Moorefield and Franklin to Monterey, where it intersects the great
road, constructed by one of Napoleon's engineers, that leads from
Staunton in the Valley to Parkersburg on the Ohio.

When Jackson advocated the occupation of this important point the
whole of West Virginia, between the Alleghanies and the Ohio, was in
possession of the Federals. The army of occupation, under General
Rosecrans, amounted to 27,000 men and over 40 guns; but the troops
were dispersed in detachments from Romney to Gauley Bridge, a
distance of near two hundred miles, their communications were
exposed, and, owing to the mountains, co-operation was almost

(MAP. SKETCH OF WEST VIRGINIA IN 1861. Showing: West: Pt. Pleasant,
North: Pittsburg, South: Lewisburg and East: Winchester.)

5000 men, based on Grafton, occupied Romney.

18,700, based on Clarksburg, occupied the passes south-east of

9000, based on the Ohio, were stationed on the Great Kanawha, a river
which is navigable for small steamers to within a few miles of Gauley

4000 protected the lines of communication.

Jackson's letter to the Secretary of War was as follows:

November 20.

"Deeply impressed with the importance of absolute secrecy respecting
military operations, I have made it a point to say but little
respecting my proposed movements in the event of sufficient
reinforcements arriving, but since conversing with Lieutenant-Colonel
Preston [his adjutant-general], upon his return from General Loring,
and ascertaining the disposition of the general's forces, I venture
to respectfully urge that after concentrating all his troops here, an
attempt should be made to capture the Federal forces at Romney. The
attack on Romney would probably induce McClellan to believe that
General Johnston's army had been so weakened as to justify him in
making an advance on Centreville; but should this not induce him to
advance, I do not believe anything will, during this winter.

"Should General Johnston be attacked, I would be at once prepared to
reinforce him with my present force, increased by General Loring's.
After repulsing the enemy at Manassas, let the troops that marched on
Romney return to the Valley, and move rapidly westward to the waters
of the Monongahela and Little Kanawha. I deem it of very great
importance that North-western Virginia be occupied by Confederate
troops this winter. At present it is to be presumed that the enemy
are not expecting an attack there, and the resources of that region,
necessary for the subsistence of our troops, are in greater abundance
than in almost any other season of the year. Postpone the occupation
of that section until spring, and we may expect to find the enemy
prepared for us, and the resources to which I have referred greatly
exhausted. I know that what I have proposed will be an arduous
undertaking and cannot be accomplished without the sacrifice of much
personal comfort; but I feel that the troops will be prepared to make
the sacrifice when animated by the prospects of important results to
our cause, and distinction to themselves. It may be urged against
this plan that the enemy will advance [from Beverley and the Great
Kanawha] on Staunton or Huntersville. I am well satisfied that such a
step would but make their destruction sure. When North-western
Virginia is occupied in force, the Kanawha Valley, unless it be the
lower part of it, must be evacuated by the Federal forces, or
otherwise their safety will be endangered by forcing a column across
from the Little Kanawha between them and the Ohio River.

"Admitting that the season is too far advanced, or that from other
causes all cannot be accomplished that has been named, yet through
the blessing of God, who has thus far wonderfully prospered our
cause, much more may be expected from General Loring's troops,
according to this programme, than can be expected from them where
they are."* (* O.R. volume 5 page 965.)

This scheme was endorsed by Johnston. "I submit," he wrote, "that the
troops under General Loring might render valuable services by taking
the field with General Jackson, instead of going into winter quarters
as now proposed."

In accordance with Jackson's suggestion, Loring was ordered to join
him. Edward Johnson, however, was withheld. The Confederate
authorities seem to have considered it injudicious to leave unguarded
the mountain roads which lead into the Valley from the west. Jackson,
with a wider grasp of war, held that concentration at Winchester was
a sounder measure of security. "Should the Federals" (at Beverley),
he said, "take advantage of the withdrawal of Johnson's troops, and
cross the mountains, so much the worse for them. While they were
marching eastwards, involving themselves amongst interminable
obstacles, he [Jackson] would place himself on their communications
and close in behind them, making their destruction the more certain
the further they advanced towards their imaginary prize."* (* Dabney
volume 1 page 298.)

While waiting for Loring, Jackson resolved to complete the education
of his new battalions in the field. The raw troops who garrisoned the
Northern border were not formidable enemies, and a sudden rush upon
some ill-defended post would give to the staff and soldiery that
first taste of success which gives heart and backbone to
inexperienced troops.

December 6 to 9.

The first enterprise, however, was only partially successful. The
destruction of a dam on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, one of the
main arteries of communication between Washington and the West, by
which coal, hay, and forage reached the Union capital, was the result
of a few days' hard marching and hard work. Two companies of the
Stonewall Brigade volunteered to go down by night and cut the cribs.
Standing waist deep in the cold water, and under the constant fire of
the enemy, they effected a partial breach; but it was repaired by the
Federals within two days. Jackson's loss was one man killed. While
engaged in this expedition news reached him of the decisive repulse
by Colonel Edward Johnson of an attack on his position on Alleghany
Mountain. Jackson again asked that this brigade might be sent to his
support, but it was again refused, notwithstanding Johnston's
endorsement of his request.

Loring reached Winchester on Christmas Day. Once more the enemy
threatened to advance, and information had been received that he had
been largely strengthened. Jackson was of opinion that the true
policy of the Federals would be to concentrate at Martinsburg, midway
between Romney and Frederick, and "to march on Winchester over a road
that presented no very strong positions." To counteract such a
combination, he determined to anticipate their movements, and to
attack them before they received additional reinforcements.

1862. January 1.

On January 1, 1862, 9000 Confederates marched from Winchester towards
the Potomac. Jackson's first objectives were the villages of Bath and
Hancock, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, held by Federal
garrisons. By dispersing these detachments he would prevent support
being sent to Romney; by cutting the telegraph along the railroad he
would sever the communication between Banks at Frederick and
Rosecrans in West Virginia, and compel Kelly either to evacuate
Romney or fight him single-handed. To deal with his enemy in detail,
to crush his detachments in succession, and with superior force, such
was the essence of his plan.

The weather when the expedition started was bright and pleasant, so
much so that the troops, with the improvidence of young soldiers,
left their coats and blankets in the waggons. That very afternoon,
however, the temperature underwent a sudden change. Under cold grey
skies the column scaled the mountain ridges, and on the winter wind
came a fierce storm of snow and hail. In order to conceal the march
as far as possible from the enemy's observations the brigades had
marched by country roads, and delayed by steep gradients and slippery
tracks, it was not till the next morning that the supply waggons came
up. The troops, hurried suddenly from comfortable winter quarters,
suffered much. The bivouac was as cheerless as the march. Without
rations and without covering, the men lay shivering round the camp
fires. The third day out, even the commander of the Stonewall Brigade
took it upon himself to halt his wearied men. Jackson became restive.
Riding along the column he found his old regiments halted by the
roadside, and asked the reason for the delay.

"I have halted to let the men cook their rations," was General
Garnett's reply. "There is no time for that." "But it is impossible
for the men to march further without them." "_I_ never found anything
impossible with this brigade!" and Jackson rode on. His plans
admitted of no delay. He intended to surprise the enemy. In this
expectation, however, he was disappointed.

January 3.

A few miles distant from Bath his advanced guard fell in with a
Federal reconnaissance, and at nightfall the Confederates had not yet
reached the outskirts of the town. Once more they had to bivouac in
the open, and rations, tents, and blankets were still behind. When
the day broke over the Shenandoah Mountains the country was white
with snow, and the sleeping soldiers were covered as with a
winding-sheet. After a hasty meal an attempt was made to surround the
village, and to cut off the retreat of the garrison. The outflanking
movements, made in a blinding storm, failed in combination. The roads
were too bad, the subordinate commanders too inexperienced; the three
hostile regiments escaped across the river in their boats, and only
16 prisoners were captured. Still, the advantages of their unexpected
movement were not altogether lost to the Confederates. The Federals,
ignorant as yet of the restless energy of the foe who held command at
Winchester, had settled themselves cosily in winter quarters. The
intelligence of Jackson's march had come too late to enable them to
remove the stores which had been collected at Bath, and on the night
of January 4 the Virginians revelled in warmth and luxury. The next
morning they moved forward to the river.

January 5.

On the opposite bank stood the village of Hancock, and after a demand
to surrender had been refused, Jackson ordered his batteries to open
fire.* (* The Federal commander was granted two hours in which to
remove the women and children.) Shepherdstown, a little Virginia town
south of the Potomac, had been repeatedly shelled, even when
unoccupied by Confederate troops. In order to intimate that such
outrages must cease a few shells were thrown into Hancock. The next
day the bombardment was resumed, but with little apparent effect; and
strong reinforcements having joined the enemy, Jackson ceased fire
and withdrew. A bridge was already in process of construction two
miles above the town, but to have crossed the river, a wide though
shallow stream, in face of a considerable force, would have been a
useless and a costly operation. The annihilation of the Federal
garrison would have scarcely repaid the Southerners for the loss of
life that must have been incurred. At the same time, while Jackson's
batteries had been at work, his infantry had done a good deal of
mischief. Two regiments had burned the bridge by which the Baltimore
and Ohio Railway crosses the Great Cacapon River, the canal dam was
breached, and many miles of track and telegraph were destroyed. The
enemy's communications between Frederick and Romney were thus
effectually severed, and a large amount of captured stores were sent
to Winchester. It was with the design of covering these operations
that the bombardment had been continued, and the summons to surrender
was probably no more than a ruse to attract the attention of the
Federal commander from the attack on the Cacapon Bridge. On the
morning of the 7th Jackson moved southward to Unger's Store. Here,
however, the expedition came to a standstill. The precaution of
rough-shoeing the horses before leaving Winchester had been
neglected, and it was found necessary to refit the teams and rest the

January 13.

After halting for four days the Confederates, on January 13, renewed
their march. The outlook was unpromising. Although cavalry patrols
had been despatched in every direction, a detachment of militia,
which had acted as flank-guard in the direction of Romney while
Jackson was moving to Unger's Store, had been surprised and defeated,
with the loss of two guns, at Hanging Rock. The weather, too, grew
colder and colder, and the mountain roads were little more than
sheets of ice. The sleet beat fiercely down upon the crawling column.
The men stumbled and fell on the slippery tracks; many waggons were
overturned, and the bloody knees and muzzles of the horses bore
painful witness to the severity of the march. The bivouacs were more
comfortless than before. The provision train lagged far in rear. Axes
there were none; and had not the fence-rails afforded a supply of
firewood, the sufferings of the troops would have been intense. As it
was, despite the example of their commander, they pushed forward but
slowly through the bitter weather. Jackson was everywhere; here,
putting his shoulder to the wheel of a gun that the exhausted team
could no longer move; there, urging the wearied soldiers, or rebuking
the officers for want of energy. Attentive as he was to the health
and comfort of his men in quarters, on the line of march he looked
only to the success of the Confederate arms. The hardships of the
winter operations were to him but a necessary concomitant of his
designs, and it mattered but little if the weak and sickly should
succumb. Commanders who are over-chary of their soldiers' lives, who
forget that their men have voluntarily offered themselves as food for
powder, often miss great opportunities. To die doing his duty was to
Jackson the most desirable consummation of the soldier's existence,
and where duty was concerned or victory in doubt he was as careless
of life and suffering as Napoleon himself. The well-being of an
individual or even of an army were as nothing compared with the
interests of Virginia. And, in the end, his indomitable will
triumphed over every obstacle.

January 10.

Romney village came at length in sight, lonely and deserted amid the
mountain snows, for the Federal garrison had vanished, abandoning its
camp-equipment and its magazines.

No pursuit was attempted. Jackson had resolved on further operations.
It was now in his power to strike at the Federal communications,
marching along the Baltimore and Ohio Railway in the direction of
Grafton, seventy-five miles west of Romney. In order to leave all
safe behind him, he determined, as a first step, to destroy the
bridge by which the Baltimore and Ohio Railway crossed the Potomac in
the neighbourhood of Cumberland. The Federal forces at Williamstown
and Frederick drew the greater part of their supplies from the West;
and so serious an interruption in the line of communication would
compel them to give up all thought of offensive enterprises in the
Valley. But the sufferings that his green soldiers had undergone had
sapped their discipline. Loring's division, nearly two-thirds of the
command, was so discontented as to be untrustworthy. It was useless
with such troops to dream of further movements among the inhospitable
hills. Many had deserted during the march from Unger's Store; many
had succumbed to the exposure of the bivouacs; and, more than all,
the commander had been disloyal to his superior. Although a regular
officer of long service, he had permitted himself a license of speech
which was absolutely unjustifiable, and throughout the operations had
shown his unfitness for his position. Placed under the command of an
officer who had been his junior in the Army of the United States, his
sense of discipline was overborne by the slight to his vanity; and
not for the first time nor the last the resentment of a petty mind
ruined an enterprise which would have profited a nation. Compelled to
abandon his projected march against the enemy, Jackson determined to
leave a strong garrison in Romney and the surrounding district, while
the remainder of the force withdrew to Winchester. The two towns were
connected by a good high-road, and by establishing telegraphic
communication between them, he believed that despite the Federal
numbers he could maintain his hold on these important posts. Many
precautions were taken to secure Romney from surprise. Three militia
regiments, recruited in the country, and thus not only familiar with
every road, but able to procure ample information, were posted in the
neighbourhood of the town; and with the militia were left three
companies of cavalry, one of which had already been employed in this

In detailing Loring's division as the garrison of Romney Jackson
seems to have made a grave mistake. He had much reason to be
dissatisfied with the commander, and the men were already
demoralised. Troops unfit to march against the enemy were not the men
to be trusted with the security of an important outpost, within
thirty miles of the Federal camps at Cumberland, far from their
supports, and surrounded by bleak and lonely mountains. A man of
wider sympathy with human weakness, and with less rigid ideas of
discipline, might possibly have arranged matters so that the
Stonewall Brigade might have remained at Romney, while Loring and his
division were transferred to less exacting duties and more
comfortable quarters. But Loring's division constituted two-thirds of
Jackson's force, and Romney, more exposed than Winchester, required
the stronger garrison. A general of Loring's temper and pretensions
would scarcely have submitted to the separation of his brigades, and
would probably have become even more discontented had Garnett, the
leader of the Stonewall Brigade, been left in command at Romney,
while he himself played a subordinate part at Winchester. It is only
too possible, however, that matters were past mending. The feeble
discipline of Loring's troops had broken down; their enthusiasm had
not been proof against the physical suffering of these winter

The Stonewall Brigade, on the other hand, was still staunch. "I am
well assured," wrote Jackson at this time, "that had an order been
issued for its march, even through the depth of winter and in any
direction, it would have sustained its reputation; for although it
was not under fire during the expedition at Romney, yet the alacrity
with which it responded to the call of duty and overcame obstacles
showed that it was still animated by the same spirit that
characterised it at Manassas." But Jackson's old regiments were now
tried soldiers, inspirited by the memories of the great victory they
had done so much to win, improved by association with Johnston's
army, and welded together by a discipline far stricter than that
which obtained in commands like Loring's.

January 24.

On January 24 Jackson returned to Winchester. His strategy had been
successful. He had driven the enemy across the Potomac. He had
destroyed for a time an important line of supply. He had captured a
few prisoners and many stores; and this with a loss of 4 men killed
and 28 wounded. The Federal forces along the border were far superior
to his own. The dispersion of these forces from Cumberland to
Frederick, a distance of eighty miles, had doubtless been much in his
favour. But when he marched from Winchester he had reason to believe
that 8000 men were posted at Frederick, 2000 at Hagerstown, 2000 at
Williamsport, 2000 at Hancock, and 12,000 at Cumberland and Romney.
The actual effective strength of these garrisons may possibly have
been smaller than had been reported, but such were the numbers which
he had to take into consideration when planning his operations. It
would appear from the map that while he was at Romney, 12,000
Federals might have moved out from Williamsport and Harper's Ferry
and have cut him off from Winchester. This danger had to be kept in
view. But the enemy had made no preparations for crossing the
Potomac; the river was a difficult obstacle; and Banks was not the
man to run risks.* (* "Any attempt," Banks reported to McClellan, "to
intercept the enemy would have been unsuccessful...It would have
resulted in almost certain failure to cut him off, and have brought
an exhausted force into his presence to fight him in his stronghold
at Winchester. In any case, it promised no positive prospect of
success, nor did it exclude large chances of disaster."
(O.R. volume 5 page 694.)

At the same time, while Jackson was in all probability perfectly
aware of the difficulties which Banks refused to face, and counted on
that commander's hesitation, it must be admitted that his manoeuvres
had been daring, and that the mere thought of the enemy's superior
numbers would have tied down a general of inferior ability to the
passive defence of Winchester. Moreover, the results attained were
out of all proportion to the trifling loss which had been incurred.
An important recruiting-ground had been secured. The development of
Union sentiment, which, since the occupation of Romney by the
Federals, had been gradually increasing along the Upper Potomac,
would be checked by the presence of Southern troops. A base for
further operations against the Federal detachments in West Virginia
had been established, and a fertile region opened to the operations
of the Confederate commissaries. These strategic advantages, however,
were by no means appreciated by the people of Virginia. The
sufferings of the troops appealed more forcibly to their imagination
than the prospective benefit to be derived by the Confederacy.
Jackson's secrecy, as absolute as that of the grave, had an ill
effect. Unable to comprehend his combinations, even his own officers
ascribed his manoeuvres to a restless craving for personal
distinction; while civilian wiseacres, with their ears full of the
exaggerated stories of Loring's stragglers, saw in the relentless
energy with which he had pressed the march on Romney not only the
evidence of a callous indifference to suffering, but the symptoms of
a diseased mind. They refused to consider that the general had shared
the hardships of the troops, faring as simply and roughly as any
private in the ranks. He was charged with partiality to the Stonewall
Brigade. "It was said that he kept it in the rear, while other troops
were constantly thrust into danger; and that now, while Loring's
command was left in midwinter in an alpine region, almost within the
jaws of a powerful enemy, these favoured regiments were brought back
to the comforts and hospitalities of the town; whereas in truth,
while the forces in Romney were ordered into huts, the brigade was
three miles below Winchester, in tents, and under the most rigid
discipline."* (* Dabney volume 1 page 320.)

It should not be forgotten, however, that Loring's troops were little
more as yet than a levy of armed civilians, ignorant of war; and this
was one reason the more that during those cruel marches the hand that
held the reins should have been a light one. A leader more genial and
less rigid would have found a means to sustain their courage.
Napoleon, with the captivating familiarity he used so well, would
have laughed the grumblers out of their ill-humour, and have nerved
the fainting by pointing to the glory to be won. Nelson would have
struck the chord of patriotism. Skobeleff, taking the very privates
into his confidence, would have enlisted their personal interest in
the success of the enterprise, and the eccentric speeches of "Father"
Suvoroff would have cheered them like a cordial. There are occasions
when both officers and men are the better for a little humouring, and
the march to Romney was one. A few words of hearty praise, a stirring
appeal to their nobler instincts, a touch of sympathy, might have
worked wonders. But whatever of personal magnetism existed in
Stonewall Jackson found no utterance in words. Whilst his soldiers
struggled painfully towards Romney in the teeth of the winter storm,
his lips were never opened save for sharp rebuke or peremptory order,
and Loring's men had some reason to complain of his fanatical regard
for the very letter of the law. On the most inclement of those
January nights the captain of a Virginia company, on whose property
they happened to have halted, had allowed them to use the fence-rails
for the camp fires. Jackson, ever careful of private rights, had
issued an order that fences should not be burnt, and the generous
donor was suspended from duty on the charge of giving away his own
property without first asking leave! Well might the soldiers think
that their commander regarded them as mere machines.

His own men knew his worth. Bull Run had shown them the measure of
his courage and his ability; in a single battle he had won that
respect and confidence which go so far towards establishing
discipline. But over Loring's men his personal ascendency was not yet
established. They had not yet seen him under fire. The fighting in
the Romney campaign had been confined to skirmishing. Much spoil had
been gathered in, but there were no trophies to show in the shape of
guns or colours; no important victory had raised their self-respect.
It is not too much to say that the silent soldier who insisted on
such constant exertion and such unceasing vigilance was positively

"They were unaccustomed to a military regimen so energetic as his.
Personally the most modest of men, officially he was the most
exacting of commanders, and his purpose to enforce a thorough
performance of duty, and his stern disapprobation of remissness and
self-indulgence were veiled by no affectations of politeness. Those
who came to serve near his person, if they were not wholly
like-minded with himself, usually underwent, at first, a sort of
breaking in, accompanied with no little chafing to restless spirits.
The expedition to Romney was, to such officers, just such an
apprenticeship to Jackson's methods of making war. All this was fully
known to him; but while he keenly felt the injustice, he disdained to
resent it, or to condescend to any explanation."* (* Dabney volume 1
page 321.)

Jackson returned to Winchester with no anticipation that the darkest
days of his military life were close at hand. Little Sorrel, the
charger he had ridden at Bull Run, leaving the senior members of the
staff toiling far in rear, had covered forty miles of mountain roads
in one short winter day. "After going to an hotel and divesting
himself of the mud which had bespattered him in his rapid ride, he
proceeded to Dr. Graham's. In order to give his wife a surprise he
had not intimated when he would return. As soon as the first glad
greetings were over, before taking his seat, with a face all aglow
with delight, he glanced round the room, and was so impressed with
the cosy and cheerful aspect of the fireside, as we all sat round it
that winter evening, that he exclaimed: 'This is the very essence of
comfort.'"* (* Memoirs of Stonewall Jackson.)

He had already put aside the unpleasant memories of the expedition,
and had resigned himself to rest content with the measure of success
that had been attained. Romney at least was occupied, and operations
might be effectively resumed at a more propitious season.

Six days later, however, Jackson received a peremptory message from
the Secretary of War: "Our news indicates that a movement is making
to cut off General Loring's command; order him back immediately."* (*
O.R. volume 5 page 1053.)

This order had been issued without reference to General Johnston,
Jackson's immediate superior, and so marked a departure from ordinary
procedure could not possibly be construed except as a severe
reflection on Jackson's judgment. Nor could it have other than a most
fatal effect on the discipline of the Valley troops. It had been
brought about by most discreditable means. Loring's officers had sat
in judgment on their commander. Those who had been granted leave at
the close of the expedition had repaired to Richmond, and had filled
the ears of the Government and the columns of the newspapers with
complaints. Those who remained at Romney formulated their grievance
in an official remonstrance, which Loring was indiscreet enough to
approve and forward. A council of subordinate officers had the
effrontery to record their opinion that "Romney was a place of no
strategical importance," and to suggest that the division might be
"maintained much more comfortably, at much less expense, and with
every military advantage, at almost any other place."* (* Ibid pages
1046 to 1048.)

Discomfort was the burden of their complaint. They had been serving
continuously for eight months. Their present position imposed upon
them even greater vigilance and more constant exertion than had
hitherto been demanded of them, and their one thought was to escape
from a situation which they characterised as "one of the most
disagreeable and unfavourable that could well be imagined." Only a
single pertinent argument was brought forward. The Confederate
soldiers had enlisted only for twelve months, and the Government was
about to ask them to volunteer for the duration of the war. It was
urged by Loring's officers that with the present prospect before them
there was much doubt that a single man of the division would
re-enlist. "With some regard for its comfort," added the general, "a
large portion, if not the whole, may be prevailed upon to do so."

It does not seem to have occurred to these officers that soldiers in
the near vicinity of the enemy, wherever they may be placed, must
always be subject to privations, and that at any other point of the
Confederate frontier--at Winchester with Jackson, at Leesburg with
Hill, or at Centreville with Johnston--their troops would be exposed
to the same risks and the same discomforts as at Romney. That the
occupation of a dangerous outpost is in itself an honour never
entered their minds; and it would have been more honest, instead of
reviling the climate and the country, had they frankly declared that
they had had enough for the present of active service, and had no
mind to make further sacrifices in the cause for which they had taken

January 31.

With the Secretary's order Jackson at once complied. Loring was
recalled to Winchester, but before his command arrived Jackson's
resignation had gone in.

His letter, forwarded through Johnston, ran as follows:

Headquarters, Valley District, Winchester, Virginia: January 31, 1862.

Hon. J.P. Benjamin, Secretary of War,


Your order, requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his
command to Winchester immediately, has been received and promptly
complied with.

With such interference in my command I cannot expect to be of much
service in the field, and, accordingly, respectfully request to be
ordered to report for duty to the Superintendent of the Virginia
Military Institute at Lexington, as has been done in the case of
other professors. Should this application not be granted, I
respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation
from the army.* (* O.R. volume 5 page 1053.)

The danger apprehended by the Secretary of War, that Loring's
division, if left at Romney, might be cut off, did not exist. General
Lander, an able and energetic officer, now in command of the Federal
force at Cumberland, had put forward proposals for an active campaign
in the Shenandoah Valley; but there was no possibility of such an
enterprise being immediately undertaken. The Potomac was still a
formidable obstacle; artillery and cavalry were both deficient; the
troops were scattered, and their discipline was indifferent. Lander's
command, according to his official despatches, was "more like an
armed mob than an army."* (* Ibid pages 702 and 703.) Romney,
therefore, was in little danger; and Jackson, who had so lately been
in contact with the Federal troops, whose cavalry patrolled the banks
of the Potomac, and who was in constant receipt of information of the
enemy's attitude and condition, was certainly a better judge of what
was probable than any official in the Confederate capital. There were
doubtless objections to the retention of Romney. An enormous army, in
the intrenched camp at Washington, threatened Centreville; and in the
event of that army advancing, Jackson would be called upon to
reinforce Johnston, just as Johnston had reinforced Beauregard before
Bull Run. With the greater part of his force at Romney such an
operation would be delayed by at least two days. Even Johnston
himself, although careful to leave his subordinate a free hand,
suggested that the occupation of Romney, and the consequent
dispersion of Jackson's force, might enable the enemy to cut in
effectively between the Valley troops and the main army. It is beyond
question, however, that Jackson had carefully studied the situation.
There was no danger of his forgetting that his was merely a detached
force, or of his overlooking, in the interests of his own projected
operations, the more important interests of the main army; and if his
judgment of the situation differed from that of his superior, it was
because he had been indefatigable in his search for information.

He had agents everywhere.* (* "I have taken special pains," he writes
on January 17, "to obtain information respecting General Banks, but I
have not been informed of his having gone east. I will see what can
be effected through the Catholic priests at Martinsburg." O.R. volume
5 page 1036.) His intelligence was more ample than that supplied by
the Confederate spies in Washington itself. No reinforcements could
reach the Federals on the Potomac without his knowledge. He was
always accurately informed of the strength and movements of their
detachments. Nor had he failed to take the precautions which minimise
the evils arising from dissemination. He had constructed a line of
telegraph from Charlestown, within seven miles of Harper's Ferry, to
Winchester, and another line was to have been constructed to Romney.
He had established relays of couriers through his district. By this
means he could communicate with Hill at Leesburg in three hours, and
by another line of posts with Johnston at Centreville.

But his chief reason for believing that Romney might be occupied
without risk to a junction between himself and Johnston lay in the
impassable condition of the Virginia roads. McClellan's huge army
could not drag its guns and waggons through the slough of mud which
lay between Washington and Centreville. Banks' command at Frederick
was in no condition for a rapid advance either upon Leesburg or on
Winchester; and it was evident that little was to be feared from
Lander until he had completed the work, on which he was now actively
engaged, of repairing the communications which Jackson's raid had
temporarily interrupted. With the information we have now before us,
it is clear that Jackson's view of the situation was absolutely
correct; that for the present Romney might be advantageously
retained, and recruiting pushed forward in this section of Virginia.
If, when McClellan advanced, the Confederates were to confine
themselves to the defensive, the post would undoubtedly have to be
abandoned. But if, instead of tamely surrendering the initiative, the
Government were to adopt the bolder strategy which Jackson had
already advocated, and Johnston's army, moving westward to the
Valley, were to utilise the natural line of invasion by way of
Harper's Ferry, the occupation of Romney would secure the flank, and
give the invading force a fertile district from which to draw

It was not, however, on the Secretary's misconception of the
situation that Jackson's request for relief was based. Nor was it the
slur on his judgment that led him to resign. The injury that had been
inflicted by Mr. Benjamin's unfortunate letter was not personal to
himself. It affected the whole army. It was a direct blow to
discipline, and struck at the very heart of military efficiency. Not
only would Jackson himself be unable to enforce his authority over
troops who had so successfully defied his orders; but the whole
edifice of command, throughout the length and breadth of the
Confederacy, would, if he tamely submitted to the Secretary's
extraordinary action, be shaken to its foundations. Johnston, still
smarting under Mr. Davis's rejection of his strategical views, felt
this as acutely as did Jackson. "The discipline of the army," he
wrote to the Secretary of War, "cannot be maintained under such
circumstances. The direct tendency of such orders is to insulate the
commanding general from his troops, to diminish his moral as well as
his official control, and to harass him with the constant fear that
his most matured plans may be marred by orders from his Government
which it is impossible for him to anticipate."* (* O.R. volume 5
pages 1057 and 1058.)

To Jackson he wrote advising the withdrawal of his resignation:
"Under ordinary circumstances a due sense of one's own dignity, as
well as care for professional character and official rights, would
demand such a course as yours, but the character of this war, the
great energy exhibited by the Government of the United States, the
danger in which our very existence as an independent people lies,
requires sacrifices from us all who have been educated as soldiers.

"I receive the information of the order of which you have such cause
to complain from your letter. Is not that as great an official wrong
to me as the order itself to you? Let us dispassionately reason with
the Government on this subject of command, and if we fail to
influence its practice, then ask to be relieved from positions the
authority of which is exercised by the War Department, while the
responsibilities are left to us.

"I have taken the liberty to detain your letter to make this appeal
to your patriotism, not merely from common feelings of personal
regard, but from the official opinion which makes me regard you as
necessary to the service of the country in your present position."*
(* O.R. volume 5 pages 1059 and 1060.)

But Johnston, when he wrote, was not aware of the remonstrance of
Loring's officers. His protest, in his letter to the Secretary of
War, deprecated the action of the department in ignoring the
authority of the military chiefs; it had no reference to the graver
evil of yielding to the representations of irresponsible
subordinates. Considering the circumstances, as he believed them to
exist, his advice was doubtless prudent. But it found Jackson in no
compromising mood.

"Sacrifices!" he exclaimed; "have I not made them? What is my life
here but a daily sacrifice? Nor shall I ever withhold sacrifices for
my country, where they will avail anything. I intend to serve here,
anywhere, in any way I can, even if it be as a private soldier. But
if this method of making war is to prevail, the country is ruined. My
duty to Virginia requires that I shall utter my protest against it in
the most energetic form in my power, and that is to resign. The
authorities at Richmond must be taught a lesson, or the next victims
of their meddling will be Johnston and Lee."

Fortunately for the Confederacy, the Virginia officers possessed a
staunch supporter in the Governor of the State. Mr. Letcher knew
Jackson's worth, and he knew the estimation in which he was already
held by the Virginia people. The battle of Manassas had attained the
dignity of a great historical event, and those whose share in the
victory had been conspicuous were regarded with the same respect as
the heroes of the Revolution. In the spring of 1862 Manassas stood
alone, the supreme incident of the war; its fame was not yet
overshadowed by mightier conflicts, and it had taken rank in the
popular mind with the decisive battles of the world.

Jackson, at the same time that he addressed Johnston, wrote to
Letcher. It is possible that he anticipated the course the Governor
would adopt. He certainly took care that if a protest were made it
should be backed with convincing argument.

"The order from the War Department," he wrote, "was given without
consulting me, and is abandoning to the enemy what has cost much
preparation, expense, and exposure to secure, is in direct conflict
with my military plans, implies a want of confidence in my capacity
to judge when General Loring's troops should fall back, and is an
attempt to control military operations in details from the
Secretary's desk at a distance...As a single order like that of the
Secretary's may destroy the entire fruits of a campaign, I cannot
reasonably expect, if my operations are thus to be interfered with,
to be of much service in the field...If I ever acquired, through the
blessing of Providence, any influence over troops, this undoing my
work by the Secretary may greatly diminish that influence. I regard
the recent expedition as a great success...I desire to say nothing
against the Secretary of War. I take it for granted that he has done
what he believes to be best, but I regard such policy as ruinous."*
(* Memoirs pages 232 and 233.)

This letter had the desired result. Not content with reminding
Jackson of the effect his resignation would have on the people of
Virginia, and begging him to withdraw it, Governor Letcher took the
Secretary of War to task. Mr. Benjamin, who had probably acted in
ignorance rather than in defiance of the military necessities, at
once gave way. Governor Letcher, assured that it was not the
intention of the Government to interfere with the plans of the
general, withdrew the resignation: Jackson had already yielded to his

"In this transaction," says his chief of the staff, "Jackson gained
one of his most important victories for the Confederate States. Had
the system of encouragement to the insubordination of inferiors, and
of interference with the responsibilities of commanders in the field,
which was initiated in his case, become established, military success
could only have been won by accident. By his firmness the evil usage
was arrested, and a lesson impressed both upon the Government and the
people of the South."* (* Dabney volume 1 page 327.)

That the soldier is but the servant of the statesman, as war is but
an instrument of diplomacy, no educated soldier will deny. Politics
must always exercise a supreme influence on strategy; yet it cannot
be gainsaid that interference with the commanders in the field is
fraught with the gravest danger. Mr. Benjamin's action was without
excuse. In listening to the malcontents he ignored the claims of
discipline. In cancelling Jackson's orders he struck a blow at the
confidence of the men in their commander. In directing that Romney
should not be held he decided on a question which was not only purely
military, but of which the man on the spot, actually in touch with
the situation and with the enemy, could alone be judge.* (* The
inexpediency of evacuating Romney was soon made apparent. The enemy
reoccupied the village, seized Moorefield, and, with the valley of
the South Branch in their possession, threatened the rear of Edward
Johnson's position on the Alleghany Mountain so closely that he was
compelled to retreat. Three fertile counties were thus abandoned to
the enemy, and the Confederate sympathisers in North-west Virginia
were proportionately discouraged.) Even Johnston, a most able and
experienced soldier, although he was evidently apprehensive that
Jackson's front was too extended, forbore to do more than warn. Nor
was his interference the crown of Mr. Benjamin's offence. The
omniscient lawyer asked no advice; but believing, as many still
believe, that neither special knowledge nor practical acquaintance
with the working of the military machine is necessary in order to
manoeuvre armies, he had acted entirely on his own initiative. It was
indeed time that he received a lesson.

Well would it have been for the Confederacy had the President himself
been wise enough to apply the warning to its full extent. We have
already seen that after the victory of Manassas, in his capacity of
Commander-in-Chief, he refused to denude the Southern coasts of their
garrisons in order to reinforce Johnston's army and strike a decisive
blow in Northern territory. Had he but once recognised that he too
was an amateur, that it was impossible for one man to combine
effectively in his own person the duties of Head of the Government
and of Commander-in-Chief, he would have handed over the management
of his huge armies, and the direction of all military movements, to
the most capable soldier the Confederacy could produce. Capable
soldiers were not wanting; and had the control of military operations
been frankly committed to a trained strategist, and the military
resources of the Southern States been placed unreservedly at the
disposal of either Lee or Johnston, combined operations would have
taken the place of disjointed enterprises, and the full strength of
the country have been concentrated at the decisive point. It can
hardly, however, be imputed as a fault to Mr. Davis that he did not
anticipate a system which achieved such astonishing success in
Prussia's campaigns of '66 and '70. It was not through vanity alone
that he retained in his own hands the supreme control of military
affairs. The Confederate system of government was but an imitation of
that which existed in the United States; and in Washington, as in
Richmond, the President was not only Commander-in-Chief in name, but
the arbiter on all questions of strategy and organisation; while, to
go still further back, the English Cabinet had exercised the same
power since Parliament became supreme. The American people may be
forgiven for their failure to recognise the deplorable results of the
system they had inherited from the mother-country. The English people
had been equally blind, and in their case there was no excuse. The
mismanagement of the national resources in the war with France was
condoned by the victories of Wellington. The vicious conceptions of
the Government, responsible for so many useless enterprises, for
waste of life, of treasure, of opportunity, were lost in the blaze of
triumph in which the struggle ended. Forty years later it had been
forgotten that the Cabinet of 1815 had done its best to lose the
battle of Waterloo; the lessons of the great war were disregarded,
and the Cabinet of 1853 to 1854 was allowed to work its will on the
army of the Crimea.

It is a significant fact that, during the War of Secession, for the
three years the control of the armies of the North remained in the
hands of the Cabinet the balance of success lay with the
Confederates. But in March 1864 Grant was appointed
Commander-in-Chief; Lincoln abdicated his military functions in his
favour, and the Secretary of War had nothing more to do than to
comply with his requisitions. Then, for the first time, the enormous
armies of the Union were manoeuvred in harmonious combination, and
the superior force was exerted to its full effect. Nor is it less
significant that during the most critical period of the 1862
campaign, the most glorious to the Confederacy, Lee was
Commander-in-Chief of the Southern armies. But when Lee left Richmond
for the Northern border, Davis once more assumed supreme control,
retaining it until it was too late to stave off ruin.

Yet the Southern soldiers had never to complain of such constant
interference on the part of the Cabinet as had the Northern; and to
Jackson it was due that each Confederate general, with few
exceptions, was henceforward left unhampered in his own theatre of
operations. His threat of resignation at least effected this, and,
although the President still managed or mismanaged the grand
operations, the Secretary of War was muzzled.

It might be objected that in this instance Jackson showed little
respect for the discipline he so rigidly enforced, and that in the
critical situation of the Confederacy his action was a breach of duty
which was almost disloyalty. Without doubt his resignation would have
seriously embarrassed the Government. To some degree at least the
confidence of both the people and the army in the Administration
would have become impaired. But Jackson was fighting for a principle
which was of even more importance than subordination. Foreseeing as
he did the certain results of civilian meddling, submission to the
Secretary's orders would have been no virtue. His presence with the
army would hardly have counterbalanced the untrammelled exercise of
Mr. Benjamin's military sagacity, and the inevitable decay of
discipline. It was not the course of a weak man, an apathetic man, or
a selfish man. We may imagine Jackson eating his heart out at
Lexington, while the war was raging on the frontier, and the
Stonewall Brigade was fighting manfully under another leader against
the hosts of the invader. The independence of his country was the
most intense of all his earthly desires; and to leave the forefront
of the fight before that desire had been achieved would have been
more to him than most. He would have sacrificed far more in resigning
than in remaining; and there was always the possibility that a
brilliant success and the rapid termination of the war would place
Mr. Benjamin apparently in the right. How would Jackson look then?
What would be the reputation of the man who had quitted the army, on
what would have been considered a mere point of etiquette, in the
very heat of the campaign? No ordinary man would have faced the
alternative, and have risked his reputation in order to teach the
rulers of his country a lesson which might never reach them. It must
be remembered, too, that Jackson had not yet proved himself
indispensable. He had done good work at Manassas, but so had others.
His name was scarcely known beyond the confines of his own State, and
Virginia had several officers of higher reputation. His immediate
superiors knew his value, but the Confederate authorities, as their
action proved, placed little dependence on his judgment, and in all
probability set no special store upon his services. There was
undoubtedly every chance, had not Governor Letcher intervened, that
his resignation would have been accepted. His letter then to the
Secretary of War was no mere threat, the outcome of injured vanity,
but the earnest and deliberate protest of a man who was ready to
sacrifice even his own good name to benefit his country.

The negotiations which followed his application to resign occupied
some time. He remained at Winchester, and the pleasant home where he
and his wife had found such kindly welcome was the scene of much
discussion. Governor Letcher was not alone in his endeavours to alter
his decision. Many were the letters that poured in. From every class
of Virginians, from public men and private, came the same appeal. But
until he was convinced that Virginia would suffer by his action,
Jackson was deaf to argument. He had not yet realised the measure of
confidence which he had won. To those who sought to move him by
saying that his country could not spare his services, or by speaking
of his hold upon the troops, he replied that they greatly
overestimated his capacity for usefulness, and that his place would
readily be filled by a better man. That many of his friends were
deeply incensed with the Secretary of War was only natural, and his
conduct was bitterly denounced. But Jackson not only forbore to
criticise, but in his presence all criticism was forbidden. There can
be no doubt that he was deeply wounded. He could be angry when he
chose, and his anger was none the less fierce because it was
habitually controlled. He never forgave Davis for his want of wisdom
after Manassas; and indeed, in future campaigns, the President's
action was sufficient to exasperate the most patriotic of his
generals. But during this time of trouble not a word escaped Jackson
which showed those nearest him that his equanimity was disturbed.
Anticipating that he would be ordered to the Military Institute, he
was even delighted, says his wife, at the prospect of returning home.
The reason of his calmness is not far to seek. He had come to the
determination that it was his duty to resign, not, we may be certain,
without prayer and self-communing, and when Jackson saw what his duty
was, all other considerations were soon dismissed. He was content to
leave the future in higher hands. It had been so with him when the
question of secession was first broached. "It was soon after the
election of 1860," wrote one of his clerical friends, "when the
country was beginning to heave in the agony of dissolution. We had
just risen from morning prayers in his own house, where at that time
I was a guest. Filled with gloom, I was lamenting in strong language
the condition and prospect of our beloved country. 'Why,' said he,
'should Christians be disturbed about the dissolution of the Union?
It can only come by God's permission, and will only be permitted if
for His people's good. I cannot see why we should be distressed about
such things, whatever be their consequence.'"

For the next month the Stonewall Brigade and its commander enjoyed a
well-earned rest. The Federals, on Loring's withdrawal, contented
themselves with holding Romney and Moorefield, and on Johnston's
recommendation Loring and part of his troops were transferred
elsewhere. The enemy showed no intention of advancing. The season was
against them. The winter was abnormally wet; the Potomac was higher
than it had been for twenty years, and the Virginia roads had
disappeared in mud. In order to encourage re-enlistment amongst the
men, furloughs were liberally granted by the authorities at Richmond,
and for a short season the din of arms was unheard on the Shenandoah.

This peaceful time was one of unalloyed happiness to Jackson. The
country round Winchester--the gently rolling ridges, surmounted by
groves of forest trees, the great North Mountains to the westward,
rising sharply from the Valley, the cosy villages and comfortable
farms, and, in the clear blue distance to the south, the towering
peaks of the Massanuttons--is a picture not easily forgotten. And the
little town, quiet and old-fashioned, with its ample gardens and
red-brick pavements, is not unworthy of its surroundings. Up a narrow
street, shaded by silver maples, stood the manse, not far from the
headquarter offices; and here when his daily work was done Jackson
found the happiness of a home, brightened by the winning ways and
attractive presence of his wife. With his host he had much in common.
They were members of the same church, and neither yielded to the
other in his high standard of morality. The great bookcases of the
manse were well stocked with appropriate literature, and the cultured
intellect of Dr. Graham met more than half-way the somewhat abstruse
problems with which Jackson's powerful brain delighted to wrestle.

But Jackson and his host, even had they been so inclined, were not
permitted to devote their whole leisure to theological discussion.
Children's laughter broke in upon their arguments. The young staff
officers, with the bright eyes of the Winchester ladies as a lure,
found a welcome by that hospitable hearth, and the war was not so
absorbing a topic as to drive gaiety afield.

The sedate manse was like to lose its character. There were times
when the house overflowed with music and with merriment, and sounds
at which a Scotch elder would have shuddered were heard far out in
the street. And the fun and frolic were not confined to the more
youthful members of the household. The Stonewall Brigade would hardly
have been surprised had they seen their general surrounded by
ponderous volumes, gravely investigating the teaching of departed
commentators, or joining with quiet fervour in the family devotions.
But had they seen him running down the stairs with an urchin on his
shoulders, laughing like a schoolboy, they would have refused to
credit the evidence of their senses.

So the months wore on. "We spent," says Mrs. Jackson, "as happy a
winter as ever falls to the lot of mortals upon earth." But the
brigade was not forgotten, nor the enemy. Every day the Virginia
regiments improved in drill and discipline. The scouts were busy on
the border, and not a movement of the Federal forces was unobserved.
A vigilant watch was indeed necessary. The snows had melted and the
roads were slowly drying. The Army of the Potomac, McClellan's great
host, numbering over 200,000 men, encamped around Washington, hardly
more than a day's march distant from Centreville, threatened to
overwhelm the 82,000 Confederates who held the intrenchments at
Centreville and Manassas Junction. General Lander was dead, but
Shields, a veteran of the Mexican campaign, had succeeded him, and
the force at both Romney and Frederick had been increased. In the
West things were going badly for the new Republic. The Union troops
had overrun Kentucky, Missouri, and the greater part of Tennessee. A
Confederate army had been defeated; Confederate forts captured; and
"the amphibious power" of the North had already been effectively
exerted. Various towns on the Atlantic seaboard had been occupied.
Not one of the European Powers had evinced a decided intention of
espousing the Confederate cause, and the blockade still exercised its
relentless pressure.

It was not, however, until the end of February that the great host
beyond the Potomac showed symptoms of approaching movement. But it
had long been evident that both Winchester and Centreville must soon
be abandoned. Johnston was as powerless before McClellan as Jackson
before Banks. Even if by bringing fortification to their aid they
could hold their ground against the direct attack of far superior
numbers, they could not prevent their intrenchments being turned.
McClellan had at his disposal the naval resources of the North. It
would be no difficult task to transfer his army by the broad reaches
of the Potomac and the Chesapeake to some point on the Virginia
coast, and to intervene between Centreville and Richmond. At the same
time the army of Western Virginia, which was now under command of
General Fremont, might threaten Jackson in rear by moving on Staunton
from Beverley and the Great Kanawha, while Banks assailed him in
front.* (* Fortunately for the Confederates this army had been
reduced to 18,000 men, and the want of transport, together with the
condition of the mountain roads, kept it stationary until the weather

Johnston was already preparing to retreat. Jackson, reluctant to
abandon a single acre of his beloved Valley to the enemy, was
nevertheless constrained to face the possibilities of such a course.
His wife was sent back to her father's home in the same train that
conveyed his sick to Staunton; baggage and stores were removed to
Mount Jackson, half-way up the Shenandoah Valley, and his little
army, which had now been increased to three brigades, or 4600 men all
told, was ordered to break up its camps. 38,000 Federals had
gradually assembled between Frederick and Romney. Banks, who
commanded the whole force, was preparing to advance, and his outposts
were already established on the south bank of the Potomac.

But when the Confederate column filed through the streets of
Winchester, it moved not south but north.

Such was Jackson's idea of a retreat. To march towards the enemy, not
away from him; to watch his every movement; to impose upon him with a
bold front; to delay him to the utmost; and to take advantage of
every opportunity that might offer for offensive action.

Shortly before their departure the troops received a reminder that
their leader brooked no trifling with orders. Intoxicating liquors
were forbidden in the Confederate lines. But the regulation was
systematically evaded, and the friends of the soldiers smuggled in
supplies. When this breach of discipline was discovered, Jackson put
a stop to the traffic by an order which put the punishment on the
right shoulders. "Every waggon that came into camp was to be
searched, and if any liquor were found it was to be spilled out, and
the waggon horses turned over to the quartermaster for the public
service." Nevertheless, when they left Winchester, so Jackson wrote
to his wife, the troops were in excellent spirits, and their somewhat
hypochondriacal general had never for years enjoyed more perfect
health--a blessing for which he had more reason to be thankful than
the Federals.

(MAP. THE VALLEY. Showing: West: Monterey, North: Hancock, South:
Charlottesville and East: Manassas Junction.)



It is well worth noticing that the interference of both the Union and
Confederate Cabinets was not confined to the movements and location
of the troops. The organisation of the armies was very largely the
work of the civilian authorities, and the advice of the soldiers was
very generally disregarded. The results, it need hardly be said, were
deplorable. The Northern wiseacres considered cavalry an encumbrance
and a staff a mere ornamental appendage. McClellan, in consequence,
was always in difficulties for the want of mounted regiments; and
while many regular officers were retained in the command of batteries
and companies, the important duties of the staff had sometimes to be
assigned to volunteers. The men too, at first, were asked to serve
for three months only; that is, they were permitted to take their
discharge directly they had learned the rudiments of their work.
Again, instead of the ranks of the old regiments being filled up as
casualties occurred, the armies, despite McClellan's protests, were
recruited by raw regiments, commanded by untrained officers. Mr.
Davis, knowing something of war, certainly showed more wisdom. The
organisation of the army of Northern Virginia was left, in great
measure, to General Lee; so from the very first the Southerners had
sufficient cavalry and as good a staff as could be got together. The
soldiers, however, were only enlisted at first for twelve months; yet
"Lee," says Lord Wolseley, "pleaded in favour of the engagement being
for the duration of the war, but he pleaded in vain;" and it was not
for many months that the politicians could be induced to cancel the
regulation under which the men elected their officers. The President,
too, while the markets of Europe were still open, neglected to lay in
a store of munitions of war: it was not till May that an order was
sent across the seas, and then only for 10,000 muskets! The
commissariat department, moreover, was responsible to the President
and not to the commander of the armies; this, perhaps, was the worst
fault of all. It would seem impossible that such mistakes, in an
intelligent community, should be permitted to recur. Yet, in face of
the fact that only when the commanders have been given a free hand,
as was Marlborough in the Low Countries, or Wellington in the
Peninsula, has the English army been thoroughly efficient, the
opinion is not uncommon in England that members of Parliament and
journalists are far more capable of organising an army than even the
most experienced soldier.

Since the above was written the war with Spain has given further
proof of how readily even the most intelligent of nations can forget
the lessons of the past.


1862. February 27.

By the end of February a pontoon bridge had been thrown across the
Potomac at Harper's Ferry, and Banks had crossed to the Virginia
shore. An army of 38,000 men, including 2000 cavalry, and accompanied
by 80 pieces of artillery, threatened Winchester.

President Lincoln was anxious that the town should be occupied. Banks
believed that the opportunity was favourable. "The roads to
Winchester," he wrote, "are turnpikes and in tolerable condition. The
enemy is weak, demoralised, and depressed."

But McClellan, who held command of all the Federal forces, had no
mind to expose even a detachment to defeat. The main Confederate army
at Centreville could, at any moment, dispatch reinforcements by
railway to the Valley, reversing the strategic movement which had won
Bull Run; while the Army of the Potomac, held fast by the mud, could
do nothing to prevent it. Banks was therefore ordered to occupy the
line Charlestown to Martinsburg, some two-and-twenty miles from
Winchester, to cover the reconstruction of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, and to accumulate supplies preparatory to a further
advance. The troops, however, did not approve such cautious strategy.
"Their appetite for work," according to their commander, "was very
sharp." Banks himself was not less eager. "If left to our own
discretion," he wrote to McClellan's chief of staff, "the general
desire will be to move early."

March 9.

On March 7 General D.H. Hill, acting under instructions, fell back
from Leesburg, and two days later Johnston, destroying the railways,
abandoned Centreville. The Confederate General-in-Chief had decided
to withdraw to near Orange Court House, trebling his distance from
Washington, and surrendering much territory, but securing, in return,
important strategical advantages. Protected by the Rapidan, a stream
unfordable in spring, he was well placed to meet a Federal advance,
and also, by a rapid march, to anticipate any force which might be
transported by water and landed close to Richmond.

Jackson was now left isolated in the Valley. The nearest Confederate
infantry were at Culpeper Court House, beyond the Blue Ridge, nearly
sixty miles south-east. In his front, within two easy marches, was an
army just seven times his strength, at Romney another detachment of
several thousand men, and a large force in the Alleghanies. He was in
no hurry, however, to abandon Winchester.

Johnston had intended that when the main army fell back towards
Richmond his detachments should follow suit. Jackson found a loophole
in his instructions which gave him full liberty of action.

"I greatly desire," he wrote to Johnston on March 8, "to hold this
place [Winchester] so far as may be consistent with your views and
plans, and am making arrangements, by constructing works, etc., to
make a stand. Though you desired me some time since to fall back in
the event of yourself and General Hill's doing so, yet in your letter
of the 5th inst. you say, "Delay the enemy as long as you can;" I
have felt justified in remaining here for the present.

"And now, General, that Hill has fallen back, can you not send him
over here? I greatly need such an officer; one who can be sent off as
occasion may offer against an exposed detachment of the enemy for the
purpose of capturing it...I believe that if you can spare Hill, and
let him move here at once, you will never have occasion to regret it.
The very idea of reinforcements coming to Winchester would, I think,
be a damper to the enemy, in addition to the fine effect that would
be produced on our own troops, already in fine spirits. But if you
cannot spare Hill, can you not send me some other troops? If we
cannot be successful in defeating the enemy should he advance, a kind
Providence may enable us to inflict a terrible wound and effect a
safe retreat in the event of having to fall back. I will keep myself
on the alert with respect to communications between us, so as to be
able to join you at the earliest possible moment, if such a movement
becomes necessary."* (* O.R. volume 5 page 1094.)

This letter is characteristic. When Jackson asked for reinforcements
the cause of the South seemed well-nigh hopeless. Her Western armies
were retiring, defeated and demoralised. Several of her Atlantic
towns had fallen to the Federal navy, assisted by strong landing
parties. The army on which she depended for the defence of Richmond,
yielding to the irresistible presence of far superior numbers, was
retreating into the interior of Virginia. There was not the faintest
sign of help from beyond the sea. The opportunity for a great
counterstroke had been suffered to escape. Her forces were too small
for aught but defensive action, and it was difficult to conceive that
she could hold her own against McClellan's magnificently appointed
host. "Events," said Davis at this time, "have cast on our arms and
hopes the gloomiest shadows." But from the Valley, the northern
outpost of the Confederate armies, where the danger was most
threatening and the means of defence the most inadequate, came not a
whisper of apprehension. The troops that held the border were but a
handful, but Jackson knew enough of war to be aware that victory does
not always side with the big battalions. Neither Johnston nor Davis
had yet recognised, as he did, the weak joint in the Federal harness.
Why should the appearance of Hill's brigade at Winchester discourage
Banks? Johnston had fallen back to the Rapidan, and there was now no
fear of the Confederates detaching troops suddenly from Manassas. Why
should the bare idea that reinforcements were coming up embarrass the

The letter itself does not indeed supply a definite answer. Jackson
was always most guarded in his correspondence; and, if he could
possibly avoid it, he never made the slightest allusion to the
information on which his plans were based. His staff officers,
however, after the campaign was over, were generally enlightened as
to the motive of his actions, and we are thus enabled to fill the
gap.* (* Letter from Major Hotchkiss to the author.) Jackson demanded
reinforcements for the one reason that a blow struck near Winchester
would cause alarm in Washington. The communications of the Federal
capital with both the North and West passed through or close to
Harper's Ferry; and the passage over the Potomac, which Banks was now
covering, was thus the most sensitive point in the invader's front.
Well aware, as indeed was every statesman and every general in
Virginia, of the state of public feeling in the North, Jackson saw
with more insight than others the effect that was likely to be
produced should the Government, the press, and the people of the
Federal States have reason to apprehend that the capital of the Union
was in danger.

If the idea of playing on the fears of his opponents by means of the
weak detachment under Jackson ever suggested itself to Johnston, he
may be forgiven if he dismissed it as chimerical. For 7600 men* (*
Jackson, 4600; Hill, 3000.) to threaten with any useful result a
capital which was defended by 250,000 seemed hardly within the bounds
of practical strategy. Johnston had nevertheless determined to turn
the situation to account. In order to protect the passages of the
Upper Potomac, McClellan had been compelled to disseminate his army.
Between his main body south of Washington and his right wing under
Banks was a gap of fifty miles, and this separation Johnston was
determined should be maintained. The President, to whom he had
referred Jackson's letter, was unable to spare the reinforcements
therein requested, and the defence of the Valley was left to the 4600
men encamped at Winchester. Jackson was permitted to use his own
judgment as to his own position, but something more was required of
him than the mere protection of a tract of territory. "He was to
endeavour to employ the invaders in the Valley without exposing
himself to the danger of defeat, by keeping so near the enemy as to
prevent his making any considerable detachment to reinforce
McClellan, but not so near that he might be compelled to fight."* (*
Johnston's Narrative.)

To carry out these instructions Jackson had at his disposal 3600
infantry, 600 cavalry, and six batteries of 27 guns. Fortunately,
they were all Virginians, with the exception of one battalion, the
First, which was composed of Irish navvies.

This force, which had now received the title of the Army of the
Valley, was organised in three brigades:--

First Brigade (Stonewall): Brigadier-General Garnett. 2nd Virginia
Regiment. 4th Virginia Regiment.  5th Virginia Regiment. 27th
Virginia Regiment.  33rd Virginia Regiment.

Second Brigade: Colonel Burks.  21st Virginia Regiment.  42nd
Virginia Regiment.  48th Virginia Regiment.  1st Regular Battalion

Third Brigade: Colonel Fulkerson. 23rd Virginia Regiment. 27th
Virginia Regiment. McLaughlin's Battery           8 guns. Waters'
Battery                4 guns. Carpenter's Battery            4 guns.
Marye's Battery                4 guns. Shumaker's Battery
4 guns. Ashby's Regiment of Cavalry. Chew's Horse-Artillery Battery 3

The infantry were by this time fairly well armed and equipped, but
the field-pieces were mostly smoothbores of small calibre. Of the
quality of the troops Bull Run had been sufficient test. Side by side
with the sons of the old Virginia houses the hunters and yeomen of
the Valley had proved their worth. Their skill as marksmen had stood
them in good stead. Men who had been used from boyhood to shoot
squirrels in the woodland found the Federal soldier a target
difficult to miss. Skirmishing and patrolling came instinctively to
those who had stalked the deer and the bear in the mountain forests;
and the simple hardy life of an agricultural community was the best
probation for the trials of a campaign. The lack of discipline and of
competent regimental officers might have placed them at a
disadvantage had they been opposed to regulars; but they were already
half-broken to the soldier's trade before they joined the ranks. They
were no strangers to camp and bivouac, to peril and adventure; their
hands could guard their heads. Quick sight and steady nerve,
unfailing vigilance and instant resolve, the very qualities which
their devotion to field-sports fostered, were those which had so
often prevailed in the war of the Revolution over the mechanical
tactics of well-disciplined battalions; and on ground with which they
were perfectly familiar the men of the Shenandoah were formidable

They were essentially rough and ready. Their appearance would hardly
have captivated a martinet. The eye that lingers lovingly on
glittering buttons and spotless belts would have turned away in
disdain from Jackson's soldiers. There was nothing bright about them
but their rifles. They were as badly dressed, and with as little
regard for uniformity, as the defenders of Torres Vedras or the Army
of Italy in 1796. Like Wellington and Napoleon, the Confederate
generals cared very little what their soldiers wore so long as they
did their duty. Least of all can one imagine Stonewall Jackson
exercising his mind as to the cut of a tunic or the polish of a
buckle. The only standing order in the English army of the Peninsula
which referred to dress forbade the wearing of the enemy's uniform.
It was the same in the Army of the Valley, although at a later period
even this order was of necessity ignored. As their forefathers of the
Revolution took post in Washington's ranks clad in hunting shirts and
leggings, so the Confederate soldiers preferred the garments spun by
their own women to those supplied them by the State. Grey, of all
shades, from light blue to butter-nut, was the universal colour. The
coatee issued in the early days of the war had already given place to
a short-waisted and single-breasted jacket. The blue kepi held out
longer. The soft felt hat which experience soon proved the most
serviceable head-dress had not yet become universal. But the long
boots had gone; and strong brogans, with broad soles and low heels,
had been found more comfortable. Overcoats were soon discarded. "The
men came to the conclusion that the trouble of carrying them on hot
days outweighed their comfort when the cold day arrived. Besides,
they found that life in the open air hardened them to such an extent
that changes in temperature were hardly felt."* (* Soldier Life in
the Army of Northern Virginia chapter 2.) Nor did the knapsack long
survive. "It was found to gall the back and shoulders and weary the
man before half the march was accomplished. It did not pay to carry
around clean clothes while waiting for the time to use them."* (*
Ibid) But the men still clung to their blankets and waterproof
sheets, worn in a roll over the left shoulder, and the indispensable
haversack carried their whole kit. Tents--except the enemy's--were
rarely seen. The Army of the Valley generally bivouacked in the
woods, the men sleeping in pairs, rolled in their blankets and rubber
sheets. The cooking arrangements were primitive. A few frying-pans
and skillets formed the culinary apparatus of a company, with a
bucket or two in addition, and the frying-pans were generally carried
with their handles stuck in the rifle-barrels! The tooth-brush was a
button-hole ornament, and if, as was sometimes the case, three days'
rations were served out at a single issue, the men usually cooked and
ate them at once, so as to avoid the labour of carrying them.

Such was Jackson's infantry, a sorry contrast indeed to the soldierly
array of the Federals, with their complete appointments and trim blue
uniforms. But fine feathers, though they may have their use, are
hardly essential to efficiency in the field; and whilst it is
absolutely true that no soldiers ever marched with less to encumber
them than the Confederates, it is no empty boast that none ever
marched faster or held out longer.

If the artillery, with a most inferior equipment, was less efficient
than the infantry, the cavalry was an invaluable auxiliary. Ashby was
the beau-ideal of a captain of light-horse. His reckless daring, both
across-country and under fire, made him the idol of the army. Nor was
his reputation confined to the Confederate ranks. "I think even our
men," says a Federal officer, "had a kind of admiration for him, as
he sat unmoved upon his horse, and let them pepper away at him as if
he enjoyed it." His one shortcoming was his ignorance of drill and
discipline. But in the spring of 1862 these deficiencies were in a
fair way of being rectified. He had already learned something of
tactics. In command of a few hundred mounted riflemen and a section
of horse-artillery he was unsurpassed; and if his men were apt to get
out of hand in battle, his personal activity ensured their strict
attention on the outposts. He thought little of riding seventy or
eighty miles within the day along his picket line, and it is said
that he first recommended himself to Jackson by visiting the Federal
camps disguised as a horse doctor. Jackson placed much dependence on
his mounted troops. Immediately he arrived in the Valley he
established his cavalry outposts far to the front. While the infantry
were reposing in their camps near Winchester, the south bank of the
Potomac, forty miles northward, was closely and incessantly
patrolled. The squadrons never lacked recruits. With the horse-loving
Virginians the cavalry was the favourite arm, and the strength of the
regiments was only limited by the difficulty of obtaining horses. To
the sons of the Valley planters and farmers Ashby's ranks offered a
most attractive career. The discipline was easy, and there was no
time for drill. But of excitement and adventure there was enough and
to spare. Scarcely a day passed without shots being exchanged at one
point or another of the picket line. There were the enemy's outposts
to be harassed, prisoners to be taken, bridges to be burnt, and
convoys to be captured. Many were the opportunities for distinction.
Jackson demanded something more from his cavalry than merely guarding
the frontier. It was not sufficient for him to receive warning that
the enemy was advancing. He wanted information from which he could
deduce what he intended doing; information of the strength of his
garrisons, of the dispositions of his camps, of every movement which
took place beyond the river. The cavalry had other and more dangerous
duties than vedette and escort. To penetrate the enemy's lines, to
approach his camps, and observe his columns--these were the tasks of
Ashby's riders, and in these they were unrivalled. Many of them were
no more than boys; but their qualifications for such a life were
undeniable. A more gallant or high-spirited body of young soldiers
never welcomed the boot and saddle. Their horses were their own,
scions of good Virginian stock, with the blood of many a well-known
sire--Eclipse, Brighteyes, and Timoleon--in their veins, and they
knew how to care for them. They were acquainted with every country
lane and woodland track. They had friends in every village, and their
names were known to every farmer. The night was no hindrance to them,
even in the region of the mountain and the forest. The hunter's paths
were as familiar to them as the turnpike roads. They knew the depth
and direction of every ford, and could predict the effect of the
weather on stream and track. More admirable material for the service
of intelligence could not possibly have been found, and Ashby's
audacity in reconnaissance found ready imitators. A generous rivalry
in deeds of daring spread through the command. Bold enterprises were
succeeded by others yet more bold, and, to use the words of a
gentleman who, although he was a veteran of four years' service, was
but nineteen years of age when Richmond fell, "We thought no more of
riding through the enemy's bivouacs than of riding round our fathers'
farms." So congenial were the duties of the cavalry, so attractive
the life and the associations, that it was no rare thing for a
Virginia gentleman to resign a commission in another arm in order to
join his friends and kinsmen as a private in Ashby's ranks. And so
before the war had been in progress for many months the fame of the
Virginia cavalry rivalled that of their Revolutionary forbears under
Light-Horse Harry, the friend of Washington and the father of Lee.

But if the raw material of Jackson's army was all that could be
desired, no less so was the material of the force opposed to him. The
regiments of Banks' army corps were recruited as a rule in the
Western States; Ohio, Indiana, and West Virginia furnished the
majority. They too were hunters and farmers, accustomed to firearms,
and skilled in woodcraft. No hardier infantry marched beneath the
Stars and Stripes; the artillery, armed with a proportion of rifled
guns, was more efficient than that of the Confederates; and in
cavalry alone were the Federals overmatched. In numbers the latter
were far superior to Ashby's squadrons; in everything else they were
immeasurably inferior. Throughout the North horsemanship was
practically an unknown art. The gentlemen of New England had not
inherited the love of their Ironside ancestors for the saddle and the
chase. Even in the forests of the West men travelled by waggon and
hunted on foot. "As cavalry," says one of Banks' brigadiers, "Ashby's
men were greatly superior to ours. In reply to some orders I had
given, my cavalry commander replied, "I can't catch them, sir; they
leap fences and walls like deer; neither our men nor our horses are
so trained.""* (* Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain, General G.H. Gordon
page 136.)

It was easy enough to fill the ranks of the Northern squadrons. Men
volunteered freely for what they deemed the more dashing branch of
the service, ignorant that its duties were far harder both to learn
and to execute than those of the other arms, and expecting, says a
Federal officer, that the regiment would be accompanied by an
itinerant livery stable! Both horses and men were recruited without
the slightest reference to their fitness for cavalry work. No man was
rejected, no matter what his size or weight, no matter whether he had
ever had anything to do with horseflesh or not, and consequently the
proportion of sick horses was enormous. Moreover, while the Southern
troopers generally carried a firearm, either rifle or shot-gun, some
of the Northern squadrons had only the sabre, and in a wooded country
the firearm was master of the situation. During the first two years
of the war, therefore, the Federal cavalry, generally speaking, were
bad riders and worse horse-masters, unable to move except upon the
roads, and as inefficient on reconnaissance as in action. For an
invading army, information, ample and accurate, is the first
requisite. Operating in a country which, almost invariably, must be
better known to the defenders, bold scouting alone will secure it
from ambush and surprise. Bold scouting was impossible with such
mounted troops as Banks possessed, and throughout the Valley campaign
the Northern general was simply groping in the dark.

But even had his cavalry been more efficient, it is doubtful whether
Banks would have profited. His appointment was political. He was an
ardent Abolitionist, but he knew nothing whatever of soldiering. He
had begun life as a hand in a cotton factory. By dint of energy and
good brains his rise had been rapid; and although, when the war broke
out, he was still a young man, he had been Governor of Massachusetts
and Speaker of the House of Representatives. What the President
expected when he gave him an army corps it is difficult to divine;
what might have been expected any soldier could have told him. To
gratify an individual, or perhaps to conciliate a political faction,
the life of many a private soldier was sacrificed. Lincoln, it is
true, was by no means solitary in the unwisdom of his selections for
command. His rival in Richmond, it is said, had a fatal penchant for
his first wife's relations; his political supporters were constantly
rewarded by appointments in the field, and the worst disasters that
befell the Confederacy were due, in great part, to the blunders of
officers promoted for any other reason than efficiency. For Mr. Davis
there was little excuse. He had been educated at West Point. He had
served in the regular army of the United States, and had been
Secretary of War at Washington. Lincoln, on the other hand, knew
nothing of war, beyond what he had learned in a border skirmish, and
very little of general history. He had not yet got rid of the common
Anglo-Saxon idea that a man who has pluck and muscle is already a
good soldier, and that the same qualities which serve in a
street-brawl are all that is necessary to make a general. Nor were
historical precedents wanting for the mistakes of the American
statesmen. In both the Peninsula and the Crimea, lives, treasure, and
prestige were as recklessly wasted as in Virginia; and staff officers
who owed their positions to social influence alone, generals, useless
and ignorant, who succeeded to responsible command by virtue of
seniority and a long purse, were the standing curse of the English
army. At the same time, it may well be questioned whether some of the
regular officers would have done better than Banks. He was no fool,
and if he had not studied the art of war, there have been
barrack-square generals who have showed as much ignorance without
one-quarter his ability. Natural commonsense has often a better
chance of success than a rusty brain, and a mind narrowed by routine.
After serving in twenty campaigns Frederick the Great's mules were
still mules. On this very theatre of war, in the forests beyond
Romney, an English general had led a detachment of English soldiers
to a defeat as crushing as it was disgraceful, and Braddock was a
veteran of many wars. Here, too, Patterson, an officer of Volunteers
who had seen much service, had allowed Johnston to slip away and join
Beauregard on Bull Run. The Northern people, in good truth, had as
yet no reason to place implicit confidence in the leading of trained
soldiers. They had yet to learn that mere length of service is no
test whatever of capacity for command, and that character fortified
by knowledge is the only charm which attracts success.

Jackson had already some acquaintance with Banks. During the Romney
expedition the latter had been posted at Frederick with 16,000 men,
and a more enterprising commander would at least have endeavoured to
thwart the Confederate movements. Banks, supine in his camps, made
neither threat nor demonstration. Throughout the winter, Ashby's
troopers had ridden unmolested along the bank of the Potomac. Lander
alone had worried the Confederate outposts, driven in their advanced
detachments, and drawn supplies from the Virginian farms. Banks had
been over-cautious and inactive, and Jackson had not failed to note
his characteristics.

March 9.

Up to March 9 the Federal general, keeping his cavalry in rear, had
pushed forward no farther than Charlestown and Bunker Hill. On that
day the news reached McClellan that the Confederates were preparing
to abandon Centreville. He at once determined to push forward his
whole army.

March 12.

Banks was instructed to move on Winchester, and on the morning of the
12th his leading division occupied the town.

Jackson had withdrawn the previous evening. Twice, on March 7 and
again on the 11th, he had offered battle.* (* Major Harman, of
Jackson's staff, writing to his brother on March 6, says: "The
general told me last night that the Yankees had 17,000 men at the two
points, Charlestown and Bunker Hill." On March 8 he writes: "3000
effective men is about the number of General Jackson's force. The
sick, those on furlough, and the deserters from the militia, reduce
him to about that number." Manuscript.) His men had remained under
arms all day in the hope that the enemy's advanced guard might be
tempted to attack. But the activity of Ashby's cavalry, and the
boldness with which Jackson maintained his position, impressed his
adversary with the conviction that the Confederate force was much
greater than it really was. It was reported in the Federal camps that
the enemy's strength was from 7000 to 11,000 men, and that the town
was fortified. Jackson's force did not amount to half that number,
and, according to a Northern officer, "one could have jumped over his
intrenchments as easily as Remus over the walls of Rome."

Jackson abandoned Winchester with extreme reluctance. Besides being
the principal town in that section of the Valley, it was
strategically important to the enemy. Good roads led in every
direction, and communication was easy with Romney and Cumberland to
the north-west, and with Washington and Manassas to the south-east.
Placed at Winchester, Banks could support, or be supported by, the
troops in West Virginia or the army south of Washington. A large and
fertile district would thus be severed from the Confederacy, and the
line of invasion across the Upper Potomac completely blocked.
Overwhelming as was the strength of the Union force, exceeding his
own by more than eight to one, great as was the caution of the
Federal leader, it was only an unlucky accident that restrained
Jackson from a resolute endeavour to at least postpone the capture of
the town. He had failed to induce the enemy's advanced guard to
attack him in position. To attack himself, in broad daylight, with
such vast disproportion of numbers, was out of the question. His
resources, however, were not exhausted. After dark on the 12th, when
his troops had left the town, he called a council, consisting of
General Garnett and the regimental commanders of the Stonewall
Brigade, and proposed a night attack on the Federal advance. When the
troops had eaten their supper and rested for some hours, they were to
march to the neighbourhood of the enemy, some four miles north of
Winchester, and make the attack before daylight. The Federal troops
were raw and inexperienced. Prestige was on the side of the
Confederates, and their morale was high. The darkness, the suddenness
and energy of the attack, the lack of drill and discipline, would all
tend to throw the enemy into confusion; and "by the vigorous use of
the bayonet, and the blessing of divine Providence," Jackson believed
that he would win a signal victory. In the meantime, whilst the
council was assembling, he went off, booted and spurred, to make a
hasty call on Dr. Graham, whose family he found oppressed with the
gloom that overspread the whole town. "He was so buoyant and hopeful
himself that their drooping spirits were revived, and after engaging
with them in family worship, he retired, departing with a cheerful
"Good evening," merely saying that he intended to dine with them the
next day as usual."

When the council met, however, it was found that someone had
blundered. The staff had been at fault. The general had ordered his
trains to be parked immediately south of Winchester, but they had
been taken by those in charge to Kernstown and Newtown, from three to
eight miles distant, and the troops had been marched back to them to
get their rations.

Jackson learned for the first time, when he met his officers, that
his brigades, instead of being on the outskirts of Winchester, were
already five or six miles away. A march of ten miles would thus be
needed to bring them into contact with the enemy. This fact and the
disapproval of the council caused him to abandon his project.

Before following his troops he once more went back to Dr. Graham's.
His cheerful demeanour during his previous visit, although he had
been as reticent as ever as to his plans, had produced a false
impression, and this he thought it his duty to correct. He explained
his plans to his friend, and as he detailed the facts which had
induced him to change them, he repeatedly expressed his reluctance to
give up Winchester without a blow. "With slow and desperate
earnestness he said, 'Let me think--can I not yet carry my plan into
execution?' As he uttered these words he grasped the hilt of his
sword, and the fierce light that blazed in his eyes revealed to his
companion a new man. The next moment he dropped his head and released
his sword, with the words, No, I must not do it; it may cost the
lives of too many brave men. I must retreat and wait for a better
time.'" He had learned a lesson. "Late in the evening," says the
medical director of the Valley army, "we withdrew from Winchester. I
rode with the general as we left the place, and as we reached a high
point overlooking the town we both turned to look at Winchester, now
left to the mercy of the Federal soldiers. I think that a man may
sometimes yield to overwhelming emotion, and I was utterly overcome
by the fact that I was leaving all that I held dear on earth; but my
emotion was arrested by one look at Jackson. His face was fairly
blazing with the fire of wrath that was burning in him, and I felt
awed before him. Presently he cried out, in a tone almost savage,
'That is the last council of war I will ever hold!'"

On leaving Winchester Jackson fell back to Strasburg, eighteen miles
south. There was no immediate pursuit.

March 18.

Banks, in accordance with his instructions, occupied the town, and
awaited further orders. These came on the 18th,* (* O.R. volume 12
part 1 page 164.) and Shields' division of 11,000 men with 27 guns
was at once pushed on to Strasburg. Jackson had already withdrawn,
hoping to draw Banks up the Valley, and was now encamped near Mount
Jackson, a strong position twenty-five miles further south, the
indefatigable Ashby still skirmishing with the enemy. The unusual
audacity which prompted the Federal advance was probably due to the
fact that the exact strength of the Confederate force had been
ascertained in Winchester. At all events, all apprehension of attack
had vanished. Jackson's 4500 men were considered a quantite
negligeable, a mere corps of observation; and not only was Shields
sent forward without support, but a large portion of Banks' corps was
ordered to another field. Its role as an independent force had
ceased. Its movements were henceforward to be subordinate to those of
the main army, and McClellan designed to bring it into closer
connection with his advance on Richmond. How his design was
frustrated, how he struggled in vain to correct the original
dissemination of his forces, how his right wing was held in a vice by
Jackson, and how his initial errors eventually ruined his campaign,
is a strategical lesson of the highest import.

From the day McClellan took command the Army of the Potomac had done
practically nothing. Throughout the winter troops had poured into
Washington at the rate of 40,000 a month. At the end of December
there were 148,000 men fit for duty. On March 20 the grand aggregate
was 240,000.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 26.) But during the
winter no important enterprise had been undertaken. The colours of
the rebels were still flaunting within sight of the forts of
Washington, and the mouth of the Potomac was securely closed by
Confederate batteries. With a mighty army at their service it is
little wonder that the North became restive and reproached their
general. It is doubtless true that the first thing needful was
organisation. To discipline and consolidate the army so as to make
success assured was unquestionably the wiser policy. The impatience
of a sovereign people, ignorant of war, is not to be lightly yielded
to. At the same time, the desire of a nation cannot be altogether
disregarded. A general who obstinately refuses to place himself in
accord with the political situation forfeits the confidence of his
employers and the cordial support of the Administration. The cry
throughout the North was for action. The President took it upon
himself to issue a series of orders. The army was ordered to advance
on February 22, a date chosen because it was Washington's birthday,
just as the third and most disastrous assault on Plevna was delivered
on the "name-day" of the Czar. McClellan secured delay. His plans
were not yet ripe. The Virginia roads were still impassable. The
season was not yet sufficiently advanced for active operations, and
that his objections were well founded it is impossible to deny. The
prospect of success depended much upon the weather. Virginia, covered
in many places with dense forests, crossed by many rivers, and with
most indifferent communications, is a most difficult theatre of war,
and the amenities of the Virginian spring are not to be lightly
faced. Napoleon's fifth element, "mud," is a most disturbing factor
in military calculations. It is related that a Federal officer, sent
out to reconnoitre a road in a certain district of Virginia, reported
that the road was there, but that he guessed "the bottom had fallen
out." Moreover, McClellan had reason to believe that the Confederate
army at Manassas was more than double its actual strength. His
intelligence department, controlled, not by a trained staff officer,
but by a well-known detective, estimated Johnston's force at 115,000
men. In reality, including the detachment on the Shenandoah, it at no
time exceeded 50,000. But for all this there was no reason whatever
for absolute inactivity. The capture of the batteries which barred
the entrance to the Potomac, the defeat of the Confederate
detachments along the river, the occupation of Winchester or of
Leesburg, were all feasible operations. By such means the impatience
of the Northern people might have been assuaged. A few successes,
even on a small scale, would have raised the morale of the troops and
have trained them to offensive movements. The general would have
retained the confidence of the Administration, and have secured the
respect of his opponents. Jackson had set him the example. His winter
expeditions had borne fruit. The Federal generals opposed to him gave
him full credit for activity. "Much dissatisfaction was expressed by
the troops," says one of Banks' brigadiers, "that Jackson was
permitted to get away from Winchester without a fight, and but little
heed was paid to my assurances that this chieftain would be apt,
before the war closed, to give us an entertainment up to the utmost
of our aspirations."* (* General G.H. Gordon.)

It was not only of McClellan's inactivity that the Government
complained. At the end of February he submitted a plan of operations
to the President, and with that plan Mr. Lincoln totally disagreed.
McClellan, basing his project on the supposition that Johnston had
100,000 men behind formidable intrenchments at Manassas, blocking the
road to Richmond, proposed to transfer 150,000 men to the Virginia
coast by sea; and landing either at Urbanna on the Rappahannock, or
at Fortress Monroe on the Yorktown peninsula, to intervene between
the Confederate army and Richmond, and possibly to capture the
Southern capital before Johnston could get back to save it.

The plan at first sight seemed promising. But in Lincoln's eyes it
had this great defect: during the time McClellan was moving round by
water and disembarking his troops--and this, so few were the
transports, would take at least a month--Johnston might make a dash
at Washington. The city had been fortified. A cordon of detached
forts surrounded it on a circumference of thirty miles. The Potomac
formed an additional protection. But a cordon of isolated earthworks
does not appeal as an effective barrier to the civilian mind, and
above Point of Rocks the great river was easy of passage. Even if
Washington were absolutely safe from a coup de main, Lincoln had
still good reason for apprehension. The Union capital was merely the
seat of government. It had no commercial interests. With a population
of but 20,000, it was of no more practical importance than Windsor or
Versailles. Compared with New York, Pittsburg, or Philadelphia, it
was little more than a village. But, in the regard of the Northern
people, Washington was the centre of the Union, the keystone of the
national existence. The Capitol, the White House, the Treasury, were
symbols as sacred to the States as the colours to a regiment.* (* For
an interesting exposition of the views of the soldiers at Washington,
see evidence of General Hitchcock, U.S.A., acting as Military Adviser
to the President, O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 221.) If the nation was
set upon the fall of Richmond, it was at least as solicitous for the
security of its own chief city, and an administration that permitted
that security to be endangered would have been compelled to bow to
the popular clamour. The extraordinary taxation demanded by the war
already pressed heavily on the people. Stocks were falling rapidly,
and the financial situation was almost critical. It is probable, too,
that a blow at Washington would have done more than destroy all
confidence in the Government. England and France were chafing under
the effects of the blockade. The marts of Europe were hungry for
cotton. There was much sympathy beyond seas with the seceded States;
and, should Washington fall, the South, in all likelihood, would be
recognised as an independent nation. Even if the Great Powers were to
refuse her active aid in the shape of fleets and armies, she would at
least have access to the money markets of the world; and it was
possible that neither England nor France would endure the closing of
her ports. With the breaking of the blockade, money, munitions, and
perhaps recruits, would be poured into the Confederacy, and the
difficulty of reconquest would be trebled. The dread of foreign
interference was, therefore, very real; and Lincoln, foreseeing the
panic that would shake the nation should a Confederate army cross the
Potomac at Harper's Ferry or Point of Rocks, was quite justified in
insisting on the security of Washington being placed beyond a doubt.
He knew, as also did Jackson, that even a mere demonstration against
so vital a point might have the most deplorable effect. Whatever line
of invasion, he asked, might be adopted, let it be one that would
cover Washington.

Lincoln's remonstrances, however, had no great weight with McClellan.
The general paid little heed to the political situation. His chief
argument in favour of the expedition by sea had been the strength of
the fortifications at Manassas. Johnston's retreat on March 9 removed
this obstacle from his path; but although he immediately marched his
whole army in pursuit, he still remained constant to his favourite
idea. The road to Richmond from Washington involved a march of one
hundred miles, over a difficult country, with a single railway as the
line of supply. The route from the coast, although little shorter,
was certainly easier. Fortress Monroe had remained in Federal hands.
Landing under the shelter of its guns, he would push forward, aided
by the navy, to West Point, the terminus of the York River Railroad,
within thirty miles of Richmond, transporting his supplies by water.
Washington, with the garrison he would leave behind, would in his
opinion be quite secure. The Confederates would be compelled to
concentrate for the defence of their capital, and a resolute
endeavour on their part to cross the Potomac was forbidden by every
rule of strategy. Had not Johnston, in his retreat, burnt the railway
bridges? Could there be a surer indication that he had no intention
of returning?

Such was McClellan's reasoning, and, putting politics aside, it was
perfectly sound. Lincoln reluctantly yielded, and on March 17 the
Army of the Potomac, withdrawing by successive divisions from
Centreville to Alexandria, began its embarkation for the Peninsula,
the region, in McClellan's words, "of sandy roads and short land
transportation."* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 7.) The vessels
assembled at Alexandria could only carry 10,000 men, thus involving
at least fifteen voyages to and fro. Yet the Commander-in-Chief was
full of confidence. To the little force in the Shenandoah Valley,
flying southward before Shields, he gave no thought. It would have
been nothing short of miraculous had he even suspected that 4500 men,
under a professor of the higher mathematics, might bring to naught
the operations of his gigantic host. Jackson was not even to be
followed. Of Banks' three divisions, Shields', Sedgwick's, and
Williams', that of Shields alone was considered sufficient to protect
Harper's Ferry, the Baltimore and Ohio Railway, and the Chesapeake
Canal.* (* Ibid page 11.) Banks, with the remainder of his army, was
to move at once to Manassas, and cover the approaches to Washington
east of the Blue Ridge. Sedgwick had already been detached to join
McClellan; and on March 20 Williams' division began its march towards
Manassas, while Shields fell back on Winchester.

March 21.

(MAP. SITUATION, NIGHT OF MARCH 21, 1862. Showing: West: McDowell,
North: Baltimore, South: Yorktown and East: Urbanna.)

On the evening of the 21st Ashby reported to Jackson that the enemy
was retreating, and information came to hand that a long train of
waggons, containing the baggage of 12,000 men, had left Winchester
for Castleman's Ferry on the Shenandoah. Further reports indicated
that Banks' whole force was moving eastward, and Jackson, in
accordance with his instructions to hold the enemy in the Valley, at
once pushed northward.* (* A large portion of the Army of the
Potomac, awaiting embarkation, still remained at Centreville. The
cavalry had pushed forward towards the Rapidan, and the Confederates,
unable to get information, did not suspect that McClellan was moving
to the Peninsula until March 25.)

March 22.

On the 22nd, Ashby, with 280 troopers and 3 horse-artillery guns,
struck Shields' pickets about a mile south of Winchester. A skirmish
ensued, and the presence of infantry, a battery, and some cavalry,
was ascertained. Shields, who was wounded during the engagement by a
shell, handled his troops ably. His whole division was in the near
neighbourhood, but carefully concealed, and Ashby reported to Jackson
that only four regiments of infantry, besides the guns and cavalry,
remained at Winchester. Information obtained from the townspeople
within the Federal lines confirmed the accuracy of his estimate. The
enemy's main body, he was told, had already marched, and the troops
which had opposed him were under orders to move to Harper's Ferry the
next morning.

March 23.

On receipt of this intelligence Jackson hurried forward from his camp
near Woodstock, and that night reached Strasburg. At dawn on the 23rd
four companies were despatched to reinforce Ashby; and under cover of
this advanced guard the whole force followed in the direction of
Kernstown, a tiny village, near which the Federal outposts were
established. At one o'clock the three brigades, wearied by a march of
fourteen miles succeeding one of twenty-two on the previous day,
arrived upon the field of action. The ranks, however, were sadly
weakened, for many of the men had succumbed to their unusual
exertions. Ashby still confronted the enemy; but the Federals had
developed a brigade of infantry, supported by two batteries and
several squadrons, and the Confederate cavalry were slowly giving
ground. On reaching the field Jackson ordered the troops to bivouac.
"Though it was very desirable," he wrote, "to prevent the enemy from
leaving the Valley, yet I deemed it best not to attack until
morning." An inspection of the ground, however, convinced him that
delay was impracticable. "Ascertaining," he continued, "that the
Federals had a position from which our forces could be seen, I
concluded that it would be dangerous to postpone the attack until
next day, as reinforcements might be brought up during the night."*
(* O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 381. The staff appears to have been at
fault. It was certainly of the first importance, whether battle was
intended or not, to select a halting-place concealed from the enemy's
observation.) Ashby was directed to detach half his cavalry* (* 140
sabres.) under Major Funsten in order to cover the left flank; and
Jackson, ascertaining that his men were in good spirits at the
prospect of meeting the enemy, made his preparations for fighting his
first battle.

The position occupied by the Federals was by no means ill-adapted for
defence. The country round Winchester, and indeed throughout the
Valley of the Shenandoah, resembles in many of its features an
English landscape. Low ridges, covered with open woods of oak and
pine, overlook green pastures and scattered copses; and the absence
of hedgerows and cottages gives a park-like aspect to the broad acres
of rich blue grass. But the deep lanes and hollow roads of England
find here no counterpart. The tracks are rough and rude, and even the
pikes, as the main thoroughfares are generally called, are flush with
the fields on either hand. The traffic has not yet worn them to a
lower level, and Virginia road-making despises such refinements as
cuttings or embankments. The highways, even the Valley pike itself,
the great road which is inseparably linked with the fame of Stonewall
Jackson and his brigade, are mere ribbons of metal laid on swell and
swale. Fences of the rudest description, zigzags of wooden rails, or
walls of loose stone, are the only boundaries, and the land is
parcelled out in more generous fashion than in an older and more
crowded country. More desirable ground for military operations it
would be difficult to find. There are few obstacles to the movement
of cavalry and artillery, while the woods and undulations, giving
ample cover, afford admirable opportunities for skilful manoeuvre. In
the spring, however, the condition of the soil would be a drawback.
At the date of the battle part of the country round Kernstown was
under plough, and the whole was saturated with moisture. Horses sank
fetlock-deep in the heavy meadows, and the rough roads, hardly seen
for mud, made marching difficult.

The Federal front extended on both sides of the Valley turnpike. To
the east was a broad expanse of rolling grassland, stretching away to
the horizon; to the west a low knoll, crowned by a few trees, which
goes by the name of Pritchard's Hill. Further north was a ridge,
covered with brown woods, behind which lies Winchester. This ridge,
nowhere more than 100 feet in height, runs somewhat obliquely to the
road in a south-westerly direction, and passing within a mile and a
half of Pritchard's Hill, sinks into the plain three miles south-west
of Kernstown. Some distance beyond this ridge, and separated from it
by the narrow valley of the Opequon, rise the towering bluffs of the
North Mountain, the western boundary of the Valley, sombre with
forest from base to brow.

On leaving Winchester, Williams' division had struck due east,
passing through the village of Berryville, and making for Snicker's
Gap in the Blue Ridge. The Berryville road had thus become of
importance to the garrison of Winchester, for it was from that
direction, if they should become necessary, that reinforcements would
arrive. General Kimball, commanding in Shields' absence the division
which confronted Ashby, had therefore posted the larger portion of
his troops eastward of the pike. A strong force of infantry, with
waving colours, was plainly visible to the Confederates, and it was
seen that the extreme left was protected by several guns. On the
right of the road was a line of skirmishers, deployed along the base
of Pritchard's Hill, and on the knoll itself stood two batteries. The
wooded ridge to westward was as yet unoccupied, except by scouting

Jackson at once determined to turn the enemy's right. An attack upon
the Federal left would have to be pushed across the open fields and
decided by fair fighting, gun and rifle against gun and rifle, and on
that flank the enemy was prepared for battle. Could he seize the
wooded ridge on his left, the initiative would be his. His opponent
would be compelled to conform to his movements. The advantages of a
carefully selected position would be lost. Instead of receiving
attack where he stood, the Federal general would have to change front
to meet it, to execute movements which he had possibly not foreseen,
to fight on ground with which he was unfamiliar; and, instead of
carrying out a plan which had been previously thought out, to
conceive a new one on the spur of the moment, and to issue immediate
orders for a difficult operation. Hesitation and confusion might
ensue; and in place of a strongly established line, confidently
awaiting the advance, isolated regiments, in all the haste and
excitement of rapid movement, or hurriedly posted in unfavourable
positions, would probably oppose the Confederate onset. Such are the
advantages which accrue to the force which delivers an attack where
it is not expected; and, to all appearance, Jackson's plan of battle
promised to bring them into play to the very fullest extent. The
whole force of the enemy, as reported by Ashby, was before him,
plainly visible. To seize the wooded ridge, while the cavalry held
the Federals fast in front; to pass beyond Pritchard's Hill, and to
cut the line of retreat on Winchester, seemed no difficult task. The
only danger was the possibility of a counterstroke while the
Confederates were executing their turning movement. But the enemy, so
far as Jackson's information went, was rapidly withdrawing from the
Valley. The force confronting him was no more than a rear-guard; and
it was improbable in the extreme that a mere rear-guard would involve
itself in a desperate engagement. The moment its line of retreat was
threatened it would probably fall back. To provide, however, against
all emergencies, Colonel Burks' brigade of three battalions was left
for the present in rear of Kernstown, and here, too, remained four of
the field batteries. With the remainder of his force, two brigades of
infantry and a battery, Jackson moved off to his left. Two companies
of the 5th Virginia were recruited from Winchester. Early in the day
the general had asked the regiment for a guide familiar with the
locality; and, with the soldier showing the way, the 27th Virginia,
with two of Carpenter's guns as advanced guard, struck westward by a
waggon track across the meadows, while Ashby pressed the Federals in
front of Kernstown.

3.45 P.M.

The main body followed in two parallel columns, and the line of march
soon brought them within range of the commanding batteries on
Pritchard's Hill.* (* No hidden line of approach was available.
Movement to the south was limited by the course of the Opequon.
Fulkerson's brigade, with Carpenter's two guns, marched nearest to
the enemy; the Stonewall Brigade was on Fulkerson's left.) At a range
of little more than a mile the enemy's gunners poured a heavy fire on
the serried ranks, and Carpenter, unlimbering near the Opequon
Church, sought to distract their aim.

The Confederate infantry, about 2000 all told, although moving in
mass, and delayed by fences and marshy ground, passed unscathed under
the storm of shell, and in twenty minutes the advanced guard had
seized the wooded ridge.

Finding a rocky clearing on the crest, about a mile distant from
Pritchard's Hill, Jackson sent back for the artillery. Three
batteries, escorted by two of Burke's battalions, the 21st Virginia
and the Irishmen, pushed across the level as rapidly as the wearied
teams could move. Two guns were dismounted by the Federal fire; but,
coming into action on the ridge, the remainder engaged the hostile
batteries with effect. Meanwhile, breaking their way through the
ragged undergrowth of the bare March woods, the infantry, in two
lines, was pressing forward along the ridge. On the right was the
27th Virginia, supported by the 21st; on the left, Fulkerson's two
battalions, with the Stonewall Brigade in second line. The 5th
Virginia remained at the foot of the ridge near Macauley's cottage,
in order to connect with Ashby. Jackson's tactics appeared to be
succeeding perfectly. A body of cavalry and infantry, posted behind
Pritchard's Hill, was seen to be withdrawing, and the fire of the
Federal guns was visibly weakening.

4.30 P.M.

Suddenly, in the woods northward of the Confederate batteries, was
heard a roar of musketry, and the 27th Virginia came reeling back
before the onslaught of superior numbers. But the 21st was hurried to
their assistance; the broken ranks rallied from their surprise; and a
long line of Federal skirmishers, thronging through the thickets, was
twice repulsed by the Southern marksmen.*

(* The Confederate advance was made in the following order: ________
 ________            ________ 23rd Va.   37th Va.            27th Va.
                                 2lst Va.             _______
________    _______             4th Va.    33rd Va.    2nd Va.
                              Irish Battn.)

Fulkerson, further to the left, was more fortunate than the 27th.
Before he began his advance along the ridge he had deployed his two
battalions under cover, and when the musketry broke out on his right
front, they were moving forward over an open field. Half-way across
the field ran a stone wall or fence, and beyond the wall were seen
the tossing colours and bright bayonets of a line of battle, just
emerging from the woods. Then came a race for the wall, and the
Confederates won. A heavy fire, at the closest range, blazed out in
the face of the charging Federals, and in a few moments the stubble
was strewn with dead and wounded. A Pennsylvania regiment, leaving a
colour on the field, gave way in panic, and the whole of the enemy's
force retreated to the shelter of the woods. An attempt to turn
Jackson's left was then easily frustrated; and although the Federals
maintained a heavy fire, Fulkerson's men held stubbornly to the wall.

In the centre of the field the Northern riflemen were sheltered by a
bank; their numbers continually increased, and here the struggle was
more severe. The 4th and 33rd Virginia occupied this portion of the
line, and they were without support, for the 2nd Virginia and the
Irish battalion, the last available reserves upon the ridge, had been
already sent forward to reinforce the right.

The right, too, was hardly pressed. The Confederate infantry had
everywhere to do with superior numbers, and the artillery, in that
wooded ground, could lend but small support. The batteries protected
the right flank, but they could take no share in the struggle to the
front; and yet, as the dusk came on, after two long hours of battle,
the white colours of the Virginia regiments, fixed fast amongst the
rocks, still waved defiant. The long grey line, "a ragged spray of
humanity," plied the ramrod with still fiercer energy, and pale women
on the hills round Winchester listened in terror to the crashing
echoes of the leafless woods. But the end could not be long delayed.
Ammunition was giving out. Every company which had reached the ridge
had joined the fighting line. The ranks were thinning. Many of the
bravest officers were down, and the Northern regiments, standing
staunchly to their work, had been strongly reinforced.

Ashby for once had been mistaken. It was no rearguard that barred the
road to Winchester, but Shields' entire division, numbering at least
9000 men. A prisoner captured the day before had admitted that the
Confederates were under the impression that Winchester had been
evacuated, and that Jackson had immediately moved forward. Shields,
an able officer, who had commanded a brigade in Mexico, saw his
opportunity. He knew something of his opponent, and anticipating that
he would be eager to attack, had ordered the greater part of his
division to remain concealed. Kimball's brigade and five batteries
were sent quietly, under cover of the night, to Pritchard's Hill.
Sullivan's brigade was posted in support, hidden from view behind a
wood. The cavalry and Tyler's brigade were held in reserve, north of
the town, at a distance where they were not likely to be observed by
the inhabitants. As soon as the Confederates came in sight, and
Kimball deployed across the pike, Tyler was brought through the town
and placed in rear of Sullivan, at a point where the road dips down
between two parallel ridges. Shields himself, wounded in the skirmish
of the preceding day, was not present at the action, although
responsible for these dispositions, and the command had devolved on
Kimball. That officer, when Jackson's design became apparent, ordered
Tyler to occupy the wooded ridge; and it was his five regiments, over
3000 strong, which had struck so strongly at the Confederate advance.
But although superior in numbers by a third, they were unable to make
headway. Kimball, however, rose to the situation before it was too
late. Recognising that Ashby's weak attack was nothing more than a
demonstration, he hurried nearly the whole of his own brigade,
followed by three battalions of Sullivan's, to Tyler's aid, leaving a
couple of battalions and the artillery to hold the pike.

"The struggle," says Shields, "had been for a short time doubtful,"*
(* O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 341.) but this reinforcement of 3000
bayonets turned the scale. Jackson had ordered the 5th and 42nd
Virginia to the ridge, and a messenger was sent back to hurry forward
the 48th. But it was too late. Before the 5th could reach the heights
the centre of the Confederate line was broken. Garnett, the commander
of the Stonewall Brigade, without referring to the general, who was
in another part of the field, had given the order to fall back.
Fulkerson, whose right was now uncovered, was obliged to conform to
the rearward movement, and moving across from Pritchard's Hill, two
Federal regiments, despite the fire of the Southern guns, made a
vigorous attack on Jackson's right. The whole Confederate line, long
since dissolved into a crowd of skirmishers, and with the various
regiments much mixed up, fell back, still fighting, through the
woods. Across the clearing, through the clouds of smoke, came the
Northern masses in pursuit. On the extreme right a hot fire of
canister, at a range of two hundred and fifty yards, drove back the
troops that had come from Pritchard's Hill; but on the wooded ridge
above the artillery was unable to hold its own. The enemy's riflemen
swarmed in the thickets, and the batteries fell back. As they
limbered up one of the six-pounders was overturned. Under a hot fire,
delivered at not more than fifty paces distant, the sergeant in
charge cut loose the three remaining horses, but the gun was
abandoned to the enemy.

Jackson, before the Federal reinforcements had made their presence
felt, was watching the progress of the action on the left. Suddenly,
to his astonishment and wrath, he saw the lines of his old brigade
falter and fall back. Galloping to the spot he imperatively ordered
Garnett to hold his ground, and then turned to restore the fight.
Seizing a drummer by the shoulder, he dragged him to a rise of
ground, in full view of the troops, and bade him in curt, quick
tones, to "Beat the rally!" The drum rolled at his order, and with
his hand on the frightened boy's shoulder, amidst a storm of balls,
he tried to check the flight of his defeated troops. His efforts were
useless. His fighting-line was shattered into fragments; and
although, according to a Federal officer, "many of the brave
Virginians lingered in rear of their retreating comrades, loading as
they slowly retired, and rallying in squads in every ravine and
behind every hill--or hiding singly among the trees,"* (* Colonel
E.H.C. Cavins, 14th Indiana. Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 307.)
it was impossible to stay the rout. The enemy was pressing forward in
heavy force, and their shouts of triumph rang from end to end of the
field of battle. No doubt remained as to their overwhelming numbers,
and few generals but would have been glad enough to escape without
tempting fortune further.

It seemed almost too late to think of even organising a rear-guard.
But Jackson, so far from preparing for retreat, had not yet ceased to
think of victory. The 5th and 42nd Virginia were coming up, a compact
force of 600 bayonets, and a vigorous and sudden counterstroke might
yet change the issue of the day. The reinforcements, however, had not
yet come in sight, and galloping back to meet them he found that
instead of marching resolutely against the enemy, the two regiments
had taken post to the rear, on the crest of a wooded swell, in order
to cover the retreat. On his way to the front the colonel of the 5th
Virginia had received an order from Garnett instructing him to occupy
a position behind which the fighting-line might recover its
formation. Jackson was fain to acquiesce; but the fighting-line was
by this time scattered beyond all hope of rallying; the opportunity
for the counterstroke had passed away, and the battle was
irretrievably lost.

Arrangements were quickly made to enable the broken troops to get
away without further molestation. A battery was ordered to take post
at the foot of the hill, and Funsten's cavalry was called up from
westward of the ridge. The 42nd Virginia came into line on the right
of the 5th, and covered by a stone wall and thick timber, these two
small regiments, encouraged by the presence of their commander, held
stoutly to their ground. The attack was pressed with reckless
gallantry. In front of the 5th Virginia the colours of the 5th Ohio
changed hands no less than six times, and one of them was pierced by
no less than eight-and-forty bullets. The 84th Pennsylvania was twice
repulsed and twice rallied, but on the fall of its colonel retreated
in confusion. The left of the 14th Indiana broke; but the 13th
Indiana now came up, and "inch by inch," according to their
commanding officer, the Confederates were pushed back. The 5th
Virginia was compelled to give way before a flanking fire; but the
colonel retired the colours to a short distance, and ordered the
regiment to re-form on them. Again the heavy volleys blazed out in
the gathering twilight, and the sheaves of death grew thicker every
moment on the bare hillside. But still the Federals pressed on, and
swinging round both flanks, forced the Confederate rear-guard from
the field, while their cavalry, moving up the valley of the Opequon,
captured several ambulances and cut off some two or three hundred

As the night began to fall the 5th Virginia, retiring steadily
towards the pike, filed into a narrow lane, fenced by a stone wall,
nearly a mile distant from their last position, and there took post
for a final stand. Their left was commanded by the ridge, and on the
heights in the rear, coming up from the Opequon valley, appeared a
large mass of Northern cavalry. It was a situation sufficiently
uncomfortable. If the ground was too difficult for the horsemen to
charge over in the gathering darkness, a volley from their carbines
could scarcely have failed to clear the wall. "A single ramrod," it
was said in the Confederate ranks, "would have spitted the whole
battalion." But not a shot was fired. The pursuit of the Federal
infantry had been stayed in the pathless woods, the cavalry was held
in check by Funsten's squadrons, and the 5th was permitted to retire

Neal's Dam, North: Winchester, South: Opequon Creek, East: old Road
to Front Royal.)

The Confederates, with the exception of Ashby, who halted at
Bartonsville, a farm upon the pike, a mile and a half from the field
of battle, fell back to Newtown, three miles further south, where the
trains had been parked. The men were utterly worn out. Three hours of
fierce fighting against far superior numbers had brought them to the
limit of their endurance. "In the fence corners, under the trees, and
around the waggons they threw themselves down, many too weary to eat,
and forgot, in profound slumber, the trials, the dangers, and the
disappointments of the day."* (* Jackson's Valley Campaign, Colonel
William Allan, C.S.A. page 54.)

Jackson, when the last sounds of battle had died away, followed his
troops. Halting by a camp-fire, he stood and warmed himself for a
time, and then, remounting, rode back to Bartonsville. Only one staff
officer, his chief commissary, Major Hawks, accompanied him. The rest
had dropped away, overcome by exhaustion. "Turning from the road into
an orchard, he fastened up his horse, and asked his companion if he
could make a fire, adding, "We shall have to burn fence-rails
to-night." The major soon had a roaring fire, and was making a bed of
rails, when the general wished to know what he was doing. "Finding a
place to sleep," was the reply. "You seem determined to make yourself
and those around you comfortable," said Jackson. And knowing the
general had fasted all day, he soon obtained some bread and meat from
the nearest squad of soldiers, and after they had satisfied their
hunger, they slept soundly on the rail-bed in a fence-corner."

Such was the battle of Kernstown, in which over 1200 men were killed
and wounded, the half of them Confederates. Two or three hundred
prisoners fell into the hands of the Federals. Nearly one-fourth of
Jackson's infantry was hors de combat, and he had lost two guns. His
troops were undoubtedly depressed. They had anticipated an easy
victory; the overwhelming strength of the Federals had surprised
them, and their losses had been severe. But no regret disturbed the
slumbers of their leader. He had been defeated, it was true; but he
looked further than the immediate result of the engagement. "I feel
justified in saying," he wrote in his short report, "that, though the
battle-field is in the possession of the enemy, yet the most
essential fruits of the victory are ours." As he stood before the
camp-fire near Newtown, wrapped in his long cloak, his hands behind
his back, and stirring the embers with his foot, one of Ashby's
youngest troopers ventured to interrupt his reverie. "The Yankees
don't seem willing to quit Winchester, General!" "Winchester is a
very pleasant place to stay in, sir!" was the quick reply. Nothing
daunted, the boy went on: "It was reported that they were retreating,
but I guess they're retreating after us." With his eyes still fixed
on the blazing logs: "I think I may say I am satisfied, sir!" was
Jackson's answer; and with no further notice of the silent circle
round the fire, he stood gazing absently into the glowing flames.
After a few minutes the tall figure turned away, and without another
word strode off into the darkness.

That Jackson divined the full effect of his attack would be to assert
too much. That he realised that the battle, though a tactical defeat,
was strategically a victory is very evident. He knew something of
Banks, he knew more of McClellan, and the bearing of the Valley on
the defence of Washington had long been uppermost in his thoughts. He
had learned from Napoleon to throw himself into the spirit of his
enemy, and it is not improbable that when he stood before the fire
near Newtown he had already foreseen, in some degree at least, the
events that would follow the news of his attack at Kernstown.

The outcome of the battle was indeed far-reaching. "Though the battle
had been won," wrote Shields, "still I could not have believed that
Jackson would have hazarded a decisive engagement, so far from the
main body, without expecting reinforcements; so, to be prepared for
such a contingency, I set to work during the night to bring together
all the troops within my reach. I sent an express after Williams'
division, requesting the rear brigade, about twenty miles distant, to
march all night and join me in the morning. I swept the posts in rear
of almost all their guards, hurrying them forward by forced marches,
to be with me at daylight."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 341.)

General Banks, hearing of the engagement on his way to Washington,
halted at Harper's Ferry, and he also ordered Williams' division to
return at once to Winchester.

One brigade only,* (* Abercrombie's, 4500 men and a battery. The
brigade marched to Warrenton, where it remained until it was
transferred to McDowell's command.) which the order did not reach,
continued the march to Manassas. This counter-movement met with
McClellan's approval. He now recognised that Jackson's force,
commanded as it was, was something more than a mere corps of
observation, and that it was essential that it should be crushed.
"Your course was right," he telegraphed on receiving Banks' report.
"As soon as you are strong enough push Jackson hard and drive him
well beyond Strasburg...The very moment the thorough defeat of
Jackson will permit it, resume the movement on Manassas, always
leaving the whole of Shields' command at or near Strasburg and
Winchester until the Manassas Gap Railway is fully repaired.
Communicate fully and act vigorously."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page

8000 men (Williams' division) were thus temporarily withdrawn from
the force that was to cover Washington from the south. But this was
only the first step. Jackson's action had forcibly attracted the
attention of the Federal Government to the Upper Potomac. The
President was already contemplating the transfer of Blenker's
division from McClellan to Fremont; the news of Kernstown decided the
question, and at the end of March these 9000 men were ordered to West
Virginia, halting at Strasburg, in case Banks should then need them,
on their way.* (* Blenker's division was at Hunter's Chapel, south of
Washington, when it received the order.) But even this measure did
not altogether allay Mr. Lincoln's apprehensions. McClellan had
assured him, on April 1, that 73,000 men would be left for the
defence of the capital and its approaches. But in the original
arrangement, with which the President had been satisfied, Williams
was to have been brought to Manassas, and Shields alone left in the
Shenandoah Valley. Under the new distribution the President found
that the force at Manassas would be decreased by two brigades; and,
at the same time, that while part of the troops McClellan had
promised were not forthcoming, a large portion of those actually
available were good for nothing. The officer left in command at
Washington reported that "nearly all his force was imperfectly
disciplined; that several of the regiments were in a very
disorganised condition; that efficient artillery regiments had been
removed from the forts, and that he had to relieve them with very new
infantry regiments, entirely unacquainted with the duties of that
arm."* (* Report of General Wadsworth; O.R. volume 12 part 3 page
225.) Lincoln submitted the question to six generals of the regular
army, then present in Washington; and these officers replied that, in
their opinion, "the requirement of the President that this city shall
be left entirely secure has not been fully complied with."* (* Letter
of Mr. Stanton; O.R. volume 19 part 2 page 726.)

On receiving this report, Lincoln ordered the First Army Corps,
37,000 strong, under General McDowell, to remain at Manassas in place
of embarking for the Peninsula; and thus McClellan, on the eve of his
advance on Richmond, found his original force of 150,000 reduced by
46,000 officers and men. Moreover, not content with detaching
McDowell for a time, Lincoln, the next day, assigned that general to
an independent command, covering the approaches to Washington; Banks,
also, was withdrawn from McClellan's control, and directed to defend
the Valley. The original dissemination of the Federal forces was thus
gravely accentuated, and the Confederates had now to deal with four
distinct armies, McClellan's, McDowell's, Banks', and Fremont's,
dependent for co-operation on the orders of two civilians, President
Lincoln and his Secretary of War. And this was not all. McDowell had
been assigned a most important part in McClellan's plan of invasion.
The road from Fortress Monroe was barred by the fortifications of
Yorktown. These works could be turned, however, by sending a force up
the York River. But the passage of the stream was debarred to the
Federal transports by a strong fort at Gloucester Point, on the left
bank, and the capture of this work was to be the task of the First
Army Corps. No wonder that McClellan, believing that Johnston
commanded 100,000 men, declared that in his deliberate judgment the
success of the Federal cause was imperilled by the order which
detached McDowell from his command. However inadequately the capital
might be defended, it was worse than folly to interfere with the
general's plans when he was on the eve of executing them. The best
way of defending Washington was for McClellan to march rapidly on
Richmond, and seize his adversary by the throat. By depriving him of
McDowell, Lincoln and his advisers made such a movement difficult,
and the grand army of invasion found itself in a most embarrassing
situation. Such was the effect of a blow struck at the right place
and the right time, though struck by no more than 3000 bayonets.

The battle of Kernstown was undoubtedly well fought. It is true that
Jackson believed that he had no more than four regiments of infantry,
a few batteries, and some cavalry before him. But it was a skilful
manoeuvre, which threw three brigades and three batteries, more than
two-thirds of his whole strength, on his opponent's flank. An
ordinary general would probably have employed only a small portion of
his force in the turning movement. Not so the student of Napoleon.
"In the general's haversack," says one of Jackson's staff, "were
always three books: the Bible, Napoleon's Maxims of War, and
Webster's Dictionary--for his spelling was uncertain--and these books
he constantly consulted." Whether the chronicles of the Jewish kings
threw any light on the tactical problem involved at Kernstown may be
left to the commentators; but there can be no question as to the
Maxims. To hurl overwhelming numbers at the point where the enemy
least expects attack is the whole burden of Napoleon's teaching, and
there can be no doubt but that the wooded ridge, unoccupied save by a
few scouts, was the weakest point of the defence.

The manoeuvre certainly surprised the Federals, and it very nearly
beat them. Tyler's brigade was unsupported for nearly an hour and a
half. Had his battalions been less staunch, the tardy reinforcements
would have been too late to save the day. Coming up as they did, not
in a mass so strong as to bear all before it by its own inherent
weight, but in successive battalions, at wide intervals of time, they
would themselves have become involved in a desperate engagement under
adverse circumstances. Nor is Kimball to be blamed that he did not
throw greater weight on Jackson's turning column at an earlier hour.
Like Shields and Banks, he was unable to believe that Jackson was
unsupported. He expected that the flank attack would be followed up
by one in superior numbers from the front. He could hardly credit
that an inferior force would deliberately move off to a flank,
leaving its line of retreat to be guarded by a few squadrons, weakly
supported by infantry; and the audacity of the assailant had the
usual effect of deceiving the defender.

Kernstown, moreover, will rank as an example of what determined men
can do against superior numbers. The Confederates on the ridge,
throughout the greater part of the fight, hardly exceeded 2000
muskets. They were assailed by 3000, and proved a match for them. The
3000 were then reinforced by at least 3000 more, whilst Jackson could
bring up only 600 muskets to support an already broken line.
Nevertheless, these 6000 Northerners were so roughly handled that
there was practically no pursuit. When the Confederates fell back
every one of the Federal regiments had been engaged, and there were
no fresh troops wherewith to follow them. Jackson was perfectly
justified in reporting that "Night and an indisposition of the enemy
to press further terminated the battle."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 1
page 382.)

But the action was attended by features more remarkable than the
stubborn resistance of the Virginia regiments. It is seldom that a
battle so insignificant as Kernstown has been followed by such
extraordinary results. Fortune indeed favoured the Confederates. At
the time of the battle a large portion of McClellan's army was at
sea, and the attack was delivered at the very moment when it was most
dreaded by the Northern Government. Nor was it to the disadvantage of
the Southerners that the real head of the Federal army was the
President, and that his strategical conceptions were necessarily
subservient to the attitude of the Northern people. These were
circumstances purely fortuitous, and it might seem, therefore, that
Jackson merely blundered into success. But he must be given full
credit for recognizing that a blow at Banks might be fraught with
most important consequences. It was with other ideas than defeating a
rear-guard or detaining Banks that he seized the Kernstown ridge. He
was not yet aware of McClellan's plan of invasion by sea; but he knew
well that any movement that would threaten Washington must prove
embarrassing to the Federal Government; that they could not afford to
leave the Upper Potomac ill secured; and that the knowledge that an
active and enterprising enemy, who had shown himself determined to
take instant advantage of every opportunity, was within the Valley,
would probably cause them to withdraw troops from McClellan in order
to guard the river. A fortnight after the battle, asking for
reinforcements, he wrote, "If Banks is defeated it may greatly retard
McClellan's movements."* (* Ibid part 3 page 844.)

Stubborn as had been the fighting of his brigades, Jackson himself
was not entirely satisfied with his officers. When Sullivan and
Kimball came to Tyler's aid, and a new line of battle threatened to
overwhelm the Stonewall regiments, Garnett, on his own
responsibility, had given the order to retire. Many of the men, their
ammunition exhausted, had fallen to the rear. The exertions of the
march had begun to tell. The enemy's attacks had been fiercely
pressed, and before the pressure of his fresh brigades the
Confederate power of resistance was strained to breaking-point.
Garnett had behaved with conspicuous gallantry. The officers of his
brigade declared that he was perfectly justified in ordering a
retreat. Jackson thought otherwise, and almost immediately after the
battle he relieved him of his command, placed him under arrest, and
framed charges for his trial by court-martial. He would not accept
the excuse that ammunition had given out. At the time the Stonewall
Brigade gave back the 5th and 42nd Virginia were at hand. The men had
still their bayonets, and he did not consider the means of victory
exhausted until the cold steel had been employed. "He insisted," says
Dabney, "that a more resolute struggle might have won the field."* (*
Dabney volume 2 page 46.)

Now, in the first place, it must be conceded that Garnett had not the
slightest right to abandon his position without a direct order.* (*
He was aware, moreover, that supports were coming up, for the order
to the 5th Virginia was sent through him. Report of Colonel W.H.
Harman, 5th Virginia, O.R. volume 12 part 1 pages 391 and 392.) In
the second, if we turn to the table of losses furnished by the
brigade commander, we find that in Garnett's four regiments,
numbering 1100 officers and men, there fell 153. In addition, 148
were reported missing, but, according to the official reports, the
majority of these were captured by the Federal cavalry and were
unwounded. At most, then, when he gave the order to retreat, Garnett
had lost 200, or rather less than 20 per cent.

Such loss was heavy, but by no means excessive. A few months later
hardly a brigade in either army would have given way because every
fifth man had fallen. A year later and the Stonewall regiments would
have considered an action in which they lost 200 men as nothing more
than a skirmish.* (* On March 5, 1811, in the battle fought on the
arid ridges of Barossa, the numbers were almost identical with those
engaged at Kernstown. Out of 4000 British soldiers there fell in an
hour over 1200, and of 9000 French more than 2000 were killed or
wounded; and yet, although the victors were twenty-four hours under
arms without food, the issue was never doubtful.) The truth would
seem to be that the Valley soldiers were not yet blooded. In peace
the individual is everything; material prosperity, self-indulgence,
and the preservation of existence are the general aim. In war the
individual is nothing, and men learn the lesson of self-sacrifice.
But it is only gradually, however high the enthusiasm which inspires
the troops, that the ideas of peace become effaced, and they must be
seasoned soldiers who will endure, without flinching, the losses of
Waterloo or Gettysburg. Discipline, which means the effacement of the
individual, does more than break the soldier to unhesitating
obedience; it trains him to die for duty's sake, and even the
Stonewall Brigade, in the spring of 1862, was not yet thoroughly
disciplined. "The lack of competent and energetic officers," writes
Jackson's chief of the staff, "was at this time the bane of the
service. In many there was neither an intelligent comprehension of
their duties nor zeal in their performance. Appointed by the votes of
their neighbours and friends, they would neither exercise that
rigidity in governing, nor that detailed care in providing for the
wants of their men, which are necessary to keep soldiers efficient.
The duties of the drill and the sentry-post were often negligently
performed; and the most profuse waste of ammunition and other
military stores was permitted. It was seldom that these officers were
guilty of cowardice upon the field of battle, but they were often in
the wrong place, fighting as common soldiers when they should have
been directing others. Above all was their inefficiency marked in
their inability to keep their men in the ranks. Absenteeism grew
under them to a monstrous evil, and every poltroon and laggard found
a way of escape. Hence the frequent phenomenon that regiments, which
on the books of the commissary appeared as consumers of 500 or 1000
rations, were reported as carrying into action 250 or 300 bayonets."*
(* Dabney volume 2 pages 18 and 19.) It is unlikely that this picture
is over-coloured, and it is certainly no reproach to the Virginia
soldiers that their discipline was indifferent. There had not yet
been time to transform a multitude of raw recruits into the semblance
of a regular army. Competent instructors and trained leaders were few
in the extreme, and the work had to be left in inexperienced hands.
One Stonewall Jackson was insufficient to leaven a division of 5000

In the second place, Jackson probably remembered that the Stonewall
Brigade at Bull Run, dashing out with the bayonet on the advancing
Federals, had driven them back on their reserves. It seems hardly
probable, had Garnett at Kernstown held his ground a little longer,
that the three regiments still intact could have turned the tide of
battle. But it is not impossible. The Federals had been roughly
handled. Their losses had been heavier than those of the
Confederates. A resolute counterstroke has before now changed the
face of battle, and among unseasoned soldiers panic spreads with
extraordinary effect. So far as can be gathered from the reports,
there is no reason to suspect that the vigour of the Federal
battalions was as yet relaxed. But no one who was not actually
present can presume to judge of the temper of the troops. In every
well-contested battle there comes a moment when the combatants on
both sides become exhausted, and the general who at that moment finds
it in his heart to make one more effort will generally succeed. Such
was the experience of Grant, Virginia's stoutest enemy.* (* Grant's
Memoirs.) That moment, perhaps, had come at Kernstown; and Jackson,
than whom not Skobeleff himself had clearer vision or cooler brain in
the tumult of battle, may have observed it. It cannot be too often
repeated that numbers go for little on the battle-field. It is
possible that Jackson had in his mind, when he declared that the
victory might yet have been won, the decisive counterstroke at
Marengo, where 20,000 Austrians, pressing forward in pursuit of a
defeated enemy, were utterly overthrown by a fresh division of 6000
men supported by four squadrons.* (* The morning after the battle one
of the Confederate officers expressed the opinion that even if the
counterstroke had been successful, the Federal reserves would have
arrested it. Jackson answered, "No, if I had routed the men on the
ridge, they would all have gone off together.")

Tactical unity and morale are factors of far more importance in
battle than mere numerical strength. Troops that have been hotly
engaged, even with success, and whose nerves are wrought up to a high
state of tension, are peculiarly susceptible to surprise. If they
have lost their order, and the men find themselves under strange
officers, with unfamiliar faces beside them, the counterstroke falls
with even greater force. It is at such moments that cavalry still
finds its opportunity. It is at such moments that a resolute charge,
pushed home with drums beating and a loud cheer, may have
extraordinary results. On August 6, 1870, on the heights of Worth, a
German corps d'armee, emerging, after three hours' fierce fighting,
from the great wood on McMahon's flank, bore down upon the last
stronghold of the French. The troops were in the utmost confusion.
Divisions, brigades, regiments, and companies were mingled in one
motley mass. But the enemy was retreating; a heavy force of artillery
was close at hand, and the infantry must have numbered at least
10,000 rifles. Suddenly three battalions of Turcos, numbering no more
than 1500 bayonets, charged with wild cries, and without firing, down
the grassy slope. The Germans halted, fired a few harmless volleys,
and then, turning as one man, bolted to the shelter of the wood,
twelve hundred yards in rear.

According to an officer of the 14th Indiana, the Federals at
Kernstown were in much the same condition as the Germans at Worth.
"The Confederates fell back in great disorder, and we advanced in
disorder just as great. Over logs, through woods, over hills and
fields, the brigades, regiments, and companies advanced, in one
promiscuous, mixed, and uncontrollable mass. Officers shouted
themselves hoarse in trying to bring order out of confusion, but all
their efforts were unavailing along the front line, or rather what
ought to have been the front line."* (* Colonel E.H.C. Cavins,
Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 307.)

Garnett's conduct was not the only incident connected with Kernstown
that troubled Jackson. March 23 was a Sunday. "You appear much
concerned," he writes to his wife, "at my attacking on Sunday. I am
greatly concerned too; but I felt it my duty to do it, in
consideration of the ruinous effects that might result from
postponing the battle until the morning. So far as I can see, my
course was a wise one; the best that I could do under the
circumstances, though very distasteful to my feelings; and I hope and
pray to our Heavenly Father that I may never again be circumstanced
as on that day. I believed that, so far as our troops were concerned,
necessity and mercy both called for the battle. I do hope that the
war will soon be over, and that I shall never again be called upon to
take the field. Arms is a profession that, if its principles are
adhered to, requires an officer to do what he fears may be wrong, and
yet, according to military experience, must be done if success is to
be attained. And the fact of its being necessary to success, and
being accompanied with success, and that a departure from it is
accompanied with disaster, suggests that it must be right. Had I
fought the battle on Monday instead of Sunday, I fear our cause would
have suffered, whereas, as things turned out, I consider our cause
gained much from the engagement."

We may wonder if his wife detected the unsoundness of the argument.
To do wrong--for wrong it was according to her creed--in order that
good may ensue is what it comes to. The literal interpretation of the
Scriptural rule seems to have led her husband into difficulties; but
the incident may serve to show with what earnestness, in every action
of his life, he strove to shape his conduct with what he believed to
be his duty.

It has already been observed that Jackson's reticence was remarkable.
No general could have been more careful that no inkling of his design
should reach the enemy. He had not the slightest hesitation in
withholding his plans from even his second in command; special
correspondents were rigorously excluded from his camps; and even with
his most confidential friends his reserve was absolutely
impenetrable. During his stay at Winchester, it was his custom
directly he rose to repair to headquarters and open his
correspondence. When he returned to breakfast at Dr. Graham's there
was much anxiety evinced to hear the news from the front. What the
enemy was doing across the Potomac, scarce thirty miles away, was
naturally of intense interest to the people of the border town. But
not the smallest detail of intelligence, however unimportant, escaped
his lips. To his wife he was as uncommunicative as to the rest.
Neither hint nor suggestion made the least impression, and direct
interrogations were put by with a quiet smile. Nor was he too shy to
suggest to his superiors that silence was golden. In a report to
Johnston, written four days after Kernstown, he administered what can
scarcely be considered other than a snub, delicately expressed but

"It is understood in the Federal army that you have instructed me to
keep the forces now in this district and not permit them to cross the
Blue Ridge, and that this must be done at every hazard, and that for
the purpose of effecting this I made my attack. I have never so much
as intimated such a thing to anyone."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page

It cannot be said that Jackson's judgment in attacking Shields was at
once appreciated in the South. The defeat, at first, was ranked with
the disasters in the West. But as soon as the effects upon the enemy
were appreciated the tide of popular feeling turned. The gallantry of
the Valley regiments was fully recognised, and the thanks of Congress
were tendered to Jackson and his troops.

No battle was ever yet fought in exact accordance with the demands of
theory, and Kernstown, great in its results, gives openings to the
critics. Jackson, it is said, attacked with tired troops, on
insufficient information, and contrary to orders. As to the first, it
may be said that his decision to give the enemy no time to bring up
fresh troops was absolutely justified by events. On hearing of his
approach to Kernstown, Banks immediately countermarched a brigade of
Williams' division from Castleman's Ferry. A second brigade was
recalled from Snicker's Gap on the morning of the 24th, and reached
Winchester the same evening, after a march of six-and-twenty miles.
Had attack been deferred, Shields would have been strongly reinforced.

As to the second, Jackson had used every means in his power to get
accurate intelligence.* (* The truth is that in war, accurate
intelligence, especially when two armies are in close contact, is
exceedingly difficult to obtain. At Jena, even after the battle
ended, Napoleon believed that the Prussians had put 80,000 men in
line instead of 45,000. The night before Eylau, misled by the reports
of Murat's cavalry, he was convinced that the Russians were
retreating; and before Ligny he underestimated Blucher's strength by
40,000. The curious misconceptions under which the Germans commenced
the battles of Spicheren, Mars-la-Tour, and Gravelotte will also
occur to the military reader.) Ashby had done his best. Although the
Federals had 780 cavalry present, and every approach to Winchester
was strongly picketed, his scouts had pushed within the Federal
lines, and had communicated with the citizens of Winchester. Their
reports were confirmed, according to Jackson's despatch, "from a
source which had been remarkable for its reliability," and for the
last two days a retrograde movement towards Snicker's Gap had been
reported. The ground, it is true, favoured an ambush. But the
strategic situation demanded instant action. McClellan's advanced
guard was within fifty miles of Johnston's position on the Rapidan,
and a few days' march might bring the main armies into collision. If
Jackson was to bring Banks back to the Valley, and himself join
Johnston before the expected battle, he had no time to spare.
Moreover, the information to hand was quite sufficient to justify him
in trusting something to fortune. Even a defeat, if the attack were
resolutely pushed, might have the best effect.

The third reproach, that Jackson disobeyed orders, can hardly be
sustained. He was in command of a detached force operating at a
distance from the main army, and Johnston, with a wise discretion,
had given him not orders, but instructions; that is, the
general-in-chief had merely indicated the purpose for which Jackson's
force had been detached, and left to his judgment the manner in which
that purpose was to be achieved. Johnston had certainly suggested
that he should not expose himself to the danger of defeat. But when
it became clear that he could not retain the enemy in the Valley
unless he closed with him, to have refrained from attack would have
been to disobey the spirit of his instructions.

Again, when Jackson attacked he had good reason to believe that he
ran no risk of defeat whatever. The force before him was reported as
inferior to his own, and he might well have argued: "To confine
myself to observation will be to confess my weakness, and Banks is
not likely to arrest his march to Manassas because of the presence of
an enemy who dare not attack an insignificant rearguard."
Demonstrations, such as Johnston had advised, may undoubtedly serve a
temporary purpose, but if protracted the enemy sees through them. On
the 22nd, for instance, it was reported to Banks that the
Confederates were advancing. The rear brigade of Williams' division
was therefore countermarched from Snicker's Gap to Berryville; but
the other two were suffered to proceed. Had Jackson remained
quiescent in front of Shields, tacitly admitting his inferiority, the
rear brigade would in all probability have soon been ordered to
resume its march; and Lincoln, with no fear for Washington, would
have allowed Blenker and McDowell to join McClellan.

Johnston, at least, held that his subordinate was justified. In
publishing the thanks of the Confederate Congress tendered to Jackson
and his division, he expressed, at the same time, "his own sense of
their admirable conduct, by which they fully earned the high reward

During the evening of the 23rd the medical director of the Valley
army was ordered to collect vehicles, and send the wounded to the
rear before the troops continued their retreat. Some time after
midnight Dr. McGuire, finding that there were still a large number
awaiting removal, reported the circumstances to the general, adding
that he did not know where to get the means of transport, and that
unless some expedient were discovered the men must be abandoned.
Jackson ordered him to impress carriages in the neighbourhood. "But,"
said the surgeon, "that requires time; can you stay till it has been
done?" "Make yourself easy, sir," was the reply. "This army stays
here until the last man is removed. Before I leave them to the enemy
I will lose many men more." Fortunately, before daylight the work was


The exact losses at Kernstown were as follows:--


CONFEDERATES. Stonewall Brigade   : 40 : 151 : 152 : 343. Burke's
Brigade     : 24 : 114 :  39 : 177. Fulkerson's Brigade : 15 :  76 :
71 : 162. Cavalry             :  1 :  17 :   - :  18. Artillery
    :  - :  17 :   1 :  18.


2nd Virginia  : 320 N.C.O. and men   :  6 : 33 : 51 :  90 4th
Virginia  : 203 N.C.O. and men   :  5 : 23 : 48 :  76 5th Virginia  :
450 N.C.O. and men   :  9 : 48 :  4 :  61 27th Virginia : 170 N.C.O.
and men   :  2 : 20 : 35 :  57 33rd Virginia : 275 N.C.O. and men   :
18 : 27 : 14 :  59 21st Virginia : 270 officers and men :  7 : 44 :
9 :  60 42nd Virginia : 293 officers and men : 11 : 50 :  9 :  70 1st
Virginia  : 187 officers and men :  6 : 20 : 21 :  47 23rd Virginia :
177 officers and men :  3 : 14 : 32 :  49 27th Virginia : 897 N.C.O.
and men   : 12 : 62 : 39 : 113

Total casualties = 718: 80 killed including 5 officers.  375 wounded
including 22 officers. 263 missing including 10 officers. 13 per cent
killed and wounded. 20 per cent killed, wounded and missing.


Total casualties = 590: 118 killed including 6 officers.  450 wounded
including 27 officers. 22 missing. 6 per cent.

According to the reports of his regimental commanders, Jackson took
into battle (including 48th Virginia) 3087 N.C.O. and men of
infantry, 290 cavalry, and 27 guns. 2742 infantry, 290 cavalry, and
18 guns were engaged, and his total strength, including officers, was
probably about 3500. Shields, in his first report of the battle, put
down the strength of his own division as between 7000 and 8000 men.
Four days later he declared that it did not exceed 7000, namely 6000
infantry, 750 cavalry, and 24 guns. It is probable that only those
actually engaged are included in this estimate, for on March 17 he
reported the strength of the troops which were present at Kernstown
six days later as 8374 infantry, 608 artillerymen, and 780 cavalry;
total, 9752.* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 4.)


1862. March 23.

The stars were still shining when the Confederates began their
retreat from Kernstown. With the exception of seventy, all the
wounded had been brought in, and the army followed the ambulances as
far as Woodstock.

March 25.

There was little attempt on the part of the Federals to improve their
victory. The hard fighting of the Virginians had left its impress on
the generals. Jackson's numbers were estimated at 15,000, and Banks,
who arrived in time to take direction of the pursuit, preferred to
wait till Williams' two brigades came up before he moved. He encamped
that night at Cedar Creek, eight miles from Kernstown. The next day
he reached Strasburg. The cavalry pushed on to near Woodstock, and
there, for the time being, the pursuit terminated. Shields, who
remained at Winchester to nurse his wound, sent enthusiastic
telegrams announcing that the retreat was a flight, and that the
houses along the road were filled with Jackson's dead and dying; yet
the truth was that the Confederates were in nowise pressed, and only
the hopeless cases had been left behind.* (* Major Harman wrote on
March 26 that 150 wounded had been brought to Woodstock. Manuscript.)
Had the 2000 troopers at Banks' disposal been sent forward at
daybreak on the 24th, something might have been done. The squadrons,
however, incapable of moving across country, were practically useless
in pursuit; and to start even at daybreak was to start too late. If
the fruits of victory are to be secured, the work must be put in hand
whilst the enemy is still reeling under the shock. A few hours' delay
gives him time to recover his equilibrium, to organise a rear-guard,
and to gain many miles on his rearward march.

March 26.

On the night of the 26th, sixty hours after the battle ceased, the
Federal outposts were established along Tom's Brook, seventeen miles
from Kernstown. On the opposite bank were Ashby's cavalry, while
Burks' brigade lay at Woodstock, six miles further south. The
remainder of the Valley army had reached Mount Jackson.

These positions were occupied until April 1, and for six whole days
Banks, with 19,000 men, was content to observe a force one-sixth his
strength, which had been defeated by just half the numbers he had now
at his disposal. This was hardly the "vigorous action" which
McClellan had demanded. "As soon as you are strong enough," he had
telegraphed, "push Jackson hard, drive him well beyond Strasburg,
pursuing at least as far as Woodstock, if possible, with cavalry to
Mount Jackson."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 16. The telegrams and
letters quoted in this chapter, unless otherwise stated, are from
this volume.)

In vain he reiterated the message on the 27th: "Feel Jackson's
rear-guard smartly and push him well." Not a single Federal crossed
Tom's Brook. "The superb scenery of the Valley," writes General G.H.
Gordon, a comrade of Jackson's at West Point, and now commanding the
2nd Massachusetts, one of Banks' best regiments, "opened before
us--the sparkling waters of the Shenandoah, winding between the
parallel ranges, the groves of cedar and pine that lined its banks,
the rolling surfaces of the Valley, peacefully resting by the
mountain side, and occupied by rich fields and quiet farms. A mile
beyond I could see the rebel cavalry. Sometimes the enemy amused
himself by throwing shells at our pickets, when they were a little
too venturesome; but beyond a feeble show of strength and ugliness,
nothing transpired to disturb the dulness of the camp."* (* From
Brook Farm to Cedar Mountain page 133.)

Banks, far from all support, and with a cavalry unable to procure
information, was by no means free from apprehension. Johnston had
already fallen back into the interior of Virginia, and the Army of
the Potomac, instead of following him, was taking ship at Alexandria.
Information had reached Strasburg that the Confederates were behind
the Rapidan, with their left at Gordonsville. Now Gordonsville is
sixty-five miles, or four marches, from Mount Jackson, and there was
reason to believe that reinforcements had already been sent to
Jackson from that locality. On March 25 Banks telegraphed to Mr.
Stanton: "Reported by rebel Jackson's aide (a prisoner) that they
were assured of reinforcements to 30,000, but don't credit it." On
March 26: "The enemy is broken, but will rally. Their purpose is to
unite Jackson's and Longstreet's* (* Commanding a division under
Johnston.) forces, some 20,000, at New Market (seven miles south of
Mount Jackson) or Washington (east of Blue Ridge) in order to operate
on either side of the mountains, and will desire to prevent our
junction with the force at Manassas. At present they will not attack
here. It will relieve me greatly to know how far the enemy (i.e.
Johnston) will be pressed in front of Manassas." On the 27th his news
was less alarming: "Enemy is about four miles below Woodstock. No
reinforcement received yet. Jackson has constant communication with
Johnston, who is east of the mountains, probably at Gordonsville. His
pickets are very strong and vigilant, none of the country people
being allowed to pass the lines under any circumstances. The same
rule is applied to troops, stragglers from Winchester not being
permitted to enter their lines. We shall press them further and

The pressure, however, was postponed; and on the 29th McClellan
desired Banks to ascertain the intentions of the enemy as soon as
possible, and if he were in force to drive him from the Valley of the
Shenandoah. Thus spurred, Banks at last resolved to cross the
Rubicon. "Deficiency," he replied, "in ammunition for Shields'
artillery detains us here; expect it hourly, when we shall push
Jackson sharply." It was not, however, till April 2, four days later,
that Mr. Lincoln's protege crossed Tom's Brook. His advanced guard,
after a brisk skirmish with Ashby, reached the village of Edenburg,
ten miles south, the same evening. The main body occupied Woodstock,
and McClellan telegraphed that he was "much pleased with the vigorous

It is not impossible that Banks suspected that McClellan's
commendations were ironical. In any case, praise had no more effect
upon him than a peremptory order or the promise of reinforcements. He
was instructed to push forward as far as New Market; he was told that
he would be joined by two regiments of cavalry, and that two brigades
of Blenker's division were marching to Strasburg. But Jackson,
although Ashby had been driven in, still held obstinately to his
position, and from Woodstock and Edenburg Banks refused to move.

On April 4, becoming independent of McClellan,* (* On this date
McClellan ceased to be Commander-in-Chief.) he at once reported to
the Secretary of War that he hoped "immediately to strike Jackson an
effective blow." "Immediately," however, in Banks' opinion, was
capable of a very liberal interpretation, for it was not till April
17 that he once more broke up his camps. Well might Gordon write that
life at Edenburg became monotonous!

It is but fair to mention that during the whole of this time Banks
was much troubled about supply and transport. His magazines were at
Winchester, connected with Harper's Ferry and Washington by a line of
railway which had been rapidly repaired, and on April 12 this line
had become unserviceable through the spreading of the road-bed.* (*
The bridges over the railway between Strasburg and Manassas Gap,
which would have made a second line available, had not yet been
repaired.) His waggon train, moreover, had been diverted to Manassas
before the fight at Kernstown, and was several days late in reaching
Strasburg. The country in which he was operating was rich, and
requisitions were made upon the farmers; but in the absence of the
waggons, according to his own report, it was impossible to collect
sufficient supplies for a further advance.* (* On April 3 Jackson
wrote that the country around Banks was "very much drained of
forage.") The weather, too, had been unfavourable. The first days of
April were like summer. "But hardly," says Gordon, "had we begun to
feel in harmony with sunny days and blooming peach trees and warm
showers, before a chill came over us, bitter as the hatred of the
women of Virginia: the ground covered with snow, the air thick with
hail, and the mountains hidden in the chilly atmosphere. Our
shivering sentinels on the outer lines met at times the gaze of
half-frozen horsemen of the enemy, peering through the mist to see
what the Yankees had been doing within the last twenty-four hours. It
was hard to believe that we were in the 'sunny South.'"

All this, however, was hardly an excuse for absolute inaction. The
Confederate position on the open ridge called Rude's Hill, two and a
half miles south of Mount Jackson, was certainly strong. It was
defended in front by Mill Creek, swollen by the snows to a turbulent
and unfordable river; and by the North Fork of the Shenandoah. But
with all its natural strength Rude's Hill was but weakly held, and
Banks knew it. Moreover, it was most unlikely that Jackson would be
reinforced, for Johnston's army, with the exception of a detachment
under General Ewell, had left Orange Court House for Richmond on
April 5. "The enemy," Banks wrote to McClellan on April 6, "is
reduced to about 6000 men (sic), much demoralised by defeat,
desertion, and the general depression of spirits resting on the
Southern army. He is not in a condition to attack, neither to make a
strong resistance, and I do not believe he will make a determined
stand there. I do not believe Johnston will reinforce him." If Banks
had supplies enough to enable him to remain at Woodstock, there seems
to have been no valid reason why he should not have been able to
drive away a demoralised enemy, and to hold a position twelve miles
further south.

But the Federal commander, despite his brave words, had not yet got
rid of his misgivings. Jackson had lured him into a most
uncomfortable situation. Between the two branches of the Shenandoah,
in the very centre of the Valley, rises a gigantic mass of mountain
ridges, parallel throughout their length of fifty miles to the Blue
Ridge and the Alleghanies. These are the famous Massanuttons, the
glory of the Valley. The peaks which form their northern faces sink
as abruptly to the level near Strasburg as does the single hill which
looks down on Harrisonburg. Dense forests of oak and pine cover ridge
and ravine, and 2500 feet below, on either hand, parted by the mighty
barrier, are the dales watered by the Forks of the Shenandoah. That
to the east is the narrower and less open; the Blue Ridge is nowhere
more than ten miles distant from the Massanuttons, and the space
between them, the Luray or the South Fork Valley, through which a
single road leads northward, is clothed by continuous forest. West of
the great mountain, a broad expanse of green pasture and rich arable
extends to the foothills of the Alleghanies, dotted with woods and
homesteads, and here, in the Valley of the North Fork, is freer air
and more space for movement.

The separation of the two valleys is accentuated by the fact that
save at one point only the Massanuttons are practically impassable.
From New Market, in the western valley, a good road climbs the
heights, and crossing the lofty plateau, sinks sharply down to Luray,
the principal village on the South Fork. Elsewhere precipitous
gullies and sheer rock faces forbid all access to the mountain, and a
few hunters' paths alone wind tediously through the woods up the
steep hillside. Nor are signal stations to be found on the wide area
of unbroken forest which clothes the summit. Except from the peaks at
either end, or from one or two points on the New Market-Luray road,
the view is intercepted by the sea of foliage and the rolling spurs.

Striking eastward from Luray, two good roads cross the Blue Ridge;
one running to Culpeper Court House, through Thornton's Gap; the
other through Fisher's Gap to Gordonsville.

It was the Massanuttons that weighed on the mind of Banks. The Valley
of the South Fork gave the Confederates a covered approach against
his line of communications. Issuing from that strait cleft between
the mountains Ashby's squadrons might at any time sweep down upon his
trains of waggons, his hospitals, and his magazines; and should
Jackson be reinforced, Ashby might be supported by infantry and guns,
and both Strasburg and Winchester be endangered. It was not within
Banks' power to watch the defile. "His cavalry," he reported, "was
weak in numbers and spirit, much exhausted with night and day work."
Good cavalry, he declared, would help incalculably, and he admitted
that in this arm he was greatly inferior to the enemy.

Nor was he more happy as to the Alleghanies on his right. Fremont was
meditating an advance on Lewisburg, Staunton, and the Virginia and
Tennessee Railway with 25,000 men.* (* See ante.) One column was to
start from Gauley Bridge, in the Kanawha Valley; the other from the
South Branch of the Potomac. Milroy's brigade, from Cheat Mountain,
had therefore occupied Monterey, and Schenck's brigade had marched
from Romney to Moorefield. But Moorefield was thirty miles west of
Woodstock, and between them rose a succession of rugged ridges,
within whose deep valleys the Confederate horsemen might find paths
by which to reach to Banks' rear.

It was essential, then, that his communications should be strongly
guarded, and as he advanced up the Valley his force had diminished at
every march. According to his own report he had, on April 6, 16,700
men fit for duty. Of these 4100 were detached along the road from
Woodstock to Harper's Ferry. His effective strength for battle was
thus reduced to 12,600, or, including the troops escorting convoys
and the garrison of Strasburg, to 14,500 men, with 40 pieces of
artillery.* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 50.)

Such were the considerations that influenced the Federal commander.
Had he occupied New Market, as McClellan had desired, he would have
secured the Luray road, have opened the South Fork Valley to his
scouts, and have overcome half the difficulties presented by the
Massanuttons. A vigorous advance would have turned the attention of
the Confederates from his communications to their own; and to drive
Jackson from the Valley was the best method of protecting the trains
and the magazines. But Banks was not inclined to beard the lion in
his den, and on April 16 Jackson had been unmolested for more than
three weeks. Ashby's troopers were the only men who had even seen the
enemy. Daily that indefatigable soldier had called to arms the
Federal outposts. "Our stay at Edenburg," says Gordon, "was a
continuous season of artillery brawling and picket stalking. The
creek that separated the outposts was not more than ten yards wide.
About one-fourth of a mile away there was a thick wood, in which the
enemy concealed his batteries until he chose to stir us up, when he
would sneak up behind the cover, open upon us at an unexpected
moment, and retreat rapidly when we replied." It was doubtless by
such constant evidence of his vigilance that Ashby imposed caution on
the enemy's reconnoitring parties. The fact remains that Jackson's
camps, six miles to the rear, were never once alarmed, nor could
Banks obtain any reliable information.

This period of repose was spent by Jackson in reorganising his
regiments, in writing letters to his wife, and, like his old
class-mate, Gordon, in admiring the scenery. It is not to be supposed
that his enforced inaction was altogether to his taste. With an enemy
within sight of his outposts his bold and aggressive spirit must have
been sorely tried. But with his inferior numbers prudence cried
patience, and he had reason to be well content with the situation. He
had been instructed to prevent Banks from detaching troops to
reinforce McClellan. To attain an object in war the first
consideration is to make no mistakes yourself; the next, to take
instant advantage of those made by your opponent. But compliance with
this rule does not embrace the whole art of generalship. The enemy
may be too discreet to commit himself to risky manoeuvres. If the
campaigns of the great masters of war are examined, it will be found
that they but seldom adopted a quiescent attitude, but by one means
or another, by acting on their adversary's morale, or by creating
false impressions, they induced him to make a false step, and to
place himself in a position which made it easy for them to attain
their object. The greatest general has been defined as "he who makes
the fewest mistakes;" but "he who compels his adversary to make the
most mistakes" is a definition of equal force; and it may even be
questioned whether the general whose imagination is unequal to the
stratagems which bring mistakes about is worthy of the name. He may
be a trustworthy subordinate, but he can scarcely become a great

Johnston had advised, when, at the beginning of March, the retreat of
the Confederates from Winchester was determined on, that Jackson
should fall back on Front Royal, and thence, if necessary, up the
South Fork of the Shenandoah. His force would thus be in close
communication with the main army behind the Rapidan; and it was
contrary, in the General-in-Chief's opinion, to all sound discretion
to permit the enemy to attain a point, such as Front Royal, which
would render it possible for him to place himself between them.
Jackson, however, declared his preference for a retreat up the North
Fork, in the direction of Staunton. Why should Banks join McClellan
at all? McClellan, so Jackson calculated, had already more men with
him than he could feed; and he believed, therefore, that Staunton
would be Banks' objective, because, by seizing that town, he would
threaten Edward Johnson's rear, open the way for Fremont, and then,
crossing the Blue Ridge, place himself so near the communications of
the main army with Richmond that it would be compelled to fall back
to defend them. Nor, in any case, did he agree with Johnston that the
occupation of Front Royal would prevent Banks leaving the Valley and
marching to Manassas. Twenty miles due east of Winchester is
Snicker's Gap, where a good road crosses the Blue Ridge, and eight
miles south another turnpike leads over Ashby's Gap. By either of
these Banks could reach Manassas just as rapidly as Jackson could
join Johnston; and, while 4500 men could scarcely be expected to
detain 20,000, they might very easily be cut off by a portion of the
superior force.

If a junction with the main army were absolutely necessary, Jackson
was of opinion that the move ought to be made at once, and the Valley
abandoned. If, on the other hand, it was desirable to keep Banks and
McClellan separated, the best means of doing so was to draw the
former up the North Fork; and at Mount Jackson, covering the New
Market to Luray road, the Valley troops would be as near the Rapidan
as if they were at Front Royal.* (* Dabney volume 2 pages 22 and 23.
O.R. volume 5 page 1087.) The strategical advantages which such a
position would offer--the isolation of the troops pursuing him, the
chance of striking their communications from the South Fork Valley,
and, if reinforcements were granted, of cutting off their retreat by
a rapid movement from Luray to Winchester--were always present to
Jackson's mind.* (* Cf letters of April 5. O.R. volume 12 part 3
pages 843 and 844.)

An additional argument was that at the time when these alternatives
were discussed the road along South Fork was so bad as to make
marching difficult; and it was to this rather than to Jackson's
strategical conceptions that Johnston appears to have ultimately

Be this as it may, the sum of Jackson's operations was satisfactory
in the extreme. On March 27 he had written to Johnston, "I will try
and draw the enemy on." On April 16 Banks was exactly where he wished
him, well up the North Fork of the Shenandoah, cut off by the
Massanuttons from Manassas, and by the Alleghanies from Fremont. The
two detachments which held the Valley, his own force at Mount
Jackson, and Edward Johnson's 2800 on the Shenandoah Mountain, were
in close communication, and could at any time, if permitted by the
higher authorities, combine against either of the columns which
threatened Staunton. "What I desire," he said to Mr. Boteler, a
friend in the Confederate Congress, "is to hold the country, as far
as practicable, until we are in a condition to advance; and then,
with God's blessing, let us make thorough work of it. But let us
start right."

On April 7 he wrote to his wife as follows:--

"Your sickness gives me great concern; but so live that it and all
your tribulations may be sanctified to you, remembering that our
'light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for us a far
more exceeding and eternal weight of glory!' I trust you and all I
have in the hands of a kind Providence, knowing that all things work
together for the good of His people. Yesterday was a lovely Sabbath
day. Although I had not the privilege of hearing the word of life,
yet it felt like a holy Sabbath day, beautiful, serene, and lovely.
All it wanted was the church-bell and God's services in the sanctuary
to make it complete. Our gallant little army is increasing in
numbers, and my prayer is that it may be an army of the living God as
well as of its country."

The troops, notwithstanding their defeat at Kernstown, were in high
spirits. The very slackness of the Federal pursuit had made them
aware that they had inflicted a heavy blow. They had been thanked by
Congress for their valour. The newspapers were full of their praises.
Their comrades were returning from hospital and furlough, and
recruits were rapidly coming in.* (* Congress, on April 16, passed a
Conscription Act, under which all able-bodied whites, between the
ages of eighteen and thirty-five, were compelled to serve. It was not
found necessary, however, except in the case of three religious
denominations, to enforce the Act in the Valley; and, in dealing with
these sectarians, Jackson found a means of reconciling their scruples
with their duty to their State. He organised them in companies as
teamsters, pledging himself to employ them, so far as practicable, in
other ways than fighting. O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 835.) The
mounted branch attracted the majority, and Ashby's regiment soon
numbered more than 2000 troopers. Their commander, however, knew
little of discipline. Besides himself there was but one field-officer
for one-and-twenty companies; nor had these companies any regimental
organisation. When Jackson attempted to reduce this curiously
constituted force to order, his path was once more crossed by the
Secretary of War. Mr. Benjamin, dazzled by Ashby's exploits, had
given him authority to raise and command a force of independent
cavalry. A reference to this authority and a threat of resignation
was Ashby's reply to Jackson's orders. "Knowing Ashby's ascendency
over his men, and finding himself thus deprived of legitimate power,
the general was constrained to pause, and the cavalry was left
unorganised and undisciplined. One half was rarely available for
duty. The remainder were roaming over the country, imposing upon the
generous hospitalities of the citizens, or lurking in their homes.
The exploits of their famous leader were all performed with a few
hundreds, or often scores, of men, who followed him from personal
devotion rather than force of discipline."* (* Dabney volume 2 page

By April 15 Jackson's force had increased to 6000 men.* (* On April 5
he had over 4000 infantry. O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 844. The
estimate in the text is from Colonel Allan's Valley Campaign page 64.
On April 9, however, he was so short of arms that 1000 pikes were
ordered from Richmond. "Under Divine blessing," he wrote, "we must
rely upon the bayonet when firearms cannot be furnished." O.R. volume
12 part 3 pages 842 and 845.) McClellan had now landed an army of
over 100,000 at Fortress Monroe, on the Yorktown Peninsula, and
Johnston had marched thither to oppose him. The weather had at last
cleared; although the mountain pines stood deep in snow the roads
were in good order; the rivers were once more fordable; the Manassas
Gap Railway had been restored as far as Strasburg, and Banks took
heart of grace.

April 17.

On the 17th his forces were put in motion. One of Ashby's companies
was surprised and captured. A brigade was sent to turn the
Confederate left by a ford of the North Fork; and when the
Virginians, burning the railway station at Mount Jackson, fell back
southwards, the Federal cavalry seized New Market.

For the moment the situation of the Valley army was somewhat
critical. When Johnston marched to the Peninsula he had left a force
of 8000 men, under General Ewell, on the Upper Rappahannock, and with
this force Jackson had been instructed to co-operate. But with the
road across the Massanuttons in his possession Banks could move into
the Luray Valley, and occupying Swift Run Gap with a detachment, cut
the communication between the two Confederate generals. It was
essential, then, that this important pass should be secured, and
Jackson's men were called on for a forced march.

April 18.

On the morning of the 18th they reached Harrisonburg, twenty-five
miles from Mount Jackson, and halted the same evening at Peale's,
about six miles east.

April 19.

On the 19th they crossed the Shenandoah at Conrad's store, and
leaving a detachment to hold the bridge, moved to the foot of Swift
Run Gap, and went into camp in Elk Run Valley. In three days they had
marched over fifty miles. Banks followed with his customary caution,
and when, on the 17th, his cavalry occupied New Market he was
congratulated by the Secretary of War on his "brilliant and
successful operations." On the 19th he led a detachment across the
Massanuttons, and seized the two bridges over the South Fork at
Luray, driving back a squadron which Jackson had sent to burn them.

April 22.

On the night of the 22nd his cavalry reached Harrisonburg, and he
reported that want of supplies alone prevented him from bringing the
Confederates to bay.

April 26.

On the 26th he sent two of his five brigades to Harrisonburg, the
remainder halting at New Market, and for the last few days, according
to his own dispatches, beef, flour, and forage had been abundant. Yet
it had taken him ten days to march five-and-thirty miles.

April 20.

On April 20 General Edward Johnson, menaced in rear by Banks'
advance, in flank by the brigade which Fremont had placed at
Moorefield, and in front by Milroy's brigade, which had advanced from
Monterey, had fallen back from the Shenandoah Mountain to West View,
seven miles west of Staunton; and to all appearance the Federal
prospects were exceedingly favourable.

Harrisonburg is five-and-twenty miles, or two short marches, north of
Staunton. The hamlet of M'Dowell, now occupied by Milroy, is
seven-and-twenty miles north-west. Proper concert between Banks and
Fremont should therefore have ensured the destruction or retreat of
Edward Johnson, and have placed Staunton, as well as the Virginia
Central Railroad, in their hands. But although not a single picket
stood between his outposts and Staunton, Banks dared not move. By
moving to Elk Run Valley Jackson had barred the way of the Federals
more effectively than if he had intrenched his troops across the
Staunton road.

South of Harrisonburg, where the Valley widens to five-and-twenty
miles, there was no strong position. And even had such existed, 6000
men, of which a third were cavalry, could scarcely have hoped to hold
it permanently against a far superior force. Moreover, cooped up
inside intrenchments, the Army of the Valley would have lost all
freedom of action; and Jackson would have been cut off both from
Ewell and from Richmond. But, although direct intervention was
impracticable, he was none the less resolved that Banks should never
set foot in Staunton. The Elk Run Valley was well adapted for his
purpose. Spurs of the Blue Ridge, steep, pathless, and densely
wooded, covered either flank. The front, protected by the Shenandoah,
was very strong. Communication with both Ewell and Richmond was
secure, and so long as he held the bridge at Conrad's store he
threatened the flank of the Federals should they advance on Staunton.
Strategically the position was by no means perfect. The Confederates,
to use an expression of General Grant's, applied to a similar
situation, were "in a bottle." A bold enemy would have seized the
bridge, "corking up" Jackson with a strong detachment, and have
marched on Staunton with his main body.

"Had Banks been more enterprising," says Dabney, "this objection
would have been decisive." But he was not enterprising, and Jackson
knew it.* (* "My own opinion," he wrote, when this movement was in
contemplation, "is that Banks will not follow me up to the Blue
Ridge. My desire is, as far as practicable, to hold the Valley, and I
hope that Banks will be deterred from advancing [from New Market]
much further toward Staunton by the apprehension of my returning to
New Market [by Luray], and thus getting in his rear." O.R. volume 12
part 3 page 848.) He had had opportunities in plenty of judging his
opponent's character. The slow advance on Winchester, the long delay
at Woodstock, the cautious approach to New Market, had revealed
enough. It was a month since the battle of Kernstown, and yet the
Confederate infantry, although for the greater part of the time they
had been encamped within a few miles of the enemy's outposts, had not
fired a shot.

The tardy progress of the Federals from Woodstock to Harrisonburg had
been due rather to the perplexities of their commander than to the
difficulties of supply; and Banks had got clear of the Massanuttons
only to meet with fresh embarrassments. Jackson's move to Elk Run
Valley was a complete checkmate. His opponent felt that he was
dangerously exposed. McClellan had not yet begun his advance on
Richmond; and, so long as that city was secure from immediate attack,
the Confederates could spare men to reinforce Jackson. The railway
ran within easy reach of Swift Run Gap, and the troops need not be
long absent from the capital. Ewell, too, with a force of unknown
strength, was not far distant. Banks could expect no help from
Fremont. Both generals were anxious to work together, and plans had
been submitted to Washington which would probably have secured the
capture of Staunton and the control of the railway. But the Secretary
of War rejected all advice. Fremont was given to understand that
under no circumstances was he to count on Banks,* (* O.R. volume 12
page 104.) and the latter was told to halt at Harrisonburg. "It is
not the desire of the President," wrote Mr. Stanton on April 26,
"that you should prosecute a further advance towards the south. It is
possible that events may make it necessary to transfer the command of
General Shields to the department of the Rappahannock [i.e. to the
First Army Corps], and you are desired to act accordingly." To crown
all, Blenker's division, which had reached Winchester, instead of
being sent to support Banks, forty-five miles distant by the Valley
turnpike, was ordered to join Fremont in the Alleghanies by way of
Romney, involving a march of one hundred and twenty miles, over bad
roads, before it could reinforce his advanced brigade.

Stanton, in writing to Banks, suggested that he should not let his
advanced guard get too far ahead of the main body; but be does not
appear to have seen that the separation of Banks, Fremont, and
Blenker, and the forward position of the two former, which he had
determined to maintain, was even more dangerous.* (* Jackson had
recognised all along the mistake the Federals had made in pushing
comparatively small forces up the Valley before McClellan closed in
on Richmond. On April 5, when Banks was at Woodstock, he wrote:
"Banks is very cautious. As he belongs to McClellan's army, I suppose
that McClellan is at the helm, and that he would not, even if Banks
so desired, permit him to advance much farther until other parts of
his army are farther advanced." (O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 843). He
did not know that at the date he wrote the President and Mr. Stanton
had relieved McClellan at the helm.) His lesson was to come, for
Jackson, by no means content with arresting Banks' march, was already
contemplating that general's destruction.

The situation demanded instant action, and in order that the import
of Jackson's movements may be fully realised it is necessary to turn
to the main theatre of war. McClellan, on April 5, with the 60,000
men already landed, had moved a few miles up the Peninsula. Near the
village of Yorktown, famous for the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and
his army in 1782, he found the road blocked by a line of earthworks
and numerous guns. Magruder, Jackson's captain in Mexico, was in
command; but Johnston was still on the Rapidan, one hundred and
thirty miles away, and the Confederates had no more than 15,000 men
in position. The flanks, however, were secured by the York and the
James rivers, which here expand to wide estuaries, and the works were
strong. Yorktown proved almost as fatal to the invaders as to their
English predecessors. Before the historic lines their march was
suddenly brought up. McClellan, although his army increased in
numbers every day, declined the swift process of a storm. Personal
reconnaissance convinced him that "instant assault would have been
simple folly," and he determined to besiege the intrenchments in due
form. On April 10 Johnston's army began to arrive at Yorktown, and
the lines, hitherto held by a slender garrison, were now manned by
53,000 men.

The Confederate position was by no means impregnable. The river James
to the south was held by the "Merrimac," an improvised ironclad of
novel design, which had already wrought terrible destruction amongst
the wooden frigates of the Federals. She was neutralised, however, by
her Northern counterpart, the "Monitor," and after an indecisive
action she had remained inactive for nearly a month. The York was
less securely guarded. The channel, nearly a mile wide, was barred
only by the fire of two forts; and that at Gloucester Point, on the
north bank, was open to assault from the land side. Had McClellan
disembarked a detachment and carried this work, which might easily
have been done, the river would have been opened to his gunboats, and
Johnston's lines have become untenable. He decided, however,
notwithstanding that his army was more than 100,000 strong, that he
had no men to spare for such an enterprise.

Magruder's bold stand was of infinite service to the Confederate
cause. To both parties time was of the utmost value. The Federals
were still over seventy miles from Richmond; and there was always a
possibility, if their advance were not rapidly pressed, that Johnston
might move on Washington and cause the recall of the army to protect
the capital. The Confederates, on the other hand, had been surprised
by the landing of McClellan's army. They had been long aware that the
flotilla had sailed, but they had not discovered its destination; the
detachments which first landed were supposed to be reinforcements for
the garrison of the fortress; and when McClellan advanced on
Yorktown, Johnston was far to the west of Richmond. The delay had
enabled him to reach the lines.* (* The first detachment of Federals
embarked at Alexandria on March 16, and the army was thereafter
transferred to the Peninsula by successive divisions. On March 25
Johnston was ordered to be ready to move to Richmond. On April 4 he
was ordered to move at once. On that date 50,000 Federals had
landed.) But at the time Jackson fell back to Elk Run Valley, April
17 to 19, fortune seemed inclining to the Federals.

Lincoln had been induced to relax his hold on the army corps which he
had held back at Manassas to protect the capital, and McDowell was
already moving on Fredericksburg, sixty miles north of Richmond. Here
he was to be joined by Shields, bringing his force for the field up
to 40,000 men; and the fall of Yorktown was to be the signal for his
advance on the Confederate capital. Johnston still held the lines,
but he was outnumbered by more than two to one, and the enemy was
disembarking heavy ordnance. It was evident that the end could not be
long delayed, and that in case of retreat every single Confederate
soldier, from the Valley and elsewhere, would have to be brought to
Richmond for the decisive battle. Jackson was thus bound to his
present position, close to the railway, and his orders from Johnston
confined him to a strictly defensive attitude. In case Banks advanced
eastward he was to combine with Ewell, and receive attack in the
passes of the Blue Ridge.

Such cautious strategy, to one so fully alive to the opportunity
offered by McClellan's retention before Yorktown, was by no means
acceptable. When his orders reached him, Jackson was already weaving
plans for the discomfiture of his immediate adversary, and it may be
imagined with what reluctance, although he gave no vent to his
chagrin, he accepted the passive role which had been assigned to him.

No sooner, however, had he reached Elk Run Valley than the telegraph
brought most welcome news. In a moment of unwonted wisdom the
Confederate President had charged General Lee with the control of all
military operations in Virginia, and on April 21 came a letter to
Jackson which foreshadowed the downfall of McClellan and the rout of
the invaders.

April 21.

McDowell's advance from Manassas had already become known to the
Confederates, and Lee had divined what this movement portended. "I
have no doubt," he wrote to Jackson, "that an attempt will be made to
occupy Fredericksburg and use it as a base of operations against
Richmond. Our present force there is very small, (2,500 men under
General Field), and cannot be reinforced except by weakening other
corps. If you can use General Ewell's division in an attack on Banks,
it will prove a great relief to the pressure on Fredericksburg."* (*
O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 859.)

This view of the situation was in exact agreement with Jackson's own
views. He had already made preparation for combined action with
Ewell. For some days they had been in active correspondence. The
exact route which Ewell should take to the Blue Ridge had been
decided on. The roads had been reconnoitred. Jackson had supplied a
map identical with his own, and had furnished an officer to act as
guide. A service of couriers had been established across the
mountains, and no precaution had been neglected. Ewell was instructed
to bring five days' rations. He was warned that there would be no
necessity for a forced march; he was to encamp at cross-roads, and he
was to rest on Sunday.* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 pages 849, 854 and

April 23.

Jackson, replying to Lee, stated that he was only waiting a
favourable occasion to fall on Banks. "My object," he wrote, "has
been to get in his rear at New Market or Harrisonburg, if he gives me
an opportunity, and this would be the case should he advance on
Staunton with his main body. It appears to me that if I remain quiet
a few days more he will probably make a move in some direction, or
send a large force towards Harrisonburg, and thus enable me, with the
blessing of Providence, to successfully attack his advance. If I am
unsuccessful in driving back his entire force he may be induced to
move forward from New Market, and attempt to follow me through this
Gap, where our forces would have greatly the advantage...

"Under all the circumstances I will direct General Ewell to move to
Stanardsville. Should Banks remain in the position of yesterday
[cavalry at Harrisonburg; infantry, etc., at New Market] I will try
and seek an opportunity of attacking successfully some part of his
army, and if circumstances justify press forward. My instructions
from General Johnston were to unite with General Ewell near the top
of the Blue Ridge, and give battle. The course I propose would be
departing from General Johnston's instructions, but I do not believe
that Banks will follow me to the Blue Ridge unless I first engage
him, and I doubt whether he will then."

But although authorised to draw Ewell to himself, and to carry out
the project on which his heart was set, he still kept in view the
general situation. After he had dispatched the above letter, a report
came in which led him to believe that Ewell was more needed on the
Rappahannock than in the Valley. Lee had already informed him that
McDowell's advanced guard had occupied Falmouth, on the north bank of
the river, opposite Fredericksburg, on April 19, and that General
Field had fallen back.

Jackson, in consequence, permitted Ewell to remain near Gordonsville,
close to the railway; assuring Lee that "he would make arrangements
so as not to be disappointed should Ewell be ordered to
Fredericksburg."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 pages 863 and 864.)

Nor was this the only instance in which he demonstrated his breadth
of view. In planning co-operation with Ewell, that general had
suggested that he should take a different road to that which had been
recommended by General Johnston, should necessity for a combined
movement arise. Jackson protested against the route being altered.
"General Johnston," he wrote, "does not state why he desires you to
go (by this road), but it may be for the purpose of deceiving the
enemy with regard to your ultimate destination, to be more distant
from the enemy during the movement, and also to be in a more
favourable position for reinforcing some other points should it be
necessary." The interests of his own force, here as always, were
subordinated to those of the army which was defending Richmond.

April 25.

The next information received from General Lee was that the enemy was
collecting in strong force at Fredericksburg. "For this purpose," he
wrote, "they must weaken other points, and now is the time to
concentrate on any that may be exposed within our reach." He then
suggested that, if Banks was too strong in numbers and position,
Jackson and Ewell combined should move on Warrenton, where a Federal
force was reported; or that Ewell and Field should attack
Fredericksburg. "The blow," he added, "wherever struck, must, to be
successful, be sudden and heavy. The troops must be efficient and
light. I cannot pretend at this distance to direct operations
depending on circumstances unknown to me, and requiring the exercise
of discretion and judgment as to time and execution, but submit these
ideas for your consideration."* (* Jackson himself showed the same
wise self-restraint. In his communications with Ewell, after that
officer had been placed under his orders, but before they had joined
hands, he suggested certain movements as advisable, but invariably
left the ultimate decision to his subordinate's judgment.)

April 26.

On April 26, when Banks moved two brigades to Harrisonburg, Ewell was
at once called up to Stanardsville, twelve miles south-east of Swift
Run Gap. No opportunity as yet had offered for attack. "I have reason
to believe," wrote Jackson to Lee on the 28th, "that Banks has 21,000
men within a day's march of me.* (* On April 30 Banks and Shields,
who had been reinforced, numbered 20,000 effective officers and men,
of whom a portion must have been guarding the communications. Reports
of April 30 and May 31. O.R. volume 12 part 3.) He has moved his main
body from New Market to Harrisonburg, leaving probably a brigade at
New Market, and between that town and the Shenandoah (Luray Gap), to
guard against a force getting in his rear...On yesterday week there
were near 7000 men in the neighbourhood of Winchester, under Blenker;
as yet I have not heard of their having joined Banks...I propose to
attack Banks in front if you will send me 5000 more men...Now, as it
appears to me, is the golden opportunity for striking a blow. Until I
hear from you I will watch an opportunity for striking some exposed
point."* (* It is amusing to note how far, at this time, his staff
officers were from understanding their commander. On this very date
one of them wrote in a private letter: "As sure as you and I live,
Jackson is a cracked man, and the sequel will show it." A month later
he must have been sorry he had posed as a prophet.)

April 29.

The next day, April 29, Jackson suggested, if reinforcements could
not be spared, that one of three plans should be adopted. "Either to
leave Ewell here (Swift Run Gap) to threaten Banks' rear in the event
of his advancing on Staunton, and move with my command rapidly on the
force in front of General Edward Johnson; or else, co-operating with
Ewell, to attack the enemy's detached force between New Market and
the Shenandoah, and if successful in this, then to press forward and
get in Banks' rear at New Market, and thus induce him to fall back;
the third is to pass down the Shenandoah to Sperryvile (east of the
Blue Ridge), and thus threaten Winchester via Front Royal. To get in
Banks' rear with my present force would be rather a dangerous
undertaking, as I would have to cross the river and immediately cross
the Massanutton Mountains, during which the enemy would have the
advantage of position. Of the three plans I give the preference to
attacking the force west of Staunton [Milroy], for, if successful, I
would afterward only have Banks to contend with, and in doing this
would be reinforced by General Edward Johnson, and by that time you
might be able to give me reinforcements, which, united with the
troops under my control, would enable me to defeat Banks. If he
should be routed and his command destroyed, nearly all our own forces
here could, if necessary, cross the Blue Ridge to Warrenton,
Fredericksburg, or any other threatened point."

Lee's reply was to the effect that no reinforcements could be spared,
but that he had carefully considered the three plans of operations
proposed, and that the selection was left to Jackson.

The Army of the Valley, when the Commander-in-Chief's letter was
received, had already been put in motion. Three roads lead from
Conrad's store in the Elk Run Valley to Johnson's position at West
View; one through Harrisonburg; the second by Port Republic, Cross
Keys, and Mount Sidney; the third, the river road, by Port Republic
and Staunton. The first of these was already occupied by the
Federals; the second was tortuous, and at places almost within view
of the enemy's camps; while the third, though it was nowhere less
than ten miles distant, ran obliquely across their front. In fact, to
all appearance, Banks with his superior force blocked Jackson's march
on Staunton more effectively than did Jackson his.

On the 29th, Ashby, continually watching Banks, made a demonstration
in force towards Harrisonburg.

April 30.

(MAP. SITUATION, APRIL 30, 1862. Showing: West: Franklin, North:
Harper's Ferry, South: Richmond, East: West Point.)

On the 30th he drove the Federal cavalry back upon their camps; and
the same afternoon Jackson, leaving Elk Run Valley, which was
immediately occupied by Ewell, with 8000 men, marched up the river to
Port Republic. The track, unmetalled and untended, had been turned
into a quagmire by the heavy rains of an ungenial spring, and the
troops marched only five miles, bivouacking by the roadside. May 1
was a day of continuous rain. The great mountains loomed dimly
through the dreary mist. The streams which rushed down the gorges to
the Shenandoah had swelled to brawling torrents, and in the hollows
of the fields the water stood in sheets. Men and horses floundered
through the mud. The guns sunk axle-deep in the treacherous soil; and
it was only by the help of large detachments of pioneers that the
heavy waggons of the train were able to proceed at all. It was in
vain that piles of stones and brushwood were strewn upon the roadway;
the quicksands dragged them down as fast as they were placed. The
utmost exertions carried the army no more than five miles forward,
and the troops bivouacked once more in the dripping woods.

May 2.

The next day, the third in succession, the struggle with the elements
continued. The whole command was called upon to move the guns and
waggons. The general and his staff were seen dismounted, urging on
the labourers; and Jackson, his uniform bespattered with mud, carried
stones and timbers on his own shoulders. But before nightfall the
last ambulance had been extricated from the slough, and the men,
drenched to the skin, and worn with toil, found a halting-place on
firmer ground. But this halting-place was not on the road to
Staunton. Before they reached Port Republic, instead of crossing the
Shenandoah and passing through the village, the troops had been
ordered to change the direction of their march. The spot selected for
their bivouac was at the foot of Brown's Gap, not more than twelve
miles south-west of the camp in Elk Run Valley.

May 3.

The next morning the clouds broke. The sun, shining with summer
warmth, ushered in a glorious May day, and the column, turning its
back upon the Valley, took the stony road that led over the Blue
Ridge. Upward and eastward the battalions passed, the great forest of
oak and pine rising high on either hand, until from the eyry of the
mountain-eagles they looked down upon the wide Virginia plains. Far
off, away to the south-east, the trails of white smoke from passing
trains marked the line of the Central Railroad, and the line of march
led directly to the station at Mechum's River. Both officers and men
were more than bewildered. Save to his adjutant-general, Jackson had
breathed not a whisper of his plan. The soldiers only knew that they
were leaving the Valley, and leaving it in the enemy's possession.
Winchester, Strasburg, Front Royal, New Market, Harrisonburg, were
full of Northern troops. Staunton alone was yet unoccupied. But
Staunton was closely threatened; and north of Harrisonburg the
blue-coated cavalry were riding far and wide. While the women and old
men looked impotently on, village and mill and farm were at the mercy
of the invaders. Already the Federal commissaries had laid hands on
herds and granaries. It is true that the Northerners waged war like
gentlemen; yet for all that the patriotism of the Valley soldiers was
sorely tried. They were ready to go to Richmond if the time had come;
but it was with heavy hearts that they saw the Blue Ridge rise behind
them, and the bivouac on Mechum's River was even more cheerless than
the sodden woods near Port Republic. The long lines of cars that
awaited them at the station but confirmed their anticipations. They
were evidently wanted at the capital, and the need was pressing.
Still not a word transpired as to their destination.

May 4.

The next day was Sunday, and Jackson had intended that the troops
should rest. But early in the morning came a message from Edward
Johnson. Fremont's advanced guard was pushing forward. "After hard
debate with himself," says Dabney, who accompanied him, "and with
sore reluctance," Jackson once more sacrificed his scruples and
ordered the command to march. The infantry was to move by rail, the
artillery and waggons by road. To their astonishment and delight the
troops then heard, for the first time, that their destination was not
Richmond but Staunton; and although they were far from understanding
the reason for their circuitous march, they began to suspect that it
had not been made without good purpose.

If the soldiers had been heavy hearted at the prospect of leaving the
Valley, the people of Staunton had been plunged in the direst grief.
For a long time past they had lived in a pitiable condition of
uncertainty. On April 19 the sick and convalescent of the Valley army
had been removed to Gordonsville. On the same day Jackson had moved
to Elk Run Valley, leaving the road from Harrisonburg completely
open; and Edward Johnson evacuated his position on the Shenandoah
Mountain. Letters from Jackson's officers, unacquainted with the
designs of their commander, had confirmed the apprehension that the
Federals were too strong to be resisted. On the Saturday of this
anxious week had come the news that the army was crossing the Blue
Ridge, and that the Valley had been abandoned to the enemy. Sunday
morning was full of rumours and excitement. 10,000 Federals, it was
reported, were advancing against Johnson at West View; Banks was
moving from Harrisonburg; his cavalry had been seen from the
neighbouring hills, and Staunton believed that it was to share the
fate of Winchester. Suddenly a train full of soldiers steamed into
the station; and as regiment after regiment, clad in their own
Confederate grey, swept through the crowded streets, confidence in
Stonewall Jackson began once more to revive.

Pickets were immediately posted on all the roads leading to
Harrisonburg, and beyond the line of sentries no one, whatever his
business might be, was allowed to pass. The following day the
remainder of the division arrived, and the junction with Johnson's
brigade was virtually effected. May 6 was spent in resting the
troops, in making the arrangements for the march, and in getting

May 7.

The next morning brought a fresh surprise to both troops and
townsfolk. Banks, so the rumour went, was rapidly approaching; and it
was confidently expected that the twin hills which stand above the
town--christened by some early settler, after two similar heights in
faraway Tyrone, Betsy Bell and Mary Gray--would look down upon a
bloody battle. But instead of taking post to defend the town, the
Valley regiments filed away over the western hills, heading for the
Alleghanies; and Staunton was once more left unprotected. Jackson,
although informed by Ashby that Banks, so far from moving forward,
was actually retiring on New Market, was still determined to strike
first at Milroy, commanding Fremont's advanced guard; and there can
be little question but that his decision was correct. As we have
seen, he was under the impression that Banks' strength was 21,000, a
force exceeding the united strength of the Confederates by 4200 men.*
(* Jackson, 6000; Ewell, 8000; E. Johnson, 2800.) It was undoubtedly
sound strategy to crush the weaker and more exposed of the enemy's
detachments first; and then, having cleared his own rear and
prevented all chance of combination between Banks and Fremont, to
strike the larger.

There was nothing to be feared from Harrisonburg. Eight days had
elapsed since Jackson had marched from Elk Run; but Banks was still
in blissful ignorance of the blow that threatened Fremont's advanced

On April 28 he had telegraphed to Washington that he was "entirely
secure." Everything was satisfactory. "The enemy," he said, "is in no
condition for offensive movements. Our supplies have not been in so
good condition nor my command in so good spirits since we left
Winchester. General Hatch (commanding cavalry) made a reconnaissance
in force yesterday, which resulted in obtaining a complete view of
the enemy's position. A negro employed in Jackson's tent came in this
morning, and reports preparation for retreat of Jackson to-day. You
need have no apprehensions for our safety. I think we are just now in
a condition to do all you can desire of us in the Valley--clear the
enemy out permanently."

On the 30th, when Ashby repaid with interest Hatch's reconnaissance
in force, he reported: "All quiet. Some alarm excited by movement of
enemy's cavalry. It appears to-day that they were in pursuit of a
Union prisoner who escaped to our camp. The day he left Jackson was
to be reinforced by Johnson and attack via Luray. Another report says
Jackson is bound for Richmond. This is the fact, I have no doubt.
Jackson is on half-rations, his supplies having been cut off by our
advance. There is nothing to be done in this Valley this side of

The same night, "after full consultation with all leading officers,"
he repeated that his troops were no longer required in the Valley,
and suggested to the Secretary of War that he should be permitted to
cross the Blue Ridge and clear the whole country north of
Gordonsville. "Enemy's force there is far less than represented in
newspapers--not more than 20,000 at the outside. Jackson's army is
reduced, demoralised, on half-rations. They are all concentrating for
Richmond...I am now satisfied that it is the most safe and effective
disposition for our corps. I pray your favourable consideration. Such
order will electrify our force." The force was certainly to be
electrified, but the impulse was not to come from Mr. Secretary

Banks, it may have been observed, whenever his superiors wanted him
to move, had invariably the best of reasons for halting. At one time
supplies were most difficult to arrange for. At another time the
enemy was being reinforced, and his own numbers were small. But when
he was told to halt, he immediately panted to be let loose. "The
enemy was not half so strong as had been reported;" "His men were
never in better condition;" "Supplies were plentiful." It is not
impossible that Mr. Stanton had by this time discovered, as was said
of a certain Confederate general, a protege of the President, that
Banks had a fine career before him until Lincoln "undertook to make
of him what the good Lord hadn't, a great general." To the daring
propositions of the late Governor and Speaker, the only reply
vouchsafed was an order to fall back on Strasburg, and to transfer
Shields' division to General McDowell at Fredericksburg.

But on May 3, the day Jackson disappeared behind the Blue Ridge,
Banks, to his evident discomfiture, found that his adversary had not
retreated to Richmond after all. The dashing commander, just now so
anxious for one thing or the other, either to clear the Valley or to
sweep the country north of Gordonsville, disappeared. "The reduced,
demoralised" enemy assumed alarming proportions. Nothing was said
about his half-rations; and as Ewell had reached Swift Run Gap with a
force estimated at 12,000 men, while Jackson, according to the
Federal scouts, was still near Port Republic, Banks thought it
impossible to divide his force with safety.

Stanton's reply is not on record, but it seems that he permitted
Banks to retain Shields until he arrived at Strasburg; and on May 5
the Federals fell back to New Market, their commander, misled both by
his cavalry and his spies, believing that Jackson had marched to

On the 7th, the day that Jackson moved west from Staunton, Banks'
fears again revived. He was still anxious that Shields should remain
with him. "Our cavalry," he said, "from near Harrisonburg report
to-night that Jackson occupies that town, and that he has been
largely reinforced. Deserters confirm reports of Jackson's movements
in this direction."

Jackson's movements at this juncture are full of interest. Friend and
foe were both mystified. Even his own officers might well ask why, in
his march to Staunton, he deliberately adopted the terrible road to
Port Republic. From Elk Run Valley a metalled road passed over the
Blue Ridge to Gordonsville. Staunton by this route was twenty-four
miles further than by Port Republic; but there were no obstacles to
rapid marching. And the command would have arrived no later than it
actually did. Moreover, in moving to Port Republic, eleven miles only
from Harrisonburg, and within sight of the enemy's patrols, it would
seem that there was considerable risk. Had Banks attacked the bridge
whilst the Confederate artillery was dragging heavily through the
mire, the consequences would probably have been unpleasant. Even if
he had not carried the bridge, the road which Jackson had chosen ran
for several miles over the open plain which lies eastward of the
Shenandoah, and from the commanding bluffs on the western bank his
column could have been effectively shelled without the power of reply.

In moving to Staunton the Confederate commander had three objects in

1. To strengthen his own force by combining with Edward Johnson.

2. To prevent the Federals combining by keeping Banks stationary and
defeating Milroy.

3. To protect Staunton.

The real danger that he had to guard against was that Banks, taking
advantage of his absence from the Valley, should move on Staunton.
Knowing his adversary as well as he did, he had no reason to
apprehend attack during his march to Port Republic. But it was not
impossible that when he found out that Jackson had vanished from the
Valley, Banks might take heart and join hands with Milroy. It was
necessary, therefore, in order to prevent Banks moving, that
Jackson's absence from the Valley should be very short; also, in
order to prevent Milroy either joining Banks or taking Staunton, that
Edward Johnson should be reinforced as rapidly as possible.

These objects would be attained by making use of the road to Port
Republic. In the first place, Banks would not dare to move towards
Milroy so long as the flank of his line of march was threatened; and
in the second place, from Port Republic to Staunton, by Mechum's
River, was little more than two days' march. Within forty-eight
hours, therefore, using the railway, it would be possible to
strengthen Johnson in time to protect Staunton, and to prevent the
Federals uniting. It was unlikely that Banks, even if he heard at
once that his enemy had vanished, would immediately dash forward; and
even if he did he would still have five-and-twenty miles to march
before he reached Staunton. Every precaution had been taken, too,
that he should not hear of the movement across the Blue Ridge till it
was too late to take advantage of it; and, as we have already seen,
so late as May 5 he believed that Jackson was at Harrisonburg. Ashby
had done his work well.

It might be argued, however, that with an antagonist so supine as
Banks Jackson might have openly marched to Staunton by the most
direct route; in fact, that he need never have left the Valley at
all. But, had he taken the road across the Valley, he would have
advertised his purpose. Milroy would have received long warning of
his approach, and all chance of effecting a surprise would have been

On April 29, the day on which Jackson began his movement, Richmond
was still safe. The Yorktown lines were intact, held by the 53,000
Confederates under Johnston; but it was very evident that they could
not be long maintained.

A large siege train had been brought from Washington, and Johnston
had already learned that in a few days one hundred pieces of the
heaviest ordnance would open fire on his position. His own armament
was altogether inadequate to cope with such ponderous metal. His
strength was not half his adversary's, and he had determined to
retreat without waiting to have his works demolished.

But the mighty army in his front was not the only danger. McDowell,
with 35,000 men, had already concentrated near Falmouth. Johnston, in
falling back on Richmond, was in danger of being caught between two
fires, for to oppose McDowell on the Rappahannock Lee had been unable
to assemble more than 12,000 Confederates.

These facts were all known to Jackson. Whether the march to Mechum's
River was intended by him to have any further effect on the Federals
than surprising Milroy, and clearing the way for an attack on Banks,
it is impossible to say. It is indisputable, at the same time, that
his sudden disappearance from the Valley disturbed Mr. Stanton. The
Secretary of War had suspected that Jackson's occupation of Swift Run
Gap meant mischief. McDowell, who had been instructed to cross the
Rappahannock, was ordered in consequence to stand fast at Falmouth,
and was warned that the enemy, amusing McClellan at Yorktown, might
make a sudden dash on either himself or Banks.

A few days later McDowell reported that Jackson had passed
Gordonsville. The news came from deserters, "very intelligent men."
The next day he was informed that Shields was to be transferred to
his command, and that he was to bear in mind his instructions as to
the defence of Washington. Banks had already been ordered back to
Strasburg. Now, a few days previously, Stanton had been talking of
co-operation between McClellan and McDowell. Directly he learned that
Jackson was east of the Blue Ridge all thought of combination was
abandoned; McDowell was held back; Shields was sent to reinforce him;
and the possible danger to Washington overrode all other

The weak point of McClellan's strategy was making itself felt. In
advancing on Richmond by way of the Peninsula he had deliberately
adopted what are called in strategy "the exterior lines." That is,
his forces were distributed on the arc of a circle, of which Richmond
and the Confederate army were the centre. If, landing on the
Peninsula, he had been able to advance at once upon Richmond, the
enemy must have concentrated for the defence of his capital, and
neither Banks nor Washington would have been disturbed. But the
moment his advance was checked, as it was at Yorktown, the enemy
could detach at his leisure in any direction that he pleased, and
McClellan was absolutely unable to support the threatened point. The
strategy of exterior lines demands, for success, a strong and
continuous pressure on the enemy's main army, depriving him of the
time and the space necessary for counterstroke. If this is
impossible, a skilful foe will at once make use of his central

Lincoln appears to have had an instinctive apprehension that
McClellan might not be able to exert sufficient pressure to hold
Johnston fast, and it was for this reason that he had fought so
strongly against the Peninsula line of invasion. It was the
probability that the Confederates would use their opportunity with
which Stanton had now to deal, complicated by the fact that their
numbers were believed to be much greater than they really were. Still
the problem was not one of insurmountable difficulty. Banks and
Fremont united had 40,000 men, McDowell over 30,000. A few marches
would have brought these forces into combination. Banks and Fremont,
occupying Staunton, and moving on Gordonsville, would have soon taken
up communication with McDowell; an army 70,000 strong, far larger
than any force the Confederates could detach against it, would have
threatened Richmond from the north and west, and, at the same time,
would have covered Washington. This plan, though not without elements
of danger, offered some advantages. Nor were soldiers wanting to
advise it. Both Rosecrans and Shields had submitted schemes for such
a combination. Mr. Stanton, however, preferred to control the
chessboard by the light of unaided wisdom; and while McDowell was
unnecessarily strengthened, both Banks and Fremont were dangerously

The only single point where the Secretary showed the slightest
sagacity was in apprehending that the Confederates would make use of
their opportunity, and overwhelm one of the detachments he had so
ingeniously isolated.

On April 29 Johnston proposed to Davis that his army should be
withdrawn from the Peninsula, and that the North should be invaded by
way of the Valley.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 477.) Lee, in the
name of the President, replied that some such scheme had been for
some time under consideration; and the burden of his letters, as we
have seen, both to Ewell and Jackson, was that a sudden and heavy
blow should be struck at some exposed portion of the invading armies.
Mr. Stanton was so far right; but where the blow was to be struck he
was absolutely unable to divine.

"It is believed," he writes to the Assistant Secretary on May 8,
"that a considerable force has been sent toward the Rappahannock and
Shenandoah to move on Washington. Jackson is reinforced strongly.
Telegraph McDowell, Banks, and Hartsuff (at Warrenton) to keep a
sharp look-out. Tell General Hitchcock to see that the force around
Washington is in proper condition."

It was indeed unfortunate for the North that at this juncture the
military affairs of the Confederacy should have been placed in the
hands of the clearest-sighted soldier in America. It was an unequal
match, Lincoln and Stanton against Lee; and the stroke that was to
prove the weakness of the Federal strategy was soon to fall. On May 7
Jackson westward marched in the following order: Edward Johnson's
regiments led the way, several miles in advance; the Third and Second
Brigades followed; the Stonewall, under General Winder, a young West
Point officer of exceptional promise, bringing up the rear. "The
corps of cadets of the Virginia Military Institute," says Dabney,
"was also attached to the expedition; and the spruce equipments and
exact drill of the youths, as they stepped out full of enthusiasm to
take their first actual look upon the horrid visage of war, under
their renowned professor, formed a strong contrast with the war-worn
and nonchalant veterans who composed the army."* (* Dabney volume 2
page 65.)

Eighteen miles west of Staunton a Federal picket was overrun, and in
the pass leading to the Shenandoah Mountain Johnson captured a camp
that had just been abandoned. The Federal rear-guard fired a few
shells, and the Confederates went into bivouac. Johnson had marched
fourteen and Jackson twenty miles.

That night Milroy concentrated his whole brigade of 3700 men at
M'Dowell, a little village at the foot of the Bull Pasture Mountain,
and sent back in haste for reinforcements. Fremont's command was much
strung out. When Milroy had moved from Cheat Mountain through
Monterey, twelve miles west of M'Dowell,* (* See ante, pages 185,
269, 275.) the remainder of the army had started up the South Branch
Valley to reinforce him. But snowstorms and heavy rains had much
delayed the march, and Schenck's brigade had not advanced beyond
Franklin, thirty-four miles north of M'Dowell. Fremont himself, with
a couple of battalions, was approaching Petersburg, thirty-five miles
from Franklin; and Blenker's division, still further to the rear, had
not yet quitted Romney.

May 8.

"On the following morning," to quote from Jackson's report, "the
march was resumed, General Johnson's brigade still in front. The head
of the column was halted near the top of Bull Pasture Mountain, and
General Johnson, accompanied by a party of thirty men and several
officers, with a view to a reconnaissance of the enemy's position,
ascended Sitlington's Hill, an isolated spur on the left of the
turnpike and commanding a full view of the village of M'Dowell. From
this point the position, and to some extent the strength, of the
enemy could be seen. In the valley in which M'Dowell is situated was
observed a considerable force of infantry. To the right, on a height,
were two regiments, but too distant for an effective fire to that
point. Almost a mile in front was a battery supported by infantry.
The enemy, observing a reconnoitring party, sent a small body of
skirmishers, which was promptly met by the men with General Johnson
and driven back. For the purpose of securing the hill all of General
Johnson's regiments were sent to him."

Jackson had no intention of delivering a direct assault on the
Federal position. The ground was altogether unfavourable for attack.
The hill on which his advanced guard was now established was more
than two miles broad from east to west. But it was no plateau. Rugged
and precipitous ridges towered high above the level, and numerous
ravines, hidden by thick timber, seamed the surface of the spur. To
the front a slope of smooth unbroken greensward dropped sharply down;
and five hundred feet below, behind a screen of woods, the Bull
Pasture River ran swiftly through its narrow valley. On the river
banks were the Federals; and beyond the valley the wooded mountains,
a very labyrinth of hills, rose high and higher to the west. To the
right was a deep gorge, nearly half a mile across from cliff to
cliff, dividing Sitlington's Hill from the heights to northward; and
through this dangerous defile ran the turnpike, eventually debouching
on a bridge which was raked by the Federal guns. To the left the
country presented exactly the same features. Mountain after mountain,
ridge after ridge, cleft by shadowy crevasses, and clothed with great
tracts of forest, rolled back in tortuous masses to the backbone of
the Alleghanies; a narrow pass, leading due westward, marking the
route to Monterey and the Ohio River.

Although commanded by Sitlington's Hill, the Federal position was
difficult to reach. The river, swollen by rain, protected it in
front. The bridge could only be approached by a single road, with
inaccessible heights on either hand. The village of M'Dowell was
crowded with troops and guns. A low hill five hundred yards beyond
the bridge was occupied by infantry and artillery; long lines of
tents were ranged on the level valley, and the hum of many voices,
excited by the appearance of the enemy, was borne upwards to the
heights. Had the Confederate artillery been brought to the brow of
Sitlington's Hill, the valley would doubtless soon have become
untenable, and the enemy have been compelled to retire through the
mountains. It was by no means easy, however, to prevent them from
getting away unscathed. But Jackson was not the man to leave the task
untried, and to content himself with a mere cannonade. He had reason
to hope that Milroy was ignorant of his junction with General
Johnson, and that he would suppose he had only the six regiments of
the latter with which to deal. The day was far spent, and the Valley
brigades, toiling through the mountains, were still some miles
behind. He proposed, therefore, while his staff explored the
mountains for a track which might lead him the next day to the rear
of the Federal position, merely to hold his ground on Sitlington's

His immediate opponent, however, was a general of more resource and
energy than Banks. Milroy was at least able to supply himself with
information. On May 7 he had been advised by his scouts and spies
that Jackson and Johnson had combined, and that they were advancing
to attack him at M'Dowell. At 10 A.M. the next day Schenck's brigade
arrived from Franklin, after a march of thirty-four miles in
twenty-three hours, and a little later the enemy's scouts were
observed on the lofty crest of Sitlington's Hill. The day wore on.
The Federal battery, with muzzles elevated and the trails thrust into
trenches, threw occasional shells upon the heights, and parties of
skirmishers were sent across the river to develop the Confederate
strength. Johnson, to whom Jackson had confided the defence of the
position, kept his troops carefully concealed, merely exposing
sufficient numbers to repel the Federal patrols. Late in the
afternoon a staff officer reported to Jackson that he had discovered
a rough mountain track, which, passing through the mountains to the
north-west, crossed the Bull Pasture River and came out upon the road
between M'Dowell and Franklin. Orders had just been issued to move a
strong detachment of artillery and infantry by this track during the
night, when the Federal infantry, who had crossed the bridge under
shelter of the woods, advanced in a strong line of battle up the
slopes. Their scouts had observed what they believed to be
preparations for establishing a battery on the heights, and Milroy
and Schenck, with a view of gaining time for retreat, had determined
on attack. Johnson had six regiments concealed behind the crest, in
all about 2800 men. Two regiments of the enemy, under 1000 strong,
advanced against his front; and shortly afterwards three regiments,
bringing the numbers of the attack up to 2500 rifles, assailed his

The Ohio and West Virginia Regiments, of which the Federal force was
composed, fought with the vigour which always characterised the
Western troops.* (* Jackson fully recognised the fine fighting
qualities of his compatriots. "As Shields' brigade (division)," he
wrote on April 5, "is composed principally of Western troops, who are
familiar with the use of arms, we must calculate on hard fighting to
oust Banks if attacked only in front, and may meet with obstinate
resistance, however the attack may be made.") The lofty heights held
by the Confederates were but an illusory advantage. So steep were the
slopes in front that the men, for the most part, had to stand on the
crest to deliver their fire, and their line stood out in bold relief
against the evening sky. "On the other hand," says Dabney, "though
the Federal troops had to scale the steep acclivity of the hill, they
reaped the usual advantage in such cases, resulting from the high
firing of the Confederates." The 12th Georgia, holding the centre of
Johnson's line, displayed more valour than judgment. Having been
advanced at first in front of the crest, they could not be persuaded
to retire to the reverse of the ridge, where other regiments found
partial protection without sacrificing the efficiency of their fire.
Their commander, perceiving their useless exposure, endeavoured again
and again to withdraw them; but amidst the roar of the musketry his
voice was lifted up in vain, and when by passing along the ranks he
persuaded one wing of the regiment to recede, they rushed again to
the front while he was gone to expostulate with the other. A tall
Georgia youth expressed the spirit of his comrades when he replied
the next day to the question why they did not retreat to the shelter
of the ridge: "We did not come all this way to Virginia to run before
Yankees."* (* Dabney volume 2 page 73.) Nor was the courage of the
other troops less ardent. The 44th Virginia was placed in reserve,
thirty paces in rear of the centre. "After the battle became
animated," says the brigadier, "and my attention was otherwise
directed, a large number of the 44th quit their position, and,
rushing forward, joined the 58th and engaged in the fight, while the
balance of the regiment joined some other brigade."* (* Report of
Colonel Scott, 44th Virginia Infantry. O.R. volume 12 part 1 page

The action gradually became so fierce that Jackson sent his Third
Brigade to support the advanced guard. These nine regiments now
engaged sufficed to hold the enemy in check; the Second Brigade,
which moved towards them as darkness fell, was not engaged, and the
Stonewall regiments were still in rear. No counterstroke was
delivered. Johnson himself was wounded, and had to hand over the
command; and after four hours' fighting the Federals fell back in
perfect order under cover of the night. Nor was there any endeavour
to pursue. The Confederate troops were superior in numbers, but there
was much confusion in their ranks; the cavalry could not act on the
steep and broken ground, and there were other reasons which rendered
a night attack undesirable.

The enemy had been repulsed at every point. The tale of casualties,
nevertheless, was by no means small. 498 Confederates, including 54
officers, had fallen. The 12th Georgia paid the penalty for its
useless display of valour with the loss of 156 men and 19 officers.
The Federals, on the other hand, favoured by the ground, had no more
than 256 killed, wounded, and missing. Only three pieces of artillery
took part in the engagement. These were Federal guns; but so great
was the angle of elevation that but one man on Sitlington's Hill was
struck by a piece of shell. Jackson, in order to conceal his actual
strength, had declined to order up his artillery. The approach to the
position, a narrow steep ravine, wooded, and filled with boulders,
forbade the use of horses, and the guns must have been dragged up by
hand with great exertion. Moreover, the artillery was destined to
form part of the turning column, and had a long night march before it.

(MAP. BATTLE OF McDOWELL, VIRGINIA. Thursday, May 8th, 1862. Showing
West: Crab Run, North: Hull's Ridge, South: Stuart's Run, East: Bull
Pasture Mountain.)

"By nine o'clock," says Dabney, "the roar of the struggle had passed
away, and the green battle-field reposed under the starlight as
calmly as when it had been occupied only by its peaceful herds.
Detachments of soldiers were silently exploring the ground for their
wounded comrades, while, the tired troops were slowly filing off to
their bivouac. At midnight the last sufferer had been removed and the
last picket posted; and then only did Jackson turn to seek a few
hours' repose in a neighbouring farmhouse. The valley of M'Dowell lay
in equal quiet. The camp-fires of the Federals blazed ostentatiously
in long and regular lines, and their troops seemed wrapped in sleep.
At one o'clock the general reached his quarters, and threw himself
upon a bed. When his mulatto servant, knowing that he had eaten
nothing since morning, came in with food, he said, 'I want none;
nothing but sleep,' and in a few minutes he was slumbering like a
healthy child."

It seems, however, that the march of the turning column had already
been countermanded. Putting himself in his enemy's place, Jackson had
foreseen Milroy's movements. If the one could move by night, so could
the other; and when he rode out at dawn, the Federals, as he
anticipated, had disappeared. The next day he sent a laconic despatch
to Richmond: "God blessed our arms with victory at M'Dowell

This announcement was doubtless received by the people of Virginia,
as Dabney declares, with peculiar delight. On May 4 Johnston had
evacuated Yorktown. On the 5th he had checked the pursuit at
Williamsburg, inflicting heavy losses, but had continued his retreat.
On the 9th Norfolk was abandoned; and on the 11th the "Merrimac,"
grounding in the James, was destroyed by her commander. "The victory
of M'Dowell was the one gleam of brightness athwart all these
clouds." It must be admitted, however, that the victory was
insignificant. The repulse of 2500 men by 4000 was not a remarkable
feat; and it would even appear that M'Dowell might be ranked with the
battles of lost opportunities. A vigorous counterstroke would
probably have destroyed the whole of the attacking force. The
riflemen of the West, however, were not made of the stuff that yields
readily to superior force. The fight for the bridge would have been
fierce and bloody. Twilight had fallen before the Confederate
reinforcements arrived upon the scene; and under such conditions the
losses must have been very heavy. But to lose men was exactly what
Jackson wished to avoid. The object of his manoeuvres was the
destruction not of Fremont's advanced guard, but of Banks' army; and
if his numbers were seriously reduced it would be impossible to
attain that end. Fremont's brigades, moreover, protected no vital
point. A decisive victory at M'Dowell would have produced but little
effect at Washington. No great results were to be expected from
operations in so distant a section of the strategic theatre; and
Jackson aimed at nothing more than driving the enemy so far back as
to isolate him from Banks.

May 9.

The next morning the small force of cavalry crossed the bridge and
rode cautiously through the mountain passes. The infantry halted for
some hours in M'Dowell in order that rations might be issued, but the
Federals made three-and-twenty miles, and were already too far ahead
to be overtaken. On the 10th and the 11th the Confederates made
forced marches, but the enemy set fire to the forests on the
mountain-side, and this desperate measure proved eminently
successful. "The sky was overcast with volumes of smoke, which
wrapped every distant object in a veil, impenetrable alike to the
eyes and telescopes of the officers. Through this sultry canopy the
pursuing army felt its way cautiously, cannonaded by the enemy from
every advantageous position, while it was protected from ambuscades
only by detachments of skirmishers, who scoured the burning woods on
either side of the highway. The general, often far in advance of the
column in his eagerness to overtake the foe, declared that this was
the most adroit expedient to which a retreating army could resort,
and that it entailed upon him all the disadvantages of a night
attack. By slow approaches, and with constant skirmishing, the
Federals were driven back to Franklin village, and the double
darkness of the night and the smoke arrested the pursuit."* (* Dabney
volume 2 page 77.)

May 12.

On May 12 Jackson resolved to return to the Valley. Fremont, with
Blenker's division, was at hand. It was impossible to outflank the
enemy's position, and time was precious, "for he knew not how soon a
new emergency at Fredericksburg or at Richmond might occasion the
recall of Ewell, and deprive him of the power of striking an
effective blow at Banks."* (* Ibid page 78. On May 9, in anticipation
of a movement down the Valley, he had ordered thirty days' forage,
besides other supplies, to be accumulated at Staunton. Harman
Manuscript.) Half the day was granted to the soldiers as a day of
rest, to compensate for the Sunday spent in the pursuit, and the
following order was issued to the command:--

"I congratulate you on your recent victory at M'Dowell. I request you
to unite with me in thanksgiving to Almighty God for thus having
crowned your arms with success; and in praying that He will continue
to lead you on from victory to victory, until our independence shall
be established; and make us that people whose God is the Lord. The
chaplains will hold divine service at 10 A.M. on this day, in their
respective regiments."

Shortly after noon the march to M'Dowell was resumed.

May 15.

On the 15th the army left the mountains and encamped at Lebanon
Springs, on the road to Harrisonburg. The 16th was spent in camp, the
Confederate President having appointed a day of prayer and fasting.
On the 17th a halt was made at Mount Solon, and here Jackson was met
by Ewell, who had ridden over from Elk Run Valley. Banks had fallen
back to Strasburg, and he was now completely cut off from Fremont. On
the night of the engagement at M'Dowell Captain Hotchkiss had been
ordered back to the Valley, and, accompanied by a squadron of Ashby's
cavalry, had blocked the passes by which Fremont could cross the
mountains and support his colleague. "Bridges and culverts were
destroyed, rocks rolled down, and in one instance trees were felled
along the road for nearly a mile."* (* Fremont's Report, O.R. volume
12 part 1 page 11.) Jackson's object was thus thoroughly achieved.
All combination between the Federal columns, except by long and
devious routes, had now been rendered impracticable; and there was
little fear that in any operations down the Valley his own
communications would be endangered. The M'Dowell expedition had
neutralised, for the time being, Fremont's 20,000 men; and Banks was
now isolated, exposed to the combined attack of Jackson, Ewell, and
Edward Johnson.

One incident remains to be mentioned. During the march to Mount Solon
some companies of the 27th Virginia, who had volunteered for twelve
months, and whose time had expired, demanded their discharge. On this
being refused, as the Conscription Act was now in force, they threw
down their arms, and refused to serve another day. Colonel Grigsby
referred to the General for instructions. Jackson's face, when the
circumstances were explained, set hard as flint. "Why," he said,
"does Colonel Grigsby refer to me to learn how to deal with
mutineers? He should shoot them where they stand." The rest of the
regiment was ordered to parade with loaded muskets; the insubordinate
companies were offered the choice of instant death or instant
submission. The men knew their commander, and at once surrendered.
"This," says Dabney, "was the last attempt at organised disobedience
in the Valley army."


1862. May.

That week in May when the Army of the Valley marched back to the
Shenandoah was almost the darkest in the Confederate annals. The
Northern armies, improving daily in discipline and in efficiency, had
attained an ascendency which it seemed impossible to withstand. In
every quarter of the theatre of war success inclined to the Stars and
Stripes. At the end of April New Orleans, the commercial metropolis
of the South, had fallen to the Federal navy. Earlier in the month a
great battle had been fought at Shiloh, in Tennessee; one of the most
trusted of the Confederate commanders had been killed;* (* General
A.S. Johnston.) his troops, after a gallant struggle, had been
repulsed with fearful losses; and the upper portion of the
Mississippi, from the source to Memphis, had fallen under the control
of the invader. The wave of conquest, vast and irresistible, swept up
every navigable river of the South; and if in the West only the
outskirts of her territory were threatened with destruction, in
Virginia the roar of the rising waters was heard at the very gates of
Richmond. McClellan, with 112,000 men, had occupied West Point at the
head of the York River; and on May 16 his advance reached the White
House, on the Pamunkey, twenty miles from the Confederate capital.
McDowell, with 40,000 men, although still north of the Rappahannock,
was but five short marches distant.* (* Directly McClellan closed in
on Richmond, McDowell was ordered, as soon as Shields should join
him, to march from Manassas to his assistance. Lincoln and Stanton
had recovered confidence when Jackson returned to the Valley from
Mechum's Station.) The Federal gunboats were steaming up the James;
and Johnston's army, encamped outside the city, was menaced by thrice
its numbers.

So black was the situation that military stores had already been
removed from the capital, the archives of the Confederacy had been
packed, and Mr. Davis had made arrangements for the departure of his
family. In spite of the protests of the Virginia people the
Government had decided to abandon Richmond. The General Assembly
addressed a resolution to the President requiring him to defend the
city, if necessary, "until not a stone was left upon another." The
City Council, enthusiastically supported by the citizens, seconded
the appeal. A deputation was sent to Mr. Davis; but while they
conferred together, a messenger rode in with the news that the
mastheads of the Federal fleet could be seen from the neighbouring
hills. Davis dismissed the committee, saying: "This manifestly
concludes the matter."

The gunboats, however, had still to feel their way up the winding
reaches of the James. Their progress was very slow; there was time to
obstruct the passage, and batteries were hastily improvised. The
people made a mighty effort; and on the commanding heights of
Drewry's Bluff, six miles below the city, might be seen senators and
merchants, bankers and clergymen, digging parapets and hauling
timber, in company with parties of soldiers and gangs of slaves.
Heavy guns were mounted. A great boom was constructed across the
stream. When the ships approached they were easily driven back, and
men once more breathed freely in the streets of Richmond. The example
of the "Unterrified Commonwealth," as Virginia has been proudly
named, inspired the Government, and it was determined, come what
might, that Richmond should be held. On the land side it was already
fortified. But Lee was unwilling to resign himself to a siege.
McClellan had still to cross the Chickahominy, a stream which oozes
by many channels through treacherous swamps and an unwholesome
jungle; and despite the overwhelming numbers of the invading armies,
it was still possible to strike an effective blow.

Few would have seen the opportunity, or, with a great army thundering
at the gates of Richmond, have dared to seize it; but it was not
McClellan and McDowell whom Lee was fighting, not the enormous hosts
which they commanded, nor the vast resources of the North. The power
which gave life and motion to the mighty mechanism of the attack lay
not within the camps that could be seen from the housetops of
Richmond and from the hills round Fredericksburg. Far away to the
north, beyond the Potomac, beneath the shadow of the Capitol at
Washington, was the mainspring of the invader's strength. The
multitudes of armed men that overran Virginia were no more the
inanimate pieces of the chess-board. The power which controlled them
was the Northern President. It was at Lincoln that Lee was about to
strike, at Lincoln and the Northern people, and an effective blow at
the point which people and President deemed vital might arrest the
progress of their armies as surely as if the Confederates had been
reinforced by a hundred thousand men.

May 16.

On May 16 Lee wrote to Jackson: "Whatever movement you make against
Banks, do it speedily, and if successful drive him back towards the
Potomac, and create the impression, as far as possible, that you
design threatening that line." For this purpose, in addition to Ewell
and Johnson's forces, the Army of the Valley was to be reinforced by
two brigades, Branch's and Mahone's, of which the former had already
reached Gordonsville.

In this letter the idea of playing on the fears of Lincoln for the
safety of his capital first sees the light, and it is undoubtedly to
be attributed to the brain of Lee. That the same idea had been
uppermost in Jackson's mind during the whole course of the campaign
is proved not only by the evidence of his chief of the staff, but by
his correspondence with headquarters. "If Banks is defeated," he had
written on April 5, "it may directly retard McClellan's movements."
It is true that nowhere in his correspondence is the idea of menacing
Washington directly mentioned, nor is there the slightest evidence
that he suggested it to Lee. But in his letters to his superiors he
confines himself strictly to the immediate subject, and on no single
occasion does he indulge in speculation on possible results. In the
ability of the Commander-in-Chief he had the most implicit
confidence. "Lee," he said, "is the only man I know whom I would
follow blindfold," and he was doubtless assured that the
embarrassments of the Federal Government were as apparent to Lee as
to himself. That the same idea should have suggested itself
independently to both is hardly strange. Both looked further than the
enemy's camps; both studied the situation in its broadest bearings;
both understood the importance of introducing a disturbing element
into the enemy's plans; and both were aware that the surest means of
winning battles is to upset the mental equilibrium of the opposing

Before he reached Mount Solon Jackson had instructed Ewell to call up
Branch's brigade from Gordonsville. He intended to follow Banks with
the whole force at his disposal, and in these dispositions Lee had
acquiesced. Johnston, however, now at Richmond, had once more resumed
charge of the detached forces, and a good deal of confusion ensued.
Lee, intent on threatening Washington, was of opinion that Banks
should be attacked. Johnston, although at first he favoured such a
movement, does not appear to have realised the effect that might be
produced by an advance to the Potomac. Information had been received
that Banks was constructing intrenchments at Strasburg, and Johnston
changed his mind. He thought the attack too hazardous, and Ewell was
directed to cross the Blue Ridge and march eastward, while Jackson
"observed" Banks.

These orders placed Ewell in a dilemma. Under instructions from Lee
he was to remain with Jackson. Under instructions from Jackson he was
already moving on Luray. Johnston's orders changed his destination.
Taking horse in haste he rode across the Valley from Swift Run Gap to
Jackson's camp at Mount Solon. Jackson at once telegraphed to Lee: "I
am of opinion that an attempt should be made to defeat Banks, but
under instructions from General Johnston I do not feel at liberty to
make an attack. Please answer by telegraph at once." To Ewell he gave
orders that he should suspend his movement until a reply was
received. "As you are in the Valley district," he wrote, "you
constitute part of my command...You will please move so as to encamp
between New Market and Mount Jackson on next Wednesday night, unless
you receive orders from a superior officer and of a date subsequent
to the 16th instant."

This order was written at Ewell's own suggestion. It was for this he
had ridden through the night to Jackson's camp.

(MAP. SITUATION, MAY 18, 1862. Showing West: McDowell, North:
Martinsburg, South: Richmond, East: West Point.)

May 18.

Lee's reply was satisfactory. Johnston had already summoned Branch to
Richmond, but Ewell was to remain; and the next morning, May 18, the
Confederates moved forward down the Valley. The two days' rest which
had been granted to Jackson's troops had fallen at a useful time.
They had marches to look back on which had tried their endurance to
the utmost. In three days, before and after Kernstown, they had
covered fifty-six miles, and had fought a severe engagement. The
struggle with the mud on the Port Republic was only surpassed by the
hardships of the march to Romney. From Elk Run to Franklin, and from
Franklin to Mount Solon, is just two hundred miles, and these they
had traversed in eighteen days. But the exertions which had been then
demanded from them were trifling in comparison with those which were
to come. From Mount Solon to Winchester is eighty miles by the Valley
pike; to Harper's Ferry one hundred and ten miles. And Jackson had
determined that before many days had passed the Confederate colours
should be carried in triumph through the streets of Winchester, and
that the gleam of his camp-fires should be reflected in the waters of
the Potomac.

Johnston believed that Banks, behind the earthworks at Strasburg, was
securely sheltered. Jackson saw that his enemy had made a fatal
mistake, and that his earthworks, skilfully and strongly constructed
as they were, were no more than a snare and a delusion.

Ashby had already moved to New Market; and a strong cordon of pickets
extended along Pugh's Run near Woodstock, within sight of the Federal
outposts, and cutting off all communication between Strasburg and the
Upper Valley. Ewell's cavalry regiments, the 2nd and 6th Virginia,
held the Luray Valley, with a detachment east of the Blue Ridge.

May 20.

On the 20th Jackson arrived at New Market, thirty miles from Mount
Solon. Ewell had meanwhile marched to Luray, and the two wings were
now on either side of the Massanuttons. On his way to New Market
Jackson had been joined by the Louisiana brigade of Ewell's division.
This detachment seems to have been made with the view of inducing
Banks to believe, should information filter through Ashby's pickets,
that the whole Confederate force was advancing direct on Strasburg.

The Army of the Valley numbered nearly 17,000 officers and men.* (*
This estimate is Colonel Allan's. Cf The Valley Campaign pages 92 and
93. Dabney gives 16,000 men.) Ewell's effective strength was 7500;
Johnson's 2500; Jackson's 6000; and there were eleven batteries.

The troops were now organised in two divisions:--


First (Stonewall) Brigade, General Winder: 2nd Virginia, 4th
Virginia, 5th Virginia, 27th Virginia, 33rd Virginia.

Second Brigade, Colonel Campbell: 21st Virginia, 42nd Virginia, 48th
Virginia, 1st Regulars (Irish).

Third Brigade, Colonel Taliaferro: 10th Virginia, 23rd Virginia, 37th

Cavalry, Colonel Ashby: 7th Virginia.

Artillery: 5 batteries (1 horse-artillery), 22 guns.


Taylor's Brigade: 6th Louisiana, 7th Louisiana, 8th Louisiana, 9th
Louisiana, Wheat's Battalion (Louisiana Tigers).

Trimble's Brigade: 21st North Carolina, 21st Georgia, 15th Alabama,
16th Mississippi.

Elzey's Brigade and Scott's Brigade: 13th Virginia, 31st Virginia,
25th Virginia, 12th Georgia.
(late Johnson's), 44th Virginia, 52nd Virginia, 58th Virginia.

Maryland Line: 1st Maryland.

Cavalry, General G.H. Steuart: 2nd Virginia, Colonel Munford: 6th
Virginia, Colonel Flournoy.

Artillery: 6 batteries, 26 guns.

For the first time in his career Jackson found himself in command of
a considerable force. The greater part of the troops were Virginians,
and with these he was personally acquainted. The strange contingents
were Taylor's and Trimble's brigades, and Steuart's cavalry. These
had yet to be broken to his methods of war and discipline. There was
no reason, however, to fear that they would prove less efficient than
his own division. They had as yet seen little fighting, but they were
well commanded. Ewell was a most able soldier, full of dash and
daring, who had seen much service on the Indian frontier. He was an
admirable subordinate, ready to take responsibility if orders were
not forthcoming, and executing his instructions to the letter. His
character was original. His modesty was only equalled by his
eccentricity. "Bright, prominent eyes, a bomb-shaped bald head, and a
nose like that of Francis of Valois, gave him a striking resemblance
to a woodcock; and this was increased by a bird-like habit of putting
his head on one side to utter his quaint speeches. He fancied that he
had some mysterious internal malady, and would eat nothing but
frumenty, a preparation of wheat; and his plaintive way of talking of
his disease, as if he were someone else, was droll in the extreme.
"What do you suppose President Davis made me a major-general for?"
beginning with a sharp accent, ending with a gentle lisp, was a usual
question to his friends. Superbly mounted, he was the boldest of
horsemen, invariably leaving the roads to take timber and water; and
with all his oddities, perhaps in some measure because of them, he
was adored by officers and men."* (* Destruction and Reconstruction,
General R. Taylor pages 38 and 39.) To Jackson he must have been
peculiarly acceptable; not indeed as an intimate, for Ewell, at this
period of the war, was by no means regenerate, and swore like a
cowboy: but he knew the value of time, and rated celerity of movement
as high as did Napoleon. His instructions to Branch, when the march
against Banks was first projected, might have emanated from Jackson
himself: "You cannot bring tents; tent-flies without poles, or tents
cut down to that size, and only as few as are indispensable. No
mess-chests, trunks, etc. It is better to leave these things where
you are than to throw them away after starting. We can get along
without anything but food and ammunition. The road to glory cannot be
followed with much baggage."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 890.)

Trimble, too, was a good officer, an able tactician and a resolute
leader. He had hardly, however, realised as yet that the movements of
a brigade must be subordinated to those of the whole army, and he was
wont to grumble if his troops were held back, or were not allowed to
pursue some local success. Steuart was also a West Pointer, but with
much to learn. Taylor and his Louisianians played so important a part
in the ensuing operations that they deserve more detailed mention.
The command was a mixed one. One of the regiments had been recruited
from the roughs of New Orleans. The 7th and 9th were composed of
planters and sons of planters, the majority of them men of fortune.
"The 6th," writes the brigadier, "were Irishmen, stout, hardy
fellows, turbulent in camp and requiring a strong hand, but
responding to justice and kindness, and ready to follow their
officers to the death. The 8th were from the Attakapas--Acadians, the
race of whom Longfellow sings in "Evangeline"--a home-loving, simple
people; few spoke English, fewer still had ever moved ten miles from
their native cabanas; and the war to them was a liberal education.
They had all the light gaiety of the Gaul, and, after the manner of
their ancestors, were born cooks. A capital regimental band
accompanied them, and whenever weather and ground permitted, even
after long marches, they would waltz and polk in couples with as much
zest as if their arms encircled the supple waists of the Celestines
and Melazies of their native Teche. The Valley soldiers were largely
of the Presbyterian faith, and of a solemn, pious demeanour, and
looked askance at the caperings of my Creoles, holding them to be
"devices and snares.""* (* Destruction and Reconstruction pages 52
and 53.)

Taylor himself had been educated at West Point. He was a man of high
position, of unquestioned ability, an excellent disciplinarian, and a
delightful writer. More than other commanders he had paid great
attention to the marching of his men. He had an eye to those
practical details which a good regimental officer enforces with so
much effect. Boots were properly fitted; the troops were taught the
advantages of cold water, and how to heal abrasions; halts upon the
march were made at frequent intervals, and the men soon held that to
fall out on the march was a disgrace. Before a month "had passed," he
says, "the brigade had learned how to march, and in the Valley with
Jackson covered long distances without leaving a straggler behind."*
(* Ibid page 37.)

Jackson's first meeting with the Louisiana troops has been described
by their commander:--

"A mounted officer was dispatched to report our approach and select a
camp, which proved to be beyond Jackson's forces, then lying in the
fields on both sides of the Valley pike. Over 3000 strong, neat in
fresh clothing of grey with white gaiters, bands playing at the head
of their regiments--not a straggler, but every man in his place,
stepping jauntily as if on parade, though it had marched twenty miles
or more--in open column, with the rays of the declining sun flaming
on polished bayonets, the brigade moved down the hard smooth pike,
and wheeled on to the camping-ground. Jackson's men, by thousands,
had gathered on either side of the road to see us pass.

"After attending to necessary camp details, I sought Jackson, whom I
had never met. The mounted officer who had been sent on in advance
pointed out a figure perched on the topmost rail of a fence
overlooking the road and field, and said it was Jackson. Approaching,
I saluted and declared my name and rank, then waited for a response.
Before this came I had time to see a pair of cavalry boots covering
feet of gigantic size, a mangy cap with visor drawn low, a heavy dark
beard and weary eyes, eyes I afterwards saw filled with intense but
never brilliant light. A low gentle voice inquired the road and
distance marched that day. 'Keezleton road, six-and-twenty miles.'
'You seem to have no stragglers.' 'Never allow straggling.' 'You must
teach my people; they straggle badly.' A bow in reply. Just then my
Creoles started their band for a waltz. After a contemplative suck at
a lemon, 'Thoughtless fellows for serious work' came forth. I
expressed a hope that the work would not be less well done because of
the gaiety. A return to the lemon gave me the opportunity to retire.
Where Jackson got his lemons 'No fellow could find out,' but he was
rarely without one. To have lived twelve miles from that fruit would
have disturbed him as much as it did the witty dean."* (* Destruction
and Reconstruction pages 54 to 56.)

May 21.

The next day, marching in the grey of the morning, the force moved
north, the Louisianians in advance. Suddenly, after covering a short
distance, the head of the column was turned to the right; and the
troops, who had confidently expected that Strasburg would be the
scene of their next engagement, found themselves moving eastward and
crossing the Massanuttons. The men were utterly at sea as to the
intentions of their commander. Taylor's brigade had been encamped
near Conrad's Store, only a few miles distant, not many days before,
and they had now to solve the problem why they should have made three
long marches in order to return to their former position. No word
came from Jackson to enlighten them. From time to time a courier
would gallop up, report, and return to Luray, but the general,
absorbed in thought, rode silently across the mountain, perfectly
oblivious of inquiring glances.

At New Market the troops had been halted at crossroads, and they had
marched by that which they had least expected. The camp at Luray on
the 21st presented the same puzzle. One road ran east across the
mountains to Warrenton or Culpeper; a second north to Front Royal and
Winchester; and the men said that halting them in such a position was
an ingenious device of Jackson's to prevent them fathoming his
plans.* (* Compare instructions to Ewell, ante.)

May 22.

The next day, the 22nd, the army, with Ewell leading, moved quietly
down the Luray Valley, and the advanced guard, Taylor's Louisianians,
a six-pounder battery, and the 6th Virginia Cavalry, bivouacked that
night within ten miles of Front Royal, held by a strong detachment of
Banks' small army.

Since they had Left Mount Solon and Elk Run Valley on May 19 the
troops in four days had made just sixty miles. Such celerity of
movement was unfamiliar to both Banks and Stanton, and on the night
of the 22nd neither the Secretary nor the general had the faintest
suspicion that the enemy had as yet passed Harrisonburg. There was
serenity at Washington. On both sides of the Blue Ridge everything
was going well. The attack on Fremont had not been followed up; and
McClellan, though calling urgently for reinforcements, was sanguine
of success. Mr. Lincoln, reassured by Jackson's retreat from
Franklin, had permitted Shields to march to Falmouth; and McDowell,
with a portion of his troops, had already crossed the Rappahannock.
The President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, an important
personage at Washington, appears to have been alone in his
apprehension that a storm was gathering in the summer sky. "The
aspect of affairs in the Valley of Virginia," he wrote to Stanton,
"is becoming very threatening...The enterprise and vigour of Jackson
are well known...Under the circumstances will it not be more
judicious to order back General Shields to co-operate with General
Banks? Such a movement might be accomplished in time to prevent
disaster."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 201.) The Secretary,
however, saw no reason for alarm. His strategical combinations were
apparently working without a hitch. Banks at Strasburg was in a
strong position; and McDowell was about to lend the aid which would
enable McClellan to storm the rebel capital. One of Fremont's
columns, under General Cox, a most able officer, which was making
good progress towards the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, had
certainly been compelled to halt when Milroy was driven back to
Franklin. Yet the defeated troops were rapidly reorganising, and
Fremont would soon resume his movement. Milroy's defeat was
considered no more than an incident of la petite guerre. Washington
seemed so perfectly secure that the recruiting offices had been
closed, and the President and Secretary, anticipating the immediate
fall of Richmond, left for Fredericksburg the next day. McDowell was
to march on the 26th, and the departure of his fine army was to be
preceded by a grand review.

Even Banks, though Shields had marched to Fredericksburg, reducing
his force by a half, believed that there was no immediate reason to
fear attack. "I regard it as certain," he wrote, "that Jackson will
move north as far as New Market...a position which enables him to
cooperate with General Ewell, who is still at Swift Run Gap." Yet he
took occasion to remind Mr. Stanton of the "persistent adherence of
Jackson to the defence of the Valley, and his well-known purpose to
expel the Government troops. This," he added, "may be assumed as
certain. There is probably no one more fixed and determined purpose
in the whole circle of the enemy's plans." Banks had certainly
learned something of Jackson by this time, but he did not yet know

So on this night of May 22 the President and his people were without
fear of what the morrow might bring forth. The end of the rebellion
seemed near at hand. Washington was full of the anticipated triumph.
The crowds passed to and fro in the broad avenues, exchanging
congratulations on the success of the Northern arms and the
approaching downfall of the slaveholders. The theatres were filled
with delighted audiences, who hailed every scoffing allusion to the
"Southern chivalry" with enthusiasm, and gaiety and confidence
reigned supreme. Little dreamt the light-hearted multitude that, in
the silent woods of the Luray Valley, a Confederate army lay asleep
beneath the stars. Little dreamt Lincoln, or Banks, or Stanton, that
not more than seventy miles from Washington, and less than thirty
from Strasburg, the most daring of their enemies, waiting for the
dawn to rise above the mountains, was pouring out his soul in prayer,

Appealing from his native sod
In forma pauperis to God:
"Lay bare Thine arm--stretch forth Thy rod.
Amen!" That's Stonewall's way.

It is not always joy that cometh in the morning, least of all to
generals as ignorant as Banks when they have to do with a skilful
foe. It was not altogether Banks' fault that his position was a bad
one. Stanton had given him a direct order to take post at Strasburg
or its vicinity, and to send two regiments to hold the bridges at
Front Royal. But Banks had made no remonstrance. He had either failed
to recognise, until it was too late, that the force at Front Royal
would be exposed to attack from the Luray Valley, and, if the post
fell, that his own communications with both Winchester and Washington
would be at once endangered; or he had lost favour with the
Secretary. For some time past Mr. Stanton's telegrams had been cold
and peremptory. There had been no more effusive praise of "cautious
vigour" and "interesting manoeuvres;" and Banks had gradually fallen
from the command of a large army corps to the charge of a single

His 10,000 men were thus distributed. At Strasburg were 4500
infantry, 2900 cavalry, and 16 guns. At Winchester 850 infantry and
600 cavalry. Two companies of infantry held Buckton station on the
Manassas Gap Railway, midway between Strasburg and Front Royal.* (*
O.R. volume 12 part 1 pages 523 and 560.) At Rectortown, east of the
Blue Ridge, nineteen miles from Front Royal, was General Geary with
2000 infantry and cavalry; these troops, however, were independent of

Front Royal, twelve miles east of Strasburg, was committed to the
charge of Colonel Kenly, of the 1st Maryland Regiment in the Federal
service, and 1000 rifles and 2 guns were placed at his disposal. The
post itself was indefensible. To the west and south-west, about three
miles distant, stand the green peaks of the Massanuttons, while to
the east the lofty spurs of the Blue Ridge look down into the village
streets. A mile and a half north the forks of the Shenandoah unite in
the broad river that runs to Harper's Ferry. The turnpike to
Winchester crosses both forks in succession, at a point where they
are divided by a stretch of meadows a mile in width. In addition to
these two bridges, a wooden viaduct carried the railway over the
South Fork, whence, passing between the North Fork and the
Massanuttons, it runs south of the stream to Strasburg. Kenly had
pitched his camp between the town and the river, covering the
bridges, and two companies were on picket beyond the houses.

In front were the dense forests which fill the Luray Valley and cover
the foothills of the mountains, and the view of the Federal sentries
was very limited. A strong patrol of 100 infantry and 30 troopers,
which had been sent out on the 20th, had marched eleven miles south,
had bivouacked in the woods, and had captured a Confederate
straggler. The officer in command had obtained information, by
questioning civilians, that Confederate infantry was expected, and
this was confirmed by his prisoner. Banks, however, notwithstanding
this report, could not bring himself to believe that an attack was
imminent, and the cavalry was called back to Strasburg. For this
reason Kenly had been unable to patrol to any distance on the 22nd,
and the security of his camp was practically dependent on the
vigilance of his sentries.

May 23.

On the morning of May 23 there was no token of the approaching storm.
The day was intensely hot, and the blue masses of the mountains
shimmered in the summer haze. In the Luray Valley to the south was no
sign of life, save the buzzards sailing lazily above the slumbrous
woods. Suddenly, and without the least warning, a long line of
skirmishers broke forward from the forest. The clear notes of the
Confederate bugles, succeeded by the crash of musketry, woke the
echoes of the Blue Ridge, and the Federal pickets were driven in
confusion through the village. The long roll of the drums beat the
startled camp to arms, and Kenly hastily drew up his slender force
upon a ridge in rear.

The ground in front of his position was fairly open, and with his two
pieces of artillery he was able to check the first rush of the
Confederate infantry. The guns which had accompanied their advanced
guard were only smooth-bores, and it was some time before a battery
capable of making effective reply to the Federal pieces was brought
up. As soon as it opened fire the Southern infantry was ordered to
attack; and while one regiment, working round through the woods on
the enemy's left, endeavoured to outflank his guns, four others, in
successive lines, advanced across the plain against his front. The
Federals, undismayed by the disparity of numbers, were fighting
bravely, and had just been reinforced by a squadron of New York
regiment, when word was brought to their commander that a regiment of
Southern cavalry had appeared between the rivers to his right rear.
He at once gave the order to retire. The movement was carried out in
good order, under heavy musketry, and the tents and stores were given
to the flames; but an attempt to fire the bridges failed, for the
Louisiana infantry, rushing recklessly forward, darted into the
flames, and extinguished the burning brands. Sufficient damage was
done, however, to render the passage of the North Fork by the
Confederates slow and difficult; and Kenly took post on Guard Hill, a
commanding ridge beyond the stream. Again there was delay. The smoke
of the burning camp, rolling past in dense volumes, formed an
impenetrable screen; the river was deep and turbulent, with a strong
current; and the Federal guns commanded the single bridge. The
cavalry, however, were not long in discovering a practicable ford.
The river was soon alive with horsemen; and, forcing their way
through the swirling waters, four squadrons of the 6th Virginia,
accompanied by Jackson, gained the further bank, and formed up
rapidly for pursuit. The enemy had already retired, and the dust of
the retreating column warn receding fast down the road to Winchester.

Without waiting for reinforcements, and without artillery, Jackson
urged the 6th Virginia forward. The country through which the
turnpike runs is rolling and well-farmed, and the rail fences on
either hand made movement across the fields by no means easy. But the
Confederate advance was vigorous. The New York cavalry, pressed at
every point, were beginning to waver; and near the little hamlet of
Cedarville, some three miles from his last position, Kenly gave
orders for his infantry to check the pursuit.

The column had halted. Men were tearing down the fences, and the
companies were forming for battle in the fields, when there was a
sudden outcry, the rolling thunder of many hoofs, and the sharp
rattle of pistol-shots. A dense cloud of dust came whirling down the
turnpike, and emerging from the yellow canopy the New York troopers,
riding for their lives, dashed through the ranks of the startled
infantry, while the Confederate horsemen, extending far to right and
left, came surging on their traces.

The leading squadron, keeping to the high road, was formed four
abreast, and the deep mass was wedged tightly between the fences. The
foremost files were mowed down by a volley at close range, and here,
for a moment, the attack was checked. But the Virginians meant riding
home. On either flank the supporting squadrons galloped swiftly
forward, and up the road and across the fields, while the earth shook
beneath their tread, swept their charging lines, the men yelling in
their excitement and horses as frenzied as their riders. In vain the
Federal officers tried to deploy their companies. Kenly, calling on
them to rally round the colours, was cut down with a dreadful wound.
The grey troopers fell on them before they could fix bayonets or form
a front, and sabre and revolver found an easy mark in the crowded
masses of panic-stricken infantry. One of the guns was surrounded,
and the gunners were cut to pieces; the other escaped for the moment,
but was soon abandoned; and with the appearance of a fresh
Confederate squadron on the scene Kenly's whole force dispersed in
flight. Through woods and orchards the chase went on. Escape was
impossible. Hundreds laid down their arms; and 250 Virginia horsemen,
resolutely handled and charging at exactly the right moment, had the
honour of bringing in as prisoners 600 Federals, including 20
officers and a complete section of artillery. The enemy lost in
addition 32 killed and 122 wounded. The Confederate casualties were
11 killed and 15 wounded, and so sudden and vigorous was their attack
that a Federal colonel estimated their numbers at 3000.

Colonel Flournoy, a most daring officer, led the squadrons to the
charge; but that the opportunity was so instantly utilised was due to
Jackson. "No sooner," says Dabney, "did he see the enemy than he gave
the order to charge with a voice and air whose peremptory
determination was communicated to the whole party. His quick eye
estimated aright the discouragement of the Federals and their
wavering temper. Infusing his own spirit into his men, he struck the
hesitating foe at the decisive moment, and shattered them."* (*
Dabney volume 2 page 95.) Yet he took no credit to himself. He
declared afterwards to his staff that he had never, in all his
experience of warfare, seen so gallant and effective a charge of
cavalry, and such commendation, coming from his guarded lips, was the
highest honour that his troopers could have wished.

While these events were in progress the remainder of the Confederate
cavalry had also been busy. The 7th Virginia had moved to Buckton.
The railway was torn up, the telegraph line cut, and an urgent
message to Banks for reinforcements was intercepted. The two
companies of Pennsylvania infantry, on picket near the station,
occupied a log storehouse and the embankment. Dismounting his
command, Ashby, after a fierce fight, in which two of his best
officers were killed, stormed the building and drove out the
garrison. Two locomotives were standing on the rails with steam up,
and by this means the Federals attempted to escape. Twice they moved
out towards Strasburg, twice they were driven back by the Confederate
carbines, and eventually the two companies surrendered.

Jackson's measures had been carefully thought out. Kenly's patrols
had failed to discover his advance in the early morning, for at
Asbury Chapel, about three and a half miles south of the Federal
outpost line, he had turned to the right off the Luray road, and
plunging into the woods, had approached Front Royal by a circuitous
track, so rough that the enemy had thought it hardly worth while to
watch it. The main body of the cavalry left the Luray road at McCoy's
Ford, and crossing the South Fork of the Shenandoah, worked through
the forest at the foot of the Massanuttons. During the night Ashby
had withdrawn the 7th Virginia, with the exception of a few patrols,
from in front of Banks, and joining Jackson, by a rough track across
the mountains, before daybreak, had been directed to cut the
communication between Front Royal and Strasburg. The 6th Virginia had
accompanied Jackson, the 2nd, under Colonel Munford, destroyed the
railway bridges eastward of Front Royal. Had Kenly retreated on
Strasburg he would have found Ashby on his flank. Had reinforcements
been despatched from Strasburg they would have had to deal with Ashby
before they could reach Kenly. Had the Federals attempted to escape
by Manassas Gap they would have found Munford across their path.
Meanwhile another party of cavalry had cut the telegraph between
Front Royal and Washington; and a strong detachment, scouring the
country east of the Blue Ridge, checked Geary's patrols, and blocked
the entrance to the Gap from the direction of Manassas. Within an
hour after his pickets were surprised Kenly was completely isolated.*
(* The ingenuous report of a Federal officer engaged at Front Royal
is significant of the effect of the sudden attack of the
Confederates. He was sick at the time, but managed to escape. "By
considerable coaxing," he wrote, "I obtained an entrance to a house
near by. I was now completely broken down--so much so that the
gentleman prepared a liniment for me, and actually bound up some of
my bruises, while the female portion of the household actually
screamed for joy at our defeat! I was helped to bed, and next morning
was taken by Mr. Bitzer to Winchester in his carriage. He is a
gentleman in all particulars, but his family is the reverse (sic). On
reaching Winchester I found things decidedly squally, and concluded
to get out. I was carried to Martinsburg, and being offered by the
agent of a luggage train to take me to Baltimore, I concluded to
accept the offer, and took a sleeping bunk, arriving in Baltimore the
next afternoon." He then proceeded to Philadelphia, and sent for his
physician. Several of his officers whom he found in the town he
immediately sent back to the colours; but as he believed that "the
morale of his regiment was not as it should be" he remained himself
in Philadelphia.)

A failure in staff duties marred to some extent the Confederate
success. "A vicious usage," according to Dabney, "obtained at this
time in the Southern armies." This was the custom of temporarily
attaching to the staff of a general commanding a division or an army
a company of cavalry to do the work of orderlies. By this clumsy
contrivance the organisation of the cavalry regiments was broken up,
the men detached were deprived of all opportunity for drill, and the
general had no evidence whatever of their special fitness for the
responsible service confided to them. Nay, the colonel of cavalry
required to furnish them was most likely to select the least
serviceable company. At the time of the combat of Front Royal the
duty of orderlies was performed for General Jackson by a detachment
from one of Ashby's undisciplined companies, of whom many were raw
youths just recruited and never under fire. As soon as the Federal
pickets were driven in, orders were despatched to the rear brigades
to avoid the laborious route taken by the advance, and to pursue the
direct highway to the town, a level track of three miles, in place of
a steep byway of seven or eight. The panic-struck boy by whom the
orders were sent was seen no more. When Jackson sent orders to the
artillery and rear brigades to hurry the pursuit, instead of being
found near at hand, upon the direct road, they were at length
overtaken toiling over the hills of the useless circuit, spent with
the protracted march. Thus night overtook them by the time they
reached the village. This unfortunate incident taught the necessity
of a picked company of orderlies, selected for their intelligence and
courage, permanently attached to headquarters, and owing no
subordination to any other than the general and his staff. Such was
the usage that afterwards prevailed in the Confederate armies.* (*
Dabney volume 2 pages 93 and 94. It may be recalled that Wellington
found it necessary to form a corps of the same kind in the Peninsular
War; it is curious that no such organisation exists in regular

General Gordon has described with much minuteness how the news of the
disaster was received at Strasburg. The attack had begun at one
o'clock, but it was not till four that Banks was made aware that his
detachment was in jeopardy. Believing that Jackson was at
Harrisonburg, sixty miles distant, he had certainly no cause for
immediate apprehension. The Valley towards Woodstock never looked
more peaceful than on that sleepy summer afternoon; the sentries
dawdled on their posts, and officers and men alike resigned
themselves to its restful influence. Suddenly a mounted orderly
dashed violently through the camp, and Strasburg was aroused. By the
road to Buckton Banks hastily despatched a regiment and two guns.
Then came a lull, and many anxious inquiries: "What is it? Is it
Stonewall Jackson, or only a cavalry raid?"

A few hours later reports came in from the field of battle, and Banks
telegraphed to Stanton that 5000 rebels had driven Kenly back on
Middletown. "The force," he added, "has been gathering in the
mountains, it is said, since Wednesday."

But still the Federal general showed no undue alarm.

"Nothing was done," says Gordon, "towards sending away to Winchester
any of the immense quantities of public stores collected at
Strasburg; no movement had been made to place our sick in safety. It
did not seem as if Banks interpreted the attack to signify aught of
future or further movement by the enemy, or that it betokened any
purpose to cut us off from Winchester. I was so fully impressed,
however, with Jackson's purpose, that as soon as night set in I
sought Banks at his headquarters. I laboured long to impress upon him
what I thought a duty, to wit, his immediate retreat upon Winchester,
carrying all his sick and all his supplies that he could transport,
and destroying the remainder. Notwithstanding all my solicitations
and entreaties, he persistently refused to move, ever repeating, "I
must develop the force of the enemy.""* (* From Brook Farm to Cedar
Mountain pages 191 and 192.)

The force that had been sent out on the Buckton road had been soon
recalled, without securing further information than that the
Confederate pickets were in possession of every road which led west
or north from Front Royal.

Again did Gordon, at the request of Banks' chief of the staff,
endeavour to persuade the general to abandon Strasburg. "'It is not a
retreat,' he urged, 'but a true military movement to escape from
being cut off; to prevent stores and sick from falling into the hands
of the enemy.' Moved with an unusual fire, General Banks, who had met
all my arguments with the single reply, 'I must develop the force of
the enemy,' rising excitedly from his seat, with much warmth and in
loud tones exclaimed, 'By God, sir, I will not retreat! We have more
to fear, sir, from the opinions of our friends than the bayonets of
our enemies!' The thought," continues the brigadier, "so long the
subject of his meditations was at last out. Banks was afraid of being
thought afraid. I rose to take my leave, replying, 'This, sir, is not
a military reason for occupying a false position.' It was eleven
o'clock at night when I left him. As I returned through the town I
could not perceive that anybody was troubled with anticipation for
the morrow. The antlers were driving sharp bargains with those who
had escaped from or those who were not amenable to military
discipline. The strolling players were moving crowds to noisy
laughter in their canvas booths, through which the lights gleamed and
the music sounded with startling shrillness. I thought as I turned
towards my camp, how unaware are all of the drama Jackson is
preparing for us, and what merriment the morning will reveal!"

Fortunately for his own battalions, the brigadier had his camp
equipage and baggage packed and sent off then and there to
Winchester, and though his men had to spend the night unsheltered
under persistent rain, they had reason to bless his foresight a few
nights later.

At midnight a report was received from one of the Front Royal
fugitives: "Kenly is killed. First Maryland cut to pieces. Cavalry
ditto. The enemy's forces are 15,000 or 20,000 strong, and on the
march to Strasburg."

In forwarding this despatch to Washington Banks remarked that he
thought it much exaggerated. At 7 A.M. on the 24th he told Stanton
that the enemy's force was from 6000 to 10,000; that it was probably
Ewell's division, and that Jackson was still in his front on the
Valley turnpike.

Three hours later he wrote to Gordon, informing him that the enemy
had fallen back to Front Royal during the night, that ample
reinforcements had been promised from Washington, and that the
division would remain in Strasburg until further orders.

Up to this time he had been convinced that the attack on Front Royal
was merely a raid, and that Jackson would never dare to insert his
whole force between himself and McDowell.* (* Article in Harper's
Weekly by Colonel Strother, aide-de-camp to General Banks.) Suddenly,
by what means we are not told, he was made aware that the
Confederates were in overwhelming numbers, and that Jackson was in

Scarcely had General Gordon digested the previous communication when
an orderly, galloping furiously to his side, delivered a pencil note
from the chief of staff. "Orders have just been received for the
division to move at once to Middletown, taking such steps to oppose
the enemy, reported to be on the road between Front Royal and
Middletown, as may seem proper." Banks was electrified at last. Three
weeks previously, in writing to Mr. Stanton, he had expressed his
regret that he was "not to be included in active operations during
the summer." His regret was wasted. He was about to take part in
operations of which the activity, on his part at least, was more than

Such blindness as Banks had shown is difficult to explain. His latest
information, previous to the attack on Kenly, told him that Jackson's
trains were arriving at Harrisonburg on the 20th, and he should
certainly have inferred that Jackson was in advance of his waggons.
Now from Harrisonburg across the Massanuttons to Front Royal is
fifty-five miles; so it was well within the bounds of possibility
that the Confederates might reach the latter village at midday on the
23rd. Moreover, Banks himself had recognised that Strasburg was an
unfavourable position. It is true that it was fortified, but therein
lay the very reason that would induce the enemy to turn it by Front
Royal. Nor did the idea, which seems to have held possession of his
mind throughout the night, that Ewell alone had been sent to destroy
Kenly, and had afterwards fallen back, show much strategic insight.
Front Royal was the weak point in the Federal position. It was of all
things unlikely that a commander, energetic and skilful as Jackson
was well known to be, would, when he had once advertised his
presence, fail to follow up his first blow with his whole force and
the utmost vigour. It is only fair to add that the Federal
authorities were no wiser than their general. At two A.M. on the
morning of the 24th, although the news of Kenly's disaster had been
fully reported, they still thought that there was time to move fresh
troops to Strasburg from Baltimore and Washington. It seemed
incredible that Jackson could be at Front Royal. "Arrangements are
making," ran Stanton's telegram to Banks, "to send you ample
reinforcements. Do not give up the ship before succour can arrive."

We may now turn to Jackson.

Up to the present his operations had been perfectly successful. He
had captured over 700 of the enemy, with a loss of only 40 or 50 to
himself. He had seized stores to the value of three hundred thousand
dollars (60,000 pounds), and a large quantity had been burned by the
enemy. He had turned the intrenched position at Strasburg. He
threatened the Federal line of retreat. Banks was completely at his
mercy, and there seemed every prospect of inflicting on that
ill-starred commander a defeat so decisive as to spread panic in the
council chambers of the Northern capital.

But the problem was not so simple as it seemed. In the first place,
although the positions of the Federals had been thoroughly examined,
both by staff officers and scouts, the information as to their
numbers was somewhat vague. Banks had actually about 8000 effectives
at Strasburg; but so far as the Confederates knew it was quite
possible that he had from 12,000 to 15,000. There is nothing more
difficult in war than to get an accurate estimate of the enemy's
numbers, especially when civilians, ignorant of military affairs, are
the chief sources of information. The agents on whom Jackson depended
for intelligence from within the enemy's lines were not always
selected because of their military knowledge. "On the march to Front
Royal," says General Taylor, "we reached a wood extending from the
mountain to the river, when a mounted officer from the rear called
Jackson's attention, who rode back with him. A moment later there
rushed out of the wood a young, rather well-looking woman, afterwards
widely known as Belle Boyd. Breathless with speed and agitation, some
time elapsed before she found her voice. Then, with much volubility,
she said we were near Front Royal; that the town was filled with
Federals, whose camp was on the west side of the river, where they
had guns in position to cover the bridge; that they believed Jackson
to be west of the Massanuttons, near Harrisonburg; that General Banks
was at Winchester, where he was concentrating his widely scattered
forces to meet Jackson's advance, which was expected some days later.
All this she told with the precision of a staff officer making a
report, and it was true to the letter. Jackson was possessed of this
information before he left New Market, and based his movements on it;
but it was news to me."

In the second place, Banks had still the means of escape. He could
hardly prevent the Confederates from seizing Winchester, but he might
at least save his army from annihilation. Jackson's men were
exhausted and the horses jaded. Since the morning of the 19th the
whole army had marched over eighty, and Ewell's division over ninety
miles. And this average of seventeen miles a day had been maintained
on rough and muddy roads, crossed by many unbridged streams, and over
a high mountain. The day which had just passed had been especially
severe. Ewell, who was in bivouac at Cedarville, five miles north of
Front Royal on the Winchester turnpike, had marched more than twenty
miles; and Jackson's own division, which had made four-and-twenty,
was on foot from five in the morning till nine at night.

Banks' natural line of retreat led through Winchester, and the
Confederate advanced guard at Cedarville was two miles nearer that
town than were the Federals at Strasburg. But it was still possible
that Banks, warned by Kenly's overthrow, might withdraw by night; and
even if he deferred retreat until daylight he might, instead of
falling back on Winchester, strike boldly for Front Royal and escape
by Manassas Gap. Or, lastly, he might remain at Strasburg, at which
point he was in communication, although by a long and circuitous
road, with Fremont at Franklin.

Jackson had therefore three contingencies to provide against, and
during the night which followed the capture of Front Royal he evolved
a plan which promised to meet them all. Ashby, at daybreak, was to
move with the 7th Virginia cavalry in the direction of Strasburg; and
at the same hour a staff officer, with a small escort, supported by
Taylor's Louisianians, was to ride towards Middletown, a village five
miles north of Strasburg and thirteen from Winchester, and to report
frequently. The 2nd and 6th Virginia cavalry, under General Steuart,
were to advance to Newtown, also on the Valley turnpike, and eight
miles from Winchester; while Ewell, with Trimble's brigade and his
artillery, was to move to Nineveh, two miles north of Cedarville, and
there halt, awaiting orders. The remainder of the command was to
concentrate at Cedarville, preparatory to marching on Middletown; and
strong cavalry patrols were to keep close watch on the Strasburg to
Front Royal road.* (* Jackson's Report. O.R. volume 12 part 1 page

6 A.M.

From Cedarville to Middletown is no more than seven miles, and
Taylor's brigade is reported to have moved at six A.M., while Ashby
had presumably already marched. But notwithstanding the fact that
Banks' infantry did not leave Strasburg till ten A.M., and that it
had five miles to cover before reaching Middletown, when the
Confederates reached the turnpike at that village the Federal main
body had already passed, and only the rear-guard was encountered.

It seems evident, therefore, that it was not till near noon that
Jackson's patrols came in sight of Middletown, and that the
Confederate advanced guard had taken at least six hours to cover
seven miles. The country, however, between Cedarville and the Valley
turnpike was almost a continuous forest; and wood-fighting is very
slow fighting. The advance had met with strong resistance. General
Gordon had prudently sent the 29th Pennsylvania to Middletown at an
early hour, with orders to reconnoitre towards Front Royal, and to
cover Middletown until the army had passed through.

7 A.M.

Supported by a section of artillery, the regiment had moved eastward
till it struck the Confederate scouts some four miles out on the
Cedarville road. After a long skirmish it was withdrawn to
Middletown; but the 1st Maine cavalry, and a squadron of the 1st
Vermont, about 400 strong, which had been ordered by Banks to proceed
in the same direction, made a vigorous demonstration, and then fell
back slowly before the advanced guard, showing a bold front, using
their carbines freely, and taking advantage of the woods to impose
upon the enemy.

10.15 AM.

These manoeuvres succeeded in holding the Confederates in check till
after ten o'clock, for the heavy timber concealed the real strength
of the Federals, and although Ashby, with the 7th Virginia, had
marched to the scene of action, the infantry was not yet up. It is to
be remembered that at daybreak the Valley army was by no means
concentrated. Jackson had with him at Cedarville only Ewell's
division, his own division having halted near Front Royal. This last
division, it appears from the reports, did not leave Front Royal
until 8 A.M.; a sufficiently early hour, considering the condition of
the men and horses, the absence of the trains, and the fact that one
of the brigades had bivouacked four miles south of the village.* (*
The supply waggons were still eight miles south of Front Royal, in
the Luray Valley.) It was not, then, till between nine and ten that
the column cleared Cedarville, and Middletown was distant nearly
three hours' march, by an exceedingly bad road.

In all probability, if Jackson, at daybreak or soon afterwards, had
marched boldly on Middletown with Ewell's division, he would have
been able to hold Banks on the Valley turnpike until the rest of his
infantry and artillery arrived. But he had always to bear in mind
that the Federals, finding their retreat on Winchester compromised,
might make a dash for Manassas Gap. Now the road from Strasburg to
Manassas Gap was protected throughout its length by the North Fork of
the Shenandoah; and to attack the Federals on the march, should they
take this road, the Confederates would have to move through
Cedarville on Front Royal. This was the only road by which they could
reach the river, and the bridges at Front Royal were the only
available points of passage. Jackson, it appears, was therefore
reluctant to leave Cedarville, within easy reach of the bridges,
until he received information of his enemy's designs, and that
information, which had to be sought at a distance, was naturally long
in coming.

Criticism, after the event, is easy; but it certainly seems curious,
with his knowledge of Banks, that Jackson should have believed his
opponent capable of so bold a measure as retreat by way of Manassas
Gap. According to his own report, the feasibility of such a course
did cross Banks' mind; but it might seem that on this occasion
Jackson lost an opportunity through over-caution. Nevertheless, in
desperate situations even the most inert characters are sometimes
capable of desperate resolutions.

Although for the time being Banks was permitted to extricate his
infantry from the toils, the remainder of his command was less
fortunate. The general and his brigades reached Winchester in safety,
but the road between that town and Strasburg was a scene of dire

11.30 A.M.

Steuart, with the 2nd and 6th Virginia, had struck Newton before
noon, and found a convoy of waggons strung out on the Valley
turnpike. A few shots threw everything into confusion. Many of the
teamsters deserted their posts, and fled towards Winchester or
Strasburg. Waggons were upset, several were captured, and others
plundered. But the triumph of the Confederates was short-lived. The
Federal infantry had already reached Middletown; and Banks sent
forward a regiment of cavalry and a brigade of infantry to clear the
way. Steuart was speedily driven back, and the Northerners resumed
their march.

12.15 P.M.

At some distance behind the infantry came the Federal cavalry, about
2000 strong, accompanied by a battery and a small party of Zouaves;
but by the time this force reached Middletown, Ashby, supported by
the Louisiana brigade, had driven in the regiment hitherto opposed to
him, and, emerging from the forest, with infantry and guns in close
support, was bearing down upon the village. The batteries opened upon
the solid columns of the Federal horse. The Louisiana regiments,
deploying at the double, dashed forward, and the Northern squadrons,
penned in the narrow streets, found themselves assailed by a heavy
fire. A desperate attempt was made to escape towards Winchester, and
a whirling cloud of dust through which the sabres gleamed swept
northward up the turnpike. But Ashby's horsemen, galloping across
country, headed off the fugitives; some of the Confederate infantry
drew an abandoned waggon across the road, and others ran forward to
the roadside fences. At such close quarters the effect of the
musketry was terrible. "In a few moments the turnpike, which had just
before teemed with life, presented a most appalling spectacle of
carnage and destruction. The road was literally obstructed with the
mingled and confused mass of struggling and dying horses and riders.
Amongst the survivors the wildest confusion ensued, and they
scattered in disorder in various directions, leaving some 200
prisoners in the hands of the Confederates."* (* Jackson's Report.
O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 704.) Part dashed back to Strasburg, where
the teeming magazines of the Federal commissaries were already
blazing; and part towards the mountains, flying in small parties by
every country track. The rear regiments, however, still held
together. Drawing off westward, in the hope of gaining the Middle
road, and of making his way to Winchester by a circuitous route,
General Hatch, commanding the cavalry brigade, brought his guns into
action on a commanding ridge, about a mile west of the highway, and
still showed a front with his remaining squadrons. Infantry were with
them; more horsemen came thronging up; their numbers were unknown,
and for a moment they looked threatening. The Confederate batteries
trotted forward, and Taylor's brigade, with the Stonewall and
Campbell's in support, was ordered to attack; whilst Ashby,
accompanied by the Louisiana Tigers and two batteries, pursued the
train of waggons that was flying over the hills towards Winchester.

3 P.M.

The question now to be solved was whether the cavalry was the
advanced or the rear guard of the Federal army. No message had
arrived from Steuart. But the people of Middletown supplied the
information. They reported that in addition to the convoy a long
column of infantry had passed through the village; and Jackson,
directing his infantry to follow Ashby, sent a message to Ewell to
march on Winchester. Some delay took place before the three brigades,
which had now driven back the Federal cavalry, could be brought back
to the turnpike and reformed; and it was well on in the afternoon
when, with the Stonewall regiments leading, the Confederate infantry
pushed forward down the pike.

The troops had been on their legs since dawn; some of them, who had
bivouacked south of Front Royal, had already marched sixteen miles,
the Federals had more than two hours' start, and Winchester was still
twelve miles distant. But the enemy's cavalry had been routed, and
such as remained of the waggons were practically without a guard.
Ashby and Steuart, with three fine regiments of Virginia cavalry,
supported by the horse-artillery and other batteries, were well to
the front, and "there was every reason to believe," to use Jackson's
own words, "that if Banks reached Winchester, it would be without a
train, if not without an army."

But the irregular organisation of the Valley forces proved a bar to
the fulfilment of Jackson's hopes. On approaching Newtown he found
that the pursuit had been arrested. Two pieces of artillery were
engaging a Federal battery posted beyond the village, but the
Confederate guns were almost wholly unsupported. Ashby had come up
with the convoy. A few rounds of shell had dispersed the escort. The
teamsters fled, and the supply waggons and sutlers' carts of the
Federal army, filled with luxuries, proved a temptation which the
half-starving Confederates were unable to resist. "Nearly the whole
of Ashby's cavalry and a part of the infantry under his command had
turned aside to pillage. Indeed the firing had not ceased, in the
first onset upon the Federal cavalry at Middletown, before some of
Ashby's men might have been seen, with a quickness more suitable to
horse-thieves than to soldiers, breaking from their ranks, seizing
each two or three of the captured horses and making off across the
fields. Nor did the men pause until they had carried their illegal
booty to their homes, which were, in some instances, at the distance
of one or two days' journey. That such extreme disorders could
occur," adds Dabney, "and that they could be passed over without a
bloody punishment, reveals the curious inefficiency of officers in
the Confederate army."* (* Dabney volume 2 pages 101 and 102. "The
difficulty," says General Taylor, speaking of the Confederate
cavalry, "of converting raw men into soldiers is enhanced manifold
when they are mounted. Both man and horse require training, and
facilities for rambling, with temptation to do so, are increased.
There was little time, and it may be said less disposition, to
establish camps of instruction. Living on horseback, fearless and
dashing, the men of the South afforded the best possible material for
cavalry. They had every quality but discipline, and resembled Prince
Charming, whose manifold gifts were rendered useless by the malignant
fairy. Assuredly our cavalry rendered much excellent service,
especially when dismounted; and such able officers as Stuart,
Hampton, and the younger Lees in the east, Forrest, Green, and
Wheeler in the West, developed much talent for war; but their
achievements, however distinguished, fell far below the standard that
would have been reached had not the want of discipline impaired their
efforts." Destruction and Reconstruction pages 70 to 71. It is only
fair to add, however, that the Confederate troopers had to supply
their own horses, receiving no compensation for their loss by disease
or capture. This in some measure excuses their anxiety to loot as
many chargers as they could lay hands on.)

Banks, when the pursuit had so suddenly ceased, had determined to
save the remnant of his train. Three regiments and a couple of
batteries were ordered back from Bartonsville, with Gordon in
command; and this rearguard had not only shown a formidable front,
but had actually driven the infantry that still remained with Ashby
out of Newtown, and into the woods beyond. General Hatch, who had
regained the turnpike with part of his brigade, had now come up; and
the addition of six squadrons of cavalry rendered Gordon's force
capable of stout resistance. The Federals held a strong position. The
Confederates had present but 50 cavalry, 150 infantry, and 5 guns.
Nor was there any hope of immediate support, for the remainder of the
troops were still several miles in rear, and Steuart's two regiments
appear to have rejoined General Ewell on the road for Nineveh.
Shortly before sunset the Confederate artillery was reinforced. The
Stonewall Brigade had also arrived upon the scene; and Gordon, firing
such waggons as he could not carry off, as well as the pontoons, fell
back on Winchester as the night closed in.

The Confederates had now marched from sixteen to twenty miles, and
the men had not eaten since the early morning. But Jackson had
determined to press the march till he was within striking distance of
the hills which stand round Winchester to the south. It was no time
for repose. The Federals had a garrison at Harper's Ferry, a garrison
at Romney, detachments along the Baltimore and Ohio Railway; and
Washington, within easy distance of Winchester by rail, was full of
troops.* (* Twenty regiments of infantry and two regiments of
cavalry. O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 313.) A few hours' delay, and
instead of Banks' solitary division, a large army might bar the way
to the Potomac. So, with the remnant of Ashby's cavalry in advance,
and the Stonewall Brigade in close support, the column toiled onward
through the darkness. But the Federal rear-guard was exceedingly well
handled. The 2nd Massachusetts regiment held the post of honour, and,
taking advantage of stream and ridge, the gallant New Englanders
disputed every mile of road. At Bartonsville, where the Opequon, a
broad and marshy creek, crosses the turnpike, they turned stubbornly
at bay. A heavy volley, suddenly delivered, drove the Confederate
cavalry back in confusion on the infantry supports. The 33rd Virginia
was completely broken by the rush of flying horsemen; the guns were
overridden; and Jackson and his staff were left alone upon the
turnpike. In the pitch darkness it was difficult to ascertain the
enemy's numbers, and the flashes of their rifles, dancing along the
top of the stone walls, were the only clue to their position. The
Confederate column was ordered to deploy, and the Stonewall Brigade,
pushing into the fields on either flank, moved slowly forward over
the swampy ground. The stream proved an impassable obstacle both
below and above the Federal position; but the 27th Virginia,
attacking the enemy in front, drove them back and crossed to the
further bank.

The pursuit, however, had been much delayed; and the Massachusetts
regiment, although ridden into by their own cavalry, fell back in
good order, protected by a strong line of skirmishers on either side
of the turnpike. The Confederate order of march was now changed.
Three companies, who were recruited from the district and knew the
ground, were ordered to the front. The 5th Virginia, four or five
hundred yards from the skirmish line, were to follow in support. The
cavalry and guns were left in rear; and the troops once more took up
the line of march.

For more than an hour they tramped slowly forward. The darkness grew
more intense, and the chaff and laughter--for the soldiers, elated by
success, had hitherto shown no sign of fatigue--died gradually away.
Nothing was to be heard but the clang of accoutrements, the long
rumble of the guns, and the shuffle of weary feet. Men fell in the
ranks, overpowered by sleep or faint with hunger, and the
skirmishers, wading through rank fields of wheat and clover,
stumbling into ditches, and climbing painfully over high stone walls,
made tardy progress. Again and again the enemy's volleys flashed
through the darkness; but still there was no halt, for at the head of
the regiments, peering eagerly into the darkness, their iron-willed
commander still rode forward, as regardless of the sufferings of his
men as of the bullets of the Federal rear-guard, with but one thought
present to his mind--to bring Banks to battle, and so prevent his
escape from Winchester. The student of Napoleon had not forgotten the
pregnant phrase: "Ask me for anything but time!" The indiscipline of
Ashby's cavalry had already given Banks a respite; and, undisturbed
by his reverses, the Union general had shown himself capable of
daring measures. Had the Confederates halted at Newtown or at
Bartonsville, the troops would doubtless have been fresher for the
next day's work, but the morning might have seen Banks far on his way
to the Potomac, or possibly strongly reinforced.

When the Confederate infantry had met and overthrown their enemy it
would be time enough to think of food and rest. So long as the men
could stand they were to follow on his traces. "I rode with Jackson,"
says General Taylor, "through the darkness. An officer, riding hard,
overtook us, who proved to be the chief quartermaster of the army. He
reported the waggon trains far behind, impeded by a bad road in the
Luray Valley. "The ammunition waggons?" sternly. "All right, sir.
They were in advance, and I doubled teams on them and brought them
through." "Ah!" in a tone of relief.

"To give countenance to the quartermaster, if such can be given on a
dark night, I remarked jocosely, "Never mind the waggons. There are
quantities of stores in Winchester, and the general has invited one
to breakfast there tomorrow." Jackson took this seriously, and
reached out to touch me on the arm. Without physical wants himself,
he forgot that others were differently constituted, and paid little
heed to commissariat. But woe to the man who failed to bring up
ammunition. In advance his trains were left behind. In retreat he
would fight for a wheelbarrow."* (* Destruction and Reconstruction
page 65.)

May 25.

At Kernstown, behind Hogg Run, the Federal rear-guard halted for the
last time, but after a short engagement fell back on Winchester. It
was now three o'clock, an hour before dawn, and the Massachusetts men
became aware that the enemy had halted. Their skirmishers still
pressed slowly forward, and an occasional shot flashed out in the
darkness. But that noise which once heard on a still night is never
forgotten, the solid tramp of a heavy column on a hard road, like the
dull roar of a distant cataract, had suddenly died away. As the day
broke the Confederate advanced guard, passing Pritchard's Hill and
Kernstown battlefield, struck the Federal pickets on Parkin's Hill.
In front was a brook which goes by the name of Abraham's Creek;
beyond the brook rose the ridge which covers Winchester, and Jackson
at last permitted his men to rest. The coveted heights were within
easy grasp. The Federal army was still in Winchester, and nothing now
remained but to storm the hills, and drive the enemy in panic from
the town.

The Confederates, when the order was given to halt, had dropped where
they stood, and lay sleeping by the roadside. But their commander
permitted himself no repose. For more than an hour, without a cloak
to protect him from the chilling dews, listening to every sound that
came from the front, he stood like a sentinel over the prostrate
ranks. As the dawn rose, in a quiet undertone he gave the word to
march. The order was passed down the column, and, in the dim grey
light, the men, rising from their short slumbers, stiff, cold, and
hungry, advanced to battle.

Jackson had with him on the turnpike, for the most part south of
Kernstown, his own division, supported by the brigades of Scott and
Elzey and by nine batteries. About a mile eastward on the Front Royal
road was Ewell, with Trimble's brigade and ten guns. This detachment
had moved on Winchester the preceding evening, driving in the Federal
pickets, and had halted within three miles of the town. During the
night Jackson had sent a staff officer with instructions to Ewell.
The message, although the bearer had to ride nine-and-twenty miles,
by Newton and Nineveh, had reached its destination in good time; and
as the Stonewall Brigade moved silently past Pritchard's Hill,
Trimble's brigade advanced abreast of it beyond the intervening woods.

On both the Valley turnpike and the Front Royal road the Federals
were favoured by the ground, and their position, although the two
wings were widely separated, had been skilfully selected. On the
turnpike and west of it was Gordon's brigade of four regiments,
strengthened by eight guns, and by a strong force of cavalry in
reserve. Watching the Front Royal road was Donnelly's brigade, also
of four regiments, with eight guns and a few squadrons. The line of
defence ran along a broken ridge, lined in many places with stout
stone walls, and protected in front by the winding reaches of
Abraham's Creek.

Still, strong as was the Federal position, there was little chance of
holding it. Banks had been joined during the night by the larger
portion of his army, and by the garrison of Winchester, but he was
heavily outnumbered. At Front Royal and at Middletown he had lost
over 1500 men; part of his rear-guard had scattered in the mountains,
and it was doubtful if he could now muster more than 6500 effective
soldiers. In infantry and artillery the Confederates were more than
twice his strength; in cavalry alone were they inferior.

Jackson's plan of action was simple. His advanced guard was to hold
Gordon in position; and when Ewell fell on Donnelly, a heavy column
would move round Gordon's right.

5 A.M.

The Stonewall regiments led the way. The line of heights, west of the
turnpike and commanding Abraham's Creek, was occupied by the Federal
outposts, and a general advance of the whole brigade, sweeping across
the brook and up the slopes, quickly drove in the pickets.

But the enemy, whether by skill or good fortune, had occupied with
his main line a position admirably adapted for an inferior force.
Four hundred yards beyond the ridge which the Confederates had seized
rose a second swell of ground; and eight rifled guns, supported by
the 2nd Massachusetts, swept the opposite height at effective range.

Jackson immediately ordered up three batteries, posting them behind
the crest; and as the sun rose, drawing up the mist from the little
stream, a fierce duel of artillery began the battle.

6.30 A.M.

The Confederate gunners, harassed by the enemy's skirmishers, and
overwhelmed with shells, suffered heavily; one battery was compelled
to retire with a loss of 17 men and 9 horses; a second lost all its
officers; and it was not till near seven o'clock that the enemy's
eight guns, with their infantry escort, were finally driven back.

Ewell, meanwhile, had come into action on the right; but the mist was
heavy, and his advanced guard, received with a heavy fire from behind
the stone walls, was driven back with a loss of 80 officers and men.
Then the fog rose heavily, and for nearly an hour the engagement on
this wing died away.

8 A.M.

About eight o'clock Ewell's batteries again came into action, and
Trimble moved round to take the enemy in flank. But Jackson,
meanwhile, was bringing matters to a crisis on the left. The Federals
still held fast in front; but the Louisiana, Taliaferro's, and
Scott's brigades, retained hitherto with Elzey in reserve, were now
ordered to turn the enemy's flank. Moving to the left in rear of the
Stonewall Brigade, these eleven regiments, three forming a second
line, faced to the front and climbed the heights.

General Gordon, in anticipation of such a movement, had already
transferred two regiments to his right. The fire of this force,
though delivered at close range, hardly checked the Confederate
onset. Closing the many gaps, and preserving an alignment that would
have been creditable on parade, Taylor and Taliaferro moved swiftly
forward over rocks and walls. The Federal infantry gave way in great
disorder. The cavalry in support essayed a charge, but the
Confederates, as the squadrons rode boldly towards them, halted where
they stood, and the rolling volleys of the line of battle drove back
the horsemen with many empty saddles. Then, as Taylor resumed his
advance, the Stonewall regiments, with Elzey in close support, rose
suddenly from their covert, and the whole line swept forward across
the ridges. The bright sun of the May morning, dispersing the mists
which veiled the field, shone down upon 10,000 bayonets; and for the
first time in the Valley the rebel yell, that strange fierce cry
which heralded the Southern charge, rang high above the storm of

(MAP OF THE BATTLE OF WINCHESTER, VA. Sunday, May 25th, 1862.)

It was impossible, before so strong an onset, for the Federals to
hold their ground. Infantry, artillery, and cavalry gave way. From
east, west, and south the grey battalions converged on Winchester;
and as the enemy's columns, covered by the heavy smoke, disappeared
into the streets, Jackson, no longer the imperturbable tactician,
moving his troops like the pieces on a chess-board, but the very
personification of triumphant victory, dashed forward in advance of
his old brigade. Riding recklessly down a rocky slope he raised
himself in his stirrups, and waving his cap in the direction of the
retreating foe, shouted to his officers to "Press forward to the
Potomac!" Elzey's, the reserve brigade, was ordered to take up the
pursuit; and within the town, where the storehouses had been already
fired, the battle was renewed. The Federal regiments, with the
exception of the 2nd Massachusetts, lost all order in the narrow
streets.* (* Banks' aide-de-camp, Colonel Strother, says, "For
several minutes it looked like the commencement of a Bull Run panic.
The stragglers," he adds, "rapidly increased in numbers, and many
threw down their arms." Harper's Weekly. See also Jackson's Report,
O.R. volume 12 part 1 page 706.) The roar of battle followed close;
and with the rattle of musketry, the crash of shells, and the loud
cries of the victors speeding their rapid flight, the Northern
infantry dispersed across the fields. As the Confederates passed
through the town, the people of Winchester, frantic with triumph
after their two months of captivity, rushed out from every doorway to
meet the troops; and with weeping and with laughter, with the
blessings of women and the fierce shouts of men, the soldiers of the
Valley were urged forward in hot pursuit.

10 A.M.

As they emerged from the town, and looked down upon the open pastures
through which the Martinsburg turnpike runs, they saw the country
before them covered with crowds of fugitives. Jackson, still in
advance, turned round to seek his cavalry. From the head of every
street eager columns of infantry were pouring, and, deploying without
waiting orders, were pushing hastily across the fields. But not a
squadron was in sight. Ashby, with the handful of men that still
remained with him, had ridden to Berryville, expecting that the enemy
would attempt to escape by Snicker's Gap. Steuart, with the two
regiments that had done such service at Front Royal, was with Ewell
and Trimble; but although Donnelly's regiments could be seen retiring
in good order, they were not followed by a single sabre.

Despatching an aide-de-camp to order Steuart to the front, Jackson
called up his batteries. The infantry, too, was hurried forward, in
order to prevent the Federals rallying. But after a rapid march of
two hours the interval between the Confederates and the enemy was
still increasing; and it was evident that without cavalry it was
useless to continue the pursuit. Not only was the infantry utterly
exhausted, but the horses of the artillery were worn out; and about
five miles out of Winchester the troops were ordered to halt and
bivouac.* (* The greater part of the troops had marched over thirty
miles in thirty hours, during which time they had been almost
continuously engaged.) The Federals, relieved from the pressure of
the hostile fire, gradually reformed their ranks; and Jackson,
notwithstanding the extraordinary exertions he had demanded from his
troops, his own skilful manoeuvres, and the high spirit of his men,
saw his opportunity pass away. His impatience was almost
uncontrollable. His staff was dispatched in all directions to urge
forward the remainder of the batteries. "We must press them to the
Potomac!" "Forward to the Potomac!" Such was the tenor of every
order; and at length, as the Federals disappeared in the far
distance, he ordered the artillery teams to be unhitched, and the
gunners, thus mounted, to pursue the enemy. But before this strange
substitute for cavalry had moved out, the lagging squadrons arrived,
and with a few fiery words they were sent at speed down the Valley
turnpike. But it was too late. Banks, for the second time, was more
fortunate than he deserved.

To the misconduct of Ashby's troopers, and to the pedantic folly of
General Steuart, the escape of the Federal army must be attributed.

"Never have I seen an opportunity when it was in the power of cavalry
to reap a richer harvest of the fruits of victory. Had the cavalry
played its part in this pursuit as well as the four companies under
Colonel Flournoy two days before in the pursuit from Front Royal, but
a small portion of Banks' army would have made its escape to the

So runs Jackson's official report, and when the disorganised
condition of the Federal battalions, as they fled north from
Winchester, is recalled, it is difficult to question the opinion
therein expressed. The precipitate retreat from Strasburg,
accompanied by the loss of waggons and of stores; the concentrated
attack of overwhelming numbers, followed by the disorderly rush
through the streets of Winchester, had, for the time being, dissolved
the bonds of discipline. It is true that some of the Federal
regiments held together; but many men were missing; some fell into
the hands of the Confederates, others sought safety by devious roads,
and there can be little doubt but that those who fled to the Potomac
were for the time being utterly demoralised. Had they been resolutely
charged before they had reformed their ranks, their rifles would no
more have saved them from annihilation than they had saved Kenly's
command at Cedarville.

But where was the cavalry? Ashby's 50 men, all that he had been able
to collect, were far away upon the right; out of reach of orders, and
in any case too few for effective use. The two regiments under
Steuart, 600 or 700 strong, were the force on which Jackson had
depended, and Steuart had shown himself incapable of command. He had
received Jackson's message with the reply that he could obey no
orders unless they came through his immediate superior.* (* Jackson's
Report.) Before Ewell could be found, precious time was wasted, and
two hours elapsed before the cavalry took up the chase. But the
Federals had now established strong rear-guards. The whole of their
cavalry, supported by artillery, had been ordered to cover the
retreat; and Steuart, although he picked up numerous prisoners, and
followed as far as Martinsburg, twenty-two miles north of Winchester,
found no opportunity for attack.

Halting for two and a half hours at Martinsburg, the Federals
continued their retreat at sunset, abandoning the magazines in the
town to their pursuers. Before midnight 3000 or 4000 men had arrived
at Williamsport, and by the ford and ferry, supplemented by a few
pontoon boats, the remnant of Banks' army crossed the broad Potomac.

Although not a single Confederate squadron had followed him from
Martinsburg, the Northern general, elated by his unexpected escape,
spoke of this operation as if it had been carried out under heavy
fire. "It is seldom," he reported, "that a river-crossing of such
magnitude is achieved (sic) with greater success." But he added, with
more candour, "there were never more grateful hearts, in the same
number of men, than when at mid-day on the 26th we stood on the
opposite shore;" and then, with the loss of 2000 men, a hundred
waggons, the regimental transport of his cavalry, nearly 800 sick,
and a vast quantity of stores, to traverse his assertion, he stated
that his command "had not suffered an attack or rout, but had
accomplished a premeditated march of near sixty miles in the face of
the enemy, defeating his plans, and giving him battle wherever he was
found!"* (* Some of Banks' officers shared his opinion. The captain
of the Zouaves d'Afrique, the general's body-guard, who had been cut
off at Strasburg, but rejoined on the Potomac, reported that,
"incredible as it may appear, my men marched 141 miles in 47 hours,
as measured by Captain Abert," and concluded by congratulating Banks
upon the success of his "unparalleled retreat." The Zouaves, at all
events, could not complain that they had been excluded from "active
operations." Another officer declared that "we have great reason to
be grateful to kind Providence, and applaud the skill and energy of
our commanding officers for the miraculous escape of our men from
utter annihilation." O.R. volume 12 part 1 pages 573 and 611.)

But the Northern people were not to be deceived. The truth was but
too apparent; and long before Banks had found leisure to write his
report, terror had taken possession of the nation. While the soldiers
of the Valley lay round Winchester, reposing from their fatigues, and
regaling themselves on the captured stores, the Governors of thirteen
States were calling on their militia to march to the defence of
Washington. Jackson had struck a deadly blow. Lincoln and Stanton
were electrified even more effectually than Banks. They issued an
urgent call for more troops. "There is no doubt," wrote Stanton to
the Governor of Massachusetts, "that the enemy in great force are
marching on Washington." In the cities of the North the panic was
indescribable. As the people came out of church the newsboys were
crying, "Defeat of General Banks! Washington in danger!" The
newspaper offices were surrounded by anxious crowds. In the morning
edition of the New York Herald a leader had appeared which was headed
"Fall of Richmond." The same evening it was reported that the whole
of the rebel army was marching to the Potomac. Troops were hurried to
Harper's Ferry from Baltimore and Washington. The railways were
ordered to place their lines at the disposal of the Government.
McDowell, on the eve of starting to join McClellan, was ordered to
lay aside the movement, and to send half his army to the Valley.* (*
Shields' and Ord's divisions of infantry, and Bayard's brigade of
cavalry, numbering all told 21,200 officers and men.) Fremont, who
was about to join his column from the Great Kanawha, was called upon
to support Banks. McClellan was warned, by the President himself,
that the enemy was making a general movement northward, and that he
must either attack Richmond forthwith or come to the defence of
Washington. A reserve corps of 50,000 men was ordered to be organised
at once, and stationed permanently near the capital; and in one day
nearly half a million American citizens offered their services to
save the Union.

Jackson's success was as complete as it was sudden. The second
diversion against Washington was as effective as the first, and the
victory at Winchester even more prolific of results than the defeat
at Kernstown. Within four-and-twenty hours the storm-cloud which had
been gathering about Fredericksburg was dispersed. McDowell's army of
40,000 men and 100 guns was scattered beyond the hope of speedy
concentration. McClellan, who had pushed forward his left wing across
the Chickahominy, suddenly found himself deprived of the support on
which he counted to secure his right; and Johnston, who had
determined to attack his opponent before that support should arrive,
was able to postpone operations until the situation should become
more favourable.

Immediately after his victory Jackson had sent an officer to Richmond
with dispatches explaining his views, and asking for instructions.
Lee, in reply, requested him to press the enemy, to threaten an
invasion of Maryland, and an assault upon the Federal capital.

May 28.

Early on the 28th, the Stonewall Brigade advanced towards Harper's
Ferry. At that point, crowded with stores of every description, 7000
men and 18 guns, under General Saxton, had already been assembled. At
Charlestown, Winder's advanced guard struck a reconnoitring
detachment, composed of two regiments, a section of artillery, and a
cavalry regiment. Within twenty minutes the Federals, already
demoralised by the defeat of Banks, were retiring in disorder,
abandoning arms, blankets, and haversacks, along the road, and the
pursuit was continued until their reserves were descried in strong
force on the Bolivar Heights, a low ridge covering Harper's Ferry
from the south. The same evening Ewell advanced in support of Winder;
and, on the 29th, the Valley army was concentrated near Halltown,
with the exception of the Louisiana brigade, posted near Berryville,
the 12th Georgia, with 2 guns, in occupation of Front Royal, and
Ashby, on the road to Wardensville, watching Fremont.

During the afternoon the 2nd Virginia Infantry was sent across the
Shenandoah, and occupying the Loudoun Heights, threatened the enemy's
position on the ridge below. Saxton, in consequence, withdrew a part
of his troops the same night to the left bank of the Potomac; but
Jackson, although Harper's Ferry and its magazines might easily have
been taken, made no attempt to follow. His scouts, riding far to east
and west, had already informed him that McDowell and Fremont were in
motion to cut off his retreat. Shields' division, leading McDowell's
advance from Fredericksburg, was approaching Manassas Gap; while
Fremont, hurrying from Franklin through the passes of the North
Mountain, was ten miles east of Moorefield. Lee's instructions had
already been carried to the extreme point consistent with safety, and
Jackson determined to retreat by the Valley turnpike. Not only was it
the one road which was not yet closely threatened, but it was the one
road over which the enormous train of captured stores could be
rapidly withdrawn.* (* Jackson, although the harvest was in full
swing, had given orders that all waggons in the valley were to be
impressed and sent to Winchester and Martinsburg.)

May 29.

The next morning, therefore, the main body of the army marched back
to Winchester; Winder, with the Stonewall Brigade and two batteries,
remaining before Harper's Ferry to hold Saxton in check. Jackson
himself returned to Winchester by the railway, and on the way he was
met by untoward news. As the train neared Winchester a staff officer,
riding at a gallop across the fields, signalled it to stop, and the
general was informed that the 12th Georgia had been driven from Front
Royal, burning the stores, but not the bridges, at Front Royal, and
that Shields' division was in possession of the village.

The situation had suddenly become more than critical. Front Royal is
but twelve miles from Strasburg. Not a single Confederate battalion
was within five-and-twenty miles of that town, and Winder was just
twice as far away. The next morning might see the Valley turnpike
blocked by 10,000 Federals under Shields. Another 10,000, McDowell's
Second Division, under General Ord, were already near Front Royal;
Fremont, with 15,000, was pressing forward from the west; and Banks
and Saxton, with the same number, were moving south from the Potomac.
With resolute management it would seem that 35,000 Federals might
have been assembled round Strasburg by midday of the 31st, and that
this force might have been increased to 50,000 by the evening of June
1.* (* For the distribution of the different forces during this
period see Note at end of chapter.) Desperate indeed appeared the
Confederate chances. The waggons which conveyed the spoils of
Martinsburg and Charlestown were still at Winchester, and with them
were more than 2000 prisoners. With the utmost expedition it seemed
impossible that the Valley army, even if the waggons were abandoned,
could reach Strasburg before the evening of the 31st; and the
Stonewall Brigade, with fifty miles to march, would be
four-and-twenty hours later. Escape, at least by the Valley turnpike,
seemed absolutely impossible. Over Pharaoh and his chariots the
waters were already closing.

But there is a power in war more potent than mere numbers. The moral
difficulties of a situation may render the proudest display of
physical force of no avail. Uncertainty and apprehension engender
timidity and hesitation, and if the commander is ill at ease the
movements of his troops become slow and halting. And when several
armies, converging on a single point, are separated by distance or by
the enemy, when communication is tedious, and each general is
ignorant of his colleagues' movements, uncertainty and apprehension
are inevitable. More than ever is this the case when the enemy has a
character for swiftness and audacity, and some unfortunate detachment
is still reeling under the effects of a crushing and unexpected blow.

Regarding, then, like Napoleon, the difficulties rather than the
numbers of his enemies, Jackson held fast to his purpose, and the
capture of Front Royal disturbed him little. "What news?" he asked
briefly as the staff officer rode up to the carriage door. "Colonel
Connor has been driven back from Front Royal." Jackson smiled grimly,
but made no reply. His eyes fixed themselves apparently upon some
distant object. Then his preoccupation suddenly disappeared. He read
the dispatch which he held in his hand, tore it in pieces, after his
accustomed fashion, and, leaning forward, rested his head upon his
hands and apparently fell asleep. He soon roused himself, however,
and turning to Mr. Boteler, who tells the story, said: "I am going to
send you to Richmond for reinforcements. Banks has halted at
Williamsport, and is being reinforced from Pennsylvania. Dix (Saxton)
is in my front, and is being reinforced by the Baltimore and Ohio
Railway. I have just received a dispatch informing me of the advance
of the enemy upon Front Royal, which is captured, and Fremont is now
advancing towards Wardensville. Thus, you see, I am nearly surrounded
by a very large force."

"What is your own, General?" asked his friend.

"I will tell you, but you must not repeat what I say, except at
Richmond. To meet this attack I have only 15,000 effective men."

"What will you do if they cut you off, General?"

A moment's hesitation, and then the cool reply: "I will fall back
upon Maryland for reinforcements."

"Jackson," says Cooke, "was in earnest. If his retreat was cut off he
intended to advance into Maryland, and doubtless make his way
straight to Baltimore and Washington, depending on the Southern
sentiment in that portion of the State to bring him reinforcements."
That the Federal Government was apprehensive of some such movement is
certain. The wildest rumours were everywhere prevalent. Men
throughout the North wore anxious faces, and it is said that one
question, "Where is Jackson? Has he taken Washington?" was on every
lip. The best proof, however, that a movement on Washington was
actually anticipated by the Federals is the dispatch of the Secretary
of War to the Governors of the different States: "Send forward all
the troops that you can, immediately. Banks completely routed.
Intelligence from various quarters leaves no doubt that the enemy, in
great force, are advancing on Washington. You will please organise
and forward immediately all the volunteer and militia force in your
State." Further, on receiving the news of Banks' defeat, the
President had called King's division of McDowell's army corps to
defend the capital; and his telegram of May 25 to McClellan, already
alluded to, in which that general was warned that he might have to
return to Washington, is significant of what would have happened had
the Confederates entered Maryland.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 1 page 81.
King's division, when it was found that Jackson had halted near
Winchester, was ordered to Front Royal. The fourth division,
McCall's, was left to defend Fredericksburg.) McClellan's vast army,
in all human probability, would have been hurriedly re-embarked, and
Johnston have been free to follow Jackson.

May 31.

On the night of the 30th the whole Army of the Valley was ordered
back to Strasburg; and early next morning the prisoners, escorted by
the 21st Virginia, and followed by the convoy of waggons in double
column, covering seven miles of road, led the way. Captain Hotchkiss
was sent with orders to Winder to hasten back to Winchester, and not
to halt till he had made some distance between that place and
Strasburg. "I want you to go to Charlestown," were Jackson's
instructions to his staff officer, "and bring up the First Brigade. I
will stay in Winchester until you get here, if I can, but if I
cannot, and the enemy gets here first, you must conduct it around
through the mountains."

The march, however, as the general had expected, was made without
molestation, and during the afternoon the main body reached
Strasburg, and camped there for the night. The Stonewall Brigade,
meanwhile, had passed through Winchester, halting near Newtown; the
2nd Virginia Regiment having marched thirty-five miles, and all the
remainder twenty-eight. Little had been seen of the enemy. Fremont
had passed Wardensville, and, marching through heavy rain, had halted
after nightfall at Cedar Creek, six miles west of Strasburg. On the
road to Front Royal, only a few scouts had been encountered by the
Confederate patrols, for Shields, deceived by a demonstration which
the Louisiana Brigade had made from Winchester, had let the day pass
by without a decisive movement. The difficulties on which Jackson had
counted had weighted the feet of his adversaries with lead.* (* Up to
the time that they arrived within striking distance of Jackson they
had acted vigorously, Shields marching eighty miles in five days, and
Fremont seventy over a mountain road.) Fremont, with two-and-twenty
miles to march, had suffered Ashby to delay his progress; and
although he had promised Lincoln that he would be in Strasburg at
five o'clock that evening, he had halted on the mountains six miles
distant. Shields, far ahead of the next division, had done nothing
more than push a brigade towards Winchester, and place strong pickets
on every road by which the enemy might approach. Neither Federal
general could communicate with the other, for the country between
them was held by the enemy. Both had been informed of the other's
whereabouts, but both were uncertain as to the other's movements; and
the dread of encountering, unsupported, the terrible weight of
Jackson's onset had sapped their resolution. Both believed the enemy
far stronger than he really was. The fugitives from Winchester had
spread exaggerated reports of the Confederate numbers, and the
prisoners captured at Front Royal had by no means minimised them.* (*
According to the Official Records, 156 men were taken by General
Shields. It is said that when Colonel Connor, in command of the 12th
Georgia Regiment, reported to Jackson at Winchester, and gave rather
a sensational account of his defeat, the General looked up, and asked
in his abrupt manner: "Colonel, how many men had you killed?" "None,
I am glad to say, General." "How many wounded?" "Few or none, sir."
"Do you call that fighting, sir?" said Jackson, and immediately
placed him under arrest, from which he was not released for several
months.) Banks, impressed by the long array of bayonets that had
crowned the ridge at Winchester, rated them at 20,000 infantry, with
cavalry and artillery in addition. Geary, who had retired in hot
haste from Rectortown, burning his tents and stores, had learned, he
reported, from numerous sources that 10,000 cavalry were passing
through Manassas Gap. There were constant rumours that strong
reinforcements were coming up from Richmond, and even McDowell
believed that the army of invasion consisted of 25,000 to 30,000 men.
Fremont's scouts, as he approached Strasburg, represented the
Confederate force at 30,000 to 60,000. Shields, before he crossed
the Blue Ridge and found himself in the vicinity of his old opponent,
had condemned the panic that had seized his brother generals, and had
told McDowell that he would clear the Valley with his own division.
But when he reached Front Royal the force that he had scornfully
described as insignificant had swelled to 20,000 men. Troops from
Richmond, he telegraphed, were marching down the Luray Valley; and he
urged that he should be at once supported by two divisions. It cannot
be said that Lincoln and Stanton were to blame for the indecision of
the generals. They had urged Fremont forward to Strasburg, and
Shields to Front Royal. They had informed them, by the telegraph, of
each other's situation, and had passed on such intelligence of the
enemy's movements as had been acquired at Harper's Ferry; and yet,
although the information was sufficiently exact, both Shields and
Fremont, just as Jackson anticipated, held back at the decisive
moment. The waters had been held back, and the Confederates had
passed through them dry-shod. Such is the effect of uncertainty in
war; a mighty power in the hands of a general who understands its

June 1.

On the morning of June 1, Jackson's only remaining anxiety was to
bring Winder back, and to expedite the retreat of the convoy. Ewell
was therefore ordered to support Ashby, and to hold Fremont in check
until the Stonewall Brigade had passed through Strasburg. The task
was easily accomplished. At seven in the morning the Confederate
pickets were driven in. As they fell back on their supports, the
batteries on both sides came rapidly into action, and the Federal
infantry pressed forward. But musketry replied to musketry, and
finding the road blocked by a line of riflemen, Fremont ordered his
troops to occupy a defensive position on Cedar Creek. "I was entirely
ignorant," he says, "of what had taken place in the Valley beyond,
and it was now evident that Jackson, in superior force, was at or
near Strasburg." His men, also, appear to have caught the spirit of
irresolution, for a forward movement on the part of the Confederates
drove in Blenker's Germans with the greatest ease. "Sheep," says
General Taylor, "would have made as much resistance as we met. Men
decamped without firing, or threw down their arms and surrendered.
Our whole skirmish line was, advancing briskly. I sought Ewell and
reported. We had a fine game before us, and the temptation to play it
was great; but Jackson's orders were imperative and wise. He had his
stores to save, Shields to guard against, Lee's grand strategy to
promote. He could not waste time chasing Fremont."* (* Destruction
and Reconstruction page 78.)

Winder reached Strasburg about noon. The troops that had been facing
Fremont were then withdrawn; and the whole force, now reunited, fell
back on Woodstock; Ashby, with the cavalry, holding his old position
on Tom's Brook. The retreat was made in full view of the Federal
scouts. On the Confederates retiring from before him, Fremont had
pushed forward a reconnaissance, and Bayard's cavalry brigade, of
McDowell's army, came up in the evening on the other flank. But
attack was useless. The Confederate trains were disappearing in the
distance, and heavy masses of all arms were moving slowly south. The
Federal horsemen were unsupported save by a single battery. McDowell,
who had reached Front Royal with part of his Second Division in the
morning, had endeavoured to push Shields forward upon Strasburg. But
Shields, fearing attack, had dispersed his troops to guard the
various roads; and when at last they were assembled, misled by
erroneous information, he had directed them on Winchester. Before the
mistake was discovered the day had passed away. It was not until the
next morning that the Federal columns came into communication, and
then Jackson was already south of Woodstock.

On Friday morning, May 29, says Allan, "Jackson was in front of
Harper's Ferry, fifty miles from Strasburg. Fremont was at Fabius,
twenty miles from Strasburg; and Shields was not more than twenty
miles from Strasburg, for his advance entered Front Royal, which is
but twelve miles distant, before mid-day, while McDowell was
following with two divisions. Yet by Sunday night Jackson had marched
between fifty and sixty miles, though encumbered with prisoners and
captured stores, had reached Strasburg before either of his
adversaries, and had passed safely between their armies, while he
held Fremont at bay by a show of force, and blinded and bewildered
Shields by the rapidity of his movements."

From the morning of May 19 to the night of June 1, a period of
fourteen days, the Army of the Valley had marched one hundred and
seventy miles, had routed a force of 12,500 men, had threatened the
North with invasion, had drawn off McDowell from Fredericksburg, had
seized the hospitals and supply depots at Front Royal, Winchester,*
(* Quartermaster's stores, to the value of 25,000 pounds, were
captured at Winchester alone, and 9,354 small arms, besides two guns,
were carried back to Staunton.) and Martinsburg, and finally,
although surrounded on three sides by 60,000 men, had brought off a
huge convoy without losing a single waggon.

This remarkable achievement, moreover, had been comparatively
bloodless. The loss of 618 officers and men was a small price to pay
for such results.* (* 68 killed; 386 wounded; 3 missing; 156

That Jackson's lucky star was in the ascendant there can be little
doubt. But fortune had far less to do with his success than skill and
insight; and in two instances--the misconduct of his cavalry, and the
surprise of the 12th Georgia--the blind goddess played him false. Not
that he trusted to her favours. "Every movement throughout the whole
period," says one of his staff officers, "was the result of profound
calculation. He knew what his men could do, and to whom he could
entrust the execution of important orders."* (* Letter from Major
Hotchkiss.) Nor was his danger of capture, on his retreat from
Harper's Ferry, so great as it appeared.

May 31 was the crisis of his operations. On that morning, when the
prisoners and the convoy marched out of Winchester, Shields was at
Front Royal. But Shields was unsupported; Ord's division was fifteen
miles in rear, and Bayard's cavalry still further east. Even had he
moved boldly on Strasburg he could hardly have seized the town. The
ground was in Jackson's favour. The only road available for the
Federals was that which runs south of the North Fork and the bridges
had been destroyed. At that point, three miles east of Strasburg, a
small flank-guard might have blocked the way until the main body of
the Confederates had got up. And had Fremont, instead of halting that
evening at Cedar Creek, swept Ashby aside and pushed forward to join
his colleague, the Valley army might easily have effected its
retreat. Winder alone would have been cut off, and Jackson had
provided for that emergency.

When the embarrassments under which the Federals laboured are laid
bare, the passage of the Confederates between the converging armies
loses something of its extraordinary character. Nevertheless, the
defeat of the Front Royal garrison and the loss of the bridges was
enough to have shaken the strongest nerves. Had Jackson then burnt
his convoy, and released his prisoners, few would have blamed him;
and the tenacity with which he held to his original purpose, the
skill with which he imposed on both Shields and Fremont, are no less
admirable than his perception of his opponents' difficulties. Well
has it been said: "What gross ignorance of human nature do those
declaimers display who assert that the employing of brute force is
the highest qualification of a general!"



Night of May 29


McDowell (Shields, 10,200, Rectorstown.
         (Ord, 9000, Thoroughfare Gap.
         (Bayard, 2000. Catlett's Station.
Fremont, 15,000, Fabius.
Saxton, 7000, Harper's Ferry.
Banks, 7000, Williamsport.
Geary, 2000, Middleburg.


Jackson's Division, 7200, Halltown.
Ewell's Division, 5000, Halltown
Ashby. 300, Wardensville road.
Taylor's Brigade, 8000, Berryville.
12th Georgia Regiment, 450, Front Royal.
2nd Virginia Regiment, 350, Loudoun Heights.

Night of May 30


McDowell (Shields, 10,200, Front Royal.
         (Ord, 9000, Piedmont.
         (Bayard, 2000, Thoroughfare Gap.
         (King, 10,000, near Catlett's Station.
Saxton, 7000, Harper's Ferry.
Banks, 8,600, Williamsport.
Fremont, 15,000, Wardensville.
Geary, 2000, Upperville.


Army of Valley, 13,850, Winchester.
Stonewall Brigade, 1600, Halltown.
2nd Virginia Regiment, 380, Loudoun Heights.
Ashby, 300, Wardensville Road.

Night of May 31


McDowell (Shields, Front Royal.
         (Ord, Manassas Gap.
         (King, Catlett's Station.
         (Bayard, Manassas Gap.
Saxton, Harper's Ferry.
Banks, Williamsport.
Fremont, Cedar Creek.
Geary, Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps.


Army of Valley, Strasburg.
Stonewall Brigade, Newtown.
Ashby, Cedar Creek,

Night of June 1


McDowell (Shields, ten miles south of Front Royal.
         (Ord, Front Royal.
         (King, Haymarket.
         (Bayard, Buckton.
Saxton, Harper's Ferry.
Banks, Williamsport.
Fremont, Cedar Creek.
Geary, Snicker's and Ashby's Gaps.


Army of Valley, Woodstock.
Ashby, Tom's Brook.

Total strength  Federal     62,000
                Confederate 16,000


By the ignorant and the envious success in war is easily explained
away. The dead military lion, and, for that matter, even the living,
is a fair mark for the heels of a baser animal. The greatest captains
have not escaped the critics. The genius of Napoleon has been
belittled on the ground that each one of his opponents, except
Wellington, was only second-rate. French historians have attributed
Wellington's victories to the mutual jealousy of the French marshals;
and it has been asserted that Moltke triumphed only because his
adversaries blundered. Judged by this rule few reputations would
survive. In war, however, it is as impossible to avoid error as it is
to avoid loss of life; but it is by no means simple either to detect
or to take advantage of mistakes. Before both Napoleon and Wellington
an unsound manoeuvre was dangerous in the extreme. None were so quick
to see the slip, none more prompt to profit by it. Herein, to a very
great extent, lay the secret of their success, and herein lies the
true measure of military genius. A general is not necessarily
incapable because he makes a false move; both Napoleon and
Wellington, in the long course of their campaigns, gave many openings
to a resolute foe, and both missed opportunities. Under ordinary
circumstances mistakes may easily escape notice altogether, or at all
events pass unpunished, and the reputation of the leader who commits
them will remain untarnished. But if he is pitted against a master of
war a single false step may lead to irretrievable ruin; and he will
be classed as beneath contempt for a fault which his successful
antagonist may have committed with impunity a hundred times over.

So Jackson's escape from Winchester was not due simply to the
inefficiency of the Federal generals, or to the ignorance of the
Federal President. Lincoln was wrong in dispatching McDowell to Front
Royal in order to cut off Jackson. When Shields, in execution of this
order, left Fredericksburg, the Confederates were only five miles
north of Winchester, and had they at once retreated McDowell must
have missed them by many miles. McDowell, hotly protesting, declared,
and rightly, that the movement he had been ordered to execute was
strategically false. "It is impossible," he said, "that Jackson can
have been largely reinforced. He is merely creating a diversion, and
the surest way to bring him from the lower Valley is for me to move
rapidly on Richmond. In any case, it would be wiser to move on
Gordonsville."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 pages 220, 229 (letter of S.
P. Chase).) His arguments were unavailing. But when Jackson pressed
forward to the Potomac, it became possible to intercept him, and the
President did all he could to assist his generals. He kept them
constantly informed of the movements of the enemy and of each other.
He left them a free hand, and with an opponent less able his
instructions would have probably brought about complete success. Nor
were the generals to blame. They failed to accomplish the task that
had been set them, and they made mistakes. But the task was
difficult; and, if at the critical moment the hazard of their
situation proved too much for their resolution, it was exactly what
might have been expected. The initial error of the Federals was in
sending two detached forces, under men of no particular strength of
character, from opposite points of the compass, to converge upon an
enemy who was believed to be superior to either of them. Jackson at
once recognised the blunder, and foreseeing the consequences that
were certain to ensue, resolved to profit by them. His escape, then,
was the reward of his own sagacity.

When once the actual position of the Confederates had been
determined, and the dread that reinforcements were coming down the
Valley had passed away, the vigour of the Federal pursuit left
nothing to be desired.

June 1.

Directly it was found that the Confederates had gone south, on the
afternoon of June 1, Shields was directed on Luray, and that night
his advanced guard was ten miles beyond Front Royal; on the other
side of the Massanuttons, Fremont, with Bayard's cavalry heading his
advance, moved rapidly on Woodstock.

The Federal generals, however, had to do with a foe who never relaxed
his vigilance. Whilst Ashby and Ewell, on May 31, were engaged with
Fremont at Cedar Creek, Jackson had expected that Shields would
advance on Strasburg. But not a single infantry soldier was observed
on the Front Royal road throughout the day. Such inaction was
suspicious, and the probability to which it pointed had not escaped
the penetration of the Confederate leader. His line of retreat was
the familiar route by New Market and Harrisonburg to Port Republic,
and thence to the Gaps of the Blue Ridge. There he could secure an
unassailable position, within reach of the railway and of Richmond.
But, during the movement, danger threatened from the valley of the
South Fork. Should Shields adopt that line of advance the White House
and Columbia bridges would give him easy access to New Market; and
while Fremont was pressing the Confederates in rear, their flank
might be assailed by fresh foes from the Luray Gap. And even if the
retiring column should pass New Market in safety, Shields, holding
the bridges at Conrad's Store and Port Republic, might block the
passage to the Blue Ridge. Jackson, looking at the situation from his
enemy's point of view, came to the conclusion that a movement up the
valley of the South Fork was already in progress, and that the aim of
the Federal commander would be to secure the bridges. His conjectures
hit the mark.

Before leaving Front Royal Shields ordered his cavalry to march
rapidly up the valley of the South Fork, and seize the bridge at
Conrad's Store; the White House and Columbia bridges he intended to
secure himself. But Jackson was not to be so easily overreached.

June 2.

On the night of June 2 the Federal cavalry reached Luray, to find
that they had come too late. The White House and Columbia bridges had
both been burned by a detachment of Confederate horse, and Shields
was thus cut off from New Market. At dawn on the 4th, after a forced
night march, his advanced guard reached Conrad's Store to find that
bridge also gone,* (* Of the existence of the bridge at Port
Republic, held by a party of Confederate cavalry, the Federals do not
appear to have been aware.) and he was once more foiled. On his
arrival at Luray, the sound of cannon on the other side of the
Massanuttons was plainly heard. It seemed probable that Jackson and
Fremont were already in collision; but Shields, who had written a few
hours before to Mr. Stanton that with supplies and forage he could
"stampede the enemy to Richmond," was unable to stir a foot to assist
his colleague.

Once again Jackson had turned to account the strategic possibilities
of the Massanuttons and the Shenandoah; and, to increase General
Shields' embarrassment, the weather had broken. Heavy and incessant
rain-storms submerged the Virginia roads. He was ahead of his
supplies; much hampered by the mud; and the South Fork of the
Shenandoah, cutting him off from Fremont, rolled a volume of rushing
water which it was impossible to bridge without long delay.

Meanwhile, west of the great mountain, the tide of war, which had
swept with such violence to the Potomac, came surging back. Fremont,
by the rapidity of his pursuit, made full amends for his lack of
vigour at Cedar Creek. A cloud of horsemen filled the space between
the hostile columns. Day after day the quiet farms and sleepy
villages on the Valley turnpike heard the thunder of Ashby's guns.
Every stream that crossed the road was the scene of a fierce
skirmish; and the ripening corn was trampled under the hoofs of the
charging squadrons. On June 2, the first day of the pursuit, between
Strasburg and Woodstock the Federals, boldly led by Bayard, gained a
distinct advantage. A dashing attack drove in the Confederate
rear-guard, swept away the horse artillery, and sent Ashby's and
Steuart's regiments, exhausted by hunger and loss of sleep, flying up
the Valley. Many prisoners were taken, and the pursuit was only
checked by a party of infantry stragglers, whom Ashby had succeeded
in rallying across the road.

Next day, June 3, the skirmishing was continued; and the
Confederates, burning the bridges across the roads, retreated to
Mount Jackson.

June 4.

On the 4th the bridge over the North Fork was given to the flames,
Ashby, whose horse was shot under him, remaining to the last; and the
deep and turbulent river placed an impassable obstacle between the
armies. Under a deluge of rain the Federals attempted to launch their
pontoons; but the boats were swept away by the rising flood, and it
was not till the next morning that the bridge was made.

June 5.

The Confederates had thus gained twenty-four hours' respite, and
contact was not resumed until the 6th. Jackson, meanwhile,
constructing a ferry at Mount Crawford, had sent his sick and wounded
to Staunton, thus saving them the long detour by Port Republic; and
dispatching his stores and prisoners by the more circuitous route,
had passed through Harrisonburg to Cross Keys, a clump of buildings
on Mill Creek, where, on the night of the 5th, his infantry and
artillery, with the exception of a brigade supporting the cavalry,
went into bivouac.

June 6.

On the afternoon of the 6th the Federal cavalry followed Ashby. Some
three miles from Harrisonburg is a tract of forest, crowning a long
ridge; and within the timber the Confederate squadrons occupied a
strong position. The enemy, 800 strong, pursued without precaution,
charged up a gentle hill, and were repulsed by a heavy fire. Then
Ashby let loose his mounted men on the broken ranks, and the Federals
were driven back to within half a mile of Harrisonburg, losing 4
officers and 30 men.

Smarting under this defeat, Fremont threw forward a still stronger
force of cavalry, strengthened by two battalions of infantry. Ashby
had already called up a portion of the brigade which supported him,
and met the attack in a clearing of the forest. The fight was fierce.
The Confederates were roughly handled by the Northern riflemen, and
the ranks began to waver. Riding to the front, where the opposing
lines were already at close range, Ashby called upon his infantry to

As he gave the order his horse fell heavily to the ground. Leaping to
his feet in an instant, again he shouted, "Charge, men! for God's
sake, charge!" The regiments rallied, and inspired by his example
swept forward from the wood. But hardly had they left the covert when
their leader fell, shot through the heart. He was speedily avenged.
The men who followed him, despite the heavy fire, dashed at the enemy
in front and flank, and drove them from their ground. The cavalry,
meanwhile, had worked round in rear; the horse artillery found an
opportunity for action; and under cover of the night the Federals
fell back on Harrisonburg.

The losses of the Union troops were heavy; but the Confederate
victory was dearly purchased. The death of Ashby was a terrible blow
to the Army of the Valley. From the outbreak of the war he had been
employed on the Shenandoah, and from Staunton to the Potomac his was
the most familiar figure in the Confederate ranks. His daring rides
on his famous white charger were already the theme of song and story;
and if the tale of his exploits, as told in camp and farm, sometimes
bordered on the marvellous, the bare truth, stripped of all
exaggeration, was sufficient in itself to make a hero. His reckless
courage, his fine horsemanship, his skill in handling his command,
and his power of stimulating devotion, were not the only attributes
which incited admiration. "With such qualities," it is said, "were
united the utmost generosity and unselfishness, and a delicacy of
feeling equal to a woman's." His loss came home with especial force
to Jackson. After the unfortunate episode in the pursuit from
Middletown, he had rated his cavalry leader in no measured terms for
the indiscipline of his command; and for some days their intercourse,
usually most cordial, had been simply official. Sensitive in the
extreme to any reflection upon himself or his troops, Ashby held
aloof; and Jackson, always stern when a breach of duty was concerned,
made no overtures for a renewal of friendly intercourse. Fortunately,
before the fatal fight near Harrisonburg, they had been fully
reconciled; and with no shadow of remorse Jackson was able to offer
his tribute to the dead. Entering the room in Port Republic, whither
the body had been brought, he remained for a time alone with his old
comrade; and in sending an order to his cavalry, added, "Poor Ashby
is dead. He fell gloriously--one of the noblest men and soldiers in
the Confederate army." A more public testimony was to come. In his
official report he wrote: "The close relation General Ashby bore to
my command for most of the previous twelve months will justify me in
saying that as a partisan officer I never knew his superior. His
daring was proverbial, his powers of endurance almost incredible, his
character heroic, and his sagacity almost intuitive in divining the
purposes and movements of the enemy."

On the 6th and 7th the Confederate infantry rested on the banks of
Mill Creek, near Cross Keys. The cavalry, on either flank of the
Massanuttons, watched both Fremont's camps at Harrisonburg and the
slow advance of Shields; and on the southern peak of the mountains a
party of signallers, under a staff officer, looked down upon the
roads which converged on the Confederate position.

June 7.

June 7 was passed in unwonted quiet. For the first time for fifteen
days since the storming of Front Royal the boom of the guns was
silent. The glory of the summer brooded undisturbed on hill and
forest; and as the escort which followed Ashby to his grave passed
down the quiet country roads, the Valley lay still and peaceful in
the sunshine. Not a single Federal scout observed the melancholy
cortege. Fremont's pursuit had been roughly checked. He was uncertain
in which direction the main body of the Confederates had retreated;
and it was not till evening that a strong force of infantry,
reconnoitring through the woods, struck Jackson's outposts near the
hamlet of Cross Keys. Only a few shots were exchanged.

Shields, meanwhile, had concentrated his troops at Columbia Bridge on
the 6th, and presuming that Jackson was standing fast on the strong
position at Rude's Hill, was preparing to cross the river. Later in
the day a patrol, which had managed to communicate with Fremont,
informed him that Jackson was retreating, and the instructions he
thereupon dispatched to the officer commanding his advanced guard are
worthy of record:

"The enemy passed New Market on the 5th; Blenker's division on the
6th in pursuit. The enemy has flung away everything, and their
stragglers fill the mountain. They need only a movement on the flank
to panic-strike them, and break them into fragments. No man has had
such a chance since the war commenced. You are within thirty miles of
a broken, retreating enemy, who still hangs together. 10,000 Germans
are on his rear, who hang on like bull-dogs. You have only to throw
yourself down on Waynesborough before him, and your cavalry will
capture them by the thousands, seize his train and abundant
supplies."* (* O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 352.)

In anticipation, therefore, of an easy triumph, and, to use his own
words, of "thundering down on Jackson's rear," Shields, throwing
precaution to the winds, determined to move as rapidly as possible on
Port Republic. He had written to Fremont urging a combined attack on
"the demoralised rebels," and he thought that together they "would
finish Jackson." His only anxiety was that the enemy might escape,
and in his haste he neglected the warning of his Corps commander.
McDowell, on dispatching him in pursuit, had directed his attention
to the importance of keeping his division well closed up. Jackson's
predilection for dealing with exposed detachments had evidently been
noted. Shields' force, however, owing to the difficulties of the
road, the mud, the quick-sands, and the swollen streams, was already
divided into several distinct fractions. His advanced brigade was
south of Conrad's Store; a second was some miles in rear, and two
were at Luray, retained at that point in consequence of a report that
8000 Confederates were crossing the Blue Ridge by Thornton's Gap. To
correct this faulty formation before advancing he thought was not
worth while. On the night of June 7 he was sure of his prey.

The situation at this juncture was as follows: Shields was stretched
out over five-and-twenty miles of road in the valley of the South
Fork; Fremont was at Harrisonburg; Ewell's division was near Cross
Keys, and the main body of the Valley Army near Port Republic.

During his retreat Jackson had kept his attention fixed on Shields.
That ardent Irishman pictured his old enemy flying in confusion,
intent only on escape. He would have been much astonished had he
learned the truth. From the moment Jackson left Strasburg, during the
whole time he was retreating, with the "bull-dogs" at his heels, he
was meditating a counter-stroke, and his victim had already been
selected. When Shields rushed boldly up the valley of the South Fork
it seemed that an opportunity of avenging Kernstown was about to
offer. On June 4, the day that the enemy reached Luray, Ewell was
ordered to provide his men with two days' cooked rations and to
complete their ammunition "for active service." The next day,
however, it was found that Shields had halted. Ewell was ordered to
stand fast, and Jackson wrote despondently to Lee: "At present I do
not see that I can do much more than rest my command and devote its
time to drilling." On the 6th, however, he learned that Shields'
advanced guard had resumed its march; and, like a tiger crouching in
the jungle, he prepared to spring upon his prey. But Fremont was
close at hand, and Shields and Fremont between them mustered nearly
25,000 men. They were certainly divided by the Shenandoah; but they
were fast converging on Port Republic; and in a couple of marches, if
not actually within sight of each other's camps, they would come
within hearing of each other's guns. Yet, notwithstanding their
numbers, Jackson had determined to deal with them in detail.

A few miles from the camp at Port Republic was a hill honeycombed
with caverns, known as the Grottoes of the Shenandoah. In the heart
of the limestone Nature has built herself a palace of many chambers,
vast, silent, and magnificent. But far beyond the beauty of her
mysterious halls was the glorious prospect which lay before the eyes
of the Confederate sentries. Glimmering aisles and dark recesses,
where no sunbeam lurks nor summer wind whispers, compared but ill
with those fruitful valleys, watered by clear brown rivers, and
steeped in the glow of a Virginian June. To the north stood the
Massanuttons, with their forests sleeping in the noon-day; and to the
right of the Massanuttons, displaying, in that transparent
atmosphere, every shade of that royal colour from which it takes its
name, the Blue Ridge loomed large against the eastern sky. Summit
after summit, each more delicately pencilled than the last, receded
to the horizon, and beneath their feet, still, dark, and unbroken as
the primeval wilderness, broad leagues of woodland stretched far away
over a lonely land.

No battle-field boasts a fairer setting than Port Republic; but,
lover of Nature as he was, the region was attractive to Jackson for
reasons of a sterner sort. It was eminently adapted for the purpose
he had at heart.

1. The South Fork of the Shenandoah is formed by the junction of two
streams, the North and South Rivers; the village of Port Republic
lying on the peninsula between the two.

2. The bridge crosses the North River just above the junction,
carrying the Harrisonburg road into Port Republic; but the South
River, which cuts off Port Republic from the Luray Valley, is
passable only by two difficult fords.

3. North of the village, on the left bank of the Shenandoah, a line
of high bluffs, covered with scattered timber, completely commands
the tract of open country which lies between the river and the Blue
Ridge, and across this tract ran the road by which Shields was

4. Four miles north-west of Port Republic, near the village of Cross
Keys, the road to Harrisonburg crosses Mill Creek, a strong position
for defence.

By transferring his army across the Shenandoah, and burning the
bridge at Port Republic, Jackson could easily have escaped Fremont,
and have met Shields in the Luray Valley with superior force. But the
plain where the battle must be fought was commanded by the bluffs on
the left bank of the Shenandoah; and should Fremont advance while an
engagement was in progress, even though he could not cross the
stream, he might assail the Confederates in flank with his numerous
batteries. In order, then, to gain time in which to deal with
Shields, it was essential that Fremont should be held back, and this
could only be done on the left bank. Further, if Fremont could be
held back until Shields' force was annihilated, the former would be
isolated. If Jackson could hold the bridge at Port Republic, and also
prevent Fremont reaching the bluffs, he could recross when he had
done with Shields, and fight Fremont without fear of interruption.

To reverse the order, and to annihilate Fremont before falling upon
Shields, was out of the question. Whether he advanced against Fremont
or whether he stood still to receive his attack, Jackson's rear and
communications, threatened by Shields, must be protected by a strong
detachment. It would be thus impossible to meet Fremont with superior
or even equal numbers, and an army weaker on the battlefield could
not make certain of decisive victory.

Jackson had determined to check Fremont at Mill Creek. But the
situation was still uncertain. Fremont had halted at Harrisonburg,
and it was possible that he might advance no further. So the
Confederates were divided, ready to meet either adversary; Ewell
remaining at Cross Keys, and the Stonewall division encamping near
Port Republic.

June 8.

On the morning of June 8, however, it was found that Fremont was
moving. Ewell's division was already under arms. At 8.30 A.M. his
pickets, about two miles to the front, became engaged, and the
Confederate regiments moved leisurely into position.

The line ran along the crest of a narrow ridge, commanding an open
valley, through which Mill Creek, an insignificant brook, ran
parallel to the front. The further slopes, open and unobstructed
except for scattered trees and a few fences, rose gently to a lower
ridge, about a mile distant. The ground held by the Confederates was
only partially cleared, and from the Port Republic road in the
centre, at a distance of six hundred yards on either flank, were
woods of heavy timber, enclosing the valley, and jutting out towards
the enemy. The ridge beyond the valley was also thickly wooded; but
here, too, there were open spaces on which batteries might be
deployed; and the forest in rear, where Ashby had been killed,
standing on higher ground, completely concealed the Federal approach.
The pickets, however, had given ample warning of the coming attack;
and when, at 10 A.M., the hostile artillery appeared on the opposite
height, it was received with a heavy fire. "Eight and a half
batteries," says Fremont, "were brought into action within thirty
minutes." Against this long array of guns the Confederates massed
only five batteries; but these commanded the open ground, and were
all in action from the first.

Ewell had with him no more than three brigades. The Louisiana
regiments had bivouacked near Port Republic, and were not yet up. The
whole strength of the troops which held the ridge was no more than
6000 infantry, and perhaps 500 cavalry. Fremont had at least 10,000
infantry, twelve batteries, and 2000 cavalry.

It was then against overwhelming numbers that Ewell was asked to hold
his ground, and the remainder of the army was four miles in rear.
Jackson himself was still absent from the field. The arrangements for
carrying out his ambitious plans had met with an unexpected hitch. In
the Luray Valley, from Conrad's Store northwards, the space between
the Blue Ridge and the Shenandoah was covered for the most part with
dense forest, and through this forest ran the road. Moving beneath
the spreading foliage of oak and hickory, Shields' advanced brigade
was concealed from the observation of the Confederate cavalry; and
the signallers on the mountain, endangered by Fremont's movement, had
been withdrawn.

North of Port Republic, between the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge and
the Shenandoah, lies a level tract of arable and meadow, nearly a
mile wide, and extending for nearly three miles in a northerly
direction. On the plain were the Confederate pickets, furnished by
three companies of Ashby's regiment, with their patrols on the roads
towards Conrad's Store; and there seemed little chance that Shields
would be able to reach the fords over the South River, much less the
Port Republic bridge, without long notice being given of his
approach. The cavalry, however, as had been already proved, were not
entirely to be depended on. Jackson, whose headquarters were within
the village, had already mounted his horse to ride forward to Cross
Keys, when there was a distant fire, a sudden commotion in the
streets, and a breathless messenger from the outposts reported that
not only had the squadrons on picket been surprised and scattered,
but that the enemy was already fording the South River.

Between the two rivers, south-west of Port Republic, were the
Confederate trains, parked in the open fields. Here was Carrington's
battery, with a small escort; and now the cavalry had fled there were
no other troops, save a single company of the 2nd Virginia, on this
side the Shenandoah. The squadron which headed the Federal advanced
guard was accompanied by two guns. One piece was sent towards the
bridge; the other, unlimbering on the further bank, opened fire on
the church, and the horsemen trotted cautiously forward into the
village street. Jackson, warned of his danger, had already made for
the bridge, and crossing at a gallop escaped capture by the barest
margin of time. His chief of artillery, Colonel Crutchfield, was made
prisoner, with Dr. McGuire and Captain Willis,* (* All three of these
officers escaped from their captors.) and his whole staff was
dispersed, save Captain Pendleton, a sterling soldier, though hardly
more than a boy in years. And the danger was not over. With the
trains was the whole of the reserve ammunition, and it seemed that a
crushing disaster was near at hand. The sudden appearance of the
enemy caused the greatest consternation amongst the teamsters;
several of the waggons went off by the Staunton road; and, had the
Federal cavalry come on, the whole would have been stampeded. But
Carrington's battery was called to the front by Captain Moore,
commanding the company of infantry in the village. The picket,
promptly put into position, opened with a well-aimed volley, and a
few rounds checked the enemy's advance; the guns came rapidly and
effectively into action, and at this critical moment Jackson
intervened with his usual vigour.* (* According to General Shields'
account his cavalry had reported to him that the bridge at Port
Republic had been burned, and he had therefore ordered his advanced
guard to take up a defensive position and prevent the Confederates
crossing the Shenandoah River. It was the head of the detachment
which had dispersed the Confederate squadrons.) From the left bank of
the North River he saw a gun bearing on the bridge, the village
swarming with blue uniforms, and more artillery unlimbering across
the river. He had already sent orders for his infantry to fall in,
and a six-pounder was hurrying to the front. "I was surprised," said
the officer to whose battery this piece belonged, "to see a gun
posted on the opposite bank. Although I had met a cavalry man who
told me that the enemy were advancing up the river, still I did not
think it possible they could have brought any guns into the place in
so short a time. It thereupon occurred to me that the piece at the
bridge might be one of Carrington's, whose men had new uniforms
something like those we saw at the bridge. Upon suggesting this to
the general, he reflected a moment, and then riding a few paces to
the left and front, he called out, in a tone loud enough to be heard
by the enemy, "Bring that gun up here!" but getting no reply, he
raised himself in his stirrups, and in a most authoritative and
seemingly angry tone he shouted, "Bring that gun up here, I say!" At
this they began to move the trail of the gun so as to bring it to
bear on us, which, when the general perceived, he turned quickly to
the officer in charge of my gun, and said in his sharp, quick way,
"Let 'em have it!" The words had scarcely left his lips when
Lieutenant Brown, who had his piece charged and aimed, sent a shot
right among them, so disconcerting them that theirs in reply went far
above us."* (* Related by Colonel Poague, C.S.A.)

The Confederate battalions, some of which had been formed up for
inspection, or for the Sunday service, when the alarm was given, had
now come up, and the 87th Virginia was ordered to capture the gun,
and to clear the village. Without a moment's hesitation the regiment
charged with a yell across the bridge, and so sudden was the rush
that the Federal artillerymen were surprised. The gun was
double-shotted with canister, and the head of the column should have
been swept away. But the aim was high and the Confederates escaped.
Then, as the limber came forward, the horses, terrified by the heavy
fire and the yells of the charging infantry, became unmanageable; and
the gunners, abandoning the field-piece, fled through the streets of
Port Republic. The 87th rushed forward with a yell. The hostile
cavalry, following the gunners, sought safety by the fords; and as
the rout dashed through the shallow water, the Confederate batteries,
coming into action on the high bluffs west of the Shenandoah, swept
the plain below with shot and shell.

The hostile artillery beyond the stream was quickly overpowered;
horses were shot down wholesale; a second gun was abandoned on the
road; a third, which had only two horses and a driver left, was
thrown into a swamp; and a fourth was found on the field without
either team or men.

The Federal infantry was not more fortunate. Carroll's brigade of
four regiments was close in rear of the artillery when the
Confederate batteries opened fire. Catching the contagion from the
flying cavalry, it retreated northward in confusion. A second brigade
(Tyler's) came up in support; but the bluffs beyond the river were
now occupied by Jackson's infantry; a stream of fire swept the plain;
and as Shields' advanced guard, followed by the Confederate cavalry,
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.

                         STRATEGIC         TACTICAL
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
very great. In all armies, however constituted, there is a large
proportion of men whose hearts are not in the business.* (* General
Sheridan is said to have declared that 25 per cent of the Federal
soldiers lacked the military spirit.)

When hard marching and heavy fighting are in prospect the inclination
of such men is to make themselves scarce, and when discipline is
relaxed they will soon find the opportunity. But when their instincts
of obedience are strong, when the only home they know is with the
colours, when the credit of their regiment is at stake--and even the
most worthless have some feeling for their own corps--engrained habit
and familiar associations overcome their natural weakness. The
troop-horse bereft of his rider at once seeks his comrades, and
pushes his way, with empty saddle, into his place in the ranks. And
so the soldier by profession, faint-hearted as he may be, marches
shoulder to shoulder with his comrades, and acquires a fictitious,
but not unuseful, courage from his contact with braver men.

It is true that the want of good boots told heavily on the
Confederates. A pair already half-worn, such as many of the men
started with, was hardly calculated to last out a march of several
hundred miles over rocky tracks, and fresh supplies were seldom
forthcoming. There was a dearth both of shoe-leather and
shoe-factories in the South; and if Mr. Davis, before the blockade
was established, had indented on the shoemakers of Europe, he would
have added very largely to the efficiency of his armies. A few
cargoes of good boots would have been more useful than a shipload of
rifled guns.

Nevertheless, the absentees from the ranks were not all footsore. The
vice of straggling was by no means confined to Jackson's command. It
was the curse of both armies, Federal and Confederate. The Official
Records, as well as the memoirs of participants, teem with references
to it. It was an evil which the severest punishments seemed incapable
of checking. It was in vain that it was denounced in orders, that the
men were appealed to, warned, and threatened. Nor were the
faint-hearted alone at fault. The day after Jackson's victory at
M'Dowell, Johnston, falling back before McClellan, addressed General
Lee as follows:--

"Stragglers cover the country, and Richmond is no doubt filled with
the absent without leave...The men are full of spirit when near the
enemy, but at other times to avoid restraint leave their regiments in
crowds."* (* O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 503.) A letter from a
divisional general followed:--

"It is with deep mortification that I report that several thousand
soldiers and many individuals with commissions have fled to Richmond
under pretext of sickness. They have even thrown away their arms that
their flight might not be impeded. Cannot these miserable wretches be
arrested and returned to their regiments, where they can have their
heads shaved and be drummed out of the service?"* (* Ibid page 506.)

Jackson, then, had to contend with difficulties which a general in
command of regular troops would not have been called on to provide
against; and in other respects also he suffered from the constitution
of his army. The one thing lacking in the Valley campaign was a
decisive victory over a considerable detachment of the Federal army,
the annihilation of one of the converging forces, and large capture
of guns and prisoners. A victory as complete as Rivoli would have
completed its dramatic interest. But for this Jackson himself was
hardly to blame. The misconduct of the Confederate cavalry on May 24
and 25 permitted Banks to escape destruction; and the delay at the
temporary bridge near Port Republic, due, mainly, to the
disinclination of the troops to face the ford, and the want of
resolute obedience on the part of their commanders, saved Fremont
from the same fate. Had Shields' advanced brigades been driven back,
as Jackson designed, while the day was still young, the operations of
the Valley army would in all probability have been crowned by a
brilliant triumph over nearly equal forces. Fremont, already fearful
and irresolute, was hardly the man to withstand the vigour of
Jackson's onset; and that onset would assuredly have been made if
more careful arrangements had been made to secure the bridge. This
was not the only mistake committed by the staff. The needlessly long
march of the main body when approaching Front Royal on May 28 might
well have been obviated. But for this delay the troops might have
pushed on before nightfall to within easy reach of the Valley
turnpike, and Banks have been cut off from Winchester.

It is hardly necessary to say that, even with regular troops, the
same mistakes might have occurred. They are by no means without
parallel, and even those committed by the Federals have their exact
counterpart in European warfare. At the beginning of August, 1870,
the French army, like Banks' division on May 28, 1862, was in two
portions, divided by a range of mountains. The staff was aware that
the Germans were in superior strength, but their dispositions were
unknown. Like Banks, they neglected to reconnoitre; and when a weak
detachment beyond the mountains was suddenly overwhelmed, they still
refused to believe that attack was imminent. The crushing defeats of
Worth and Spicheren were the result.

The staff of a regular army is not always infallible. It would be
hard to match the extraordinary series of blunders made by the staffs
of the three armies--English, French, and Prussian--in the campaign
of Waterloo, and yet there was probably no senior officer present in
Belgium who had not seen several campaigns. But the art of war has
made vast strides since Waterloo, and even since 1870. Under Moltke's
system, which has been applied in a greater or less degree to nearly
all professional armies, the chance of mistakes has been much
reduced. The staff is no longer casually educated and selected
haphazard; the peace training of both officers and men is far more
thorough; and those essential details on which the most brilliant
conceptions, tactical and strategical, depend for success stand much
less chance of being overlooked than in 1815. It is by the standard
of a modern army, and not of those whose only school in peace was the
parade-ground, that the American armies must be judged.

That Jackson's tactical skill, and his quick eye for ground, had much
to do with his victories can hardly be questioned. At Kernstown and
Port Republic he seized the key of the position without a moment's
hesitation. At Winchester, when Ewell was checked upon the right,
three strong brigades, suddenly thrown forward on the opposite flank,
completely rolled up the Federal line. At Cross Keys the position
selected for Ewell proved too formidable for Fremont, despite his
superiority in guns. At Port Republic, Taylor's unexpected approach
through the tangled forest was at once decisive of the engagement.
The cavalry charge at Front Royal was admirably timed; and the manner
in which Ashby was employed throughout the campaign, not only to
screen the advance but to check pursuit, was a proof of the highest
tactical ability. Nor should the quick insight into the direction of
Shields' march on June 1, and the destruction of the bridges by which
he could communicate with Fremont, be omitted. It is true that the
operations in the Valley were not absolutely faultless. When Jackson
was bent on an effective blow his impatience to bring the enemy to
bay robbed him more than once of complete success. On the march to
M'Dowell Johnson's brigade, the advanced guard, had been permitted to
precede the main body by seven miles, and, consequently, when Milroy
attacked there was not sufficient force at hand for a decisive
counterstroke. Moreover, with an ill-trained staff a careful
supervision was most essential, and the waggon bridge at Port
Republic should have been inspected by a trustworthy staff officer
before Winder rushed across to fall on Tyler.

Errors of this nature, however instructive they may be to the student
of war, are but spots upon the sun; and in finding in his subordinate
such breadth of view and such vigour of execution, Lee was fortunate
indeed. Jackson was no less fortunate when Ashby came under his
command. That dashing captain of free-lances was undoubtedly a most
valuable colleague. It was something to have a cavalry leader who
could not only fight and reconnoitre, but who had sagacity enough to
divine the enemy's intentions. But the ideas that governed the
employment of the cavalry were Jackson's alone. He it was who placed
the squadrons across Fremont's road from Wardensville, who ordered
the demonstrations against Banks, before both M'Dowell and Front
Royal, and those which caused Fremont to retreat after Port Republic.
More admirable still was the quickness with which he recognised the
use that might be made of mounted riflemen. From the Potomac to Port
Republic his horsemen covered his retreat, dismounting behind every
stream and along the borders of every wood, checking the pursuers
with their fire, compelling them to deploy their infantry, and then
retreating rapidly to the next position. Day after day were the
Federal advanced guards held in check, their columns delayed, and the
generals irritated by their slippery foe. Meanwhile, the Confederate
infantry, falling back at their leisure, were relieved of all
annoyance. And if the cavalry was suddenly driven in, support was
invariably at hand, and a compact brigade of infantry, supported by
artillery, sent the pursuing horsemen to the right-about. The retreat
of the Valley army was managed with the same skill as its advance,
and the rear-guard tactics of the campaign are no less remarkable
than those of the attack.

To judge from the Valley campaign, Jackson handled his horsemen with
more skill than any other commander, Confederate or Federal. A
cavalry that could defend itself on foot as well as charge in the
saddle was practically a new arm, of far greater efficiency than
cavalry of the old type, and Jackson at once recognised, not only its
value; but the manner in which it could be most effectively employed.
He was not led away by the specious advantages, so eagerly urged by
young and ambitious soldiers, of the so-called raids. Even Lee
himself, cool-headed as he was, appears to have been fascinated by
the idea of throwing a great body of horsemen across his enemy's
communications, spreading terror amongst his supply trains, cutting
his telegraphs, and destroying his magazines. In hardly a single
instance did such expeditions inflict more than temporary discomfort
on the enemy; and the armies were led more than once into false
manoeuvres, for want of the information which only the cavalry could
supply. Lee at Malvern Hill and Gettysburg, Hooker at
Chancellorsville, Grant at Spotsylvania, owed defeat, in great
measure, to the absence of their mounted troops. In the Valley, on
the contrary, success was made possible because the cavalry was kept
to its legitimate duty--that is, to procure information, to screen
all movements, to take part in battle at the decisive moment, and to
carry out the pursuit.

With all his regard for Napoleon's maxims, Jackson was no slave to
rule. In war, circumstances vary to such an extent that a manoeuvre,
which at one time is manifestly unsound, may at another be the most
judicious. The so-called rules are never binding; they merely point
out the risks which are generally entailed by some particular course
of action. There is no principle on which Napoleon lays more stress
than that a general should never divide his force, either on the
field of battle or the theatre of war. But when he marched to
M'Dowell and left Ewell at Swift Run Gap, Jackson deliberately
divided his forces and left Banks between them, knowing that the
apparent risk, with an opponent like Banks, was no risk at all. At
the battle of Winchester, too, there was a gap of a mile between the
brigades on the left of the Kernstown road and Ewell on the right;
and owing to the intervening hills, one wing was invisible to the
other. Here again, like Moltke at Koniggratz, Jackson realised that
the principle might be disregarded not only with impunity but with
effect. He was not like Lord Galway, "a man who was in war what
Moliere's doctors were in medicine, who thought it much more
honourable to fail according to rule than to succeed by innovation."*
(* Macaulay.)

But the triumphs of the Valley campaign were not due alone to the
orders issued by Lee and Jackson. The Confederate troops displayed
extraordinary endurance. When the stragglers were eliminated their
stauncher comrades proved themselves true as steel. In every
engagement the regiments fought with stubborn courage. They sometimes
failed to break the enemy's line at the first rush; but, except at
Kernstown, the Federals never drove them from their position, and
Taylor's advance at Winchester, Trimble's counterstroke at Cross
Keys, the storming of the battery at Port Republic, and the charge of
the cavalry at Cedarville, were the deeds of brave and resolute men.

A retreat is the most exhausting of military movements. It is costly
in men, "more so," says Napoleon, "than two battles," and it shakes
the faith of the soldiers in their general and in themselves.
Jackson's army retreated for seven days before Fremont, dwindling in
numbers at every step, and yet it never fought better than when it
turned at bay. From first to last it believed itself superior to its
enemies; from first to last it was equal to the tasks which its
exacting commander imposed upon it, and its spirit was indomitable
throughout. "One male a week and three foights a day," according to
one of Jackson's Irishmen, was the rule in the campaigns of 1862. The
forced marches were not made in luxury. Not seldom only half-rations
were issued, and more often none at all. The weather, for many days
in succession, was abominable, and the forest bivouacs were
comfortless in the extreme. On May 25 twenty per cent of Trimble's
brigade went into action barefoot; and had it not been for the stores
captured in Winchester, the march to the Potomac, and the subsequent
unmolested retreat to Woodstock, would have been hardly possible.

If the troops were volunteers, weak in discipline and prone to
straggling, they none the less bore themselves with conspicuous
gallantry. Their native characteristics came prominently to the
front. Patient under hardships, vigorous in attack, and stubborn in
defence, they showed themselves worthy of their commander. Their
enthusiastic patriotism was not without effect on their bearing
before the enemy. Every private in the ranks believed that he was
fighting in the sacred cause of liberty, and the spirit which nerved
the resolution of the Confederate soldier was the same which inspired
the resistance of their revolutionary forefathers. His hatred of the
Yankee, as he contemptuously styled the Northerner, was even more
bitter than the wrath which Washington's soldiers felt towards
England; and it was intensified by the fact that his detested foeman
had not only dared to invade the South, but had proclaimed his
intention, in no uncertain tones, of dealing with the Sovereign
States exactly as he pleased.

But it was something more than native courage and enthusiastic
patriotism which inspired the barefooted heroes of Winchester. It
would be difficult to prove that in other parts of the theatre of war
the Confederate troops were inferior to those that held the Valley.
Yet they were certainly less successful, and in very many instances
they had failed to put forth the same resolute energy as the men who
followed Jackson.

But it is hardly possible to discuss the spirit of an army apart from
that of its commander. If, in strategy wholly, and in tactics in
great part, success emanates from a single brain, the morale of the
troops is not less dependent on the influence of one man. "Better an
army of stags," runs the old proverb, "led by a lion, than an army of
lions led by a stag."

Their leader's character had already made a sensible impression on
the Valley soldiers. Jackson was as untheatrical as Wellington. He
was hardly to be distinguished, even by his dress, from the private
in the ranks. Soon after his arrival at Richmond he called on Mrs.
Pendleton, the wife of the reverend captain of the Rockbridge
battery. The negro servant left him standing in the hall, thinking
that this quiet soldier, clad in a faded and sunburnt uniform, need
not be treated with further ceremony.* (* Memoirs of W.N. Pendleton,
D.D., Brigadier-General, C.S.A. page 201.) Headquarters in camp were
an ordinary bell-tent, or a room in the nearest cottage, and they
were often without guard or sentry. In bivouac the general rolled
himself in his blankets, and lay down under a tree or in a fence
corner. He could sleep anywhere, in the saddle, under fire, or in
church; and he could compel sleep to come to him when and where he
pleased. He cared as little for good quarters as a mountain hunter,
and he was as abstemious as a Red Indian on the war-path. He lived as
plainly as the men, and often shared their rations. The majority of
the cavalry were better mounted, and many of his officers were better
dressed. He was not given to addressing his troops, either in mass or
as individuals. His praises he reserved for his official reports, and
then he was generous. In camp he was as silent as the Sphinx, and he
never posed, except in action, as the commander of an army. Off duty
he was the gentlest and most unpretentious of men, and the most
approachable of generals. He was always scrupulously polite; and the
private soldier who asked him a question might be sure of a most
courteous reply. But there was no man with whom it was less safe to
take liberties; and where duty was concerned he became a different
being. The gentle tones grew curt and peremptory, and the absent
demeanour gave place to a most purposeful energy. His vigilance was
marvellous: his eye was everywhere; he let nothing pass without his
personal scrutiny. The unfortunate officer accused of indolence or
neglect found the shy and quiet professor transformed into the most
implacable of masters. No matter how high the rank of the offender,
the crime met with the punishment it deserved. The scouts compared
him with Lee. The latter was so genial that it was a pleasure to
report to him. Jackson cross-questioned them on every detail,
treating them as a lawyer does a hostile witness, and his keen blue
eyes seemed to search their very souls.

"Nor did the men escape when they misbehaved. Ashby's cavalry were
reprimanded in general orders for their indiscipline at Middletown,
and again at Port Republic; and if either officer or regiment
displeased the general, it was duly mentioned in his published
reports." (1 It is worth remark that Jackson's methods of punishment
showed his deep knowledge of his soldiers. The sentence on the men
who were tempted from their duty, during Banks' retreat, by the
plunder on the Winchester road was that they should not be allowed to
serve with the advanced guard until further orders. It was considered
terribly severe. O.R. volume 12 part 3 page 902.)

But the troops knew that their grave leader, so uncommunicative in
camp, and so unrelenting to misconduct, was constantly occupied with
their well-being. They knew that he spared them, when opportunity
offered, as he never spared himself. His camaraderie was expressed in
something more than words. The hospitals constructed in the Valley
excited the admiration even of the Federals, and Jackson's wounded
were his first care. Whatever it might cost the army, the ambulances
must be got safely away, and the sick and disabled soldiers
transferred to their own people. But, at the same time, the troops
had long since learned that, as administered by Jackson, the military
code was a stern reality. They had seen men shot for striking their
officers, and they knew that for insubordination or disobedience it
was idle to plead excuse. They had thought their general harsh, and
even cruel; but as their experience increased they recognised the
wisdom of his severity, and when they looked upon that kindly face,
grave and determined as it was, they realised how closely his
firmness was allied to tenderness. They had learned how highly he
esteemed them. Once, in his twelve months of command, he had spoken
from his heart. When, on the heights near Centreville, he bade
farewell to his old brigade, his pride in their achievements had
broken through the barriers of his reserve, and his ringing words had
not yet been forgotten. If he was swift to blame, his general orders
and official dispatches gave full credit to every gallant action, and
each man felt himself a hero because his general so regarded him.

They had learned, too, that Jackson's commendation was worth having.
They had seen him in action, the coolest of them all, riding along
the line of battle with as much composure as if the hail of bullets
was no more than summer rain. They had seen him far in advance of the
charging lines, cheering them to the pursuit; and they knew the
tremendous vigour of his flank attacks.

But it was not only confidence in the skill of their commander that
inspired the troops. It was impossible not to admire the man who,
after a sleepless night, a long march, and hard fighting, would say
to his officers, "We must push on--we must push on!" as unconcernedly
as if his muscles were of steel and hunger an unknown sensation. Such
fortitude was contagious. The men caught something of his resolution,
of his untiring energy, and his unhesitating audacity. The regiments
which drove Banks to the Potomac were very different from those that
crawled to Romney through the blinding sleet, or that fell back with
the loss of one-sixth their number from the Kernstown Ridge. It has
been related of Jackson that when he had once made up his mind, "he
seemed to discard all idea of defeat, and to regard the issue as
assured. A man less open to the conviction that he was beaten could
not be imagined." To this frame of mind he brought his soldiers.
Jackson's brigade at Bull Run, Jackson's division in the Valley,
Jackson's army corps later in the war, were all imbued with the
characteristics of their leader. The exertions that he demanded of
them seemed beyond the powers of mortal men, but with Jackson leading
them the troops felt themselves able to accomplish impossibilities.
"I never saw one of Jackson's couriers approach," said Ewell,
"without expecting an order to assault the North Pole!" But had the
order been given neither Ewell nor the Valley troops would have
questioned it.

With the senior officers of his little army Jackson's relations were
in some instances less cordial than with the men. His staff was
devoted to him, for they had learned to know him. At the beginning of
the Valley campaign some of them thought him mad; before it was over
they believed him to be a genius. He lived with his military family
on the most intimate terms, and his unfailing courtesy, his utter
absence of self-assertion, his sweet temper, and his tactful
consideration for others, no matter how humble their rank, were
irresistible. On duty, indeed, his staff officers fared badly.
Tireless himself, regardless of all personal comforts, he seemed to
think that others were fashioned in the same mould. After a weary
day's marching or fighting, it was no unusual thing for him to send
them for a ride of thirty or forty miles through the night. And he
gave the order with no more thought than if he were sending them with
a message to the next tent. But off duty he was simply a personal
friend, bent on making all things pleasant. "Never," says Dr. Hunter
McGuire, "can I forget his kindness and gentleness to me when I was
in great sorrow and trouble. He came to my tent and spent hours with
me, comforting me in his simple, kindly, Christian way, showing a
depth of friendship and affection which can never be forgotten. There
is no measuring the intensity with which the very soul of Jackson
burned in battle. Out of it he was very gentle. Indeed, as I look
back on the two years that I was daily, indeed hourly, with him, his
gentleness as a man, his tenderness to those in trouble or
affliction--the tenderness indeed of a woman--impress me more than
his wonderful prowess as a warrior."

It was with his generals and colonels that there was sometimes a lack
of sympathy. Many of these were older than himself. Ewell and Whiting
were his seniors in point of service, and there can be little doubt
that it was sometimes a little hard to receive peremptory orders from
a younger man. Jackson's secrecy was often irritating. Men who were
over-sensitive thought it implied a want of confidence. Those
overburdened with dignity objected to being treated like the private
soldiers; and those over-conscious of superior wisdom were injured
because their advice was not asked. Before the march to Richmond
there was much discontent. General Whiting, on reaching Staunton with
his division, rode at once to Port Republic to report. "The
distance," says General Imboden, "was twenty miles, and Whiting
returned after midnight. He was in a towering passion, and declared
that Jackson had treated him outrageously. I asked, 'How is that
possible, General?--he is very polite to everyone.'

"'Oh, hang him! he was polite enough. But he didn't say one word about
his plans. I finally asked him for orders, telling him what troops I
had. He simply told me to go back to Staunton, and he would send me
orders to-morrow. I haven't the slightest idea what they will be. I
believe he has no more sense than my horse.'"* (* Battles and Leaders
page 297.)

The orders, when they came, simply directed him to take his troops by
railway to Gordonsville, through which they had passed two days
before, and gave no reason whatever for the movement.

General Whiting was not the only Confederate officer who was
mystified. When the troops left the Valley not a single soul in the
army, save Jackson alone, knew the object of their march. He had even
gone out of his way to blind his most trusted subordinates.

"During the preceding afternoon," says Major Hotchkiss, "he sent for
me to his tent, and asked me to bring maps of the country from Port
Republic to Lexington (at the head of the Valley), as he wished to
examine them. I took the map to his tent, and for about half an hour
we talked concerning the roads and streams, and points of offence and
defence of that region, just as though he had in mind a march in that
direction. After this interval had passed he thanked me and said that
that would do. About half an hour later he sent for me again, and
remarked that there had been some fighting down about Richmond,
referring, of course, to the battle of Seven Pines, and that he would
like to see the map of the field of the operations. I brought the
maps of the district round Richmond, and we spent nearly twice as
much time over those, talking about the streams, the roads, the
condition of the country, and so forth. On retiring to my tent I said
to myself, "Old Jack" is going to Richmond."* (* Letter to the

Even the faithful Dabney was left in the dark till the troops had
reached Mechum's Station. There, calling him into a room in the
hotel, the general locked the door and explained the object of his
march. But it was under seal of secrecy; and Ewell, the second in
command, complained to the chief of the staff that Jackson had gone
off by train, leaving him without orders, or even a hint of what was
in the wind. In fact, a few days after the battle of Port Republic,
Ewell had sent some of his staff on leave of absence, telling them
that large reinforcements were coming up, and that the next move
would be "to beat up Banks' quarters about Strasburg."

When Jackson was informed of the irritation of his generals he merely
smiled, and said, "If I can deceive my own friends I can make certain
of deceiving the enemy." Nothing shook his faith in Frederick the
Great's maxim, which he was fond of quoting: "If I thought my coat
knew my plans, I would take it off and burn it." An anecdote told by
one of his brigadiers illustrates his reluctance to say more than
necessary. Previous to the march to Richmond this officer met Jackson
riding through Staunton. "Colonel," said the general, "have you
received the order?" "No, sir." "Want you to march." "When, sir?"
"Now." "Which way?" "Get in the cars--go with Lawton." "How must I
send my train and the battery?" "By the road." "Well, General, I hate
to ask questions, but it is impossible to send my waggons off without
knowing which road to send them." "Oh!"--laughing--"send them by the
road the others go."

At last, when they saw how constant fortune was to their reticent
leader, his subordinates ceased to complain; but unfortunately there
was another source of trouble. Jackson had no regard whatever for
persons. Reversing the usual procedure, he held that the choleric
word of the soldier was rank blasphemy in the captain; the higher the
rank of the offender the more severe, in his opinion, should be the
punishment. Not only did he hold that he who would rule others must
himself set the example of punctiliousness, but that to whom much is
given, from him much is to be expected. Honour and promotion fall to
the lot of the officer. His name is associated in dispatches with the
valorous deeds of he command, while the private soldier fights on
unnoticed in the crowd. To his colonels, therefore, Jackson was a
strict master, and stricter to his generals. If he had reason to
believe that his subordinates were indolent or disobedient, he
visited their shortcomings with a heavy hand. No excuse availed.
Arrest and report followed immediately on detection, and if the cure
was rude, the plague of incompetency was radically dealt with.
Spirited young soldiers, proud of their high rank, and in no way
underrating their own capacity, rebelled against such discipline; and
the knowledge that they were closely watched, that their omissions
would be visited on their heads with unfaltering severity, sometimes
created a barrier between them and their commander.

But it was only wilful disobedience or actual insubordination that
roused Jackson's wrath. "If he found in an officer," says Dabney, "a
hearty and zealous purpose to do all his duty, he was the most
tolerant and gracious of superiors, overlooking blunders and mistakes
with unbounded patience, and repairing them through his own
exertions, without even a sign of vexation." The delay at the bridge
on the morning of Port Republic, so fatal to his design of crushing
Fremont, caused no outburst of wrath. He received his
adjutant-general's report with equanimity, regarding the accident as
due to the will of Providence, and therefore to be accepted without
complaint.* (* Dabney, Southern Historical Society Papers volume 11
page 152.)

Whether the nobler side of Jackson's character had a share in
creating the confidence which his soldiers already placed in him must
be matter of conjecture. It was well known in the ranks that he was
superior to the frailties of human nature; that he was as thorough a
Christian as he was a soldier; that he feared the world as little as
he did the enemy.* (* His devout habits were no secret in the camp.
Jim, most faithful of servants, declared that he could always tell
when there was going to be a battle. "The general," he said, "is a
great man for prayin'. He pray night and morning--all times. But when
I see him git up several times in the night, an' go off an' pray, den
I know there is goin' to be somethin' to pay, an' I go right away and
pack his haversack!") In all things he was consistent; his sincerity
was as clear as the noonday sun, and his faith as firmly rooted as
the Massanuttons. Publicly and privately, in official dispatches and
in ordinary conversation, the success of his army was ascribed to the
Almighty. Every victory, as soon as opportunity offered, was followed
by the order: "The chaplains will hold divine service in their
respective regiments." "The General Commanding," ran the order after
Winchester, "would warmly express to the officers and men under his
command his joy in their achievements, and his thanks for their
brilliant gallantry in action, and their patient obedience under the
hardships of forced marches, often more painful to the brave soldier
than the danger of battle. The explanation of the severe exertions to
which the commanding general called the army, which were endured by
them with such cheerful confidence in him, is now given in the
victory of yesterday. He receives this proof of their confidence in
the past with pride and gratitude, and asks only a similar confidence
in the future.

"But his chief duty of to-day and that of the army is to recognise
devoutly the hand of a protecting Providence in the brilliant
successes of the last three days (which have given us the results of
a great victory without great losses), and to make the oblation of
our thanks to God for His service to us and our country in heartfelt
acts of religious worship. For this purpose the troops will remain in
camp to-day, suspending, as far as possible, all military exercises;
and the chaplains of regiments will hold divine service in their
several charges at 4 o'clock P.M."* (* Dabney volume 2 pages 114-5.)

Whenever it was possible Sunday was always set apart for a day of
rest; and the claims of the day were seldom altogether disregarded.*
(* "Sometimes," says Major Hotchkiss, "Jackson would keep two or
three Sundays running, so as to make up arrears, and balance the
account!") On the morning of Cross Keys it is related that a large
portion of Elzey's brigade were at service, and that the crash of the
enemy's artillery interrupted the "thirdly" of the chaplain's sermon.

It has been sometimes asserted that Jackson was of the same type as
the saints militant who followed Cromwell, who, when they were not
slaughtering their enemies, would expound the harsh tenets of their
unlovely creed to the grim circle of belted Ironsides. He has been
described as taking the lead at religious meetings, as distributing
tracts from tent to tent, as acting as aide-de-camp to his chaplains,
and as consigning to perdition all those "whose doxy was not his

Nothing is further from the truth. "His views of each denomination,"
says his wife, "had been obtained from itself, not from its
opponents. Hence he could see excellences in all. Even of the Roman
Catholic Church he had a much more favourable impression than most
Protestants, and he fraternised with all Evangelical denominations.
During a visit to New York, one Sabbath morning, we chanced to find
ourselves at the door of an Episcopal Church at the hour of worship.
He proposed that we should enter; and as it was a day for the
celebration of the Communion, he remained for that service, and it
was with the utmost reverence and solemnity that he walked up the
chancel and knelt to receive the elements."

Jackson, then, was by no means imbued with the belief that the
Presbyterian was the one true Church, and that all others were in
error. Nor did he attempt, in the very slightest degree, to usurp the
functions of his chaplains. Although he invariably went to sleep
during their sermons, he was deeply interested in their endeavours,
and gave them all the assistance in his power. But he no more thought
of taking their duties on himself than of interfering with the
treatment of the men in hospital. He spoke no "words in season," even
to his intimates. He had no "message" for them. Where religion was
concerned, so long as duly qualified instructors were available, he
conceived it his business to listen and not to teach. Morning and
evening prayers were the rule at his headquarters, but if any of his
staff chose to remain absent, the general made no remark. Yet all
suspicion of indifference to vice was effectually removed. Nothing
ungenerous or unclean was said in his presence without incurring his
displeasure, always unmistakably expressed, and although he made no
parade of his piety he was far too manly to hide it.

Yet he was never a prominent figure at the camp services. Rather than
occupy a conspicuous place he would seat himself amongst the
privates; and the only share he took in directing the proceedings was
to beckon men to the seats that respect had left empty beside him.
Those who picture him as an enthusiastic fanatic, invading, like the
Puritan dragoons, the pulpits of the chaplains, and leading the
devotions of his troops with the same fervour that he displayed in
battle, have utterly misread his character. The humblest soldier in
the Confederate army was not more modest and unassuming than
Stonewall Jackson.


The Federal strength at M'Dowell.
Fremont's return of April 30 is as follows:--
   Milroy's Brigade                 4,807
   Schenck's Brigade                3,335

of May 10:--
   Milroy                           3,694
   Schenck                          3,335

of May 31:--
   Milroy                           2,914
   Schenck                          3,335

Schenck reports that the total force ENGAGED at M'Dowell was 1768 of
Milroy's brigade, and about 500 of his own, total 2268; and that he
himself brought to M'Dowell 1800 infantry, a battery, and 250
cavalry--say, 1600 men.

Milroy's command may fairly be estimated at 3500; Schenck brought
1600 men; there were therefore available for action at M'Dowell 5100

Fremont's strength at Cross Keys.

The return of May 31 gives:--13,520 officers and men.

Fremont, in his report of the battle, says that on May 29 he had over
11,000 men, which, deducting guards, garrisons, working parties and
stragglers, were reduced to 10,500 combatants at Cross Keys.

But he does not include in this last estimate Bayard's cavalry, which
joined him at Strasburg.

On May 31 Bayard had 1844 officers and men; he had suffered some loss
in fighting Ashby, and his strength at the battle may be put down as

All garrisons, guards and working parties are included in the
Confederate numbers, so they should be added to the Federal estimate.
We may fairly say, then, that at Cross Keys the following troops were

   Fremont               11,000
   Bayard                 1,750
                 Total   12,750

Strength of the Federals, May 17-25.

On April 30 Banks' "effective" numbers were as follows:--

   Donnelly's Brigade                  2,747
   Gordon's Brigade                    3,005
   Artillery (26 guns)                   492
   Cavalry (General Hatch)             2,834
   Body-guard                             70

On May 23 he had:--

   At Strasburg: Infantry              4,476
                 Cavalry               2,600
                 Artillery (18 guns)     350
   At Front Royal, Buckton, etc.       1,300
                 Bodyguard                70

From the Harper's Ferry Garrison:--

   At Strasburg: Cavalry                 800
   At Winchester: Infantry               856
                  Cavalry                600

On May 31, after losing 2019 men at Front Royal and Winchester, he
had, the Harper's Ferry troops having been added to his command:--

   Infantry                            5,124
   Cavalry                             3,230
   Artillery (l6 guns)                   286
   Miscellaneous                          82
                           Add         2,019

10,500 effectives on May 23 is therefore a fair estimate.

Geary's 2000 at Rectortown, as they were acting under Mr. Stanton's
orders, have not been included.





2.15. CEDAR RUN.




































The region whither the interest now shifts is very different from the
Valley. From the terraced banks of the Rappahannock, sixty miles
north of Richmond, to the shining reaches of the James, where the
capital of the Confederacy stands high on her seven hills, the
lowlands of Virginia are clad with luxuriant vegetation. The roads
and railways run through endless avenues of stately trees; the
shadows of the giant oaks lie far across the rivers, and ridge and
ravine are mantled with the unbroken foliage of the primeval forest.
In this green wilderness the main armies were involved. But despite
the beauty of broad rivers and sylvan solitudes, gay with gorgeous
blossoms and fragrant with aromatic shrubs, the eastern, or
tidewater, counties of Virginia had little to recommend them as a
theatre of war. They were sparsely settled. The wooden churches,
standing lonely in the groves where the congregations hitched their
horses; the solitary taverns, half inns and half stores; the
court-houses of the county justices, with a few wooden cottages
clustered round them, were poor substitutes for the market-towns of
the Shenandoah. Here and there on the higher levels, surrounded by
coppice and lawn, by broad acres of corn and clover, the manors of
the planters gave life and brightness to the landscape. But the men
were fighting in Lee's ranks, their families had fled to Richmond,
and these hospitable homes showed signs of poverty and neglect.
Neither food nor forage was to be drawn from the country, and the
difficulties of supply and shelter were not the worst obstacles to
military operations. At this season of the year the climate and the
soil were persistent foes. The roads were mere tracks, channels which
served as drains for the interminable forest. The deep meadows, fresh
and green to the eye, were damp and unwholesome camping-grounds.
Turgid streams, like the Chickahominy and its affluents, winding
sluggishly through rank jungles, spread in swamp and morass across
the valleys, and the languid atmosphere, surcharged with vapour, was
redolent of decay.


Through this malarious region the Federal army had been pushing its
slow way forward for more than six weeks, and 105,000 men,
accompanied by a large siege train, lay intrenched within sight of
the spires of Richmond. 30,000 were north of the Chickahominy,
covering the York River Railway and waiting the coming of McDowell.
The remainder, from Woodbury's Bridge to the Charles City road,
occupied the line of breastworks which stood directly east of the
beleaguered city. So nearly was the prize within their grasp that the
church bells, and even the clocks striking the hour, were heard in
the camps; and at Mechanicsville Bridge, watched by a picket, stood a
sign-post which bore the legend: "To Richmond, 4½ miles." The
sentries who paced that beat were fortunate. For the next two years
they could boast that no Federal soldier, except as a prisoner, had
stood so close as they had to the rebel stronghold. But during these
weeks in June not a single soul in McClellan's army, and few in the
Confederacy, suspected that the flood of invasion had reached
high-water mark. Richmond, gazing night after night at the red glow
which throbbed on the eastern vault, the reflection of countless
camp-fires, and, listening with strained ears to the far-off call of
hostile bugles, seemed in perilous case. No formidable position
protected the approaches. Earthworks, indeed, were in process of
construction; but, although the left flank at New Bridge was covered
by the Chickahominy, the right was protected by no natural obstacle,
as had been the case at Yorktown; and the lines occupied no
commanding site. Nor had the Government been able to assemble an army
of a strength sufficient to man the whole front. Lee, until Jackson
joined him, commanded no more than 72,500 men. Of these a large
portion were new troops, and their numbers had been reduced by the
7000 dispatched under Whiting to the Valley.

June 11.

But if the Federal army was far superior in numbers, it was not
animated by an energy in proportion to its strength. The march from
the White House was more sluggish than the current of the
Chickahominy. From May 17 to June 26 the Army of the Valley had
covered four hundred miles. Within the same period the Army of the
Potomac had covered twenty. It is true that the circumstances were
widely different. McClellan had in front of him the lines of
Richmond, and his advance had been delayed by the rising of the
Chickahominy. He had fought a hard fight at Seven Pines; and the
constant interference of Jackson had kept him waiting for McDowell.
But, at the same time, he had displayed an excess of caution which
was perfectly apparent to his astute opponent. He had made no attempt
to use his superior numbers; and Lee had come to the conclusion that
the attack on Richmond would take the same form as the attack on
Yorktown,--the establishment of great batteries, the massing of heavy
ordnance, and all the tedious processes of a siege. He read McClellan
like an open book. He had personal knowledge both of his capacity and
character, for they had served together on the same staff in the
Mexican war. He knew that his young adversary was a man of undoubted
ability, of fascinating address, and of courage that was never higher
than when things were at their worst. But these useful qualities were
accompanied by marked defects. His will was less powerful than his
imagination. Bold in conception, he was terribly slow in execution.
When his good sense showed him the opportunity, his imagination
whispered, "Suppose the enemy has reserves of which I know nothing!
Is it not more prudent to wait until I receive more accurate
information?" And so "I dare not," inevitably waited on "I would." He
forgot that in war it is impossible for a general to be absolutely
certain. It is sufficient, according to Napoleon, if the odds in his
favour are three to two; and if he cannot discover from the attitude
of his enemy what the odds are, he is unfitted for supreme command.

Before Yorktown McClellan's five army corps had been held in check,
first by 15,000 men, then by 58,000, protected by earthworks of
feeble profile.* (* "No one but McClellan would have hesitated to
attack." Johnston to Lee, April 22, 1862. O.R. volume 11 part 3 page
456.) The fort at Gloucester Point was the key of the Confederate
lines.* (* Narrative of Military Operations, General J.B. Johnston
pages 112 and 113.) McClellan, however, although a division was
actually under orders to move against it, appears to have been
unwilling to risk a failure.* (* The garrison consisted only of a few
companies of heavy artillery, and the principal work was still
unfinished when Yorktown fell. Reports of Dr. Comstock, and Colonel
Cabell, C.S.A. O.R. volume 11 part 1.) The channel of the York was
thus closed both to his transports and the gunboats, and he did
nothing whatever to interfere with Johnston's long line of
communications, which passed at several points within easy reach of
the river bank. Nor had he been more active since he had reached West
Point. Except for a single expedition, which had dispersed a
Confederate division near Hanover Court House, north of the
Chickahominy, he had made no aggressive movement. He had never
attempted to test the strength of the fortifications of Richmond, to
hinder their construction, or to discover their weak points. His
urgent demands for reinforcements had appeared in the Northern
newspapers, and those newspapers had found their way to Richmond.
From the same source the Confederates were made aware that he
believed himself confronted by an army far larger than his own; and
when, on the departure of Whiting's division for the Valley, he
refused to take advantage of the opportunity to attack Lee's
diminished force, it became abundantly clear, if further proof were
wanting, that much might be ventured against so timid a commander.

From his knowledge of his adversary's character, and still more from
his attitude, Lee had little difficulty in discovering his
intentions. McClellan, on the other hand, failed to draw a single
correct inference. And yet the information at his disposal was
sufficient to enable him to form a fair estimate of how things stood
in the Confederate camp. He had been attacked at Seven Pines, but not
by superior numbers; and it was hardly likely that the enemy had not
employed their whole available strength in this battle; otherwise
their enterprise was insensate. Furthermore, it was clearly to the
interests of the Confederates to strike at his army before McDowell
could join him. They had not done so, and it was therefore probable
that they did not feel themselves strong enough to do so. It is true
that he was altogether misled by the intelligence supplied as to the
garrison of Richmond by his famous detective staff. 200,000 was the
smallest number which the chief agent would admit. But that McClellan
should have relied on the estimate of these untrained observers
rather than on the evidence furnished by the conduct of the enemy is
but a further proof that he lacked all power of deduction.* (* In one
sense McClellan was not far wrong in his estimate of the Confederate
numbers. In assuming control of the Union armies Lincoln and Stanton
made their enemies a present of at least 50,000 men.)

It may well be questioned whether he was anxious at heart to measure
swords with Lee. His knowledge of his adversary, whose reputation for
daring, for ability, for strength of purpose, had been higher than
any other in the old army, must needs have had a disturbing influence
on his judgment. Against an enemy he did not know McClellan might
have acted with resolution. Face to face with Lee, it can hardly be
doubted that the weaker will was dominated by the stronger. Vastly
different were their methods of war. McClellan made no effort
whatever either to supplement or to corroborate the information
supplied by his detectives. Since he had reached West Point his
cavalry had done little.* (* It must be admitted that his cavalry was
very weak in proportion to the other arms. On June 20 he had just
over 5000 sabres (O.R. volume 11 part 3 page 238), of which 3,000
were distributed among the army corps. The Confederates appear to
have had about 3,000, but of superior quality, familiar, more or
less, with the country, and united under one command. It is
instructive to notice how the necessity for a numerous cavalry grew
on the Federal commanders. In 1864 the Army of the Potomac was
accompanied by a cavalry corps over 13,000 strong, with 32 guns. It
is generally the case in war, even in a close country, that if the
cavalry is allowed to fall below the usual proportion of one trooper
to every six men of the other arms the army suffers.) Lee, on the
other hand, had found means to ascertain the disposition of his
adversary's troops, and had acquired ample information of the
measures which had been taken to protect the right wing, north of the
Chickahominy, the point he had determined to attack.

June 12.

Early on June 12, with 1200 horsemen and a section of artillery,
Stuart rode out on an enterprise of a kind which at that time was
absolutely unique, and which will keep his memory green so long as
cavalry is used in war. Carefully concealing his march, be encamped
that night near Taylorsville, twenty-two miles north of Richmond, and
far beyond the flank of the Federal intrenchments.

June 13.

The next morning he turned eastward towards Hanover Court House. Here
he drove back a picket, and his advanced guard, with the loss of one
officer, soon afterwards charged down a squadron of regulars. A few
miles to the south-east, near Old Church, the enemy's outposts were
finally dispersed; and then, instead of halting, the column pushed on
into the very heart of the district occupied by the Federals, and
soon found itself in rear of their encampments. Stuart had already
gained important information. He had learned that McClellan's right
flank extended but a short way north of the Chickahominy, that it was
not fortified, and that it rested on neither swamp nor stream, and
this was what Lee had instructed him to discover. But it was one
thing to obtain the information, another to bring it back. If he
returned by the road he had come, it was probable he would be cut
off, for the enemy was thoroughly roused, and the South Anna River,
unfordable from recent rains, rendered a detour to the north
impracticable. To the mouth and west of him lay the Federal army,
some of the infantry camps not five miles distant. It was about four
o'clock in the afternoon. He could hardly reach Hanover Court House
before dark, and he might find it held by the enemy. To escape from
the dilemma he determined on a plan of extraordinary daring, which
involved nothing less than the passage of the Chickahominy in rear of
the enemy, and a circuit of the entire Federal army.

The audacity of the design proved the salvation of his command. The
enemy had assembled a strong force of both cavalry and infantry at
Hanover Court House, under Stuart's father-in-law, General Cooke;
but, misled by the reports brought in, and doubtless perplexed by the
situation, the latter pursued but slowly and halted for the night at
Old Church. Stuart, meanwhile, had reached Tunstall's Station on the
York River Railway, picking up prisoners at every step. Here, routing
the guard, he tore up the rails, destroyed a vast amount of stores
and many waggons, broke down the telegraph and burnt the railway
bridge, his men regaling themselves on the luxuries which were found
in the well-stored establishments of the sutlers. Two squadrons,
dispatched to Garlick's Landing on the Pamunkey, set fire to two
transports, and rejoined with a large number of prisoners, horses,
and mules. Then, led by troopers who were natives of the country, the
column marched south-east by the Williamsburg road, moving further
and still further away from Richmond. The moon was full, and as the
troops passed by the forest farms, the women, running to the wayside,
wept with delight at the unexpected apparition of the grey jackets,
and old men showered blessings on the heads of their gallant
countrymen. At Talleysville, eight miles east, Stuart halted for
three hours; and shortly after midnight, just as a Federal infantry
brigade reached Tunstall's Station in hot pursuit, he turned off by a
country road to the Chickahominy.

June 14.

At Forge Bridge, where he arrived at daylight, he should have found a
ford; but the river had overflowed its banks, and was full of
floating timber. Colonel Fitzhugh Lee, not the least famous member of
a famous family, accompanied by a few men, swam his horse at imminent
peril over to the other bank; but, although he re-crossed the swollen
waters in the same manner, the daring young officer had to report
that the passage was impracticable. It was already light. The enemy
would soon be up, and the capture of the whole column seemed
absolutely certain. Hitherto the men, exhilarated by the complete
success of the adventure, had borne themselves as gaily as if they
were riding through the streets of Richmond. But the danger of their
situation was now forcibly impressed upon them, and the whole command
became grave and anxious. Stuart alone was unmoved, and at this
juncture one of his scouts informed him that the skeleton of an old
bridge spanned the stream about a mile below. An abandoned warehouse
furnished the materials for a footway, over which the troopers
passed, holding the bridles of their horses as they swam alongside.
Half the column thus crossed, while the remainder strengthened the
bridge so as to permit the passage of the artillery. By one o'clock
the whole force was over the Chickahominy, unmolested by the enemy,
of whom only small parties, easily driven back by the rear-guard, had
made their appearance.

Thirty-five miles now to Richmond, in rear of the left wing of the
Northern army, and within range, for some portion of the march, of
the gunboats on the James River! Burning the bridge, with a wave of
the hand to the Federal horsemen who covered the heights above Stuart
plunged into the woods, and without further misadventure brought his
troops at sunset to the neighbourhood of Charles City Court House.
Leaving his men sleeping, after thirty-six hours in the saddle, he
rode to Richmond to report to Lee.

June 15.

Before dawn on the 15th, after covering another thirty miles, over a
road which was patrolled by the enemy, he reached head-quarters. His
squadrons followed, marching at midnight, and bringing with them 165
prisoners and 260 captured horses and mules.

This extraordinary expedition, which not only effected the
destruction of a large amount of Federal property, and broke up, for
the time being, their line of supplies, but acquired information of
the utmost value, and shook the confidence of the North in
McClellan's generalship, was accomplished with the loss of one man.
These young Virginia soldiers marched one hundred and ten miles in
less than two days. "There was something sublime," says Stuart, "in
the implicit confidence and unquestioning trust of the rank and file
in a leader guiding them straight, apparently, into the very jaws of
the enemy, every step appearing to them to diminish the hope of
extrication."* (* Stuart's Report, O.R. volume 11 part 1.) Nor was
the influence of their achievement on the morale of the whole
Confederate army the least important result attained. A host of over
100,000 men, which had allowed a few squadrons to ride completely
round it, by roads which were within hearing of its bugles, was no
longer considered a formidable foe.

On receiving Stuart's information, Lee drew up the plan of operations
which had been imparted to Jackson on the 22nd.

It was a design which to all appearance was almost foolhardy. The
Confederate army was organised as follows:--
Longstreet                9,000
A.P. Hill                14,000
Magruder                 18,000
Huger                     9,000
Holmes                    6,500
D.H. Hill                10,000
Jackson                  18,500
Cavalry                   3,000
Reserve Artillery         8,500
                         88,500 *

(*2 This estimate is rather larger than that of the Confederate
historians (Allan, W.H. Taylor, etc., etc.), but it has been arrived
at after a careful examination of the strength at different dates and
the losses in the various engagements.)

June 24.

On the night of June 24 the whole of these troops, with the exception
of the Valley army, were south of the Chickahominy, holding the
earthworks which protected Richmond. Less than two miles eastward,
strongly intrenched, lay four of McClellan's army corps, in round
numbers 75,000 officers and men.* (* Return of June 20, O.R. volume
11 part 1 page 238.)

To attack this force, even after Jackson's arrival, was to court
disaster. The right was protected by the Chickahominy, the left
rested on White Oak Swamp, a network of sluggish streams and
impassable swamps, screened everywhere by tangled thickets. It needed
not the presence of the siege ordnance, placed on the most commanding
points within the lines, to make such a position absolutely

North of the Chickahominy, however, the Federals were less favourably
situated. The Fifth Army Corps, 25,000 strong,* (* The Fifth Army
Corps included McCall's division, which had but recently arrived by
water from Fredericksburg. Report of June 20, O.R. volume 11 part 1
page 238.) under General FitzJohn Porter, had been pushed forward,
stretching a hand to McDowell and protecting the railway, in the
direction of Mechanicsville; and although the tributaries of the
Chickahominy, running in from the north, afforded a series of
positions, the right flank of these positions, resting, as Stuart had
ascertained, on no natural obstacle, was open to a turning movement.
Furthermore, in rear of the Fifth Corps, and at an oblique angle to
the front, ran the line of supply, the railway to West Point. If
Porter's right were turned, the Confederates, threatening the
railway, would compel McClellan to detach largely to the north bank
of the Chickahominy in order to recover or protect the line.

On the north bank of the Chickahominy, therefore, Lee's attention had
been for some time fixed. Here was his adversary's weak point, and a
sudden assault on Porter, followed up, if necessary, by an advance
against the railway, would bring McClellan out of his intrenchments,
and force him to fight at a disadvantage. To ensure success, however,
in the attack on Porter it was necessary to concentrate an
overwhelming force on the north bank; and this could hardly be done
without so weakening the force which held the Richmond lines that it
would be unable to resist the attack of the 75,000 men who faced it.
If McClellan, while Lee was fighting Porter, boldly threw forward the
great army he had on the south bank, the rebel capital might be the
reward of his resolution. The danger was apparent to all, but Lee
resolved to risk it, and his audacity has not escaped criticism. It
has been said that he deliberately disregarded the contingency of
McClellan either advancing on Richmond, or reinforcing Porter. The
truth is, however, that neither Lee, nor those generals about him who
knew McClellan, were in the least apprehensive that their
over-cautious adversary, if the attack were sudden and well
sustained, would either see or utilise his opportunity.

From Hannibal to Moltke there has been no great captain who has
neglected to study the character of his opponent, and who did not
trade on the knowledge thus acquired, and it was this knowledge which
justified Lee's audacity.

The real daring of the enterprise lay in the inferiority of the
Confederate armament. Muskets and shot-guns, still carried by a large
part of the army, were ill-matched against rifles of the most modern
manufacture; while the smooth-bore field-pieces, with which at least
half the artillery was equipped, possessed neither the range nor the
accuracy of the rifled ordnance of the Federals.

That Lee's study of the chances had not been patient and exhaustive
it is impossible to doubt. He was no hare-brained leader, but a
profound thinker, following the highest principles of the military
art. That he had weighed the disconcerting effect which the sudden
appearance of the victorious Jackson, with an army of unknown
strength, would produce upon McClellan, goes without saying. He had
omitted no precaution to render the surprise complete, and although
the defences of Richmond were still too weak to resist a resolute
attack, Magruder, the same officer who had so successfully imposed
upon McClellan at Yorktown, was such a master of artifice that, with
28,000 men and the reserve artillery,* (* Magruder's division,
13,000; Huger's division, 9000; reserve artillery, 3000; 5 regiments
of cavalry, 2000. Holmes' division, 6500, was still retained on the
south bank of the James.) he might be relied upon to hold Richmond
until Porter had been disposed of. The remainder of the army, 2000 of
Stuart's cavalry, the divisions of Longstreet and the two Hills,
35,000 men all told, crossing to the north bank of the Chickahominy
and combining with the 18,500 under Jackson, would be sufficient to
crush the Federal right.

The initial operations, however, were of a somewhat complicated
nature. Four bridges* (* Lee's bridge, shown on the map, had either
been destroyed or was not yet built.) crossed the river on Lee's
left. A little more than a mile and a half from Mechanicsville
Bridge, up stream, is Meadow Bridge, and five and a half miles
further up is another passage at the Half Sink, afterwards called
Winston's Bridge. Three and a half miles below Mechanicsville Bridge
is New Bridge. The northern approaches to Mechanicsville, Meadow, and
New Bridge, were in possession of the Federals; and it was
consequently no simple operation to transfer the troops before
Richmond from one bank of the Chickahominy to the other. Only
Mechanicsville and Meadow Bridges could be used. Winston's Bridge was
too far from Richmond, for, if Longstreet and the two Hills were to
cross at that point, not only would Magruder be left without support
during their march, but McClellan, warned by his scouts, would
receive long notice of the intended blow and have ample time for
preparation. To surprise Porter, to give McClellan no time for
reflection, and at the same time to gain a position which would bring
the Confederates operating on the north bank into close and speedy
communication with Magruder on the south, another point of passage
must be chosen. The position would be the one commanding New Bridge,
for the Confederate earthworks, held by Magruder, ran due south from
that point. But Porter was already in possession of the coveted
ground, with strong outposts at Mechanicsville. To secure, then, the
two centre bridges was the first object. This, it was expected, would
be achieved by the advance of the Valley army, aided by a brigade
from the Half Sink, against the flank and rear of the Federals at
Mechanicsville. Then, as soon as the enemy fell back, Longstreet and
the two Hills would cross the river by the Meadow and Mechanicsville
Bridges, and strike Porter in front, while Jackson attacked his
right. A victory would place the Confederates in possession of New
Bridge, and the troops north of the Chickahominy would be then in
close communication with Magruder.

Lee's orders were as follows:--'Headquarters, Army of Northern
Virginia, June 24, 1862. General Orders, No. 75.

"I.--General Jackson's command will proceed to-morrow (June 25) from
Ashland towards the Slash (Merry Oaks) Church, and encamp at some
convenient point west of the Central Railroad. Branch's brigade of
A.P. Hill's division will also, to-morrow evening, take position on
the Chickahominy, near Half Sink. At three o'clock Thursday morning,
26th instant, General Jackson will advance on the road leading to
Pole Green Church, communicating his march to General Branch, who
will immediately cross the Chickahominy, and take the road leading to
Mechanicsville. As soon as the movements of these columns are
discovered, General A.P. Hill, with the rest of his division, will
cross the Chickahominy at Meadow Bridge, and move direct upon
Mechanicsville. To aid his advance the heavy batteries on the
Chickahominy will at the proper time open upon the batteries at
Mechanicsville. The enemy being driven from Mechanicsville and the
passage of the bridge being opened, General Longstreet, with his
division and that of General D.H. Hill, will cross the Chickahominy
at or near that point; General D.H. Hill moving to the support of
General Jackson, and General Longstreet supporting General A.P. Hill;
the four divisions keeping in communication with each other, and
moving EN ECHELON on separate roads if practicable; the left division
in advance, with skirmishers and sharp-shooters extending in their
front, will sweep down the Chickahominy, and endeavour to drive the
enemy from his position above New Bridge, General Jackson bearing
well to his left, turning Beaver Dam Creek, and taking the direction
towards Cold Harbour. They will then press forward towards the York
River Railroad, closing upon the enemy's rear, and forcing him down
the Chickahominy. An advance of the enemy towards Richmond will be
prevented by vigorously following his rear, and crippling and
arresting his progress.

"II.--The divisions under Generals Huger and Magruder will hold their
position in front of the enemy against attack, and make such
demonstrations, Thursday, as to discover his operations. Should
opportunity offer, the feint will be converted into a real attack.

"III.--General Stuart, with the 1st, 4th, and 9th Virginia Cavalry,
the cavalry of Cobb's Legion, and the Jeff Davis Legion, will cross
the Chickahominy to-morrow (Wednesday, June 25), and take position to
the left of General Jackson's line of march. The main body will be
held in reserve, with scouts well extended to the front and left.
General Stuart will keep General Jackson informed of the movements of
the enemy on his left, and will cooperate with him in his advance."

June 25.

On the 25th Longstreet and the two Hills moved towards the bridges;
and although during the movement McClellan drove back Magruder's
pickets to their trenches, and pushed his own outposts nearer
Richmond, Lee held firmly to his purpose. As a matter of fact, there
was little to be feared from McClellan. With a profound belief in the
advantages of defensive and in the strength of a fortified position,
he expected nothing less than that the Confederates would leave the
earthworks they had so laboriously constructed, and deliberately risk
the perils of an attack. He seems to have had little idea that in the
hands of a skilful general intrenchments may form a "pivot of
operations,"* (* The meaning of this term is clearly defined in Lee's
report. "It was therefore determined to construct defensive lines, so
as to enable a part of the army to defend the city, and leave the
other part free to operate on the north bank." O.R. volume 11 part 1
page 490.) the means whereby he covers his most vulnerable point,
holds the enemy in front, and sets his main body free for offensive
action. Yet McClellan was by no means easy in his mind. He knew
Jackson was approaching. He knew his communications were threatened.
Fugitive negroes, who, as usual, either exaggerated or lied, had
informed him that the Confederates had been largely reinforced, and
that Beauregard, with a portion of the Western army, had arrived in
Richmond. But that his right wing was in danger he had not the
faintest suspicion. He judged Lee by himself. Such a plan as leaving
a small force to defend Richmond, and transferring the bulk of the
army to join Jackson, he would have at once rejected as over-daring.
If attack came at all, he expected that it would come by the south
bank; and he was so far from anticipating that an opportunity for
offensive action might be offered to himself that, on the night of
the 25th, he sent word to his corps commanders that they were to
regard their intrenchments as "the true field of battle."* (* O.R.
volume 11 part 3 page 252.)

June 26. 3 A.M.

Lee's orders left much to Jackson. The whole operation which Lee had
planned hinged upon his movements. On the morning of the 24th he was
at Beaver Dam Station. The same night he was to reach Ashland,
eighteen miles distant as the crow flies. On the night of the 25th he
was to halt near the Slash Church, just west of the Virginia Central
Railway, and six miles east of Ashland. At three o'clock, however, on
the morning of the 26th, the Army of the Valley was still at Ashland,
and it was not till nine that it crossed the railroad.

10.30 A.M.

Branch, on hearing that Jackson was at last advancing, passed the
Chickahominy by Winston's Bridge, and driving Federal pickets before
him, moved on Mechanicsville. General A.P. Hill was meanwhile near
Meadow Bridge, waiting until the advance of Jackson and Branch should
turn the flank of the Federal force which blocked his passage.

3 P.M.

At 3 P.M., hearing nothing from his colleagues, and apprehensive that
longer delay might hazard the failure of the whole plan, he ordered
his advanced guard to seize the bridge. The enemy, already threatened
in rear by Branch, at once fell back. Hill followed the retiring
pickets towards Beaver Dam Creek, and after a short march of three
miles found himself under fire of the Federal artillery. Porter had
occupied a position about two miles above New Bridge.

The rest of the Confederate army was already crossing the
Chickahominy; and although there was no sign of Jackson, and the
enemy's front was strong, protected by a long line of batteries, Hill
thought it necessary to order an attack. A message from Lee, ordering
him to postpone all further movement, arrived too late.* (* Letter
from Captain T.W. Sydnor, 4th Virginia Cavalry, who carried the
message.) There was no artillery preparation, and the troops, checked
unexpectedly by a wide abattis, were repulsed with terrible
slaughter, the casualties amounting to nearly 2000 men.* (* So
General Porter. Battles and Leaders volume 2 page 331.) The Union
loss was 360.* (* O.R. volume 11 part 1 pages 38, 39.)

4.30 P.M.

Jackson, about 4.30 P.M., before this engagement had begun, had
reached Hundley's Corner, three miles north of the Federal position,
but separated from it by dense forest and the windings of the creek.
On the opposite bank was a detachment of Federal infantry, supported
by artillery.

6 P.M.

Two guns, accompanied by the advanced guard, sufficed to drive this
force to the shelter of the woods; and then, establishing his
outposts, Jackson ordered his troops to bivouac.

It has been asserted by more than one Southern general that the
disaster at Beaver Dam Creek was due to Jackson's indifferent
tactics; and, at first sight, the bare facts would seem to justify
the verdict. He had not reached his appointed station on the night of
the 25th, and on the 26th he was five hours behind time. He should
have crossed the Virginia Central Railway at sunrise, but at nine
o'clock he was still three miles distant. His advance against the
Federal right flank and rear should have been made in co-operation
with the remainder of the army. But his whereabouts was unknown when
Hill attacked; and although the cannonade was distinctly heard at
Hundley's Corner, he made no effort to lend assistance, and his
troops were encamping when their comrades, not three miles away, were
rushing forward to the assault. There would seem to be some grounds,
then, for the accusation that his delay thwarted General Lee's
design; some reason for the belief that the victor of the Valley
campaign, on his first appearance in combination with the main army,
had proved a failure, and that his failure was in those very
qualities of swiftness and energy to which he owed his fame.

General D.H. Hill has written that "Jackson's genius never shone when
he was under the command of another. It seemed then to be shrouded or
paralysed...MacGregor on his native heath was not more different from
MacGregor in prison than was Jackson his own master from Jackson in a
subordinate position. This was the keynote to his whole character.
The hooded falcon cannot strike the quarry."* (* Battles and Leaders
volume 2 pages 389, 390.)

The reader who has the heart to follow this chronicle to the end will
assuredly find reason to doubt the acumen, however he may admire the
eloquence, of Jackson's brother-in-law. When he reads of the Second
Manassas, of Harper's Ferry, of Sharpsburg and of Chancellorsville,
he will recall this statement with astonishment; and it will not be
difficult to show that Jackson conformed as closely to the plans of
his commander at Mechanicsville as elsewhere.

The machinery of war seldom runs with the smoothness of clockwork.
The course of circumstances can never be exactly predicted.
Unforeseen obstacles may render the highest skill and the most
untiring energy of no avail; and it may be well to point out that the
task which was assigned to Jackson was one of exceeding difficulty.
In the first place, his march of eight-and-twenty miles, from
Frederickshall to Ashland, on June 23, 24, and 25, was made over an
unmapped country, unknown either to himself or to his staff, which
had lately been in occupation of the Federals. Bridges had been
destroyed and roads obstructed. The Valley army had already marched
far and fast; and although Dabney hints that inexperienced and
sluggish subordinates were the chief cause of delay, there is hardly
need to look so far for excuse.* (* Dr. White, in his excellent Life
of Lee, states that the tardiness of the arrival of the provisions
sent him from Richmond had much to do with the delay of Jackson's
march.) The march from Ashland to Hundley's Corner, sixteen miles,
was little less difficult. It was made in two columns, Whiting and
the Stonewall division, now under Winder, crossing the railway near
Merry Oaks Church, Ewell moving by Shady Grove Church, but this
distribution did not accelerate the march. The midsummer sun blazed
fiercely down on the dusty roads; the dense woods on either hand shut
out the air, and interruptions were frequent. The Federal cavalry
held a line from Atlee's Station to near Hanover Court House. The 8th
Illinois, over 700 strong, picketed all the woods between the
Chickahominy and the Totopotomoy Creek. Two other regiments prolonged
the front to the Pamunkey, and near Hundley's Corner and Old Church
were posted detachments of infantry. Skirmishing was constant. The
Federal outposts contested every favourable position. Here and there
the roads were obstructed by felled trees; a burned bridge over the
Totopotomoy delayed the advance for a full hour, and it was some time
before the enemy's force at Hundley's Corner was driven behind Beaver
Dam Creek.

At the council of war, held on the 23rd, Lee had left it to Jackson
to fix the date on which the operation against the Federal right
should begin, and on the latter deciding on the 26th, Longstreet had
suggested that he should make more ample allowance for the
difficulties that might be presented by the country and by the enemy,
and give himself more time.* (* "Lee's Attacks North of the
Chickahominy." By General D.H. Hill. Battles and Leaders volume 2
page 347. General Longstreet, however, from Manassas to Appomattox,
says Jackson appointed the morning of the 25th, but, on Longstreet's
suggestion, changed the date to the 26th.) Jackson had not seen fit
to alter his decision, and it is hard to say that he was wrong.

Had McClellan received notice that the Valley army was approaching, a
day's delay would have given him a fine opportunity. More than one
course would have been open to him. He might have constructed
formidable intrenchments on the north bank of the Chickahominy and
have brought over large reinforcements of men and guns; or he might
have turned the tables by a bold advance on Richmond. It was by no
means inconceivable that if he detected Lee's intention and was given
time to prepare, he might permit the Confederates to cross the
Chickahominy, amuse them there with a small force, and hurl the rest
of his army on the works which covered the Southern capital. It is
true that his caution was extreme, and to a mind which was more
occupied with counting the enemy's strength than with watching for an
opportunity, the possibility of assuming the offensive was not likely
to occur. But, timid as he might be when no enemy was in sight,
McClellan was constitutionally brave; and when the chimeras raised by
an over-active imagination proved to be substantial dangers, he was
quite capable of daring resolution. Time, therefore, was of the
utmost importance to the Confederates. It was essential that Porter
should be overwhelmed before McClellan realised the danger; and if
Jackson, in fixing a date for the attack which would put a heavy tax
on the marching powers of his men, already strained to the utmost,
ran some risks, from a strategical point of view those risks were
fully justified.

In the second place, an operation such as that which Lee had devised
is one of the most difficult manoeuvres which an army can be called
upon to execute. According to Moltke, to unite two forces on the
battle-field, starting at some distance apart, at the right moment,
is the most brilliant feat of generalship. The slightest hesitation
may ruin the combination. Haste is even more to be dreaded. There is
always the danger that one wing may attack, or be attacked, while the
other is still far distant, and either contingency may be fatal. The
Valley campaign furnishes more than one illustration. In their
pursuit of Jackson, Shields and Fremont failed to co-operate at
Strasburg, at Cross Keys, and at Port Republic. And greater generals
than either Shields or Fremont have met with little better success in
attempting the same manoeuvre. At both Eylau and Bautzen Napoleon was
deprived of decisive victory by his failure to ensure the
co-operation of his widely separated columns.

Jackson and A.P. Hill, on the morning of the 26th, were nearly
fifteen miles apart. Intercommunication at the outset was ensured by
the brigade under Branch; but as the advance progressed, and the
enemy was met with, it became more difficult. The messengers riding
from one force to the other were either stopped by the Federals, or
were compelled to make long detours; and as they approached the
enemy's position, neither Hill nor Jackson was informed of the
whereabouts of the other.

The truth is, that the arrangements made by the Confederate
headquarter staff were most inadequate. In the first place, the order
of the 24th, instructing Jackson to start from Slash Church at 3 A.M.
on the 26th, and thus leading the other generals to believe that he
would certainly be there at that hour, should never have been issued.
When it was written Jackson's advanced guard was at Beaver Dam
Station, the rear brigades fifteen miles behind; and to reach Slash
Church his force had to march forty miles through an intricate
country, in possession of the enemy, and so little known that it was
impossible to designate the route to be followed. To fix an hour of
arrival so long in advance was worse than useless, and Jackson cannot
be blamed if he failed to comply with the exact letter of a foolish
order. As it was, so many of the bridges were broken, and so
difficult was it to pass the fords, that if Dr. Dabney had not found
in his brother, a planter of the neighbourhood, an efficient
substitute for the guide headquarters should have provided, the
Valley army would have been not hours but days too late. In the
second place, the duty of keeping up communications should not have
been left to Jackson, but have been seen to at headquarters. Jackson
had with him only a few cavalry, and these few had not only to supply
the necessary orderlies for the subordinate generals, and the escorts
for the artillery and trains, but to form his advanced guard, for
Stuart's squadrons were on his left flank, and not in his front.
Moreover, his cavalry were complete strangers to the country, and
there were no maps. In such circumstances the only means of ensuring
constant communication was to have detached two of Stuart's
squadrons, who knew the ground, to establish a series of posts
between Jackson's line of march and the Chickahominy; and to have
detailed a staff officer, whose sole duty would have been to furnish
the Commander-in-Chief with hourly reports of the progress made, to
join the Valley army.* (* Of the events of June 26 Dr. Dabney, in a
letter to the author, writes as follows:--"Here we had a disastrous
illustration of the lack of an organised and intelligent general
staff. Let my predicament serve as a specimen. As chief of Jackson's
staff, I had two assistant adjutant-generals, two men of the engineer
department, and two clerks. What did I have for orderlies and
couriers? A detail from some cavalry company which happened to
bivouac near. The men were sent to me without any reference to their
local knowledge, their intelligence, or their courage; most probably
they were selected for me by their captain on account of their lack
of these qualities. Next to the Commander-in-Chief, the Chief of the
General Staff should be the best man in the country. The brains of an
army should be in the General Staff. The lowest orderlies attached to
it should be the very best soldiers in the service, for education,
intelligence, and courage. Jackson had to find his own guide for his
march from Beaver Dam Station. He had not been furnished with a map,
and not a single orderly or message reached him during the whole
day.") It may be remarked, too, that Generals Branch and Ewell,
following converging roads, met near Shady Grove Church about 3 P.M.
No report appears to have been sent by the latter to General A.P.
Hill; and although Branch a little later received a message to the
effect that Hill had crossed the Chickahominy and was moving on
Mechanicsville,* (* Branch's Report, O.R. volume 2 part 2 page 882.)
the information was not passed on to Jackson.

Neglect of these precautions made it impracticable to arrange a
simultaneous attack, and co-operation depended solely on the judgme