Sanford Cobb Kellogg.

The Shenandoah Valley and Virginia, 1861 to 1865; a war study online

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The Shenandoah Valley
and Viminia, 1861-1865



This book is under no circumstances to
taken from the Building


The Shenandoah Valley and Virginia
1861 to 1865


— = I 8 6 I TO 1865 — —




The Neale Publishing Company

[the new yorkF

'public library!




I The Seizure of Harper's Ferry and the Pat-
terson Campaign 9

II McClellan's West Virginia Campaign, in-
cluding the Battle of Rich Mountain,
July II, 1861 27

III Lewisburg, Cheat Mountain and Romney,

West Virginia — Evacuation of Winches-
ter and Manassas 36

IV Jackson's Campaign in 1862 50

V The Capitulation of Harper's Ferry 71

VI Jones's and Imboden's Raid into West

Virginia 86

VII The Gettysburg Campaign and Second

Battle of Winchester 107

VIII The Averell Raids of 1863 127

IX The Dublin Depot, New Market and Lynch-
burg Campaigns 147

X The Early Raid to Washington and the

Return to the Valley 173

XI Sheridan's Campaigns — Battles of the
Opequon, Fisher's Hill and Tom's
Brook 196

XII Sheridan's Campaigns (Continued) — Battle
of Cedar Creek and Subsequent Cavalry
Movements 217

Epilogue 241


No section of the United States furnishes a
fuller picture of the extraordinary operations
of two American armies, pitted against each
other for four long years, than does the beau-
tiful ''Valley of Virginia," from - Harper's
Ferry south to Staunton. Its most important
city, Winchester, in the lower valley, was oc-
cupied or abandoned sixty-eight times by the
troops of both armies, as has been said by men
of the period of 1861 to 1865, still living there.
Indeed, that city changed commanders so fre-
quently and so suddenly that it became cus-
tomary for the inhabitants to ascertain each
morning, before leaving their dwellings, which
flag was flying — the Stars and Stripes or the
Stars and Bars.

Aside from its superb location, framed in by
the Blue Ridge on the east and the Alleghen-
ies on the west, the bottom lands watered by
the two branches of the Shenandoah on either
side of the main valley, it produced wonderful
crops of grain and droves of horses, cattle and
swine, proving a bountiful granary to either
army that occupied it.

With such attributes and its peculiarly ad-
vantageous strategical location, it became a
military thoroughfare of the greatest impor-

tance to control, being subjected in consequence
to all the ravages that war, even in its mildest
mood, is capable of inflicting.

Much as it suffered then, that same valley
is to-day once more the garden spot of Vir-
ginia; its wounds of forty years ago were rap-
idly healed as soon as peace was allowed to
stand vigil over the thousands of dead, in gray
and blue, that dotted the banks of its rivers, and
the honest population that now live there train
their sons to honor the flag against which the
fathers fought, maintaining all the sturdy for-
titude that has made the American soldier a
world-wide wonder.

The operations of the war in the Valley
were naturally connected with the movements
east of the Blue Ridge and west of the Alle-
ghenies, as access to the Shenandoah was read-
ily had by numerous mountain passes from
either direction, causing collateral or co-opera-
tive expeditions beyond the limits of the Val-
ley proper. The writer has made a very ex-
haustive study of the War of the Rebellion
records and maps ; he relies on them mainly for
the accuracy of this compilation, together with
such other books as Sheridan's '"Memoirs,"
Allan's "History of the Army of Northern Vir-
ginia," Henderson's "Stonewall Jackson,"
Spark's "Washington," etc.

Sanford C. Kellogg,

U. S. Army.
Washington, D. C, 1903.



Virginia (which then included what is now
West Virginia) seceded from the Union on the
17th of April, 1 86 1. The State authorities
proceeded to seize all United States property
within Virginia, particularly the Arsenal at
Harper's Ferry, which with its contents —
15,000 arms and machinery for their manu-
facture — was partially destroyed by Lieutenant
Roger Jones, U. S. Army, on the night of April
1 8th, Lieutenant Jones then withdrawing his
small party to Carlisle Barracks, Pa.

The Virginia State troops occupied the Ar-
senal during the night of the i8th, extinguish-
ing the fires. By the 21st of April Maj.-Gen.
Kenton Harper, of the Virginia State forces,
reported his strength at Harper's Ferry to be
*'about two thousand." General Harper ar-
ranged with the Maryland State authorities for
the occupation of Maryland Heights and start-
ed to Winchester all the machinery and arms
he could recover from the ruins of the Arsenal.
He mentioned "the absence of all written in-


structions" and that he had ''had to assume
heavy responsibiHty."

This Httle town of Harper's Ferry, pictur-
esquely located at the point where the Shenan-
doah River enters the Potomac and where
Thomas Jefferson loved to come and gaze upon
the superb mountain scenery, had already, only
a year and a half before, been the theater of
the celebrated John Brown raid, when the Ar-
senal had also been seized by an irresponsible
zealot as part of a wild project ''to free the
slaves." For this Brown and his small party
paid the penalty of their lives, but the intense
commotion caused by their attempt had not
been allayed when this second seizure of the
United States Armory by the Virginia State
authorities fanned into blaze again the dormant
excitement of a thoroughly aroused country.

To suppress the John Brown raid in October,
1859, Virginia and Maryland had recourse to
their military forces, of whom many thousand
were sent to the scene. Of the Virginia troops,
one company of artillery, composed of cadets
from the Virginia Military Institute, went
from Lexington under command of the after-
wards celebrated Thomas J. Jackson, who w^as
then Professor of Applied Mathematics, Artil-
lery Tactics, etc., at Lexington, he having re-
signed from the United States Army only a
short while before.

The United States authorities, to repossess
the Arsenal which Brown had seized and which


had never been guarded, sent a party of sixty
marines and other troops from Washington,
all under command of Lieut.-Col. Robert E.
Lee, 2d U. S. Cavalry, who had with him, as
his adjutant, Lieut. J. E. B. Stuart, of the ist
Dragoons. A most interesting account of their
operations is to be found in the annual report
of Secretary of War J. B. Floyd, dated Decem-
ber I, 1859, and in Horace Greeley's "The
American Conflict," Vol. L

With the renewed fame of Harper's Ferry as
a locality in 1861, soon followed the marvelous
notoriety of the principal actors in the suppres-
sion of the insane attempt of 1859, for Lieut.-
Col. R. E. Lee, as well as Lieut. J. E. B. Stuart,
resigned from the United States Army when
Virginia seceded. Lee was immediately (April
23d) appointed a major-general by Governor
Letcher and assigned to command all the mili-
tary and naval forces of the State; Stuart in
June appears as a lieutenant-colonel of cavalry
at Bunker Hill, near Winchester, while T. J.
Jackson commanded a brigade nearby. All
three were destined to become famous Confed-
erate leaders.

Col. Thomas J. Jackson ("Stonewall"), on
being appointed by Governor Letcher, had been
ordered by General Lee, on the 27th of April,
to proceed to Harper's Ferry to organize into
regiments the volunteer forces collected in that
vicinity, and to expedite the transfer of the ma-
chinery from the Arsenal to the Richmond Ar-


mory. He was to take command of all the
forces at and near Harper's Ferry, relieving
Major-General Harper.

On the 7th of May Jackson reported to Lee
he had occupied and fortified Bolivar and Lou-
doun Heights and would do the same with
Maryland Heights; that his command was
badly supplied every way and that his strength
should be increased to 10,000 disciplined men.
He reported the Union troops as being at the
Relay House, near Baltimore, on the Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad. A large force was also
said to be forming at Chambersburg, Pa.

On the nth of May Jackson reported his
strength at about 4,500, but not all armed. He
had outposts at Point of Rocks, Berlin, Shep-
herdstown and Martinsburg. He mentioned
an armed Union force of Marylanders oppo-
site Shepherdstown, threatening that place
with artillery.

An order of S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspec-
tor-General, dated Montgomery, Ala., May 15,
1 86 1, notified Joseph E. Johnston of his ap-
pointment as brigadier-general, C. S. A., and
directed him to proceed to Harper's Ferry, he
having been assigned by President Davis to
the command of the troops there.

At this period there was great confusion and
conflict of authority arising from orders issued
at Montgomery and those emanating from
Richmond, in relation to military affairs in
Virginia. This was partially cured by an order


from Secretary of War Walker at Montgom-
ery, dated May lO, in which General Lee, to
prevent confusion, was directed to assume con-
trol of the Confederate forces in Virginia until
further orders.

Later on, by the removal of the administra-
tive machinery of the Confederate Government
from Montgomery to Richmond and the ab-
sorption of the Virginia State troops into the
Confederate Army, all friction was terminated.

An inspection made of the troops at Harper's
Ferry and outposts on the 21st of May by Col.
George Deas, mentioned the First, Second,
Third, Fourth and Fifth Virginia, the Fourth
Alabama, two Mississippi regiments, five com-
panies of Virginia artillery, eight companies of
Virginia cavalry, four companies of Kentucky
infantry, and some small detachments, number-
ing in all 7,700 men, nearly all well armed and
available for active service. This force was
soon afterwards increased to 20,000.

Deas reports having visited Ashby's posi-
tion at Point of Rocks, twelve miles below
Harper's Ferry, where he found two compa-
nies of Virginia cavalry, six pieces of light ar-
tillery, and a company of riflemen, together
with some Marylanders. Ashby had control of
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at that point
with his artillery and had mined the piers of the
wagon bridge over the Potomac.

Deas speaks of all the troops as raw and in-
experienced; they could not well have been


The correspondence of the Confederate au-
thorities of this early period shows a desire to
avoid as long as possible any aggressive move-
ments, every effort being made to organize,
arm and equip an effective army.

The region to the westward and northwest-
ward of Harper's Ferry, at Berkeley (Bath),
and beyond toward the Ohio River, was filled
with Union men who resisted or fled from the
Confederate recruiting officers. This was a
great disappointment to the Richmond authori-
ties, who counted upon getting control of the
western branches of the Baltimore and Ohio
Railroad, especially at Grafton and Parkers-
burg. It was this section that afterwards be-
came the State of West Virginia, by refusing
to accept the ordinance of secession of the
mother State and by organizing a separate

The country being mountainous, the inhab-
itants, like the highlanders of Kentucky, Ten-
nessee and North Carolina, were in the main
very loyal to the United States, and furnished
it a valuable body of troops and scouts.

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston assumed command
of the troops at Harper's Ferry on the 24th of
May, pursuant to the orders of the Confederate
Adjutant-General already mentioned. Colonel
Jackson had not been notified of the coming of
Johnston and at first demurred to yielding up
the command, but when he received a commu-
nication having the endorsement ''referred to


Gen. J. E. Johnston, commanding officer at
Harper's Ferry. By order of Major-General
Lee," etc.. Colonel Jackson contended no lon-

Immediately on taking command, General
Johnston reported the position at Harper's
Ferry untenable except by a very large force,
or against an enemy strong enough to turn it
above or below. His outposts extended from
Williamsport through Shepherdstown to Point
of Rocks, a distance of about 40 miles. Gen-
eral Johnston advised General Lee, that in case
of a serious flank attack, the forces at Harper's
Ferry and outposts be retired and employed as
a screening army to oppose an enemy's advance
into the lower valley, and that the troops at
Harper's Ferry should never allow themselves
to become invested.

General Lee, on the 31st of May, authorized
General Johnston, in case he should be attacked
or threatened at Harper's Ferry, to take the
field and oppose the advance of an enemy into
the Shenandoah Valley. However, General
Lee deprecated the abandonment of Harper's
Ferry on account of the depressing effect it
would have upon "the cause of the South."

A column of Union troops from Ohio under
General McClellan was expected by General
Lee to push through eastward by the Baltimore
and Ohio Railroad, to effect a junction, east of
Cumberland, with the Union army forming at
Chambersburg, Pa. To prevent this expected

1 6 SEIZURE OF harper's FERRY

junction of the two columns, General Lee sent
Gen. R. S. Garnett, early in June, 1861, to
Beverly, west of the Allegheny Mountains, via
Staunton, the Greenbrier country, and Hut-
tonsville, with some organized troops and local
levies, to gain possession of, or at least to ob-
struct, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad be-
tween Grafton and Parkersburg. General Lee
also sent a Colonel Angus MacDonald, with
a light party of partisan cavalry, to break the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Cheat River,
including roadbed, tunnels and bridges. Both
of these movements were effectually prevented ;
General Garnett reached Huttonsville on the
14th of June, and was defeated soon after by
McClellan near Beverly, while MacDonald's
party never got farther than Romney.

General Lee placed so much hope in the suc-
cess of the two above-mentioned raids upon
the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that he re-
assured General Johnston at Harper's Ferry,
on the 7th of June, as to the improbability of
any immediate attack upon that position by the
Federal Ohio column, and expressed the be-
lief that General Johnston would have "merely
to resist an attack in front from Pennsylvania."

Mr. Jefferson Davis was particularly averse
to the evacuation of Harper's Ferry, and so ex-
pressed himself in a letter to General Beaure-
gard at Manassas, dated June 13th, 1861, in
reply to a suggestion of Beauregard that John-
ston's troops might be joined to his, so that a


forward aggressive movement might be made
with a view to the capture of Alexandria and
Arhngton Heights. Mr. Davis discouraged
that project with the argument that by with-
drawing Johnston from the Valley of the Shen-
andoah, the enemy would be left free to pass to
Beauregard's rear, cut his communications
with Richmond and attack him in reverse,
while he (Beauregard) was occupied vvith the
enemy in his front.

On the same date, June 1 3th, authority to re-
tire from Harper's Ferry, should he find it im-
perative to do so, was given General Johnston
by Adj. -Gen. Cooper, Johnston to destroy the
bridge across the Potomac and everything he
could not bring off, and then to fall back on
Winchester. If necessary, Johnston was to
still further retire toward Manassas along the
railroad from Front Royal and endeavor to
check the enemy at the passes of the Blue

On the 14th of June Johnston commenced to
withdraw from Harper's Ferry, reaching
Bunker Hill, 12 miles north of Winchester, on
the 1 6th, to meet General Patterson's command
of Union troops then moving from Hagers-
town toward the Shenandoah Valley through
Williamsport and Falling Waters.

Johnston's main force at Bunker Hill was
about 7,000 strong. He had an additional
force of about 5,000 under T. J. Jackson at


1 8 SEIZURE OF harper's FERRY

Shepherdstown, in front of Martinsburg and
along the Potomac. He also had with him a
small force of cavalry under Lieut.-Col. J. E. B.
Stuart, and over twenty pieces of field artil-
lery. Winchester was then held by about 5.000
militia and some newly arrived volunteers, all
covered by field works, in which twelve bat-
teries were placed; these troops were com-
manded by Gen. J. H. Carson, of the Virginia
State Militia.

A force of Union troops having appeared at
Romney, 43 miles west of Winchester, on the
14th of June, Johnston detached three regi-
ments under Col. A. P. Hill to meet it.

The Confederate authorities had relinquish-
ed Harper's Ferry with the greatest reluctance,
principally because they still had hopes that
there was sufficient disaffection in Maryland to
carry that State over to the Confederacy and
thus isolate Washington. These hopes had
been greatly encouraged by the attack on the
Sixth Massachusetts, while passing through
Baltimore to Washington on the 19th of April,
and the vacillating actions of the Maryland
State authorities, particularly Governor Hicks,
but especially by the action of both State and
municipal authorities in resisting, or actually
preventing, the approach of Northern troops to
the relief of Washington through Baltimore or
Maryland. Washington was thus isolated for
three weeks.


While holding Harper's Ferry the Confed-
erate authorities at Richmond were in actual
contact with their disaffected Maryland breth-
ren, from whom they received supplies of all
kinds, besides recruits for their armies, which
were openly enlisted at Baltimore by Lieut.-
Col. Geo. H. Steuart and others. Moreover,
Harper's Ferry constituted the principal gate-
way for an invasion of Pennsylvania from Vir-
ginia when the time should be ripe to attempt it.
It also throttled and prevented the use of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad by the Federal
authorities as a means of communication east
and west.

It was as important a point on their north-
ern frontier for the Confederates to hold as
Chattanooga afterwards became on their cen-
tral line. Consequently, the troops guarding
that important gateway were strengthened
as rapidly as circumstances would permit,
Johnston's army being justly regarded as sec-
ond only in importance to that of Beauregard
at Manassas, then threatening Washington.

The Capital's position during May and June,
1 86 1 was critical, the enemy's lines and out-
posts being advanced almost to the fortifica-
tions; the enemy's left flank extended to Lees-
burg, with pickets along the Potomac from
the Chain Bridge to Point of Rocks, threat-
ening to cross at the many fords and ferries.
General McDowell was placed in command of
the troops in front of Washington on the 27th


of May, the aged General Winfield Scott re-
taining the direction of all the armies in the

Communication with the North through
Baltimore had then been effectually restored by
Gen. B. F. Butler, who seized that city by a
coup de main on May 14th, 1861, the citi-
zens finding him in possession of Federal Hill
when they opened their windows that morning.
Their surprise was equaled only by that of Gen-
eral Scott and the Washington authorities, who
had given no orders for the movement ; on the
contrary. General Scott so much disapproved
of General Butler's action that he relieved him
from the command the following day and sent
him to Fortress Monroe. Reinforcements for
Washington were then rushed through Balti-
more even to the extent of weakening Patter-
son's column, then assembling at Chambers-
burg to operate toward Harper's Ferry and

A column of about 2,500 men under General
Stone was organized at Washington on the 8th
of June to proceed through Rockville, Mary-
land, toward Edward's Ferry on the Potomac
and Leesburg in Virginia, as a diversion in
favor of Patterson's expected advance on Har-
per's Ferry from Chambersburg. Stone made
his headquarters at Poolesville and eventually
extended his pickets to the Monocacy River
and Noland's Ferry. He did not connect with
Patterson's troops and had nothing on his


Another diversion in Patterson's favor was
made from the center of McDowell's army as
far as Vienna, Va., on the 17th of June, toward
Leesburg, but which threatened to become so
serious an affair and caused General Scott such
uneasiness that he stopped General Patterson's
movement south of the Potomac at Williams-
port, ordered him to recross the river, and de-
tached from him all his most experienced
troops and all his artillery, for service at Wash-
ington. This left Patterson with a force com-
posed almost entirely of three-months' men
and no artillery capable of being moved for
lack of horses.

McClellan's operations in West Virginia,
from which so much assistance to Patterson's
movement on Harper's Ferry had been expect-
ed, failed of realization, although McClellan
did succeed in reopening and firmly holding the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as far eastward as
Cumberland, to which point he pushed Col. Lew
Wallace's Eleventh Indiana Regiment, but
could not afterwards spare any other troops to
support the position, as all of McClellan's then
available force was being used in keeping open
and securing the railroad west of Cumberland,
besides operating against the troops of Garnett
south of the railroad at Philippi, Buckhannon,
Beverly, and Rich Mountain, where McClellan
finally defeated Garnett and dispersed his com-
mand on the nth of July and occupied Beverly
on the 1 2th.


This was a beautiful strategic movement of
two converging columns — one from Buckhan-
non and the other from Philippi — on the
enemy's two strong positions at Rich Mountain
and Laurel Hill, covering Beverly, and resulted
in the loss to the enemy of all his stores and
artillery, a great part of his wagons, with 135
killed, and over 800 prisoners, of whom a large
number were wounded.

Wallace, who reached Cumberland on the
nth of June and communicated with Patter-
son, made a reconnaissance southeastward to-
ward Winchester, which reached Romney on
the 14th, where he attacked and dispersed Mac-
Donald's forces strengthened by two pieces of
artillery, after which Wallace returned to Cum-
berland. This was the Federal force mention-
ed by Johnston and against which he detached
Hill with three regiments. Wallace's move-
ment proved serviceable to Patterson, as it
alarmed the militia and other troops at Win-
chester and attracted the attention of Johnston
and Jackson at Bunker Hill and Martinsburg,
who believed Wallace's forces to be the advance
of McClellan's West Virginia column.-

Wallace at Cumberland then became uneasy
because of rumors (which afterwards proved
unfounded) that he was to be attacked by a
heavy force from the west and south. He call-
ed on General Patterson, who had not then
crossed the Potomac, for assistance. Patterson


instructed Wallace to move toward Hancock,
eastward, or, if that was not feasible, to retire
northward into Bedford, Pa., unless he could
hold his own at Cumberland. Patterson detach-
ed Burnside's newly-arrived Rhode Island reg-
iment and battery, on the i6th, to move to meet
Wallace at Hancock; but Burnside was almost
immediately recalled by orders from Washing-
ton and sent to the latter point, together with
all the regular troops and all the artillery form-
ing a part of Patterson's column, to meet a
threatened attack on the Capital.

With the bulk of the remainder of his army,
then reduced to barely 12,000 men, Patterson
crossed the Potomac at Williamsport on the
1 6th of June and advanced to find the enemy;
but the same orders which called away the
Rhode Island Regiment and all the regular
troops, directed Patterson to recross the Poto-
mac, which he did on the 17th and i8th, but
not before he had driven the enemy southward
through Martinsburg and also beyond Falling
Waters. Johnston, with 12,000 men, then re-
occupied Martinsburg and threatened to cross
at Williamsport, which had the effect of delay-

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Online LibrarySanford Cobb KelloggThe Shenandoah Valley and Virginia, 1861 to 1865; a war study → online text (page 1 of 14)