Shenandoah Valley 1862, Clayton and James Donnell

Shenandoah Valley 1862, Clayton and James Donnell

Campaign 258

Although 'Stonewall' Jackson earned his nickname at the first battle of Bull Run, he gained his impressive reputation as a battlefield commander during the Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862, when he inflicted a series of defeats on larger Union armies that threatened him from the north and the west.

This is a good clear account of the Valley campaign, tracing events from the Union decision to establish a presence in the valley to the end of the campaign when Jackson was ordered to rush to join the main Confederate army east of Richmond, at the peak of the Peninsular Campaign.

The authors demonstrate that Jackson's most impressive achievement was to make sure that he was rarely outnumbered on the battlefield, despite the presence of larger Union forces in the vicinity.

There are plenty of good campaign maps, although as the campaign itself was quite complex the maps require a bit of attention. There are also excellent battlefield maps to illustrate the key battles.

One has to feel sorry for the Union commanders in the valley. They may not have been amongst the best generals of the war, but their efforts were forever being undermined by the Union high command - whether it be Lincoln worrying about the defences of Washington or McClellan's repeated claims that he was massively outnumbered (never true). Units were moved around, orders were changed and endless messages reached the Union commanders, an early example of the dangers of high speed communications. However it was the Union commanders themselves who split up their armies and gave Jackson the chance to win his impressive victories.

Opposing Commanders
Opposing Forces
Opposing Plans
The Campaign
The Battlefield Today

Author: Clayton and James Donnell
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 96
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2013

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