previous next

The Valley campaign.

Here is a brief summary of this Valley Campaign of Stonewall Jackson: In thirty-two days he had marched nearly 400 miles, skirmishing almost daily, fought five battles, defeated three armies, two of which were completely routed, captured 26 pieces of artillery, 4,000 prisoners, and immense stores of all kinds, and had accomplished all of this with a loss of less than 1,000 men killed, wounded and missing, and with a total force of only 15,000 men, while there were at least 60,000 men opposed to him. No wonder that this campaign is studied in the Military Academies of England and Germany as an example of able strategy, rapid marching, and heroic fighting.

In his march from the Valley to seven days around Richmond, his flank movement to Pope's rear at Second Manassas—his capture of Harper's Ferry, and march to Sharpsburg—his march from the Valley to Fredericksburg—and his last great flank movement to Hooker's rear at Chancellorsville, Jackson showed the same rapidity of movement.

An able critic said of him, ‘he moved infantry with the celerity of cavalry.’ His men won the soubriquet of ‘Foot Cavalry,’ and it was glorious to see the cheerful alacrity with which they responded to every call of their loved and honored chief. Many of them with bare, and bleeding feet, would limp along the [83] march, with song and jest, when the word was passed back: ‘Old Stonewall says that it is necessary for us to march further to-day.’ I remember one brave fellow—an old college-mate of mine—who, when I tried to persuade him to fall out of ranks, and let me get him a place in an ambulance, or wagon, replied: ‘No! I cannot do that, there are poor fellows worse off than I am, who need all of the transportation that can be had. Besides, I think from appearances, we are going to have a fight up yonder presently, and if I can't march I can shoot, and I am in good condition now to go into line of battle; I would be obliged not to run if I wished to do so.’

And thus the gallant fellow limped to the front to ‘take his place in the picture near the flashing of the guns.’

He was afterwards killed, bravely doing his duty, and sleeps in the cemetery at Lexington, Va., hard by the grave of his chief, Stonewall Jackson.

Second, Jackson was noted for the secrecy with which he made and executed his plans. He is reported to have said: ‘If my coat knew my plans, I would burn it at once.’

He concealed his plans from even his staff officers and subordinate generals, and was accustomed to say, ‘If I can keep my movements secret from our own people, I will have little difficulty in concealing them from the enemy.’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Stonewall Jackson (4)
Pope (1)
Hooker (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: