Author: Jennifer M. Murray

a doctoral candidate at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, specializing in American history, with a special concentration in the Civil War era
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Loring-Jackson Incident

The Loring-Jackson incident refers to the acrimonious quarrel between Confederate generals Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and William W. Loring during the Romney Expedition in the winter of 1861–1862 during the American Civil War (1861–1865). The winter campaign resulted in the Confederate occupation of the strategic Shenandoah Valley town of Romney on January 14, 1862. The Loring-Jackson incident unfolded when Loring, believing that Jackson had treated his men unfairly during the expedition in western Virginia, campaigned to have his men recalled from Romney. When Confederate secretary of war Judah P. Benjamin granted Loring’s withdrawal request, Jackson offered his resignation. Less than one month after capturing Romney, Loring’s men abandoned Romney, which subsequently allowed Union forces to regain their stronghold in the Potomac River Valley.

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Hard War in Virginia during the Civil War

Hard war describes the systematic and widespread destruction of Confederate civilians’ property at the hands of Union soldiers in the final two years of the American Civil War (1861–1865). At the war’s beginning, the dominant thinking of Union generals Winfield Scott and George B. McClellan had emphasized conciliation. They believed that the war should be fought in a way that encouraged Unionism in the South and did not preclude a peace short of overwhelming casualties. Repeated Union military failures in Virginia in 1861 and 1862, however, led to hard-war policies aimed at crushing civilians’ will to resist, as well as their ability to deliver services and supplies to the Confederate armies. In Virginia, hard war was practiced by Union generals David Hunter and Philip H. Sheridan during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864. Although Union soldiers practiced more restraint than legend or the Lost Cause credits them for, the Valley was largely burned and many of its residents made refugees. Confederate generals Jubal A. Early and John A. McCausland retaliated that same year during raids into Maryland and Pennsylvania, but opportunities for a Confederate hard war were few.

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Army of the Valley

The Army of the Valley was a detachment of Confederate forces, commanded by Jubal A. Early, which Robert E. Lee ordered to the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 for independent operations. As Union general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant and the Army of the Potomac pressed Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Overland Campaign, Lee desperately needed to relieve pressure on his dwindling Confederate forces, divert attention away from the capital at Richmond, and open a second front in Virginia. This newly created Army of the Valley broke camp with Lee’s main army on June 13, 1864, and moved toward the Valley to begin one of the most critical campaigns of the American Civil War (1861–1865).

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