Author: Peter Cozzens

the author of sixteen critically acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West. He also is a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State

Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862

The Shenandoah Valley Campaign, conducted from February to June 1862 during the American Civil War (1861–1865), catapulted Confederate general Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson from relative obscurity to the first rank of Southern generals. In six small engagements—at Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, and Port Republic—Jackson tied down large Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley that otherwise would have been used—probably decisively—in a Union offensive against the Confederate capital at Richmond. Jackson drove his troops hard and fast, outpacing and outsmarting an array of Union generals, including Nathaniel P. Banks, Irvin McDowell, John C. Frémont, James Shields, Robert H. Milroy, and Robert C. Schenck. In the process, he arrested and recommended for court-martial one of his own—Richard B. Garnett—and lost to battle another, the cavalry general Turner Ashby. In addition to its strategic importance, the victorious campaign also provided a huge boost to Southern morale at a time when the Confederacy had suffered through a springtime of defeats. As Jackson said early in the campaign, “If the Valley is lost, Virginia is lost.”


John Pope (1822–1892)

John Pope was a Union general during the American Civil War (1861–1865) with a reputation for outspokenness and arrogance. After serving in the Mexican War (1846–1848) as an engineer, the West Point graduate fought well in the West during 1861 and 1862, prompting U.S. president Abraham Lincoln to transfer him east. There, he exacerbated his already bad relations with Union generals George B. McClellan and Fitz-John Porter by issuing a proclamation trumpeting his own generalship. When he declared that he would make his “headquarters in the saddle,” some quipped that he had mistaken his hindquarters for his headquarters, and when he announced a series of hard-war policies aimed at punishing Confederate civilians, Confederate general Robert E. Lee labeled him a “miscreant.” At the head of the new Army of Virginia, Pope got the opportunity to confront Lee at the Second Battle of Manassas in August 1862 but was soundly defeated. Pope was transferred to the Dakotas, where he fought against Indians in the aftermath of the Sioux Uprising (1862). During Reconstruction (1865–1877), he held military administrative posts in the South. He died in 1892.