Sheridan Still Waiting for Early

September 10, 1864 (Saturday) Philip Sheridan had been on the defensive for some time now, believing the Confederates before him near Winchester too strong to attack. This he did with the sanction of General Grant, who had believed that perhaps the Confederates were leaching troops away from the Shenandoah Valley to bolter their lines nearRead More

Catching Up with the Shenandoah Valley

September 5, 1864 (Monday) The month of August closed in the Shenandoah Valley with little resolution. Jubal Early’s Army of the Valley held their own north of Winchester at Bunker Hill. The cavalry skirmished here and there, with the Federals throwing back the Rebels at Leetown. The infantry even had a go at things, whenRead More

‘Their Projected Campaign is a Failure’ – Grant and Sheridan Underestimate Early

August 28, 1864 (Sunday) General Grant was optimistic. Though the action around the Weldon Railroad south of Petersburg had been little more than a complete debacle, there might, he thought, be some good to come out of it. Late on August 26th, he wrote to Philip Sheridan to relay the good news. “Telegraphed you thatRead More

Sheridan’s Retreat to Harpers Ferry

August 22, 1864 (Monday) It took hardly any time at all for Jubal Early’s Confederates to learn that Philip Sheridan had retreated. From the summit of Three Top Mountain, the signal station peered north down the Shenandoah Valley. By the end of the 17th, the Rebels were close behind, driving the cavalry from Winchester. SheridanRead More

Phil Sheridan’s Philosophy of War

August 16, 1864 (Tuesday) “In compliance with instructions of the lieutenant-general commanding,” wrote Philip Sheridan of Grant’s orders for the cavalry, “you will make the necessary arrangements and give the necessary orders for the destruction of the wheat and hay south of a line from Millwood to Winchester and Petticoat Gap. You will seize allRead More

Sheridan to Retreat Down the Valley

August 15, 1864 (Monday) There was now no doubt in Phil Sheridan’s mind. Jubal Early’s numbers would soon rival his own. Confederate reinforcements under the helm of Richard Anderson, were in Luray Valley and about to either fall upon his left flank or rear. To slow them and buy himself some time to figure outRead More

Sheridan ‘to Ascertain Definitely What Was Up’

August 14, 1864 (Sunday) There were rumors and reports from scouts, even messages from Grant that Jubal Early’s Confederates, now holding entrenchments at Fisher’s Hill south of Strasburg, were about to receive enough reinforcements to equal or even exceed the Federal Army of the Shenandoah. Even worse, the story held that two divisions of infantryRead More

Grant ‘to Threaten Richmond’ in Effort to Save Sheridan

August 13, 1864 (Saturday) “2d Corps suddenly picked up its duds and marched off!” wrote General Meade’s staff officer, Theodore Lyman in the August 12th entry of his diary. According to a fellow staffer with that corps, it was “understood they were going in transports to Washington.” The Second Corps was indeed on the move,Read More

Lee’s Next Gamble – Anderson to the Shenandoah Valley

August 12, 1864 (Friday) General Lee had been desperate. As the bulk of his army filed into the defenses of Petersburg, he had dispatched Jubal Early’s Corps to move north and threaten Washington. When that failed, he wished for them to remain in the Shenandoah Valley to protect the vital crops and always keep theRead More

‘But In this I Was Mistaken’ – Early Slips Away

August 11, 1864 (Thursday) Within the Shenandoah Valley was a network of roads, and there were four that wound south of Winchester. Leaving by the southeast was the Millwood Pike to Ashby’s Gap. This was held by General George Armstrong Custer, whose Wolverines were picking their way toward Opequon Creek. To the south was theRead More