Sheridan Has Just Arrived

August 3, 1864 (Wednesday) While General Philip Sheridan was en route to his new command in the Shenandoah Valley, President Lincoln in Washington was growing more and more frustrated. Sheridan had been selected by General Grant to command the 30,000 Federal troops who were to destroy Jubal Early’s Confederates now near Winchester, retaking the ValleyRead More

‘I Am Sending General Sheridan’ – Grant Decides What’s Best for Washington

August 1, 1864 (Monday) As the fires of Chambersburg smoldered, General Grant rethought how he might handle Jubal Early, commanding a corps of Rebels in the Shenandoah Valley. It was clear that as long as the Confederates held the Valley, Washington and Pennsylvania would be threatened. Additionally, if the Valley remained in Southern hands comeRead More

‘They Seemed to Be Demons from the Infernal Pit’ – Chambersburg in Ashes

July 31, 1864 (Sunday) “It appears from General Averell’s reports that while General Hunter was collecting his forces at Harper’s Ferry to attack the enemy on the south side the rebel army crossed on the morning of the 29th near Williamsport, and moved, by Hagerstown, into Pennsylvania. Their cavalry captured and partly destroyed Chambersburg yesterday.”Read More

My Line was at Once Broken and the Men Became Scattered – Union Defeat at Kernstown

July 24, 1864 (Sunday) “On the reception of the foregoing information, I determined to attack the enemy at once; and early on the morning of the 24th, my whole force was put in motion for Winchester. The enemy, under [George] Crook, consisting of the ‘Army of West Virginia,’ […] was found in position at Kernstown,Read More

‘My Force is Not Strong Enough’

July 23, 1864 (Saturday) The pursuit of Jubal Early’s Confederates, who had raided to the gates of Washington, had come to an end. Chief of Staff Henry Halleck sent a message to General Grant near Petersburg to tell him the news. Horatio Wright, who had led the chase, had “left the enemy retreated on FrontRead More

Federal Pursuit Halted at Cool Spring

July 18, 1864 (Monday) The day previous was one of marching. His Rebels being followed after their failed attempt to sack Washington, Jubal Early made his headquarters at Berryville, east of Winchester. Some of his number, the divisions under Stephen Ramseur and John Gordon, he placed at Castleman’s Ferry, on the main road across theRead More

A Meaningless Capture as Early Slips Away

July 16, 1864 (Saturday) Once again, they were moving, splashing across the Potomac onto Virginia soil, pursuing the Rebel host. For two days both sides had rested on opposite sides of the river, but on the morning of this date, 12,000 Federals under Horatio Wright renewed the chase. They crossed at White’s (Conrad’s) Ferry, whileRead More

Lincoln Was No ‘Damned Fool’ Under Fire

July 12, 1864 (Tuesday) Jubal Early had planned to attack the defenses north of Washington at first light, but word from his cavalry raiding near Baltimore stayed his hand. There were, he had learned, two full corps of Federal infantry en route from Petersburg. He again looked over the ground, but it was not toRead More

Early’s Rebels Arrive before Washington

July 11, 1864 (Monday) Washington was ringed to the north by a dozen or more forts, linked by embrasures, batteries, and trenches. These covered the approaches along the Georgetown Pike, running northwest out of the city toward Rockville, the Seventh Street Road, running north toward Silver Spring, and the Bladensburg Road, running northeast in theRead More

Washington Prepares for a Southern Visitor

July 10, 1864 (Sunday) As Lew Wallace’s Federals retreated from the battlefield along the Monocacy River, President Lincoln ordered him to fall back not to Washington, but toward Baltimore. It was still mostly unknown whether the Rebels under Jubal Early would strike for Washington, now to their southeast, or would move, instead, upon Baltimore. GeneralRead More