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    Stonewall Jackson writes Joseph E. Johnston at the onset of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign in 1862

    Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Autograph Letter Signed "T. J. Jackson / Maj. Genl." Two pages of one leaf, 7.25" x 9", Woodstock [Virginia], March 16, 1862, addressed to General Joseph E. Johnston, "Commdr. Ar. N. Virginia." In this letter, written in the early days of Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, "Stonewall" Jackson informs General Johnston of Col. Turner Ashby's skirmish with Union troops ("Ashby had one man wounded, one horse killed and another wounded in the skirmish & the enemy fell back"). Jackson also discussed the delivery of "stores" and his own early movements during the campaign. Smoothed folds with some expected soiling. Two thin strips of hinging remnants on the reverse. The text of the letter is written in ink and reads in full:

    "A dispatch received last night from Ashby states that his pickets are still at Newtown, the enemy having fallen back. His information is that the enemy moved toward Newtown with his entire Winchester force, but after advancing this side of Newtown Ashby's Art[illery] opened upon him. Ashby had one man wounded, one horse killed and another wounded in the skirmish & the enemy fell back. Ashby has also fallen back with his main body expecting the enemy to advance again today. Our cavalry picket is near Newtown.

    "In your letter of the 5th inst. you say that I will probably use the route from New Market to Gordonsville. In view of this, and of the probable falling back of Genl. Edward Johnson I will send such stores as I may have occasion to send to the Central R. R. to Waynesboro. I have ordered the flour to that point, if you desire it for the troops of the Potomac District please say to what point it shall be forwarded, as it will save the trouble of unloading and loading at Waynesboro. As I am only about 20 miles from New Market please inform me if you can, whether in the event of my falling back back [sic] beyond that point, I shall move toward Orange Gordonsville or continue up the valley. There are in charge of my chief commissary upwards of 500 barrels of flour which Lt. Col. Mumford of the Cavalry sent back from beyond Front Royal for the purpose of saving it."

    In a postscript, Jackson writes, "I have ordered a line of couriers to be established between New Market and Orange C. H. If you desire any change in the Eastern terminus of the line, please say in what respect."

    This letter is docketed on the second page, "Woodstock, Va. / March 16, 62. / T. J. Jackson / Maj. Genl. / Reports a skirmish between Ashby's comd. & the enemy near New Town."

    Jackson wrote this letter one week before the First Battle of Kernstown, the opening battle of the campaign, in which Union General Nathan Kimball, vastly outnumbering the Confederate force, defeated Jackson - a rare occurrence. Still, the battle turned out to be a strategic victory for the Confederacy since it prevented Union troops near the Shenandoah Valley from joining General McClellan, who had intentions of capturing Richmond, in the Peninsula Campaign. Instead, those troops marched northward to protect Washington, D.C., from Jackson's threats. Jackson was killed one year later in May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville. Turner Ashby was killed less than three months later at the Battle of Good's Farm in the Shenandoah Valley.




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    December, 2014
    12th Friday
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