The Romney Expedition: A Concluding Incident “Worthy of Notice”

Postscript to a Series

I couldn’t find the right place to add this in the previous posts, but it was so entertaining that I wanted to include it somewhere. The story is included in the 1889 The Civil War in Song and Story. The 8th Ohio Regiment fought outside Romney before the Union forces retreated, so this is almost certainly on the timeline during the 1862 winter Romney Expedition. Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: A Forgotten Union Victory?

Benjamin Franklin Kelley

Part 5 of a series

The Romney Expedition pushed Federal troops across the Potomac and out of the larger towns of Bath and Romney. Along with the capture of supplies worth thousands of dollars, the Confederates were poised to set up a defensive and communication chain into western Virginia which could have delayed a future Union advance toward Winchester. However, due to the internal squabbles of the Confederate commanders, Romney was eventually evacuated and the advantages slipped away.

Did you that some Union commanders actually claimed a victory during the Romney Expedition? Not during their retreat to the Potomac, but during their military offensive in Jackson’s rear. General Benjamin F. Kelly submitted the following report, highlighting a skirmish at Hanging Rock Pass: Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 1/24-1/30/22

For the year 1861 or earlier, which West Point Class is most interesting to you? Why?

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Week In Review: January 17-23, 2022

Don’t miss the posts on Robert E. Lee’s birthday and the series on the Romney Expedition this week…

Monday, January 17:

Question of the Week focused on memory and legacy.

Sarah Kay Bierle wrote about experimenting with how a tourniquet was created during the Battle of Gettysburg. Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: Setting A Precedent


Part 4 of a series

Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson’s response to Secretary of War Benjamin’s telegram ordering Loring’s command back to Winchester followed promptly the same day:

Headquarters, Valley District

January 31st, 1862

Hon. J.P. Benjamin, Sec. of War.

Sir — Your order requiring me to direct General Loring to return with his command to Winchester, immediately, has been received, and promptly complied with.

With such interference in my command, I cannot expect to be of much service in the field, and accordingly respectfully request to be ordered to report for duty to the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, at Lexington; as has been done in the case of other professors. Should this application not be granted, I respectfully request that the President will accept my resignation from the Army.

Respectfully, etc., your obed. serv.,

T.J. Jackson[i]

What some could interpret as pettiness, Jackson viewed as a deliberate course of action and duty. If the Confederate leaders in Richmond had lost confidence in him, listened to General Loring and his officers without a proper investigation, and countermanded his orders, then they had lost confidence in his abilities and for the good of the cause, Jackson believed he should remove himself from the command. Furthermore, he did not want to “throw away the fruits of victory that have been secured at such a sacrifice of the comfort of my noble troops in their hurried march through the storm of snow and sleet.”[ii] Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: “Jackson’s Pet Lambs” and Loring’s Protests

Part 3 of a series

“General Jackson now proceeded to place the command of General Loring in winter quarters, near Romney, and to canton Boggs’ brigade of militia along the south branch, from that town to Moorefield, with three companies of cavalry for duty upon the outposts. The remainder of the cavalry and militia returned to Bath, or to the Valley, to guard its frontier; and the Stonewall Brigade was placed in winter quarters as a reserve, near Winchester.”[i]

Thus, Robert Lewis Dabney described the troop dispositions at the closure of the Romney Expedition around January 24, 1862. While Jackson had forced Union commands to retreat and had secured an outpost at Romney in western Virginia, he had also made a series of leadership blunders through circumstances within and without of his control. In the days immediately following his return to Winchester, civilians and military alike began passing judgment on “Stonewall” and on the expedition itself. Continue reading

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Saving History Saturday: New Jersey Flags

The New Jersey State Museum recently put five Civil War flags on display and shared interpretation of the regiments, battles, and flagbearers connected to the banners. The museum preserves 190 Civil War flags and has been rotating them — five at a time — on display for public viewing and education. This recent unveiling is the first after two years of delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: Park Day is coming

Grab your calendars and save the date! Park Day is slated for April 9, 2022.

What’s Park Day? Glad you asked. Continue reading

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The Romney Expedition: Stonewall Observed


Part 2 of a series

How did Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson experience the cold and storms during the Romney Expedition? Did it contrast with the experiences of his men? What did they observe in their leader?

This post shares some of those accounts while Part 3 will take a closer look at the leadership decisions and challenges Jackson faced (or created) on his march to Romney.

Jackson was a visible leader, and that was no exception during his winter march. At least on one occasion he put boots on the ground to help maneuver cannon or wagons along the icy mountain roads. John O. Casler of the 33rd Virginia recalled that on a particularly bad, icy day “General Jackson [got] down off his horse and put his shoulder to the wheel of a wagon to keep it from sliding back.”[i] Continue reading

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Congratulations to Meg Groeling!

cover photo of main cover for First Fallen

Editor’s note: Emerging Civil War refrains from reviewing books written by “one of our own,” but we definitely take pride in announcing their publication. So our Book Review Editor, Stephen Davis, has prepared this announcement of Meg Groeling’s new First Fallen: The Life of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, the North’s First Civil War Hero.

Everyone knows about Elmer Ellsworth. Growing up as a young Civil Warrior, I was transfixed when LIFE Magazine in January 1861 ran Bruce Catton’s article, “Gallant Men in Deeds of Glory,” especially with Stanley Meltzoff’s painting of James Jackson, proprietor of the Marshall House in Alexandria, firing his shotgun into Ellsworth’s chest as he descended the stairs, having taken down the hotel’s Stars and Bars (Corporal Brownell tried to fend him off with his musket).  Continue reading

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