Question of the Week: 9/23-9/29/19

In your opinion, what was the most important battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley? Why?

6 Responses to Question of the Week: 9/23-9/29/19

  1. In order:

    1. Cedar Creek – broke forever Confederate power in the Valley.

    2. First Kernstown – for its impact on the Peninsula Campaign and the movement of US troops to McClellan’s army.

    3. First Winchester/race to Harpers Ferry – for the same reasons as #2 above

  2. I’m going to go with Harper’s Ferry. The taking of that facilitated Lee’s advance into Maryland. Lee needed it to clear his lines of communications and to allow for his retreat if circumstances dictated that. Though it proved to be folly by the Union to try to defend it, by taking HF, Lee (actually Jackson) denied the use of a sizable force to McClellan. 1862 had been a pretty good year for the Confederates in the East so far up to that point. Taking HF and allowing the invasion of Maryland to proceed still gave the Confederates considerable hope for their cause.

  3. I’d go with the combination of Chris’s nos. 2 and 3 because of the effect on the administration’s allocation of troops between the Valley and the Peninsula. I’m not convinced by any stretch that had McDowell been dispatched to the Peninsula McClellan would have acted any differently in April but the First Winchester outcome (coupled with Cross Keys/Port Republic) probably freed Jackson and at the same time meant that McDowell was not added to McClellan’s right which Lee struck on June 26. I think Early’s campaign was doomed Cedar Creek or not.

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