The Civil War Connections Blog

A Fine Day to Ride

Hello readers, and welcome back to the good ol’ blog! Today’s tidbit about me is: I once accidentally lost the keys to my car while visiting a friend at UVA. When we returned to my car several hours later, however, I realized that I hadn’t “lost them” at all: instead I had “left them in my car, in the ignition, without turning off the car OR locking the doors.” So, yea… I’m really glad no one stole the easiest-to-steal car on the planet that night.

No, Mr. Kitty, that's a BAD Kitty!

 

This past weekend marked a wonderful and successful OpSail event, and I hope everyone who came out enjoyed themselves! 150 years ago, however, the talk of the town was not of OpSail – it was of General Jackson’s continued exploits in the Shenandoah Valley. On June 8th, 1862, Jackson foiled a dual strike against his army by defeating one of the Union forces, under General Fremont, at the Battle of Cross Keys. After the fight was over, Jackson swung around and defeated the other Union army on June 9th at the Battle of Port Republic. These back-to-back victories crushed the last Union forces in the Valley, and ensured Confederate control over the Shenandoah. In addition, they freed Jackson’s men to join General Lee at Richmond, where Lee was planning a counter-offensive to send General McClellan packing.

Sorry, that's still too small for McClellan's hubris.

 

In order to launch his counter-offensive Lee needed reconnaissance, or information, on McClellan’s forces: how many were there, where they were, what they were doing, etc. 150 years ago today, on June 11th, Lee gave the task of finding this information to General J.E.B. Stuart, his flamboyant cavalry commander.  While Jackson was resting and recovering from his campaign to defend the Valley, Lee was preparing to defend the Confederate capitol by sending Stuart out to see what the Union men were up to. Stuart wouldn’t depart until around 2am on June 12th, but his reconnaissance expedition would turn into a grand ride intent on going around McClellan’s entire army and claiming a great deal of glory in the southern press.

"MY ENORMOUS BEARD WILL BRING US VICTORY!" - J.E.B. Stuart

 

 

Well, that’s about all for today, folks – tune in next time, and I’ll either tell you about another important event 150 years ago, or I’ll tell you about the (not)delicious Civil War food that the average soldier enjoyed! Have a good Monday!