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Death Valley: Battles for the Shenandoah is the seventh installment of the Great Battles of the American Civil War (GBACW) series, published by GMT Games. Eight full battles are included.
Three Battles of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862
In a campaign still studied in military academies, Confederate General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson engaged and defeated the Union forces pursuing him. Greatly outnumbered and at times facing three Union armies, Jackson defeated them all within ten weeks, at one point completely freeing the Shenandoah Valley of Union forces. Three battles from Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign are featured.
Kernstown, March 23, 1862
In the spring of 1862 Union General Nathanial Banks moved his 38,000 man V Corps into the Shenandoah Valley in conjunction with McClellan’s advance on Richmond. There was no resistance from the 3000 Confederates under General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, a hero of Bull Run, then in his first independent command. Confident that all was secure in the Valley, but concerned for the safety of the capital, Washington began to transfer the V Corps troops to defend the city, leaving the 7000 men of General James Shields’ division to block the lower Valley. But Jackson was ordered to keep the Union troops in the Valley from joining forces with those threatening Richmond. After receiving reports that only a rear guard remained south of Winchester, he attacked. The battle was the first of Jackson’s Valley Campaign.
Winchester, May 25, 1862
After Kernstown General Banks led a newly reinforced and newly named army of the Department of the Shenandoah in pursuit of Jackson. After a series of Confederate maneuvers Banks lost contact with Jackson’s army. During that time Jackson defeated a Union force threatening his left flank at McDowell and joined forces with the two Confederate brigades defending the mountain passes there. Jackson then turned on Banks. Uniting with another Confederate division under General Richard Ewell, Jackson outflanked Banks at Front Royal and threatened to cut his supply line, starting a race for Winchester. Banks reached the town first and set up a defense south of the town. He had to buy time for the Union supply train to escape.
Cross Keys and Port Republic, June 8-9, 1862
Following Winchester, Washington sent two Union forces to trap the Confederates in the lower Valley. Two divisions from the Mountain Department under General John Fremont advanced from what is now West Virginia, and one division under General James Shields from the Department of the Rappahannock moved into the Valley from the east. A rain-swollen Shenandoah River separated the Union forces. Jackson engaged both on successive days to end the Valley Campaign.