The Key to the Shenandoah Valley

Geography and the Civil War Struggle for Winchester


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SKU: 9781476683980 Categories: ,

About the Book

During the Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley was the scene of 326 engagements, many taking place around Winchester. The city was occupied and evacuated 72 times and six major battles were fought in the vicinity, including First and Second Kernstown and Cedar Creek.
Geography was a crucial factor in the struggle to control Winchester, which was key to controlling Virginia. Confederate occupation gave them psychological dominance of the central valley and enabled them to disrupt enemy operations. When Union forces prevailed, they dictated the tempo of operations in the region. The decisive Union capture of the city in 1864 foretold the end of the Confederacy. Drawing on the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, this book chronicles the strategic battle for the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.

About the Author(s)

Edward B. McCaul, Jr., is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and received a Ph.D., in history from Ohio State University. He has published more than 30 articles and interviews in addition to two books on the Civil War. He lives in Winchester, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Edward B. McCaul, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 235
Bibliographic Info: 47 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8398-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4624-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Introduction 1
1. Winchester and the Shenandoah Valley 11
2. Geography and the First Battle of Kernstown—22–23 March 1862 30
3. Geography and the First Battle of Winchester—25 May 1862 50
4. Geography and the Second Battle of Winchester—13–15 June 1863 63
5. Geography and the Second Battle of Kernstown—24 July 1864 79
6. Geography and the Third Battle of Winchester—19 September 1864 89
7. Geography and the Battle of Cedar Creek—19 October 1864 116
8. Control of Winchester 129
9. Geography and History 136
10. Geography and War 144
11. Geography and Command Decisions During the American Civil War 154
12. Geography, Technology, and the American Civil War 169
13. Geography and the Future 184
Appendix A. Macadamized Roads 189
Appendix B. Major Battles for Winchester 198
Appendix C. Confederate Invasions and Raids of the North 202
Chapter Notes 207
Bibliography 217
Index 225