may 30-june 9 1862
Threatened by Stonewall Jackson's close proximity to Washington, Lincoln diverted Federal troops to surround the Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley Jackson watched three Federal columns converge to destroy him, then neatly eluded them by falling back from Harpers Ferry on May 31. Part of Jackson's army had to march 50 miles in two days, narrowly escaping the closing Federal trap by only a few hours.
The Confederates continued to withdraw up the Valley to Harrisonburg, with the Federals in hot pursuit. Federals, under General Fremont and Brigadier General James Shields, raced southward on either side of Massanutten Mountain. Jackson realized that the two Federal columns would converge on the sleepy village of Port Republic. The Confederates con-centrated in that area to keep Fremont and Shields separated. Jackson's cavalry, under Turner Ashby, delayed the Federal advance, but Ashby was killed in a small battle at Harrisonburg on June 6.
On June 8, Fremont's column encountered General Ewell's Confederates who were positioned on a series of ridges near the Cross Keys tavern. Though Fremont outnumbered Ewell - 10,500 Federals to 5,000 Confederates - Fremont haltingly tested the Confederate lines. Holding Fremont at Cross Keys throughout the
The brigade of Maj. Gen. Richard Stoddart Ewell, nicknamed "Old Baldy," (below) arrived at Cross Keys just when it was most needed. The presence of Ewell's command meant that the Confederates outnumbered the Federals by two to one.
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Recently captured Confederate prisoners-of-war are held in a temporary compound during Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign, May 1862 (above).
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