Valley District

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The Colonel Lewis T. Moore house in Winchester, Virginia, which served as the Valley District Headquarters of Lt. Gen. T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson (photo 2007).

The Valley District was an organization of the Confederate States Army and subsection of the Department of Northern Virginia during the American Civil War, responsible for operations between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Allegheny Mountains of Virginia. It was created on October 22, 1861, and was surrendered by the authority of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.[1]

Background[edit]

The Valley District was created to administer various home guard and military units and armies which operated in the Shenandoah Valley. The first forces organized in this area prior to the creation of the Valley District were the Forces In and About Harper's Ferry, Virginia, which existed from April 18, 1861, to June 15, 1861. The Forces In and About Harper's Ferry were originally under the Virginia State Militia, and were placed under three commanders during that time. Maj. Gen. Kenton Harper (Virginia State Militia) commanded from April 18 to April 28, then command fell to Col. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's (Virginia State Militia) from April 28 to May 24, and finally the forces were transferred to the Confederate States Army and Brig. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston from May 24 to June 15, 1861.

From June 15 to October 22, military organization in the Shenandoah Valley came under local leadership until the Department of Northern Virginia. It was created on October 22, 1861, as Johnston prepared defenses in Northern Virginia. The Valley District was defined as the area between the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Alleghenies and extended south from the Potomac River to the vicinity of Staunton, Virginia and covered an area of roughly five thousand square miles.[2]

Three districts were created under the Department of Northern Virginia were:

  • The Aquia District
    • First commander: Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes
    • Period of existence: October 22, 1861 to April 18, 1862
  • The Potomac District
  • The Valley District

While the Aquia and Potomac Districts ceased to exist by the spring of 1862, the need remained for military organization in the Valley throughout the remainder of the war.

1864[edit]

During 1864, while under the command of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early, the Valley District operated its own independent army, the Army of the Valley, which was essentially composed of the Second Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. The Second Corps was detached from Lee's main army to invade, threaten and assault Washington, D.C., on the hopes of drawing forces away from Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant's forces, and thereby relieving pressure on his siege around Richmond, and Petersburg, Virginia.

Command history[edit]

Commander From To
Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson October 22, 1861 December 29, 1862
Brig. Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones December 29, 1862 May 28, 1863
Maj. Gen. Isaac R. Trimble May 28, 1863 July 21, 1863
Brig. Gen. John D. Imboden July 21, 1863 December 15, 1863
Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early December 15, 1863 March 9, 1864
Brig. Gen.John D. Imboden March 9, 1864 May 4, 1864
Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge May 4, 1864 June 13, 1864
Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early June 13, 1864 March 29, 1865
Maj. Gen. Lunsford L. Lomax March 29, 1865 April 9, 1865

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Weigley, p. 489.
  2. ^ Tanner, p. 37

References[edit]

  • Tanner, Robert G. Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976. ISBN 978-0-385-12148-4.
  • Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861–1865. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-253-33738-0.