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13697Nathaniel Banks

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  • David Kowalski
    Aug 30, 2002
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      Several points about Banks generalship.

      First, Jackson fought Shields at Kernstown well before
      he met up with Banks. Fremont was, as you noted,
      called in after Winchester. Jackson's position at
      Conrad's Store was south and east of Banks. Jackson
      marched and counter-marched eventually going west
      before he hit Banks by going north. Jackson's army
      was positioned for much of the time to stand between
      the federal forces and Richmond.

      Second, Federal forces were split up. The garrison at
      Front Royal was separated from Banks and pushed out.
      It was in a militarily indefensible spot.

      Third, Banks did "win" the race to Winchester, This
      was because he abandoned his position at Strasburg and
      started first. However Jackson pushed him fast enough
      that he occupied the lower hill nearer town rather
      than the higher one that commanded the position.
      Jackson's men marched most of the night.

      Fourth, Jackson aimed to catch a good portion of Banks
      army and supplies. He netted over 3,000 prisoners and
      $125,000 in supplies. The medical supplies were vital
      for the CONFEDERATE war effort.

      Banks and the remnants of his army were not a factor
      during the rest of the Valley campaign.

      One well known aim of Banks forces at Port Hudson was
      to capture the city in time to help Grant at
      Vicksburg. Vicksburg fell first.

      Banks was placed between a rock and a hard place in
      the Valley. However, a post-Kernstown junction with
      Shields might have done the trick.

      Lee's Lieutenants turns a hard, unusually critical eye
      on Jackson's performance in the Valley campaign.
      Jackson's use of artillery, some of his tactics, and
      the performance of the cavalry come for criticism.
      Banks, however, comes through as a general with some
      ambition and initiative who placed his men poorly on
      the battlefield, moved his supply trains in a
      spread-out manner, and failed to get much fight except
      out of his artillery.

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