- Aug 30, 2002Several 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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