Stonewall Jackson’s Romney Campaign – A Seminar & Field Tour ~ October 6-7
On New Year's Day of 1862, Major General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson ordered his force of about 9,000 Confederate soldiers to march northward from Winchester, Virginia toward the banks of the Potomac and ultimately Romney, the control of which was the object of the campaign. What followedwas a saga of drama, courage and sacrifice for both the Union and Confederacy, anoften misunderstood story that teems with intriguing “what if” scenarios that may have altered the course of the war.Extreme weather, poor roads and problems with both superiors and subordinates made the newly minted “Stonewall” Jackson’s first independently planned and executed campaign an extremely difficult one. But he would learn lessons that would serve him well in the soon to come Valley Campaign that would establish his position in the pantheon of Confederate greatness.
This year’s Civil War Institute gathering will convene on Friday evening, October 6 beginning with a dinner. Then, two talks will set the stage for the tour to follow: The Military, Political and Economic Situation at the Beginning of the Romney Campaign, by Brandon H. Beck; and Jackson and Loring at the Start of the Romney Campaign, by Stephen Lee Ritchie.
The next morning, we’ll board our bus and begin with a slow drive-by of Alta Vista, Jackson’s Headquarters in Winchester, where the new Commander of the Valley District planned his first independent campaign, designed to eliminate the Federal threat at Bath or modern-day Berkeley Springs, and of the 4,500 man Federal force occupying Romney, just 45 miles away.
As we proceed northward on Route 522, much of which follows Jackson’s original route on the old Winchester Grade Road, we will pass over Hogue Creek where Jackson’s men suffered from the freezing temperatures on the first night of the campaign. Our destination will be Jackson’s headquarters before and after his assault on Bath. There at Unger’s Store we will lounge on the grounds of the home of Washington Unger who hosted Jackson and his staff, as we discuss the events to follow.
We will then continue on Jackson’s original route on the Winchester Grade Road to Bath. As we drive, we will talk about the first emergence of problems between Jackson and the new commander of his old Stonewall Brigade, Richard S. Garnett.As we pass through Berkeley Springs we will discuss the actions of the fleeing Federals and the actions of Jackson and the emergence of Turner Ashby from Martinsburg as they gave pursuit. Arriving at the site of the former town of Alpine Station on the bank of the Potomac River and on the tracks of the invaluable B&O Railroad, we will discuss the flight of the Federals across the river to Hancock, Maryland, Ashby’s presentation of Jackson’s surrender demands and finally the bombardment of Hancock by Confederate guns on high ground on the south side of the river. We will also discuss Ashby’s burning of Alpine Station and all its stores on the order of Jackson.
Leaving Alpine Station we will make a brief stop at Sir John’s Run where Federals boarded trains in their escape from nearby Bath to the major Federal supply point at Cumberland, Maryland. The failure to prevent this escape led to court martial charges preferred by General Jackson against his former teaching college colleague at the VMI and former business partner, Colonel William Gilham.
After a brief stop at Sir John’s Run we will break for lunch at the beautiful park in the center of Berkeley Springs, and discuss the Strother Hotel which stood on that site in 1862 and housed troops of the occupying Federal Army and then,later, men of the Stonewall Brigade who had helped to drive them from the town.
As we leave Berkeley Springs we will head for our final destination, the town of Romney, which changed hands 56 times during the war, second only to Winchester for that honor. On the way, we will talk about the difficulties experienced by Jackson’s army as it marched on dirt roads now muddied by melting snow, and the rising tensions within Jackson’s command. In Romney we’ll stand in front of Jackson’s Headquarters and discuss the situation Jackson observed in the town when he arrived - and the firestorm of controversy as he left.
As we travel back to Winchester, we’ll discuss the actions of a number of Jackson’s subordinates that nearly cost the Confederacy the services of one of its greatest generals and the South one of its most lasting icons.
We hope you’ll join us for this exciting autumn weekend program focusing on important but often overlooked Shenandoah Valley Civil War history. We have a attendance limit of 45 (one bus) so please enroll now.
Registration Fee: $150
Included in your Registration:
- the services of expert historians chosen for their knowledge and experience
- bus transportation to sites as described
- Friday dinner and Saturday lunch
- refreshments and snacks during the tour
- maps and other handouts
Friday, October 6
6:00 PM-6:30 PM Cocktails - Cash Bar –Best Western Lee-Jackson hotel, Winchester, Virginia
6:30 PM-7:30 PM Dinner
7:30 PM-8:00 PM The Military, Political and Economic Situation on January 1, 1862- Brandon H. Beck
8:00 PM-8:30 PM Jackson and Loring at the start of the Romney Campaign -Stephen Lee Ritchie
Saturday, October 7
8:00 AM Bus Departs from Best Western Lee-Jackson
12:00 N Picnic Lunch in Berkeley Springs. WV
4:30 PM Arrive Back at Best Western Lee-Jackson