Union Army of the Shenandoah

The Army of the Shenandoah was a Union army during the American Civil War. First organized as the Department of the Shenandoah in 1861 and then disbanded in early 1862, it became most effective after its recreation on August 1, 1864, under Philip Sheridan.[1] Its Valley Campaigns of 1864 rendered the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia unable to produce foodstuffs for the Confederate States Army, a condition which would speed the end of the Civil War.

Army of the Shenandoah
ActiveJuly 25, 1861 – March 18, 1862
August 1, 1864 – June 27, 1865
CountryUnited States of America
BranchUnited States Army
EngagementsAmerican Civil War
MG Robert Patterson
MG Nathaniel P. Banks
MG David Hunter
MG Philip Sheridan
MG Horatio G. Wright
MG Philip Sheridan
BG Alfred Thomas Torbert



Under the command of Major General Robert Patterson before the three-month enlistments of a majority of its troops expired, the Department of Pennsylvania operated as the lone element of Union Army in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. After achieving a tactical victory at the Battle of Hoke's Run on July 2 and contributing indirectly to the Union disaster at the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21, its unexpired regiments and commanders were absorbed into a new Department of the Shenandoah under the command of Major General Nathaniel P. Banks on July 25, 1861. Neither Patterson nor Banks referred to his commands as the Army of the Shenandoah in official correspondence,[2] and when the Army of the Potomac adopted a Corps structure on March 18, 1862, Banks' command was redesignated as the "Fifth Corps."


On May 21, 1864 Major General David Hunter was appointed to command the Department of West Virginia. Hunter designated the field forces of his department the "Army of the Shenandoah". Hunter was in command of the Army of the Shenandoah from May 21 to July 3[3] which consisted of two infantry divisions and two cavalry divisions. The First and Second Infantry Divisions were commanded by Brigadier Generals Jeremiah C. Sullivan and George Crook respectively. The First and Second Cavalry Divisions were commanded by Brigadier Generals Julius Stahel (succeeded by Alfred N. Duffie) and William W. Averell respectively. In May Crook's and Averell's divisions fought independently at the battle of Cloyd's Mountain. Hunter personally led Sullivan's and Stahel's divisions at the battle of Piedmont. All four divisions were joined together for the battle of Lynchburg. On July 3, George Crook assumed command of both infantry divisions and designated this as a new field army named the Army of the Kanawha.[4]

The force was next created by order of Ulysses S. Grant on August 1, 1864, in response to a raid by Jubal Early and his Confederate army of 15,000 on Washington, D.C., and especially his defeat of Lew Wallace at the Battle of Monocacy Junction. The new Army of the Shenandoah was composed of the Union VI Corps (commanded by Horatio G. Wright), XIX Corps (William H. Emory), and George Crook's Army of West Virginia (VIII Corps). It was placed under Sheridan's command with orders to repel Early, deal with Confederate guerillas, and press on into the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

Early, ever the cunning strategist, kept his force moving so as not to be trapped by Sheridan's vastly superior force. His raid had, if anything, a good deal of success for southern morale. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, coming to the conclusion that Early had done all that was practical, ordered Early to return two of his divisions to Richmond and remain to tie up Sheridan. Learning of this, Sheridan waited until Early weakened himself and then attacked at the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19 and then again at the Battle of Fisher's Hill on September 20–21. By the end of these battles, Early's force was effectively out of the war, and Sheridan proceeded with his secondary orders to destroy the ability of the Shenandoah Valley to produce foodstuffs for the Confederacy, torching farms and more than 2,000 mills.

Reinforced again in reaction to the threat of Sheridan's 31,000-man army, Early moved against Sheridan once more. After a decisive cavalry victory by Union forces under Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer at the Battle of Tom's Brook, Early’s army launched a surprise attack against Sheridan at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19. Initially successful, the Confederates were repelled by a Union counterattack and the Valley was firmly under Union control.

Following their victory, portions of the Army of the Shenandoah were detached to Grant at Petersburg and to William Tecumseh Sherman in Georgia. Sheridan himself joined Grant. Command of the army then passed to Brig. Gen. A. T. A. Torbert until June 27, 1865, when the force was disbanded for the final time.


Notable battles

See also


  1. ^ "This Day in History". The History Channel. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  2. ^ Williams, Robert, Assistant Adjutant-General. "General Order, Number 34, Headquarters, Department of the Shenandoah". The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
  3. ^ Eicher p.856
  4. ^ Eicher p.192
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher. Civil War High Commands. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.

External links

90th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment

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Action at Abraham's Creek

The Action at Abraham's Creek was an engagement on September 13, 1864 between Union Army and Confederate States Army forces during a Union reconnaissance in force toward Winchester, Virginia. The action occurred during skirmishing, maneuvering and scouting before the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864 in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. The Union force successfully completed the mission and captured about 173 Confederate prisoners.The reconnaissance was conducted by the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division of the Cavalry Corps of the Union Army of the Shenandoah under the command of Colonel, later Brigadier General, John Baillie McIntosh in order to determine Confederate strength around the Berryville Pike approaching Winchester. McIntosh's force comprised the 1st Regiment Connecticut Volunteer Cavalry, 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Cavalry, 2nd Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, 5th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, 2nd Ohio Cavalry, 18th Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment and Battery M of the 2nd United States Artillery Regiment.On September 13, 1864, Union cavalry division commander, Brigadier General James H. Wilson ordered McIntosh to scout the Berryville Pike, also shown as the Berryville–Winchester Road. McIntosh's force moved down the pike and crossed Opequon Creek where his men captured about 30 Confederate prisoners. Moving on to Abraham's Creek, about 2 miles (3.2 km) from Winchester, McIntosh's brigade charged and broke through a line of Confederate infantry from Brigadier General James Conner's brigade and captured the entire 8th South Carolina Infantry Regiment under Colonel J. W. Henagan, which scattered before the charging cavalrymen, and the regiment's flag. Due to the attrition in regiments prior to that date, the 8th South Carolina Infantry comprised 14 officers and 92 men. At the same time, McIntosh's men captured 2 officers and 35 men from six different Virginia mounted regiments which had been consolidated with 8 other regiments in Brigadier General William R. Terry's brigade.On September 17, 1864, McIntosh's force burned a mill on Abraham's Creek near the Winchester Pike and Jones Mill on Opequon Creek.McIntosh was wounded and lost a leg at the Third Battle of Winchester, two days later.

Army of the Shenandoah

Army of the Shenandoah refers to two armies in the American Civil War:

Confederate Army of the Shenandoah

Union Army of the Shenandoah

Battle of Fisher's Hill

The Battle of Fisher's Hill was fought September 21–22, 1864, near Strasburg, Virginia, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Despite its strong defensive position, the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early was defeated by the Union Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.

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List of orders of battle

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Troop engagements of the American Civil War, 1864

The following engagements took place in the year 1864 during the American Civil War. The Union armies, under the command of U.S. Grant, launched multiple offenses in all theaters of the war, in an attempt to prevent Confederate forces from transferring troops from one army to another.

Troop engagements of the American Civil War, 1865

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Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877, commanding general of the Army, soldier, international statesman, and author. During the American Civil War Grant led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy with the supervision of President Abraham Lincoln. During the Reconstruction Era President Grant led the Republicans in their efforts to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism, racism, and slavery.

From early childhood in Ohio, Grant was a skilled equestrian who had a talent for taming horses. He graduated from West Point in 1843 and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. Upon his return, Grant married Julia Dent, and together they had four children. In 1854, Grant abruptly resigned from the army. He and his family struggled financially in civilian life for seven years. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Grant joined the Union Army and rapidly rose in rank to general. Grant was persistent in his pursuit of the Confederate enemy, winning major battles and gaining Union control of the Mississippi River. In March 1864, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Grant to Lieutenant General, a rank previously reserved for George Washington. For over a year Grant's Army of the Potomac fought the Army of Northern Virginia led by Robert E. Lee in the Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, and the war ended.

On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated. Grant continued his service under Lincoln's successor President Andrew Johnson, promoted General of the Army in 1866. Disillusioned by Johnson's conservative approach to Reconstruction, Grant drifted toward the "Radical" Republicans. Elected the youngest 19th Century president in 1868, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African-Americans and Jewish-Americans to prominent federal offices. In 1871, Grant created the first Civil Service Commission. The Democrats and Liberal Republicans united behind Grant's opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but Grant was handily re-elected. Grant's new Peace Policy for Native Americans had both successes and failures. Grant's administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims and the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his Dominican annexation initiative. Grant's presidency was plagued by numerous public scandals, while the Panic of 1873 plunged the nation into a severe economic depression.

After Grant left office in March 1877, he embarked on a two-and-a-half-year world tour that captured favorable global attention for him and the United States. In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. In the final year of his life, facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major critical and financial success. At the time of his death, he was memorialized as a symbol of national unity.

Historical assessments of Grant's legacy have varied considerably over the years. Historians have hailed Grant's military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks. Stigmatized by multiple scandals, Grant's presidency has traditionally been ranked among the worst. Modern scholars have shown greater appreciation for his achievements that included civil rights enforcement and has raised his historical reputation. Grant has been regarded as an embattled president who performed a difficult job during Reconstruction.

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