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Posted November 20, 2002
Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign looms large in the annals of military history as it is studied at military schools and service academies throughout the world. Jackson launched his Valley Campaign on March 23, 1862 with an attack against the Union forces of General James Shields, although at the time of the battle the command of the Union force fell on the shoulders of Col. Nathan Kimball. Gary Ecelbarger recounts vividly the stages of the battle, illuminating the readers imagination with numerous excerpts from soldiers' letters. It is quite evident that the author has done exhaustive research on this book and as a result the end result is magnificent. Ecelbarger sheds light on a battle that the mighty "Stonewall" lost tactically, but brings to the forefront the battle that gave Jackson a strategic victory. Jackson's loss at Kernstown made the Federals realize that they had a formidable foe in Jackson and needed to do everything to combat that Rebel foe. This kept large amounts of troops from the fighting in eastern Virginia. The book also contains numerous, detailed maps that provide a visual aid to the various phases of the battle from the initial contact with Turner Ashby, to the final moments of the battle on Sandy Ridge. For any student of the Valley Campaigns, this is an essential piece of literature.
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