General Early and the Route to Washington
|General Early and the Raid on Washington
|(Map of Early's Route)
Recommended Reading: Desperate Engagement: How a Little-Known Civil War Battle Saved Washington,
D.C., and Changed American History. Description: The Battle of Monocacy, which
took place on the blisteringly hot day of July 9, 1864, is one of the Civil War’s most significant yet little-known
battles. What played out that day in the corn and wheat fields four miles south of Frederick, Maryland, was a full-field engagement
between 12,000 battle-hardened Confederate troops led by the controversial Jubal Anderson Early, and 5,800 Union troops, many
of them untested in battle, under the mercurial Lew Wallace, the future author of Ben-Hur. When the fighting ended, 1,300
Union troops were dead, wounded or missing or had been taken prisoner, and Early---who suffered 800 casualties---had routed
Wallace in the northernmost Confederate victory of the war. Two days later, on another brutally hot afternoon, Monday, July
11, 1864, Early sat astride his horse outside the gates of Fort Stevens
in the upper northwestern fringe of Washington, D.C.
He was about to make one of the war’s most fateful, portentous decisions: whether or not to order his men to invade
the nation’s capitol. Early had been on the march since June 13, when Robert
E. Lee ordered him to take an entire corps of men from their Richmond-area encampment and wreak havoc on Yankee troops in
the Shenandoah Valley, then to move north and invade Maryland.
If Early found the conditions right, Lee said, he was to take the war for the first time into President Lincoln’s
front yard. Also on Lee’s agenda: forcing the Yankees to release a good number of troops from the stranglehold that
Gen. U.S. Grant had built around Richmond. Continued below.
by tens of thousands of experienced troops, Washington’s ring of forts and fortifications that
day were in the hands of a ragtag collection of walking wounded Union soldiers, the Veteran Reserve Corps, along with what
were known as hundred days’ men---raw recruits who had joined the Union Army to serve as temporary, rear-echelon troops.
It was with great shock, then, that the city received news of the impending rebel attack. With near panic filling the streets,
Union leaders scrambled to coordinate a force of volunteers. But Early did not pull the trigger. Because his men were exhausted
from the fight at Monocacy and the ensuing march, Early paused before attacking the feebly manned Fort Stevens, giving Grant
just enough time to bring thousands of veteran troops up from Richmond. The men arrived at the eleventh hour, just as Early
was contemplating whether or not to move into Washington.
No invasion was launched, but Early did engage Union forces outside Fort
Stevens. During the fighting, President Lincoln paid a visit to the fort,
becoming the only sitting president in American history to come under fire in a military engagement. Historian Marc Leepson shows that had Early arrived in Washington one day earlier, the ensuing havoc easily could have brought about a different
conclusion to the war. Leepson uses a vast amount of primary material, including memoirs, official records, newspaper accounts,
diary entries and eyewitness reports in a reader-friendly and engaging description of the events surrounding what became known
as “the Battle That Saved Washington.”
Recommended Reading: Jubal Early's Raid on Washington.
Description: "Cooling has produced what is sure to become the definitive scholarly account of the campaign. Drawing on a vast
array of sources, including seldom-used veterans' accounts, Cooling presents a comprehensive campaign study from origins to
aftermath. Not only does Cooling masterfully describe the specific movements of the opposing forces, but he also never loses
sight of the wider context in which the campaign was fought. Continued below…
In fact, Cooling's greatest contribution may be his clear demonstration that Grant was fooled by Early's
operations and took an uncommonly long time to react to a very serious threat." - American Historical Review." About the Author:
B.F. Cooling is chief historian of the Department of Energy and has won the Douglas Southall Freeman Award and the Fletcher
Pratt Award for best Civil War history book.
Recommended Reading: Season of Fire:
The Confederate Strike on Washington (Hardcover: 300
pages). Editorial Review from Booklist: In 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early, outraged by Union depredations in the Shenandoah
Valley by the Federals, launched a bold but futile raid on the outskirts of Washington,
D.C. With this event as the central focus of his narrative, Judge has written
a fascinating and riveting account of the men in battle. He masterfully maintains both dramatic tension and historical accuracy
by relating the events through the memoirs of the actual participants. Judge explains the military maneuvers in language that
laypersons can easily grasp, and his portrayals of the key participants breathe life into the account. Continued below.
Among the more memorable
key-players are Early, the daring general of the valley; Lew Wallace (who would later author “Ben Hur”), who attempts
to block Early's advance; and George Davis, from Vermont, who was awarded the Medal of Honor during this fiercely contested
campaign. This is a fine recounting of a relatively obscure but quite interesting series of events, and both the general reader
and Civil War aficionados will enjoy it. The book also contains sixty-one illustrations.
Reading: Reveille in Washington, 1860 - 1865. Description: Winner of the 1942 Pulitzer
Prize in History, it is an authentic, scholarly description of life in Washington
during the Civil War, written in a highly readable style. The "star" of the book is, indeed, the city of Washington D.C. Many players walk across the D.C. stage, and Leech's research paints
vivid portraits not seen before about the Lincolns, Walt Whitman, Andrew Carnegie, Winfield Scott, John Wilkes Booth, and
many others. It's the "Capitol" that you have never really seen or heard that much about. Continued below...
It's a scrappy,
dusty, muddy, unfinished city, begging for respect. Washington City,
as it was called then, was both a respite for Union soldiers, as well as the Union Army’s “prostitution headquarters.”
From the so-called 'highlife to the lowlife', the politician to the pauper, all receive their respectful, or rightful, place
in this delightful but candid prose.
Reading: The Official Virginia Civil War Battlefield Guide. Review: This is one of the most useful guides I've ever read.
Virginia was host to nearly one-third of all Civil War engagements,
and this guide covers them all like a mini-history of the war. Unlike travel books that are organized geographically, this
guide organizes them chronologically. Each campaign is prefaced by a detailed overview, followed by concise (from 1 to 4 pages,
depending on the battle's importance) but engrossing descriptions of the individual engagements. Continued below…
make this a great book to browse through when you're not in the car. Most sites' summaries touch on their condition--whether
they're threatened by development (as too many are) and whether they're in private hands or protected by the park service.
But the maps are where this book really stands out. Each battle features a very clear map designating army positions and historical
roads, as well as historical markers (the author also wrote “A Guidebook to Virginia's
Historical Markers”), parking, and visitors' centers. Best of all, though, many battles are illustrated with paintings
or photographs of the sites, and the point-of-view of these pictures is marked on each map!
Reading: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 (Military Campaigns of
the Civil War) (416 pages) (The University of North Carolina Press).
Description: The 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign is generally regarded as one of
the most important Civil War campaigns; it lasted more than four arduous months and claimed more than 25,000 casualties. The
massive armies of Generals Philip H. Sheridan and Jubal A. Early had contended for immense stakes... Beyond the agricultural
bounty and the boost in morale to be gained with its numerous battles, events in the Valley would affect Abraham Lincoln's
chances for reelection in November 1864. Continued below...
The eleven essays in this
volume reexamine common assumptions about the campaign, its major figures, and its significance. Taking advantage of the most
recent scholarship and a wide range of primary sources, contributors examine strategy and tactics, the performances of key
commanders on each side, the campaign's political repercussions, and the experiences of civilians caught in the path of the
armies. The authors do not always agree with one another, but, taken together, their essays highlight important connections
between the home front and the battlefield, as well as ways in which military affairs, civilian experiences, and politics
played off one another during the campaign.
Reading: The Shenandoah Valley Campaign
of 1864 (McFarland & Company). Description: A significant
part of the Civil War was fought in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, especially in 1864. Books and articles have been written
about the fighting that took place there, but they generally cover only a small period of time and focus on a particular battle
or campaign. Continued below...
This work covers the entire year of 1864 so that readers can
clearly see how one event led to another in the Shenandoah Valley and turned once-peaceful garden spots into gory battlefields.
It tells the stories of the great leaders, ordinary men, innocent civilians, and armies large and small taking part in battles
at New Market, Chambersburg, Winchester, Fisher’s Hill and Cedar Creek, but it primarily tells the stories of the soldiers,
Union and Confederate, who were willing to risk their lives for their beliefs. The author has made extensive use of memoirs,
letters and reports written by the soldiers of both sides who fought in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.
Recommended Reading: Freedom Rising: Washington in the Civil War.
Description: In this luminous portrait of wartime Washington, Ernest B. Furgurson–author
of the widely acclaimed Chancellorsville 1863, Ashes of Glory, and Not War but Murder--brings to vivid life the personalities
and events that animated the Capital during its most tumultuous time. Continued below...
Here among the sharpsters and prostitutes, slaves and statesmen are detective Allan Pinkerton, tracking
down Southern sympathizers; poet Walt Whitman, nursing the wounded; and accused Confederate spy Antonia Ford, romancing her
captor, Union Major Joseph Willard. Here are generals George McClellan and Ulysses S. Grant, railroad crew boss Andrew Carnegie,
and architect Thomas Walter, striving to finish the Capitol dome. And here is Abraham Lincoln, wrangling with officers, pardoning
deserters, and inspiring the nation. Freedom Rising is a gripping account of the era that transformed Washington
into the world’s most influential city.
Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: General Jubal Early's Raid on Washington in 1864,
Richmond Washington Map, Battle of Monocacy Fort Stevens Maps, Early Army of the Valley Campaign Civil War, Shenandoah Valley
Campaigns History, Photographs, Photos.