President Davis about the Romney Expedition

President Davis        ...In November, 1861, reports became current that the enemy were concentrating troops west of the Valley of the Shenandoah with a view to a descent upon it. That vigilant, enterprising, and patriotic soldier, General T.J. Jackson, whose steadiness under fire at the first battle of Manassas had procured for him the sobriquet of Stonewallwas then on duty as district commander of the Shenandoah Valley.

        He was a West Virginian; and, though he had not acquired the fame which subsequently shed luster upon his name, he possessed a well-deserved confidence among the people of that region. Ever watchful and daring in the discharge of any duty, he was intensely anxious to guard his beloved mountains of Virginia. This, stimulating his devotion to the general welfare of the Confederacy, induced him to desire to march against the enemy, who had captured Romney. On the 20th of November, 1861, he wrote to the War Department, proposing an expedition to Romney, in western Virginia. It was decided to adopt his proposition, endorsed by the commander of the department, and, to insure success, though not recommended in the endorsement, his old brigade, then in the Army of the Potomac, was selected as part of the command with which he was to make the campaign.

        After General Jackson commenced his march, the cold became unexpectedly severe, and, as he ascended into the mountainous region, the slopes were covered with ice, which impeded his progress, the more because his horses were smooth-shod; but his tenacity of purpose, fidelity, and daring triumphed over every obstacle, and he attained his object, drove the enemy from Romney and its surroundings, took possession of the place, and prevented the threatened concentration. Having accomplished this purpose, and being assured that the enemy had abandoned that section of country, he returned with his old brigade to the Valley of the Shenandoah, leaving the balance of his command at Romney. General Loring, the senior officer there present, and many others of the command so left, appealed to the War Department to be withdrawn. Their arguments were, as well as I remember, these: that the troops, being from the South, were unaccustomed to, and unprepared for, the rigors of a mountain winter; that they were strangers to the people of that section; that the position had no military strength, and, at the approach of spring, would be accessible to the enemy by roads leading from various quarters. After some preliminary action, an order was issued from the War Office directing the troops to retire to the Valley.

Taken from: The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, by Jefferson Davis

Books on Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson

Books on the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862

cover           cover          cover

              

 

X