"If This Valley is Lost...", Phil Greenwalt

Jan 4 2022 - 7:00pm

In the spring of 1862, General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson spearheaded the Shenandoah Valley Campaign charged with defending western Virginia from an invasion by Union troops. At that time, he wrote to a staff member, “If this Valley is lost, Virginia is lost.” Fortunately for him, he was victorious. Two years later, the same Shenandoah Valley is again the target for the Northern war effort, and the outcome is once again crucial for the salvation of the Confederacy. This will be the topic of the Tuesday, January 4th meeting of the Brunswick Civil War Round Table when guest speaker Phillip S. Greenwalt will discuss his topic entitled, “If this Valley is Lost….” 

By the autumn of 1864, the Shenandoah Valley, the “Breadbasket of the Confederacy” was again a target for the North. It was one of the most strategic areas of Virginia. It was an agriculturally rich area with millions of bushels of wheat produced, and plenty of livestock, which were used to provide Virginia’s armies and the Confederate capital of Richmond. Standing in their way was a Confederate force commanded by Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early. Within his ranks stood the proud remnants of commands that had served under the late “Stonewall” Jackson who two years prior on May 2, 1863 was accidentally shot and killed during the Battle of Chancellorsville by one of his own Confederate soldiers. Much like the spring campaign of 1862, the chances to stave off disaster for the Confederacy, and possibly the fortunes of their cause, were still the stakes facing the Confederates as the Federals prepared another invasion of the Valley of Virginia; i.e., the Shenandoah Valley.  This campaign, which would become a microcosm of the overall war by 1864, tested the prediction written by the late “Stonewall” Jackson in 1862: “If this Valley is Lost…”.  

Phillip Greenwalt is the co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and a fulltime historian with Emerging Civil War. He is the author or co-author of five books on the American Revolutionary and American Civil War. Phil graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Wheeling Jesuit University, and holds a graduate degree in American history from George Mason University. A fourteen-year veteran of the National Park Service, he is currently the Chief of Interpretation and Education at Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, Maryland.