Augusta County Historical Society to spotlight Valley Campaign

The year 2012 marked the 150th anniversary of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Conducted during the spring and early summer of 1862, Jackson’s maneuvers in the Valley are still considered by historians and military strategists to be nothing short of tactical genius. On Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., the Augusta County Historical Society will present “Keeping the Federals at Bay: Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign.”

The program, by guest speaker Eric Campbell, will provide an overview of the strategic importance of the campaign and will highlight those battles closest to Staunton – McDowell, Cross Keys, and Port Republic.

In 1862, although greatly outnumbered, Jackson managed in less than three months to march his army over hundreds of miles and to fight in a series of engagements that remain legendary to this day. The use of deceptive troop movements by Jackson and his forces displayed not only Jackson’s masterful skills as a military strategist, but an uncanny understanding of the geography of the region and how to use it to his advantage. In this capacity, Jackson was also fortunate to have a talented surveyor and mapmaker, Jedediah Hotchkiss, who contributed significantly to the successes of Jackson’s army.

Campbell, chief of interpretation for Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in the northern Shenandoah Valley, will present a slide show complete with maps and other images of battle sites that figured prominently throughout the campaign. Campbell has worked for the National Park Service for over 25 years, more than 20 of those years at Gettysburg National Military Park. In addition, he has held previous positions at Independence National Historical Park and the Eisenhower National Historic Site. Author of more than two dozen articles and essays for scholarly publications, Campbell published a book in 2000, ‘A Grand Terrible Drama’: From Gettysburg to Petersburg, the Civil War Letters of Charles Wellington Reed.

Campbell’s duties at Cedar Creek and Belle Grove NHP include the oversight and planning of future interpretation at the park, the development of ranger-led programs, opening of a visitor contact station, and development of interpretive trails and exhibits. Campbell also oversees the park’s website, podcasts, and various interpretive media and infrastructure. He is a member of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation’s Interpretation and Education Committee as well.

The Augusta County Historical Society program will be held in the second floor lecture room of the R.R. Smith Center for History and Art. The program is open to the public. There is no charge for historical society members; non-members pay $5.

Augusta Health Kris McMackin CPA
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