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First Battle of Winchester


During the Civil War, Winchester, Virginia changed hands many times. The reason was its strategic position in the Shenandoah Valley affording advantage to both armies.

150 years ago today, May 25, 1862, Confederate General Jackson’s division outflanked and overran Federals stationed on Bowers Hill. The day prior, Jackson’s men had skirmished with Major General Nathaniel P. Bank’s Union soldiers in retreat at Middletown and Newtown. Afterward, Jackson’s army traveled north along the Valley Pike toward Winchester.

Jackson reconnected with Bank’s army outside of Winchester on the 25th.  Although initially repulsed, Jackson’s army attached each Union flank causing the Federal line to break.

The Federal ranks panicked, fleeing through the town of Winchester. A few residents of the town fired on the retreating Union soldiers. Banks was forced to withdrawal from the Shenandoah into Maryland. But Jackson continued the fight. The Federal army listed 62 dead, 243 wounded and over 1,700 captured, while only 68 of Jackson’s men were killed with another 329 wounded.

All in all, Jackson’s 1862 valley campaign was a success. His men prevented Federal troops from applying pressure on Richmond and he won four battles against three armies. His casualties were only half of what he applied to the Federal army.

For more on the First Battle of Winchester, visit these sites:

For info on my newest romance set during the American Civil War, Cole’s Promise, visit my website



  1. Susan, you know so much more about the Civil War than anyone else I know. I tweeted you as an author and Civil War expert. I believe that is true.

  2. Thanks, Caroline! Not exactly an expert, though. But I do research what I need to make all my books set in the period authentic. Learned lots as a reenactor as well.

  3. Too bad we don’t have this brilliant man running our army these days. Another interesting post, Susan.

  4. Thanks, Paisley! Actually, though, I think it helped the Union when he was shot later in the war and died of his injuries. Imagine if he’d lived and fought at Gettysburg! Might have changed the whole outcome of the war.

  5. You are so right. Isn’t it something how one event can change the course of history, or even in someone’s personal life how one decision will lead you in the direction your life will turn out. Almost sounds like fate rules.

  6. It does make you wonder how things might have turned out if events, even little things, had changed.

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