Photo Credit: Waving the Confederate battle flag, Major General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson rallies his men at Cedar Mountain in Don Troiani’s painting, Jackson Is with You. Painting by Don Troiani, www.historicalartprints.com
Stonewall Jackson & Nathaniel Banks at Cedar Mountain
At Cedar Mountain, Nathaniel Banks set out to distract Lee by capturing the rail junction at Gordonsville. But Stonewall Jackson got there first.
By William E. Welsh
Following the completion of Union Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan’s unsuccessful Peninsula campaign earlier in the month, General Robert E. Lee sent Maj. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson north from Richmond with two divisions on July 16, 1862. Jackson arrived in Gordonsville three days later. On July 29, his army was reinforced by Maj. Gen. A.P. Hill’s “Light Division.” The reinforcements doubled Jackson’s command and gave him the strength necessary to overwhelm any one of the three Federal corps of the newly formed Army of Virginia under Maj. Gen. John Pope, which was spread along a wide arc from Fredricksburg to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Pope, who had assumed command of the Army of Virginia on June 27, had been given the complex task of uniting three previously independent commands scattered widely over the northern half of the state into a single army. He ordered Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel’s I Corps to Sperryville, Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks’s II Corps to Little Washington, and one division of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell’s III Corps to Waterloo Bridge, leaving his other division at Fredricksburg to guard the lower Rappahannock River. In preparation for a raid on the vital railroad hub of Gordonsville, where the Virginia Central Railroad connected the Confederate capital of Richmond to the Shenandoah Valley and to Tennessee, Pope ordered Brig. Gen. Samuel Crawford’s brigade south to Culpeper to support Federal cavalry massing for the raid. Bu