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Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign (Civil War America)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  142 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
One of the most intriguing and storied episodes of the Civil War, the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign has heretofore been related only from the Confederate point of view. Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Peter Cozzens presents a balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but little underst ...more
Hardcover, 623 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by University of North Carolina Press
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Christopher Saunders
Revisionist look at Stonewall Jackson's most famous exploit. As a detailed campaign history it's worth reading: Cozzens covers a lot of ground in admirable detail, describing strategic decisions, personalities and battles without losing reader interest. The main problem though is Cozzens's obsession with his hobbyhorse: that Jackson was not that great a general. He doesn't make a strong case, pointing up Jackson's unpleasant qualities (eg. his terse dismissal of Richard Garnett, secrecy towards ...more
Oct 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Of all the various authors currently writing Civil War history, I think Cozzens is by far the most readable. This book covers the entire campaign in the Shenadoah Valley up to the time Jackson's forces were pulled out and thrown into the defense of Richmond. you won't find anything here on Jackson's participation in those battles, as it falls outside of the scope of this book and it's just as well, as it wasn't exactly Jackson's shining hour.

The Valley campaign firmly established Jackson's reput
Josh Liller
Jun 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A very in-depth book covering Jackson's famous Valley Campaign of 1862. It starts with Jackson being appointed commander of the Valley in November 1861 and ends with him departing the Valley in June 1862 to participate in the Seven Days Battles near Richmond. Jackson's somewhat infamous but often overlooked Romney Campaign during the winter of 1861-1862 is also covered. It may be the most complete treatment of the campaign ever written.

Cozzens has mostly written about the western theater of the
Thomas Walsh
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The work "stellar" is used rarely when one describes the concept and exectution of a work of non-fiction. This book, however, deserves the word and more lauds. I have never read a work on the Civil War with such a scholarly approach and such depth of background and insight. As all Civil War buffs know "Stonewall" Jackson always though out-of-the-box. His strategy was unpredictable, always, and his shifts of attack legendary. Through these tactics, he thwarted the Union's attempt to re-inforce th ...more
Monte Lamb
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: us-civil-war
This is a detailed book on Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862. It uses sources from both the Northern and Southern which gives it a good balance. It is well researched and tells the full story from Jackson's assignment to the Valley until his men left for Richmond to join Lee's army. One thing it does is give a much more balanced view of Northern strategies than I feel are generally shown. The author also is critical of Jackson when he feels it is warranted. At times the book slows down ...more
R.K. Byers
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
well detailed, but I prefer my history a little more personality-driven.
James Durney
Jul 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Peter Cozzens established his reputation as an author with a series of excellent western battle histories. Now he turns his attention to one of the classic campaigns in America’s military history. “Stonewall” Jackson’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign is one of the best examples of what a smaller determined force can accomplish. The Robert G. Tanner and Gary W. Gallagher produced excellent campaign studies and Gary L. Ecelbarger is doing excellent work on individual battles. Tanner’s book has long bee ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Cozzens has (surprisingly) written the first book-length history of the 1862 Valley campaign that made Stonewall Jackson the first rising star in the Confederate luminary that relies on both Confederate and Union primary sources. Previous books have relied only on Confederate sources, so the campaign has traditionally been seen as an unalloyed Confederate triumph.

However, Cozzen's mildly revisionist history brings some sanity to the adulation and warm glow of Southern success, pointing out the t
Gerry Germond
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a clear recounting of the Shenandoah Valley campaign of spring 1862. The subtitle reads “Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign” and that’s good for sizzle; also, Jackson won it, so I guess he’s entitled to have it named after him. It’s also the Union’s campaign and Cozzens looks at it from its point of view as well. The reader will find that Jackson doesn’t always shine and the Yankees have some (few) good moments. The last chapter of the book sums things up well. From it, I found that Jac ...more
Aug 01, 2011 added it
After writing several books on key battles in the Western Theater (Corinth & Iuka, Stones River, Chickamauga, Chattanooga), Peter Cozzens turns his attention to Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Unlike many previous histories, this book presents a balanced picture by presenting both the Union & Confederate perspectives. Cozzens also makes a critical analysis of Stonewall Jackson's tactics (Confederate losses were much higher than they could have been due to Jackson feeding ...more
Avis Black
Nov 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shenandoah 1862 is solidly good, but not quite as good as Cozzens' earlier books, mainly because he doesn't concentrate on all the battlefield drama like he did in his volumes on the Western campaigns. Possibly this is because the conflicts of the Valley were micro-battles in comparison, often with no more than one division ever engaged at a time. It's refreshing to see an examination of the Northern generals because they are so often overlooked. In Cozzens' estimation Banks is not as bad as mod ...more
Jerry Teipen
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war
A very thoughtful and detailed account of the early battles of the War. Cozzens points out that Jackson was not without fault despite the way he is often portrayed by other books. He also elaborates on the incompetence of the commanding Union officers that allowed the conflict to progress beyond this time when the Confederacy was near defeat. This work is a nice mix of biographical data about the primary players and tactical discussion. I would absolutely recommend any of Cozzen's other works as ...more
Joel Manuel
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
I hated to give this 3 out of 5 stars because Cozzens wrote what is probably my favorite Civil War book, "This Terrible Sound," about Chickamauga. I just felt a detachment in this book that doesn't seem to be present in his Western Theater books (on Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Iuka/Corinth, and Stones River). There weren't enough maps, which is essential in any study of the Valley Campaign. It just did not work for me, which is a shame because it was a massive undertaking (512 pages of text).
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was well detailed. Unfortunately, it was so detailed that it interfered with the author's own narrative & started boring me to tears.

I mean really, he spent over 30% of the book (or 9 chapters - 150 out of 500 pages) just discussing the pitiful state of morale in Jackson's Army as well as the sloth of the Army of Northern Virgina.

The author tried to make it worthwhile, which was why I gave it 3 stars instead of 2, but his prose was a complete flop.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a work book. We are doing an exhibit on the Civil War and the Indiana unit we are focusing on featured prominently in this campaign. I applaud the amount of research the author did and the fact that he had the courage to question some of our long held beliefs, such as how good was Stonewall Jackson really. It also boggles the mind how badly the North was saddled with poor military leaders early in the war.
Oct 04, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Civil War afficionados
This is a well-written, highly-detailed look at the Shenandoah campaign of Stonewall Jackson.

But I couldn't finish it. The level of detail vastly exceeded my level of interest.

If you're really into the Civil War and/or Stonewall Jackson, I highly recommend this book -- five stars. If your interest is more casual, you might want to give it a try from the library first because it may be (much) more than what you're looking for.
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Had to get it back to the library, but will pick up again. Engaging at times, but hard to follow without knowledge of the places described. Since then, we visited some to the places, and next read will make more sense.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
An outstanding, detailed look at Stonewall Jackson's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley in the first half of 1862. Cozzens focuses on both the generals who dictated the battles and on the common soldier marching, camping and fighting in the misery.
Matthew Ericson
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book, well researched and should be on the shelf of any Civil War historian. I appreciate the critical eye of Jackson. The Valley Campaign has been lopsided in historical study and seems to have forgotten Union sources. I felt he was balanced and his use of primary sources was excellent.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another good overall analysis of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign that provides a more balanced perspective of the actions of both the North and the South. A good companion read to Tanner's Stonewall in the Valley.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
good book about the subject
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
The author has stated that he came to the book knowing little of Jackson and came away with some negative views of him. I want to read something outside of the hagiography.
Jun 25, 2009 added it
A history of the Jackson Valley Campaigns in 1862. Well-written, but probably of interest only to a history buff, specifically a Civil war history buff like me.
Being from Virginia and visiting that area many times, this was certainly a great read for me. And Jackson is a hero of mine.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Read this after a visit to New Market Battlefield. Helps to visualize the book after you have seen the valley on a great day!
Worth reading for those interested in the valley campaign.
Eugene Oliver
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Aug 09, 2015
Richard Bednarz
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Sep 19, 2014
Wesley Jones
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Nov 12, 2016
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Mar 09, 2011
Soke Ahmadi
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Jan 05, 2016
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I have not read this yet 2 8 Jul 29, 2009 01:24PM  
  • Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864
  • To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign
  • Return to Bull Run: The Campaign and Battle of Second Manassas
  • Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862
  • Gettysburg--The First Day
  • Vicksburg, 1863
  • The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War
  • Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage
  • The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command
  • Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander
  • Lincoln and His Generals
  • Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave
  • Stealing the General: The Great Locomotive Chase and the First Medal of Honor
  • Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction
  • The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville
  • Lee's Lieutenants: A Study In Command (Volume I: Manassas to Malvern Hill)
Peter Cozzens is the author of sixteen critically acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the American West. Cozzens also is a recently retired Foreign Service Officer, U. S. Department of State.

His newest book, The Earth is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2016. Amazon selected it as a Best Book of November 2016.

More about Peter Cozzens...

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  • Fighting for the Confederacy: The Personal Recollections of General Edward Porter Alexander
  • Gettysburg--The Second Day
  • When the Yankees Came: Conflict and Chaos in the Occupied South, 1861-1865
  • Political Work of Northern Women Writers and the Civil War, 1850-1872