Army of the Shenandoah (CSA) Facts

June–July 21, 1861

Key facts about the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah.

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Formation Date

  • June 1861

Dissolution Date

  • July 21, 1861

Commanders

Notable Engagements

Significance

  • Virginia Governor John Letcher appointed Robert E. Lee as commander of all of the state’s military and naval forces on April 22, 1861.
  • On April 27, 1861, Robert E. Lee ordered Colonel Thomas J. Jackson to “proceed, without delay, to Harpers Ferry, Va., in execution of the orders of the governor of the State, and assume command of that post.”
  • After taking command of Virginia forces at Harpers Ferry in April 1861, Colonel Thomas J. Jackson organized his troops into regiments and battalions that would later become the Army of the Shenandoah.
  • When Virginia’s forces were folded into the Provisional Confederate Army, the War Department assigned Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston to take charge of the troops near Harpers Ferry on May 15, 1861.
  • Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston replaced Colonel Thomas J. Jackson as commander of Confederate troops at Harpers Ferry on May 24, 1861.
  • By June 1861, Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston and other Confederate officials began referring to the troops under Johnston’s command as the Army of the Shenandoah.
  • By June 1861, the Army of the Shenandoah numbered roughly 10,000 soldiers divided into four brigades and a cavalry unit.
  • On June 14, 1861, Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston ordered the destruction of the armory and munitions works at Harpers Ferry and then marched the Army of the Shenandoah to Winchester, Virginia.
  • On July 2, 1861 Brigadier General Thomas J. Jackson’s brigade engaged lead elements of Major General Robert Patterson’s Army of the Shenandoah (USA) at the Battle of Hoke’s Run briefly delaying Patterson’s advance into Virginia.
  • Major General Robert Patterson’s failure to engage the Confederate Army of the Shenandoah enabled Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston to begin sending reinforcements to Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac at Manassas Junction on July 18, 1861, prior to the First Battle of Bull Run.
  • When Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston arrived at Manassas, on July 20, 1861, Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard had already developed a battle plan for the First Battle of Bull Run. Although Johnston was senior in rank to Beauregard, he deferred command of the forces in the field and approved Beauregard’s plans.
  • On July 21, 1861, the Confederate Army of the Potomac, reinforced by the Army of the Shenandoah, defeated the Union Army of Northeastern Virginia at the First Battle of Bull Run.
  • The Confederate victory at the First Battle of Bull Run left Brigadier General Joseph E. Johnston in command of the Army of the Shenandoah and the Army of the Potomac.
  • The Army of the Shenandoah ceased to exist as a separate entity when it was united with the Army of the Potomac on July 21, 1861.
  • On September 25, 1861, Johnston issued General Orders, No. 31 (AOP/CSA) reorganizing the troops that formerly constituted the Army of the Shenandoah as the 2nd Corps of the Army of the Potomac, under the command of Major General Gustavus W. Smith.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Army of the Shenandoah (CSA) Facts
  • Coverage June–July 21, 1861
  • Author
  • Keywords army of the shenandoah
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 31, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 2, 2021
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