This Week in the Civil War - #893
As news spread of Union Admiral David Farragut’s victory at Mobile Bay, Alabama, the main front for the Confederacy remained by mid-August 1864 the Shenandoah Valley, where Confederate infantry and cavalry of Jubal Early evaded and harassed Union forces led by Philip Sheridan. As Early’s veteran Confederates retreated southward from Winchester toward Cedar Creek, skirmishing occurred near Winchester, Newtown, Toll Gate, and White Post. The Union War Department understood all too well that if Early could not be defeated, then Washington, D.C. would remain vulnerable to a quick strike, Confederate raid. What was most needed to protect Washington, D.C. was victory over Early and then to have Union forces neutralize the Shenandoah Valley, destroying its economic infrastructure and thus denying its support to any future Confederate invaders.