This Week in the Civil War - #1036
At this late date in the American Civil War and after months of relative inactivity, the Shenandoah Valley once again became an active theatre of war. General Ulysses Grant had ordered ten thousand Union cavalry in the Valley under the direct command of Philip Sheridan to leave Winchester, Virginia and raid southward against the Virginia Central Railroad and James River Canal. Grant hoped that this force could seize Lynchburg, Virginia and then either join Sherman in North Carolina or return to the Valley. With only a token force of Confederates under Jubal Early’s command to oppose this transfer of Union manpower, the Union War Department did not fear that this movement of troops would put Washington, D.C. in jeopardy. It simply was too late in the war for that possibility.