Stonewall Jackson at Winchester
The First Battle of Winchester was fought on May 25, 1862 in and around Winchester, Virginia and proved to be a major victory in Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign. Jackson's primary goal was to continually engage 3 Union armies, thereby preventing them from reinforcing the Union offensive against Richmond. By employing rapid, unpredictable movements, Jackson, with a relatively small force of 17,000 men, managed to do so, marching them 646 miles in 48 days and winning several battles. At Winchester, his forces attacked those of Union Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks. In earlier skirmishes, his forces had taken so many Union prisoners and captured so many wagons and supplies that they nicknamed the general Commissary Banks. At Winchester, Jackson turned Banks right flank, both flanks collapsed, and Union troops fled north into Maryland. Most importantly, the battle succeeded brilliantly in turning Union reinforcements away from Richmond and convincing Union leaders to hold troops back in defense of Washington.