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The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley
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Stonewall Leaves the Valley for the Last Time

The Grand "Parade" and the Last Passage of "Stonewall" from the Valley

Page News & Courier

Heritage and Heraldry

The Grand "Parade" and the Last Passage of "Stonewall" from the Valley

Article of December 21, 2000

Given the chance to take a look at the four Civil War Trails markers recently placed in Page County one would realize that Jackson's last passage out of the Valley in November 1862 was given a sort of "double-duty" in two of those markers. While many may be aware of the significance of Jackson's last mortal glimpses of the Valley being upon Page County from near Franklin Cliffs in the vicinity of Fisher's Gap (see the Graves Chapel marker for this story), many may not be aware of a few other significant stories of the trek.

After several weeks in the vicinity of Winchester (in the wake of the battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam), Jackson's men marched up the snow-covered Valley and into Page en route to join Robert E. Lee in the defense of Fredericksburg. Jackson had only recently been promoted to lieutenant general and ultimately, was the commander of one of two of Lee's "wings." General James Longstreet commanded the other "wing."

By Monday, November 24, Jackson and his staff had made their way, with a large portion of his "wing" still in tow, to Page County. On that clear and crisp morning, the staff of the hero of Manassas took in the awe inspiring view of the Page Valley below, when, to the surprise of all, Jackson emerged from his tent with an amazing new look. The man that had only recently had his photograph taken in a less than noteworthy frock coat stood before his junior officers in a new coat given him by J.E.B. Stuart, a tall hat given by mapmaker Jedediah Hotchkiss, and a new captured sword given him by a cavalryman. As the men continued to gawk, Jackson announced: "Young gentlemen, this is no longer the headquarters of the Army of the Valley, but of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia."

In the days that followed, Jackson's Corps did not march toward Luray, but rather made its way from the gap in the Massanutten toward the former site of Columbia Bridge near Alma. From there, the approximately 38,000 men (including four divisions and 23 batteries of artillery) marched not along Rt. 340 as some may believe, but along the Honeyville Road toward Marksville, past Graves' Chapel and on to Fisher's Gap via the famous Red Gate Road.

To the Page County soldiers among Jackson's Corps, the march through the home county was a great opportunity for furloughs. Having secured "permission for the entire company to go home" on November 23, Captain Michael Shuler of the Page Grays did not rejoin his regiment until November 27 in Madison County.

Private John P. Louderback of the 10th Virginia Infantry determined to "go home and stay at home for several days" by November 23. Finding "all well at home" on November 24, like many civilian residents of the area, he went down to the site of Columbia Bridge to see "our regt Pass over."

Continuing to watch the "parade" of troops in the days that followed, at around noon on November 27, he finally witnessed "the rear of the Army pass along" with about "sixty prisoner with them."

In addition to the significance of "Stonewall's" exit of the Valley and the "birth" of the Second Corps, the four day event proved significant also for being the largest single assembly of soldiers to pass through Page County at any one time during the war.

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