Why is Jackson's valley campaign considered a Confederate victory?
Yes, Jackson won almost all the battles that were fought, but as I understand it, by the end of the campaign the Union held the valley. Not only did they have more total soldiers in the valley (52k vs. 17k) at the close of the campaign, Jackson and his command left the valley to join the Peninsula campaign, i.e. the Union forces still in the valley were unopposed.
Vastly outnumbered throughout the Valley Campaign Jacksons win's five out of six pitched battles destroys 3 union armies (Banks, Shields and Freemont) , and occupies more than 52,000 men with his own forces which never were greater than 17,000 men. The Union soldiers Jackson occuped came at the expense of General McClellan's siege of Richmond. Jackson effectively freezes the entire Peninsular Campaign and enables the newly appointed (Jun 1, 1862) Robert E. Lee time to perform his own magic with the Seven Days Battle. It is an incredible display of Military Tactics which entirely changed the Strategic outlook of the war in 1862. Prior to the Valley Campaign McClellan is threatening the Confederate Capital in Richmond. Jackson's Valley Campaign was a significant part of the Confederacy turning the tables on the Union and not only forcing the Union away from Richmond but then the Confederacy actually invaded the North.
- Mar – Jun 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Virginia
- Mar – Jul 1862 Union's Peninsular Campaign
- June 1, 1862, General Joe Johnson is wounded at Seven Pines and Robet E. Lee takes command.
- Jun 25, 1862 – Jul 1, 1862, Lee's Seven Days Battle forcing McClellan away from Richmond
- Sept 1862, Lee invades the North when he crosses the Potomac River into Maryland
- Sept 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam Md.
Jackson's valley campaign wasn't just "considered" a Confederate victory. It is somewhat of an understatement to say it is considered the finest display of tactics in the entire civil war.
The reason it was so awe inspiring was Jackson was so clever in choosing his battles and evading existential threats. Outnumbered throughout the entire campaign he gives himself the numeric superiority in 4 of the 6 battles of the campaign while winning 5 of 6 battles.
From Video Jackson's Valley Campaign 7:44/8:47
- Union Victory, **Battle of Kernstown: 8,500 union vs 3,800 confederates**
- Confederate Victory, Battle of McDowell: 6500 union vs 11,600 confederates
- Confederate Victory, Battle of Front Royal: 900 union vs 17,000 confederates
- Confederate Victory, Battle of Winchester: 3,500 vs 16,000 confederates
- Confederate victory, Battle of Cross Keys: 11,500 vs 5,800
- Confederate Victory, Battle of Port Republic 3,500 vs 6,000 confederates
When the Large Union force was opposing him, Jackson evaded. When the Union devided their forces, Jackson turned and fought. over and over again chasing and being chased up and down the Shenandoah Valley it was an amazing display and a large part of the Jackson's legend.
Strategically it not only enabled Lee's systematic defeat of George McClellan in the seven days battle which forced the Union to withdraw from the confederate capital and ultimately fall back to Washington D.C it also enabled the first Confederate invasion of the north, and McClellan being relieved of his command after Antiedem.
Here is the picture. Richmond is besieged by 120,000 union troops under General McClellan which had landed from ships and marched from the coast overland to the Confederate Capital. They were so close to Richmond it is said they can hear the church bells from the center of the city. McClellan's has ordered another 65,000 troops to march south from Washington D.C and join his siege (30,000 under Gen McDowell, 35,000 under General Banks) General Joe Johnston who was commanding the Confederate forces defending Richmond prior to June 1, 1862 has about 60,000 men and a pretty poor track record head to head against McClellan up to that point. That's the picture when General Jackson is ordered to take his army of 3,500 men and create a diversion to take pressure off of Richmond. What Jackson does is create his own offensive, which threatens Washington D.C and occupies both McDowells(30,000 men) and Banks(35,000 men) armies and even forces the Union to commit a third army under Fairbanks(20,000 men). Each force larger than Jackson's which half way through the campaign was at around 8,000 men.
Overview of Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign
Vastly outnumbered, and at times, facing three Union armies (5 union armies were committed to defeat Jackson, but three was the most he faced at one time), Jackson managed in less than three months to march his Army of the Valley hundreds of miles and fight a series of engagements (including six pitched battles) in a masterpiece of military art that ultimately created a grand diversion which tied up thousands (tens of thousands) of Union troops threatening Richmond.
Jackson goal in the shenandoah is to divert Union forces from the siege of Richmond. Jackson's actions not only kept the numerically superior armies under MacDowel, Banks, and Fairbanks from Joining or supporting MacClellan in Richmond, but it caused panic in DC which feared Jackson would invade the city. All of this left General McClellan's forces weakened and his confidence shattered. Thus he was vulnerable to Lee's Seven Day's battle where Lee exploited McClellan's obsession with planning every detail of an engagement by overwhelming him and then systematically marched McClellan backwards from Richmond until he was forced to fall back on Washington DC as Lee would threaten the North.
To get a feel for how maneuverable and impressive Jackson's campaign was check out this video. Jackson's Valley Campaign It's about 8 minutes and really is well done.