‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s troops earned the sobriquet ‘foot cavalry’ for the speed with which they marched 650 miles (1,050 km) in 48 days in the Shenandoah Valley campaign. It all began with a rare defeat, when he ill-advisedly attacked a much larger Union army at Kernstown. But his rashness worked to his advantage; Lincoln assumed he must have a large army, and authorized a force of 65,000 in the Valley (Jackson never had more than 17,000 under his command). This diversion of Union resources from the east could well have contributed to the failure of McClellan’s Peninsula campaign. From Kernstown, Jackson proceeded to bamboozle his opponents, darting out of the Valley, then back, to defeat Fremont at Mc Dowell on 8 May, storming Front Royal (23 May) and beating Banks at Winchester (25 May) before chasing him, like Fremont before him, out of the Valley.
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