Confederate Armies & Departments in the Eastern Theater

Army of the Valley District
October 1861 – June 1862.  Jackson’s legendary Valley Campaign used manuever, misdirection, and a masterful knowledge of the terrain and road network to tie down Federal forces several times larger than his own. Always outnumbered, Jackson used the speed of his hard-marching infantry to concentrate against parts of a vulnerable opponent in half a dozen small battles whose results were far out of proportion to their size. It diverted three armies from McClellan’s campaign against Richmond and made a decisive difference in the failure of his campaign.

Confederate Lieutenant General Thomas J. Jackson

Thomas J. Jackson

Army of Northern Virginia
From June 1, 1862 until April 9, 1865 the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee was the sword and shield of the Confederacy. As the war went on it could be argued that it was the Confederacy. The army fought ten of the fifteen largest battles of the Civil War. These included Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the war, and the bloodiest single day in American military history, Antietam.

Confederate General Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

Army of the Valley 1864
By the end of Spring in 1864 Robert E. Lee was in a serious situation. Grant’s offensive had battered his Army of Northern Virginia back into defensive positions around the Confederate capital of Richmond and its main rail center, Petersburg. As Union forces tightened the noose, Lee, the ultimate gambler, hazarded one more throw of the die. He put a quarter of his army under Jubal Early and sent him off to Jackson’s old stomping grounds in the Shenandoah Valley. Early’s mission was to draw off Union forces. He did, leading his small army to the gates of Washington and sending bullets singing past President Lincoln. The plan succeeded, and probably bought the Confederacy another six months of life.
Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early

Jubal A. Early