United States Armies in the East


With McClellan and the main part of the Army of the Potomac shifted to the Virginia Peninsula, Major General Nathaniel P. Banks’ Fifth Corps was detatched and returned to its status as an independent department that it had briefly enjoyed in July and August of 1861.

But the administration realized that the patchwork of departments that it had created in northern Virginia needed central direction, and at the end of June they were merged into the Army of Virginia under Major General John Pope.

Federal Major General Nathaniel P. Banks

Major General
Nathaniel P. Banks

Organization of the Department of the Shenandoah, April-June 1862
Department of the Shenandoah, April 1862
Department of the Shenandoah, May 1862
Department of the Shenandoah, June 1862

Timeline of the Army of the Shenandoah in 1862

April 4 The Department was re-created, consisting of the Valley of Virginia, the Counties of Washington and Allegheny in Maryland and such parts of Virginia “as may be covered┬áby the army in its operations.”
April 16 Banks forded Stony Creek, surprising Turner Ashby’s Confederate cavalry
April 19 Banks occupied New Market
May 10 Lincoln ordered Banks to transfer Shield’s Division to McDowell’s Department of the Rappahannock, retreat to Strasburg and go on the defensive.
May 23 Battle of Front Royal. Banks’ outpost at Front Royal was almost wiped out
May 24 Banks retreated from Strasburg, causing Lincoln to halt McDowell’s planed movement to join McClellan around Richmond.
May 25 Battle of Winchester. Banks lost 2,000 casualties, mostly as prisoners, vs. 400 Confederate casualties, and retreated to Williamsport and across the Potomac.
June 26 The Department was merged into Major General John Pope’s Army of Virginia as its Third Army Corps