The Army of Northern Virginia commanded by General Robert E. Lee had been pushed back to tight defensive positions around Richmond. After Lee gave Granr his worst defeat at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Grant tried another flanking movenment south of the James River toward Petersburg. The attack failed, but Lee was forced to extend his defenses arounf Petersburg as well. To create a diversion and draw Federal troops away from the Richmond area Lee sent Jubal Early with the Second Corps to the Shenandoah Valley.
|The Army of the Valley commanded by Major General Jubal A. Early was created to draw Federal troops away from Richmond and to protect the badly needed supplies of the Shenandoah Valley. Early boldly and quickly struck north, scattering the Federal forces in the Valley.|