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Neutralizing the Valley: The Role of Military Intelligence in the Defeat of Jubal Early's Army of the Valley, 1864-1865

From: Civil War History
Volume 39, Number 3, September 1993
pp. 199-215 | 10.1353/cwh.1993.0047

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William B. Feis  

William B. Feis received a master's degree in history from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1989 and is currently a doctoral candidate in military history at The Ohio State University.


The author would like to express his sincere gratitude to Prof. Peter Maslowski, Mr. Edwin C. Fishel, and Dixee Bartholomew-Feis for reading early drafts of this essay.

1. Gary W. Gallagher, ed., Struggle for the Shenandoah: Essays on the 1864 Valley Campaign (Kent Ohio: Kent State Univ. Press, 1991), 18.

2. For the most recent examples, see essays by Jeffry D. Wert, A. Wilson Greene, Robert K. Krick, and Dennis E. Frye in Gallagher, ed., Struggle for the Shenandoah. See also Jeffry D. Wert, From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign of 1864 (Carlisle, Pa.: South Mountain Press, 1987), which is also the best and most recent full-length study of the campaign's decisive phase.

3. For the latest studies on the famous raid on Washington, see B. F. Cooling's thoroughly researched Jubal Early's Raid on Washington, 1864 (Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation, 1989) and Frank E. Vandiver's Jubal's Raid: General Early's Famous Attack on Washington in 1864 (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1960).

4. For a detailed account of this episode, see William B. Feis, "A Union Military Intelligence Failure: Jubal Early's Raid, June 13-July 14, 1864," Civil War History 36 (Sept. 1990):209-25.

5. George G. Meade to Ulysses S. Grant July 12, 1864, in John Y. Simon, ed. The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant (hereafter GP) 18 vols. to date (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1967-), 11:225; General Henry W. Halleck to Grant, July 19, 1864, ibid., 286-87.

6. Gallagher, ed., Struggle for the Shenandoah, 11; Wert, From Winchester to Cedar Creek, 8. Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis, June 29, 1864, in U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1880-1901), ser. 1, vol. 37, pt. 1:769-70 (hereafter cited as OR). See also Lee to Davis, July 11, 1864, ibid., vol. 37, pt. 2:594-95.

7. Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana to Grant, July 12, 1864, GP 11:252-53.

8. Grant to Gen. William T. Sherman, Aug. 7, 1864, ibid., 381; Grant to Meade, Aug. 1, 1864, ibid., 368; Special Orders No. 68, ibid., 369; Grant to Halleck, Aug. 1, 1864, ibid., 358; Wert, From Winchester to Cedar Creek, 29.

9. Edwin C. Fishel, "The Mythology of Civil War Intelligence," Civil War History 10 (Dec. 1964):357; Feis, "Intelligence Failure," 212. See also Wilton P. Moore, "Union Army Provost Marshals in the Eastern Theater," Military Affairs 30 (1960): 120-26, Lt. Col. C. T. Schmidt, "G-2, Army of the Potomac," Military Review 28 (1948): 45-56; David S. Sparks, "General Patrick's Progress: Intelligence and Security in the Army of the Potomac," Civil War History 10 (Dec. 1964); and Bruce W. Bidwell, History of the Military Intelligence Division, Department of the Army General Staff: 1775-1941 (Frederick, Md.: Univ. Publications of America, 1986), 31.

10. David S. Sparks, ed. The Diary of Marsena Rudolph Patrick, Provost Marshal General, Army of the Potomac (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1964), 392-93, 382.

11. Gallagher, ed., Struggle for the Shenandoah, 11; Lee to Early, July 11, 1864, in Clifford Dowdey and Louis H. Manarin, eds., The Wartime Papers of Robert E. Lee (New York: DeCapo, 1987), 819-20; Grant to Gen. Philip Sheridan, Sept. 2, 1864, GP 12:181. Grant to Meade, July 30, 1864, GP 11:352.

12. Sparks, Patrick Diary, 400-401.

13. For the duties of Silver, Cammack, and McGee, see John C. Babcock to Col. George H. Sharpe, Aug. 21, 27, and Sept. 5, 1864, Record Group 393, Entry 3980, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (hereafter cited as RG 393, Entry 3980, NA). See also Meriwether Stuart, "Colonel Ulric Dahlgren and Richmond's Union Underground," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 72 (1964):197-98 (hereafter cited as VMHB).

14. For Captain Leet's responsibilities, see the reprint of Horace Porter's...

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