JAMES SHIELDS Extremely rare plans for and blow-by-blow account of the American Civil War's First Battle of Kernstown, handwritten by Shields, one of its generals Manuscript document unsigned.

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Extremely rare plans for and blow-by-blow account of the American Civil War's First Battle of Kernstown, handwritten by Shields, one of its generals
Manuscript document unsigned. 16 pages (folded, front and verso), 5¼x8 (two sheets, folded) and 7½x9¾ (three sheets, folded). March 23, 1862. Addressed to unknown Union army officer. This rare document contains suggestions from Shields to another officer for an upcoming battle in the Civil War, as well as a list of orders given and, after the "glorious victory", a summary of prisoners and chattel taken. Given the date on this document, this is probably from the First Battle of Kernstown. Shields was wounded before this battle, so the letter is probably addressed to Col. Nathan Kimball, Shields' replacement for this battle. The First Battle of Kernstown was the first battle of General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign and ended in a tactical loss for Jackson, with a total of 1,308 casualties from both sides. However, president Abraham Lincoln considered Jackson's campaign a threat to Washington after this battle and redirected 35,000 men - two divisions worth - away from General George McLellan's Army of the Potomac to the Shenandoah Valley. McLellan would later claim that he could have taken Richmond during his Peninsula Campaign if he had these divisions at his disposal. Jackson turned this defeat into a strategic victory and, in little more than a month after the First Battle of Kernstown, had fought the Union army out of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. Shields (1810-1879, born in Altmore, County Tyrone, Ireland) was an American politician and Civil War general. He was commissioned Brigadier General of the Illinois Volunteers in July 1846, for service in the Mexican War. At Cerro Gordo, he led his brigade around the Mexican Army and routed them, but was severely wounded in the battle. After being brevetted Major General for his actions, Shields again distinguished himself by leading a memorable charge at Churubusco. After the war, he served as U.S. Senator from Illinois from 1849-1855, but was defeated for reelection. Shields moved to Minnesota and was elected one of the state's first two U.S. Senators. He served from 1858-1859, but was defeated for reelection. He moved to California, joined the Union Army and served in the Civil War as Brigadier General of Volunteers. He was wounded just before the First Battle of Kernstown, but his troops, under the command of Col. Nathan Kimball, defeated the inflicted the only tactical defeat against Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. After the war, he operated mines in Mexico, then moved to Wisconsin before moving to Missouri, where he was elected U.S. Senator in 1879 to fill a vacancy. He served from January to March 1879, declining renomination. He died later that year. Lightly toned, spotted and stained. Pages have been folded in two (for 5¼x8 pages) or three (for 7½x9¾ pages) and unfolded. Small tears along some folds. Otherwise in fine condition.

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