Scott C. Patchan speaks to the
Civil War Round Table of the District of Columbia
"Sheridan and Early in the Valley"
on January 10, 2017  
at the Fort McNair Officers' Club in Washington D.C.

ABOUT THE TOPIC: Mr. Patchan’s presentation will focus on Gen. Grant's unexpected decision to place fellow Ohioan Phil Sheridan in command in the Shenandoah. Sheridan was not an inevitable choice, but Grant wanted to have someone he could rely upon.  Mr. Patchan will examine Sheridan's background and review the events as they unfolded in 1864 culminating in Sheridan's victory at the third and last Battle of Winchester. 

A posting on describes Mr. Patchan’s book on this topic as the first serious study to chronicle this battle, which was the largest, longest, and bloodiest battle fought in the Shenandoah Valley. What began about daylight did not end until dusk, when the victorious Union army routed the Confederates. It was the first time Stonewall Jackson's former Corps had ever been driven from a battlefield, and its defeat set the stage for the final climax of the 1864 Valley Campaign.

This Northern victory was a long time coming, however. During the spring and summer of 1864, General Early had aggressively led the veterans of Jackson's Army of the Valley District to one victory after another at Lynchburg, Monocacy, Snickers Gap, and Kernstown.  In response, Grant cobbled together a formidable force under Phil Sheridan, an equally redoubtable commander. Sheridan's task was a tall one: sweep Jubal Early's Confederate army out of the bountiful Shenandoah and reduce the verdant region of its supplies.

Five weeks of complex maneuvering and sporadic combat followed before the opposing armies ended up at Winchester, an important town in the northern end of the Valley that had changed hands dozens of times over the previous three years. Tactical brilliance and ineptitude were on display throughout the day-long affair as Sheridan threw infantry and cavalry against the thinning Confederate ranks and as Early and his generals shifted to meet each assault. A final blow against Early's left flank finally collapsed the Southern army, killing one of the Confederacy's finest combat generals, and planted the seeds of the victory at Cedar Creek the following month.

Scott Patchan's vivid prose, which is based upon more than two decades of meticulous research and an unparalleled understanding of the battlefield, is complemented with numerous original maps and explanatory footnotes that enhance the reader’s understanding of this watershed battle. Rich in analysis and character development, The Last Battle of Winchester is certain to become a classic Civil War battle study.  Source (click to link): GoodReads

Mr. Patchan’s book, Shenandoah Summer, studies Gen. Early’s disastrous battles in the Shenandoah Valley which ultimately resulted in his ignominious dismissal. But Early’s lesser-known summer campaign of 1864, between his raid on Washington and Phil Sheridan’s renowned fall campaign, had a significant impact on the political and military landscape of the time. By focusing on military tactics and battle history in uncovering the facts and events of these little-understood battles, Mr. Patchan’s book offers a new perspective on Early’s contributions to the Confederate war effort—and to Union battle plans and politicking.

Specifically, Mr. Patchan details the previously unexplored battles at Rutherford’s Farm and Kernstown (a pinnacle of Confederate operations in the Shenandoah Valley) and examines the campaign’s influence on President Lincoln’s reelection efforts. He also provides insights into the personalities, careers, and roles in the campaign of Confederate general John C. Breckinridge, Union general George Crook, and Union colonel James A. Mulligan, with his “fighting Irish” brigade from Chicago. Finally, Mr. Patchan reconsiders the ever-colorful and controversial General Early himself, whose importance in the Confederate military pantheon this book at last makes clear.
Source (click to link): Amazon

Other resources (click to link):
Civil War Trust
National Park Service

A life-long student of military history, who graduated from James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley, Scott C. Patchan is widely regarded as the leading authority and tour guide of the 1864 Valley Campaign.

He is the author of many articles and books, including The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont (1996), Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (2007), Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge (2011), and most recently, The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early, and the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, August 7 - September 19, 1864. Mr. Patchan also serves as a Director on the board of the Kernstown Battlefield Association in Winchester, Virginia, and is a member of the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation’s Resource Protection Committee.

Mr. Patchan is a Director of Administration (Accounting, IT,
and HR) for Fairfax County. He is responsible for managing financial, budgetary, personnel and IT functions.  Mr. Patchan has specialized in redesigning internal controls and strengthening budgetary and purchasing processes and has been involved in strategic planning and development of the County’s fiscal direction.  Source(click to link): LinkedIn 

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