Sesquicentennial events

March 1862 & 2012

Events Then & Now

Valley Campaign

Then: Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson used lightening marches and intimate knowledge of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley to frustrate and ultimately defeat several Union armies sent against him. Most historians begin the Valley Campaign with the March 23 battle Kernstown, south of Winchester, which actually was a Confederate defeat. The campaign ended June 8–9 with Jackson's twin victories at Cross Keys and Port Republic.

2012: The Valley Campaign is the theme of a March 3 conference in Winchester VA. Battle anniversary programs are scheduled along the way. See and the listings below and in this section for anniversary commemorations.

March 2, 1862 – Confederates evacuate batteries at Columbus (KY)

Then: It was a short-lived Confederate occupation of the high ground above the Mississippi. Southern forces had occupied the site here a few months before.

2012: A state park commemorates and interprets the site. A Civil War weekend is held annually in October.

March 6–8, 1862 – Battle of Pea Ridge (AR)

Then: The Union cemented its control of Missouri with a victory here in Northwest Arkansas. The battle featured a variety of soldiers, including Indians.

2012: The NPS park plans a variety of tours, ranger programs and living history March 9–11 commemorating the battle.
NPS website:

Pea Ridge

March 9, 1862 – Battle of the Ironclads (Hampton Roads, VA)

Then: Strange looking ironclad ships slugged it out in Hampton Roads, making the contest between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) the first battle between such vessels. While the battle itself is regarded as a draw, the Monitor saved much of the Union fleet and was left with control of waterways.

2012: The remains of the USS Monitor, which sank off North Carolina during the war, are undergoing restoration at the Monitor Center in the Mariners' Museum in Newport News. The Mariners' Museum hosts a conference and living history program March 9–11.

March 14, 1862 – Battle of New Bern (NC)

Then: Union forces began their push into mainland North Carolina with a successful army-navy assault against the lightly defended town. New Bern remained under Union control the rest of the war and was the base for expeditions deeper into the state.

2012: The New Bern Battlefield Park preserves some of the Confederate defenses east of the city and Civil War Trails signs interpret the action in town. Plans include a symposium March 9–10 plus living history and tours of the New Bern Battlefield Park March 11 and 14.

March 14, 1862 – Union occupies New Madrid (MO)

Then: Union troops under Gen. John Pope occupied New Madrid and an "immense amount of war material" following a short campaign. Confederates had withdrawn to Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River.

2012: The event is commemorated with a living history weekend at the Hunter Dawson State Historic Site in New Madrid March 10-11.

150March 23, 1862 – First Battle of Kernstown (VA)

Then: This is considered the opening act of Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Jackson's ill-advised assault here resulted in Confederate defeat, the only one of the Campaign.

2012: Two parts of the battlefield are preserved in the Winchester area: Rose Hill and the Pritchard-Grim Farm. Walking tours at both sites are planned on the anniversary date. Ranger-guided "On This Day" walking tours scheduled at the Pritchard-Grim Farm site at 1 pm and another at Rose Hill at 4 pm on March 23. Living history programs, a bus tour and a cemetery walk are set March 24.

March 26–28, 1862 – Battle at Glorieta Pass (modern New Mexico)

Then: Called a Southern victory on the battlefield, the fighting here eventually doomed Confederate Gen. Henry Sibley's western expedition. The Confederates lost most of their supplies, forcing a withdrawal. eventually, from the Southwest.

2012: The battlefield is interpreted in part of the Pecos National Historical Park, which hosts a living history weekend close to the anniversary dates.

Reenactments planned:

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