Excerpt: ...But whatever their origin, they were thoroughly well qualified for their new trade. All classes mingled in the ranks, and all ages; the heirs of the oldest families, and the humblest of the sons of toil; boys whom it was impossible to keep in school, and men whose white beards hung below their cross belts; youths who had been reared in luxury, and rough hunters from their lonely cabins. They were a mountain people, nurtured in a wholesome climate bred to manly sports, and hardened by the free life of the field and forest. To social distinctions they gave Pg 62 little heed. They were united for a common purpose; they had taken arms to defend Virginia and to maintain her rights; and their patriotism was proved by the sacrifice of all personal consideration and individual interest." After the first battle of Manassas the First Brigade was known as the "Stonewall Brigade." From July to November, 1861, Jackson spent the greater part of every day drilling the men under him and in trying to convert them into well-disciplined, obedient troops. During the first week in November he was sent from Manassas to command the Shenandoah Valley district and this meant parting from the soldiers whom he had reason to admire and who in turn held him in highest esteem. A short time later they were destined to reunite under circumstances which would try the courage of the brigade and commander. To the delight of all, the Stonewall Brigade was assigned to Winchester soon after Jackson established his headquarters there and for the next few months rigid training was given them again. About the middle of March 1862, Jackson abandoned Winchester. This was after some of the Union concentration near Manassas and Centreville was broken up and General Banks made no move to offer battle, so the Confederates withdrew without a fight and occupied Strasburg eighteen or twenty miles southward. The evacuation of Winchester was made reluctantly, for good roads in each direction...
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