The grind of war continues this week 150 years ago in the Civil War as a contingent of 3,000 Confederate fighters overrun a 1,000-man Union force at Front Royal in northern Virginia in a battle fought May 23, 1862.
The Union fighters are pushed back by the surprise attack through the town of Front Royal, retreating under fire. They temporarily hold their ground on one hill and then another but are outnumbered and retreat. In the end, the Union forces are routed and hundreds of federal forces throw down their arms and surrender.
All told, there are only about 50 casualties on the Confederate side while estimates indicate the Union suffered hundreds of dead or wounded.
Confederate Thomas Stonewall Jackson was waging his bold hit-and-run campaign through the Shenandoah Valley this springtime and the battle again demonstrated the prowess of his and allied forces who were striking close enough to Washington to alarm the Lincoln government nearby.
Only days earlier in May 1862, Jackson’s forces had attacked Union fighters in McDowell, Va., pushing them back across the Potomac River.