Lt. Colonel Turner Ashby, General T.J. Jackson & Captain R.P. Chew
Union Church - Mount Jackson, Virginia - March 1862
During the month of March of 1862 the weather fluctuated from rain, snow and sleet to warming temperatures. Spring was coming and General "Stonewall" Jackson placed into motion his aggressive plans to head north from Mount Jackson and attack the Federal Army wherever he found it.
Near Washington, the Federal Army was on the move as well. General McClellan's plan to gather a huge force and attack the Confederate capital at Richmond had been approved by Lincoln. McClellan sent orders to his generals in the Valley to begin the process of moving troops to support his Peninsula Campaign against Richmond. If McClellan's plan was successful it could end the war. Stonewall's plan was to attack the Federal Army in the Valley and prevent McClellan's reinforcement.
Stonewall had a number of chess pieces that would aid him. Captain Roger Preston Chew's company had three pieces of artillery; a 3-inch Iron Rifle, a 12-pound bronze smoothbore howitzer, and an imported British 3.1 inch Blakely Rifle. The power and accuracy of the Blakely Rifle would give Chew’s Battery much of its fame in the Valley. Stonewall's "Knight" was his fearless cavalry commander Turner Ashby. Ashby would play a key role in what would become known as Jackson's Valley Campaign, one of the most brilliant operations of military history.
Although Lt. Colonel Ashby seldom wore a uniform, he was well known in the Valley for his daring exploits and white stallion named "Tom Telegraph". Stopping for a moment in front of the Union Church, Ashby receives a gift of apples from two young admirers. A rare gift and thanks for his service to the cause.