information on General N.P. Banks
General Nathaniel Banks is one of the Union officers that was mentioned quite frequently in letters from Josiah Ware. His troops played a significant role in the battle action around Berryville and Winchester.
In one letter from Josiah to his son, James, he wrote: "Gen. Banks, hearing of their (the Confederates) descent at Strasburg, mounted his horse, said to his landlord he had not time to settle his bill, and dashed off at full speed. In Winchester his horse fell. He remounted and never stopped until in Martinsburg - leaving his army behind. (ref.#1)
In a different letter written from Josiah's wife (Edmonia) to her daughter, General Banks was again mentioned. This time it was in reference to destruction of Ware property that had occurred when Banks' soldiers crossed Springfield Farm. She was lamenting the damage caused by the most recent incident with Federal troops when she wrote that "they . . . cut the curtains from the small carriage which is the only one I have had since the war (Banks' men having ruined the large one at their first invasion)." (ref. #2)
General Banks was not known for tremendous success with his campaign in the Berryville area. As one author wrote, "The new leader (General Pope) received command of the armies of Major Generals Banks, Fremont, and McDowell, which had failed so miserably in attempting to trap Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley." (ref. #3) He went on to describe General Banks as "the same general who had formerly served as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and who more recently had been derisively dubbed "Commissary" Banks because Jackson had captured so many of his supplies." (ref. #4) Banks was later assigned to command the defense forces in Washington.
During the Red River Campaign during March through May of 1864, Banks worked closely with General Grant and Chief of Staff Henry Halleck. Again, things did not go well and Banks was removed from command after the Red River Campaign. (ref.#5)
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