General Philip Sheridan had his orders.
“Give the enemy no rest. Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can. Carry off stock of all descriptions, and negroes, so as to prevent further planting. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste”.
With these words, Union Commanding General Ulysses S. Grant made it very clear to Sheridan, recently appointed commander of the Army of the Shenandoah, that he expected the bounty of the fertile and productive Shenandoah Valley in Virginia to be destroyed, depriving the Confederate armies defending Richmond and Petersburg of food supplies and livestock. Grant was determined to bring the American Civil War to an end by whatever means it took.
Read the entire article in the Sept. 11th issue of the Express.