Charles R. Knight's Valley Thunder is the first full-length account in more than three decades to examine the combat at New Market on May 15, 1864, the battle that opened the pivotal Shenandoah Valley Campaign, a strategically important and agriculturally abundant region that helped feed Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant intended to attack the Confederacy on multiple fronts so it could no longer 'take advantage of interior lines.' Grant tasked Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel and a motley collection of units numbering some 10,000 men to clear the Valley and threaten Lee's left flank. Opposing Sigel was John C. Breckinridge, a former vice president and now Confederate major general who assembled a scratch command to repulse the invading Federals. A Confederate victory drove Union forces from the Valley, but they would return, reinforced and under new leadership, within a month. Before being repulsed, they marched over the field at New Market and capture Staunton, burn VMI in Lexington, and very nearly capture Lynchburg. That summer would permanently sweep the Confederates from the 'Bread Basket of the Confederacy.'Valley Thunder: The Battle of New Market is based upon years of primary research. Knight's balanced and objective approach includes a detailed examination of the complex prelude leading up to the day of battle. His entertaining prose introduces a new generation of readers to a wide array of soldiers, civilians, and politicians who found themselves swept up in one of the war's most gripping engagements.About the Author Charles R. Knight is a former Historical Interpreter at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park, and currently serves as the curator of the Douglas MacArthur Memorial.

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