Closeup of the Jackson's Second Corps Established wayside marker in New Market Gap, Virginia

Closeup of the Jackson's Second Corps Established wayside marker in New Market Gap, Virginia

Jackson’s 2nd Corps Established

Stonewall Dons a New Uniform

Having remained with his command in the vicinity of Winchester since the Battle of Sharpsburg/Antietam, by November 22, 1862, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was again on the march. With more than 32,000 soldiers, Jackson’s force made its way up the snow-covered Shenandoah Valley toward New Market and then toward Columbia Bridge by way of this gap.

On reaching a point atop Massanutten Mountain, sometime late in the evening on November 23, Jackson took the rare opportunity to rest and made camp nearby. In the brisk air of the following morning, as his staff admired a command ing view of the Page Valley below, Jackson emerged from his tent and unintentionally prompted his staff to redirect their awe upon the old hero of Manassas. Having recently been promoted to lieutenant general and wearing a new coat given him by General J.E.B. Stuart, a tall hat purchased by his mapmaker, Jedediah Hotchkiss, and a captured sword donated by a cavalryman, Jackson ignored the stares and boldly announced to his staff, “Young gentlemen, this is no longer the headquarters of the Army of the Valley, but of the Second Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia.”

The march that followed in the succeeding days took the new corps across the South Fork of the Shenandoah at the site of the Columbia Bridge near Alma, across Fisher’s Gap, and out of the Valley in order to rendezvous with Gen. Robert E. Lee and the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia. Less than three weeks later, Jackson’s Corps would be holding the Confederate right flank as Federal forces under General Ambrose Burnside unsuccessfully attempted to dislodge Lee from his strong line of defense at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13, 1862.