The Civil War, Day by Day

After the Snow

After the Snow

It was a brief interlude of peace and security amid the long winter of war. Located at a critical point on the North-South invasion route through the Shenandoah Valley, historic Winchester, Virginia was repeatedly occupied by invading armies. Happily for the residents of the town, the New Year of 1862 found Winchester in Confederate control. Under the protection of friendly forces, Winchester’s citizens could strive to make the days of war as normal and tolerable as possible. Bedecked by a fresh mantle of snow, Winchester’s courthouse looked much as it did in the days of pre-war peace. Children were free to romp in the snow. Women could gather unafraid outside Loudon Street’s shops. Passing troops, however, were a constant reminder that the peace was fragile and fleeting.

Winchester’s wartime tranquility would end in the spring of this year, when Northern troops under General Nathaniel P. Banks would occupy the lower Shenandoah Valley. Although Banks and his Federal army would be vanquished by General “Stonewall” Jackson and his Confederates at the First Battle of Winchester, the blue-uniformed forces would return. Bloody battles would be fought at Winchester again in 1863, and 1864. Always, the invading armies returned. Finally, in devastation - a harsh blow against the civilians of the Valley - so brutal that Winchester residents would describe it for generations simply as “the Burning.” In early January of 1862, however, the cruelest wages of war were still unimaginable in the Southern states. Like the residents of Winchester, Virginia, most Southerners still held high hopes for an early peace and a happy homecoming for the sons of the South.

February's Archived Features:

Wednesday February 1, 2023
Thursday February 2, 2023
Friday February 3, 2023
Saturday February 4, 2023
Sunday February 5, 2023
Monday February 6, 2023



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.