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The Final Invasion; Jubal Early, 1864

Speaker: Gail Stephens

In the fourth summer of the Civil War, a Confederate army came close to carrying off the improbable - the seizure of Washington, DC. In June 1864, Lt. Gen. Jubal Early slipped away from the works around Richmond, where Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia faced Grant and the Army of the Potomac, and moved rapidly through the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland with an army of 16,000 veterans. Lee’s orders to Early - take Washington, which had been stripped of veteran troops to reinforce Grant. The Union high command in Washington refused to believe the first reports of a Confederate presence north of the Potomac and took no action.

The Union commander in Baltimore, Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace, was convinced of the threat, and mustered a small force near Frederick, Maryland, where on July 9 he and his men managed to hold Early’s army an entire day, though outnumbered two to one. Warned by Wallace, Grant swung into action and put a corps onto steamships to reinforce Washington. The race was on. Though the Confederates did not succeed, this little known campaign is one of the most exciting and potentially most momentous of the Civil War, and it had a crucial impact on the fortunes of the Lincoln Administration and the course of the Civil War.

Gail Stephens has a Bachelor’s Degree in International Politics from George Washington University in Washington DC, and did graduate work at Johns Hopkins and Harvard Universities. She worked for the Department of Defense for 26 years, retiring in 1994 as a member of the Department’s Senior Executive Service. Upon retirement, she began to study the American Civil War. She volunteers at Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick, Maryland, lectures regularly on various Civil War topics, including Monocacy, Major General Lew Wallace, and the 1864 Maryland campaign, and gives battlefield tours. She is on the board of the General Lew Wallace Study Museum and chairs the board of the Western Maryland Interpretive Association, which is responsible for the bookstores at Antietam and Monocacy. Gail has written articles on Lew Wallace and Early’s 1864 campaign for various Civil War publications. Her book on Wallace’s Civil War career, Shadow of Shiloh, published by the Indiana Historical Society Press in October 2010, won the Civil War Forum of New York City’s William Henry Seward Award for best Civil War biography of 2011.


Admission: £10 with reservations made by Friday, 12 September 2014 - contact Treasurer for further details. N.B. admittance cannot be guaranteed without an advance reservation.

Date: Saturday 20th September 2014

Time: 13:30 start

Venue: The Civil Service Club, Great Scotland Yard, London

Close: 16.30 hours

The Venue

The Civil Service Club is situated in Great Scotland Yard, near Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross railway station, Charing Cross Underground Station (Northern and Bakerloo lines), Embankment Underground Station (Circle and District, Northern and Bakerloo lines). Click here for location map.


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