December 18, This day during the American Civil War

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December 18, 1861 – in City, Virginia – While Brig. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson was waiting for Brig. Gen. W.W. Loring, Jackson decided that he needed to keep his men busy. Since he had shut down the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Harpers Ferry in May, the Union army had been using the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal to transport coal from western Virginia to Washington, D.C. The canal depended on several dams to maintain the water level. He decided to destroy one of the dams, Dam No. 5 north of Martinsburg, and put the canal out of operation.On December 16, Jackson organized the famous Stonewall Brigade and a militia brigade before dawn and headed north towards the dam. It took him almost 2 days to march his Confederate force to Dam No. 5 On December 17, late in the day, Jackson’s force reached the dam and began preperations to…

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