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On March 11, 1862, 40,000 members of the Federal Army were just north of Winchester, Virginia. The sun was beginning its decent and they planned to bed down in Winchester that night. Massive columns of infantry marched behind the cavalry and front-line skirmishers. The Federals were full of confidence for they knew they outnumbered the Confederate Army in the Shenandoah Valley, commanded by General Stonewall Jackson, by more than ten to one.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, like a medieval Knight protecting his castle, a large white stallion came charging on the field, a small dark man in a plumed hat astride it, raised a saber in his hand. The Federal skirmishers were startled and confused as Confederate Colonel Turner Ashby began whacking upraised arms and anything else his saber could hit. Almost at the same time a small band of Colonel Ashby’s Cavalry came charging out of the woods and onto the field. The Federal officers figured they had superior numbers, but that small band of confederate Cavalry gave them pause. Plus…that vision of a marauder in a plumed hat on a big white stallion was unearthly enough to give a man a heart attack.

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