|The Battle of Front Royal was the second major engagement of Stonewall Jackson's 1862 Valley Campaign. Jackson's decisive victory over a small Union force at Front Royal on 23 May 1862 forced the main Union Army at Strasburg under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks into abrupt retreat. Jackson deceived Banks into believing that the Confederate army was in the main Valley near Harrisonburg; instead he had marched swiftly north to New Market and crossed Massanutten via New Market Gap to Luray. The advance to Front Royal placed Jackson in position to move directly on Winchester in the rear of the Union army. On May 24 Banks retreated down the Valley Pike to Winchester setting the stage for the battle of First Winchester the following day.
The action at Front Royal demonstrated Jackson's use of Valley topography and mobility to unite his own forces while dividing those of his enemies. At a minimal cost, he forced the withdrawal of a large Union army by striking at its flank and threatening its rear. The confusion engendered by Jackson's appearance at Front Royal and the hasty Union retreat from Strasburg to Winchester contributed materially to the defeat of Banks' army at First Winchester on May 25th. Jackson used his cavalry to good advantage at Front Royal, to sever US communications east and west, and to strike the final blow at Cedarville.
Casualties during this battle were very uneven. The Confederates lost about 50 men while the Federals lost 32 men killed, 122 wounded and more than 750 captured. John William Stegall died on July 1, 1862 from injuries received during the battle.