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ISBN-13: 978-1-7350739-8-9
Pages: 163
Trim: 6×9
Format: Paperback

Worthy of a Higher Rank

The 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign Journal of Colonel Joseph Thoburn, Commander, First Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia
Scott C. Patchan

Based primarily on his 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign journal, this biographical work on Colonel Joseph Thoburn, Commander, 1st Infantry Division, Army of West Virginia, provides significant insight on this period of the Civil War, as well as background on an important field commander of the Union Army who was a physician from Wheeling, West Virginia.

“Joseph Thoburn was both a physician and a warrior. His martial skills caused him to stand out among his peers in Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah. The Scotch-Irish immigrant became an outstanding brigade and division commander who left his mark on the numerous battlefields of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. His diary provides keen insight into the workings of Thoburn’s mind and likewise provides keen insight into the physician-turned-warrior’s battlefield exploits. Scott Patchan, the dean of 1864 Valley Campaign historians, has done a fine job of editing Thoburn’s diary and getting it ready for publication.This diary will become an important resource for any historian seeking to document the fightingthat occurred in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864 and will be an excellent source for those who enjoy reading primary sources.” – Eric J.Wittenberg, award-winning author

“This is a gem of a journal – particularly because it comes from the hand of a brigade and division commander, perhaps one of the Civil War’s most underappreciated Union martyrs. Colonel Joseph Thoburn’s insights and details provide abundant grist for understanding and appreciating the first three months of the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Scott Patchan’s expertise as the leading authority of the campaign enhances this rich account with adept annotations as well as valuable bookends to the journal, including Thoburn’s life and career before his first journal entry and his heroic performances and untimely death after his final one. After completing this enjoyable read, one cannot escape the mix of hope and regret that appear from the realization that Thoburn’s earlier journals of the War may still exist but have yet to be discovered.” – Gary Ecelbarger, a leading authority on the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xv
Introduction – Colonel Thoburn and the Valley of Humiliation 1
Foreword – by Bishop James M.Thoburn 19
1 – The New Market Campaign 21
2 – The Battle of Piedmont and Capture of Staunton 33
3 – Hunter’s Raid on Lynchburg 45
4 – Back to the Valley: Chasing Jubal Early’s Raiders 57
5 – The Second Battle of Kernstown and Another Retreat 71
6 – A Change of Command 79
Prologue – Sheridan’s Valley Campaign 89
Appendix A – Letters from the 1st West Virginia Infantry and Colonel Joseph Thoburn 119
Appendix B – Colonel Thoburn’s Report on the Battle of Piedmont 127
Appendix C – Accounts of Thoburn’s Death 131
Bibiography 135
Notes 137
Index 153
About the Author 163

About the Author


Scott C. Patchan is a graduate of James Madison University in the Shenandoah Valley. He is the author of many articles and books, including The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont (1996), Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign (2007), Second Manassas: Longstreet’s Attack and the Struggle for Chinn Ridge (2011), The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton(2011), and The Last Battle of Winchester: Phil Sheridan, Jubal Early and the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign (2013).

He has also written feature essays for Blue and Gray Magazine on Cool Spring, Rutherford’s Farm and Second Kernstown; Third Battle of Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, Cedar Creek and two volumes on Second Bull Run. He has also written extensively for Civil War Magazine, North South, America’s Civil War and other historical publications.

Scott has twice served as President of Bull Run Civil War Round Table, a member of the Kernstown Battlefield Association’s board of directors from 2000-2014, and worked extensively on the interpretation of the Third Winchester battlefield for the Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation. He is also a much sought-after tour guide at both Civil War and Revolutionary War era sites from New York to Georgia.

Amazon Author Page


“There is little to criticize and much to admire about this volume. Soundly annotated and contextualized, Thoburn’s diary has wide-appeal to those interested in the conflict in the Shenandoah Valley, the interactions between soldiers and civilians, and waging war against civilian populations.”

Read the entire book review by Jonathan Noyalas for Civil War Monitor magazine…

…a very valuable resource for those seeking fresh information on the Shenandoah campaigns along with the life and Civil War service of Col. Thoburn. Going the extra mile, the scholarly presentation of the material by editor Scott Patchan is both extensive and visually appealing.

Civil War Books and Authors Blog