Cozzens' book, like his other books I've read, is very well written, flows easily, and quite informative. I now hold a much better grasp of the campaign, battles and leaders. Gained is a much better understanding of Banks' mindset, motivations, and constraints as well a more balanced study on Jackson. Jackson's idiosyncrasies are highlighted with emphasis on his strategic/operational strengths and tactical weaknesses. There were times in the campaign where Jackson was, indeed, a lucky commander.
Cozzens' provides ample scene-setting background material for creating Valley scenarios. Battles covered include Kernstown, Port Republic, Cross Keys, Winchester, McDowell, and the action at Front Royal. While the book contains an order of battle for the campaign and select battles, the wargamer would be better served by having actual troop strengths included.
On a Portland visit last fall, I picked up another book covering the Valley campaign at the bookstore mecca, Powell's. That book was Tanner's Stonewall in the Valley. While originally published nearly 40 years ago (my edition is the revised 1996 edition), an interesting exercise might include following up my Cozzens read with Tanner. I wonder if perceptions and conclusions have changed in the years separating these books?
Reading Cozzens' account of the Valley Campaign tempts me to pull Clash of Arms' Campaigns of R.E. Lee off the shelf. The strategic aspect of the campaign could be conducted with the boardgame with the engagements transferred to the table top for resolution. That would be interesting and provide more depth to the experience, don't you agree?
Although I do not have TAHGC/MMP's Stonewall In The Valley, it may be an even better boardgame solution to handle the campaign at an operational level.
If any have used boardgames to generate tactical encounters to be resolved on the miniature wargaming table, I would be interested in hearing about them.