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Encyclopedia > Battle of Cedar Creek
Battle of Cedar Creek
Part of the American Civil War

Sheridan at Cedar Creek, Oct. 19, 1864
Date October 19, 1864
Location Frederick County, Virginia, Shenandoah County, Virginia and Warren County, Virginia
Result Union victory
Combatants
United States of America Confederate States of America
Commanders
Horatio G. Wright
Philip H. Sheridan
Jubal A. Early
Strength
31,945 21,000
Casualties
5,665 2,910
Sheridan's Valley Campaign
Guard Hill – Summit Point – Smithfield Crossing – BerryvilleOpequonFisher's HillTom's BrookCedar Creek

The Battle of Cedar Creek, or The Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Philip Sheridan at Cedar Creek, Oct 19, 1864 Source A Brief History of the United States, Barness Historical Series, American Book Company, New York, 1885. ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Location in the state of Virginia Formed 1743 Seat Winchester Area  - Total  - Water 1,076 km² (416 mi²) 3 km² (1 mi²) 0. ... Shenandoah County is a county located in the state of Virginia. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq mi (110,862 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 7. ... Warren County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... Motto: (traditional) In God We Trust (official, 1956–present) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington, D.C. Largest city New York City Official language(s) None at the federal level; English de facto Government Federal Republic  - President George W. Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence - Declared - Recognized... Motto: Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem: God Save the South (unofficial) Dixie (traditional) The Bonnie Blue Flag (popular) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (from April 3, 1865) Language(s) English (de facto) Government Republic President... Horatio G. Wright Horatio Gouverneur Wright ( March 6, 1820 – July 2, 1899) was an engineer and officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Philip Sheridan Philip Henry Sheridan (March 6, 1831 – August 5, 1888) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. ... Jubal Anderson Early (November 3, 1816 – March 2, 1894) was a lawyer and Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... Eastern Theater operations in 1864 The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October, 1864. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Brigadier General Thomas C. Devin Brigadier General William Wofford Strength Brigades brigades Casualties 71 480 TheBattle of Guard Hill took place on August 16, 1864 in Warren County, Virginia as part of Phillip H. Sheridans Shenandoah Valley Campaign of... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Colonel Joseph Thoburn Major General Joseph B. Kershaw Strength Corps Division Casualties 312 195 The Battle of Berryville was fought 3-4 September 1864 in Clarke County, Virginia. ... The Battle of Opequon, also known as the Third Battle of Winchester, was a decisive victory for the Union army during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War. ... Battle of Fishers Hill Conflict American Civil War Date September 21- 22, 1864 Place Shenandoah County, Virginia Result Union victory In the Battle of Fishers Hill, Phil Sheridan had almost 30,000 men while Jubal Anderson Early had just under 10,000. ... The Battle of Toms Brook was fought on October 9, 1864, between Union cavalry and Confederate forces. ... October 19 is the 292nd day of the year (293rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Eastern Theater operations in 1864 The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October, 1864. ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total...

Contents

Background

Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early had withdrawn "up the Valley" (southwest into the higher elevations of the Shenandoah Valley) under pressure from Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah. Sheridan's army was engaged in destroying the economic base of the Valley, meant to deprive Robert E. Lee's army of the supplies they required. They were encamped at Cedar Creek, in parts of Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties of Virginia. Some Confederate soldiers The Confederate States Army (CSA) was formed in February 1861 to defend the Confederate States of America, which had itself been formed that same year when seven Southern states seceded from the United States (four more states soon followed). ... US Lieutenant General insignia In three branches of the United States Army, United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force, a Lieutenant General is also called a three-star general, named for the three stars worn on the uniform. ... Jubal Anderson Early (November 3, 1816 – March 2, 1894) was a lawyer and Confederate general in the American Civil War. ... Canoeing on the Shenandoah River near Winchester, VA. The Shenandoah Valley region of western Virginia, from Winchester to Staunton, is bounded by the Blue Ridge mountains to the East and the Allegheny mountains to the West. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... Philip Sheridan Philip Henry Sheridan (March 6, 1831 – August 5, 1888) was a career U.S. Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War. ... The Army of the Shenandoah, first promulgated in 1861 and then disbanded, is best known for its creation in 1864 under (later one of the first Generals of the Army) Philip Sheridan. ... Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ... Location in the state of Virginia Formed 1743 Seat Winchester Area  - Total  - Water 1,076 km² (416 mi²) 3 km² (1 mi²) 0. ... Shenandoah County is a county located in the state of Virginia. ... Warren County is a county located in the U.S. state — officially, Commonwealth — of Virginia. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq mi (110,862 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 7. ...


Sheridan ordered the VI Corps, under Horatio G. Wright, to return to the Petersburg siege lines, assuming that Early had no aggressive moves left to him after more than a month of battling. However, after a reconnaissance in force by Early turned into a division-sized skirmish between the armies, Sheridan recalled Wright. He sent two divisions of cavalry off to raid the Virginia Central Railroad, but Early planted rumors that Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's corps might join him from Petersburg, and Sheridan brought all of his forces back to the camps along Cedar Creek. The VI Corps (Sixth Corps) was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Horatio G. Wright Horatio Gouverneur Wright ( March 6, 1820 – July 2, 1899) was an engineer and officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Ulysses S. Grant Robert E. Lee Strength 67,000 – 125,000 average of 52,000 Casualties 53,386 ~32,000 The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 15, 1864, to March 25... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... Virginia Central Railroad was chartered as the Louisa Railroad in 1836 by the Virginia Board of Public Works and had its name changed to Virginia Central Railroad in 1850. ... James Longstreet (January 8, 1821 – January 2, 1904) was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War, the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his Old War Horse. ...

Battle of Cedar Creek, initial assaults
Battle of Cedar Creek, initial assaults

The pugnacious Early had some aggression left in him and he had Lee's exhortations to take action guiding him. (In a letter of October 12, 1864, Lee told Early, "You had better move against him and endeavor to crush him. ... I do not think Sheridan's infantry or cavalry numerically as large as you suppose.") Early examined the Union position behind Cedar Creek and found an opening. Expecting an attack across the open valley floor to the west, the Union left relied on natural obstacles for cover. Early planned to get his men across the creek and attack the Union left, rolling up the line and defeating each part in detail. His choice was either to attack or retire to replenish his dwindling supplies. Early chose boldness and planned an assault on superior forces, using surprise to his advantage. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1118x1517, 260 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1118x1517, 260 KB) I, the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. ... October 12 is the 285th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (286th in leap years). ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...


Battle

Early deployed his men in three columns in an audacious night march, lighted only by the moon. Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon's division started at 8:00 p.m. and followed a "pig's path" along the base of Massanutten Mountain and across the river. Just before sunrise, operating under a cover of dense fog, Gordon struck. The surprise was complete, and the first Union corps (Maj. Gen. George Crook's VIII) fought momentarily, then broke. Hundreds of prisoners were taken, many of them still in their bedclothes. John Brown Gordon John Brown Gordon ( February 6, 1832 – January 9, 1904) served as one of Robert E. Lees most trusted generals during the Civil War. ... Portrait of George Crook George Crook (September 8, 1828 – March 21, 1890) was a career U.S. Army officer, most noted for his distinguished service during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. ... VIII Corps was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ...


The XIX Corps under Maj. Gen. William Emory was next to be hit, by Gordon and the division of Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw, who joined the attack from the west, and Emory's soldiers broke, too. The Confederate assault moved so swiftly that they had little time to prepare. Retreating soldiers from Emory's corps caused confusion and damaged the morale of the defenders. And since their hasty battle line faced south rather than west, Confederate guns across the creek were able to shell the open Union flank. XIX Corps was a corps of the Union Army during the American Civil War. ... Joseph Brevard Kershaw (January 5, 1822 – April 13, 1894) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War. ...


Wright's VI Corps, last in the line, fought a strong defensive battle, withdrawing slowly under heavy pressure. He attempted to advance his lines southward to meet Early's initial assault, but the attack moved too quickly for him to get them moving. Early did not keep up his pressure, however, so pleased was he with his victory, including the capture of over a thousand prisoners and eighteen guns. He mistakenly assumed that Wright would retreat from the battlefield. He told Gordon, "This is glory enough for one day." The Union troops had withdrawn past Middletown. His failure to pursue them is considered his fatal mistake in the battle and caused lasting enmity between him and Gordon.


Sheridan was away at Winchester, Virginia, at the time the battle started. Hearing the distant sounds of artillery, he rode aggressively to his command. (A famous poem, Sheridan's Ride, was written by Thomas Buchanan Read to commemorate this event.) He reached the battlefield about 10:30 a.m. and began to rally his men. Fortunately for Sheridan, Early's men were too occupied to take notice; they were hungry and exhausted and fell out of their ranks to pillage the Union camps. Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates: Country United States State Virginia County Independent City Founded 1802 Mayor Elizabeth Minor Area    - City 24. ...


General Sheridan wrote in his official report an account of the famous ride:

[I] was unconscious of the true condition of affairs until about 9 o'clock, when having ridden through the town of Winchester, the sound of the artillery made a battle unmistakable, and on reaching Mill Creek, half a mile south of Winchester, the head of the fugitives appeared in sight, trains and men coming to the rear with appalling rapidity. I immediately gave directions to halt and park the trains at Mill Creek, and ordered the brigade at Winchester to stretch across the country and stop all stragglers. Taking twenty men from my escort, I pushed on to the front, leaving the balance under General Forsyth and Colonels Thom and Alexander to do what they could in stemming the torrent of fugitives. I am happy to say that hundreds of the men, when of reflection found they had not done themselves justice, came back with cheers. ... still none behaved more gallantly or exhibited greater courage than those who returned from the rear determined to reoccupy their lost camp. ...

– Philip H. Sheridan, Report of Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, U.S. Army, commanding Middle Military Division, including operations August 4, 1864February 27, 1865: The War of the Rebellion, Vol. 43, Part I, pages 52–54. August 4 is the 216th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (217th in leap years), with 149 days remaining. ... 1864 (MDCCCLXIV) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... February 27 is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ...

At 3:00 p.m.Gordon resumed his offensive with a minor attack that might have succeeded in the morning, but was easily repulsed. At 4:00 p.m., Emory's corps counterattacked. Early's three divisions were stretched out on a line about three miles long, with the flanks unprotected. Emory was reinforced by George A. Custer's cavalry division, which exploited the open left flank and broke the Confederate line. Other cavalry units destroyed a bridge in the Confederate rear, cutting off their escape route. Many of the veteran Southern troops surrendered, certain they could not fight their way out of the debacle. The Union took hundreds of prisoners, 43 guns (18 of which were their own guns from the morning), and supplys that the union could not replace. George Armstrong Custer George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 - June 25, 1876) was an American cavalry commander in the Civil War and the Indian Wars who is best remembered for his defeat and death at the Battle of the Little Bighorn against a coalition of Native American tribes, led by...


Aftermath

The battle resulted in a crushing defeat for the Confederacy. They were never again able to threaten Washington, D.C., through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect the economic base in the Valley. The reelection of Abraham Lincoln was materially aided by this victory and Phil Sheridan received lasting fame. Jubal Early's command was effectively ended and his surviving units returned to assist Robert E. Lee in Petersburg that December. Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American politician elected from Illinois as the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ... Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Ulysses S. Grant Robert E. Lee Strength 67,000 – 125,000 average of 52,000 Casualties 53,386 ~32,000 The Richmond-Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 15, 1864, to March 25...


Future U.S. Senator Henry A. du Pont was awarded the Medal of Honor for his handling of an early retreat at Cedar Creek, contributing to Sheridan's ultimate victory. The United States Senate is the upper house of the U.S. Congress, smaller than the United States House of Representatives. ... Henry du Pont Henry A. du Pont (July 30, 1838 – December 31, 1926) was a decorated U.S. Army officer, a businessman, and a United States Senator from the state of Delaware. ... The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. ...


The participation of the Vermont Brigade in the battle (more Vermonters took part in this battle than any other in the war) is commemorated by a large wall-sized painting in the Cedar Creek Room on the second floor of the Vermont State House in Montpelier. In 1997, proposed highway construction threatened a ridge where the 8th Vermont Regiment, commanded by Stephen Thomas, lost nearly two-thirds of its men in a heroic early morning stand. The proposal prompted the Vermont State Legislature to adopt a resolution[1] asking Virginia to prevent building on the ridge. The First Vermont Brigade, or Old Brigade was an infantry brigade in the Union Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War. ... The Vermont State House The Vermont State House, located in Montpelier, Vermont, is the capitol and seat of government of the U.S. state of Vermont. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... ...


References

The Official Records of the American Civil War or often more simply the Official Records or ORs, constitute a unique, authentic, and comprehensive collection of first-hand accounts, orders, reports, and correspondence drawn from War and Navy Department records of both Confederate and Union governments during the American Civil War. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Vermont resolution

See also

Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park became the 388th unit of the of the United States National Park Service when it was authorized on December 19, 2002. ... The following Confederate States Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Cedar Creek. ... The following Union Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Cedar Creek of the American Civil War. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation (367 words)
The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation has been working since 1988 to create, on the land where the 1864 Battle of Cedar Creek was fought, a memorial to the courage and devotion of the men who struggled there, and an educational resource for all people interested in their American heritage.
These include the Cedar Creek Visitor Center and the "crown jewel of the Cedar Creek Battlefield", the 135 acre tract along the banks of Cedar Creek on which are located the remains of the Federal XIX Corps Earthworks.
The non-profit Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation is currently raising funds to retire the remaining debt of $274,000 on this purchase and restore the Heater House.
Self-Guided Tour (747 words)
By retracing the course of a battle on the actual ground, military leaders and students deepen their knowledge of military operations and gain a better understanding of the vagaries and costs of war that form an important part of military planning.
Cedar Creek is also accessible to many major military bases, and I strongly recommend soldiers, either in teacher-directed parties or privately after suitable background reading, to "do" Cedar Creek.
The last great battle of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia took place on 19 October 1864 along Cedar Creek between the towns of Strasburg and Middletown.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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