Middletown in Frederick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek
19 October 1864 (a.m.)
Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Union forces established themselves on both sides of the Valley Pike, north of Cedar Creek, centered on Belle Grove.
Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early decided to send from below Strasburg three divisions, all under Maj. Gen. John B. Gordon’s command, along a trail south of the Shenandoah to Bowman’s and McInturff’s Fords. Once across, a hike of a mile got them onto the left flank of George Crook’s Eighth Corps. Wharton’s Division braced to cross Cedar Creek to attack Crook’s position frontally.
The attack opened at 5:00 a.m. when Kershaw’s Division rushed the trenches of Thoburn’s Division, Crook’s Corps. A few minutes after Kershaw’s attack, Gordon’s Corps smashed into Hayes’ Division of the Corps. Many of Crook’s men fled to the rear. As soon as Wharton heard Kershaw’s attack, he closed up to the Cedar Creek Bridge and the Confederate artillery raced forward to Hupp’s Hill to go into battery against Emory’s Corps at 5:20 a.m.
By this time Emory’s
The Confederate onslaught pressed to positions around Belle Grove, where mixed elements of both Crook’s and Emory’s Corps fought desperately.
The units of Wright’s Corps, west of Meadow Brook, got into line of battle before they became seriously engaged. Keifer’s Division established a line oriented toward Cedar Creek, fighting Kershaw’s Division by 7:15 a.m. Contact was lost with the rest of the corps and Keifer’s Division was forced back.
Wheaton’s Division moved first to a position east of Meadow Brook, looking toward Belle Grove, but was pushed by Gordon to a line on high ground west of the brook. It withdrew from this position to link with Getty’s Division of the corps.
Getty’s Division, Sixth Corps delayed briefly on the southern edge of Middletown and then, about 8:00 a.m., deployed onto Cemetery Hill west of town. For about and hour it repelled successive assaults from four of Early’s Divisions. At 10 a.m., Getty retired to the new Federal line being formed about a mile farther north. The Confederate attack halted north of Middletown.
The Battle of Cedar Creek
19 October 1864 (p.m.)
Confederate forces by 11:00 a.m. occupied the line recently vacated by Getty’s Division, Wright’s Sixth
By then, Sheridan had placed a cavalry division on each flank with Wright’s and Emory’s Corps in line. Crook’s Corps was in reserve. His plan called for the cavalry to press both of Early’s flanks while Emory’s Corps pivoted southeastward. The Confederate shirmishers were pushed in around 3:30 p.m. and the main attack began at 4:00 p.m. Confederate resistance north of Middletown was fierce for about an hour. Then Gordon’s thinner lines to the west broke and Custer’s Federal cavalry on that flank struck for Early’s rear. This created panic along the entire Confederate line, which quickly turned into a stampede. The Confederate artillery with a few infantrymen fought brief delaying actions at the Federal morning positions and at Hupp’s Hill, but Early lost control as his forces dissolved in an effort to escape Federal
The disaster was compounded when a bridge at Spangler’s Mill, south of Strasburg, broke. This caused a jam which prevented any vehicles from moving farther south. Thus, the guns and most of the wagons captured in the morning, plus twenty-four of Early’s cannon, had to be abandoned to the rampaging Federal cavalry. Early’s shattered forces gathered at Fisher’s Hill and withdrew southward. Confederate military power in the Valley was broken.
* Confederate names and units are in italics.
This material is based upon work done under cooperative agreement with the Department of Interior, National Park Service, American Battlefield Protection Program. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is October 19, 1864.
Location. 39° 1.169′ N, 78° 17.565′ W. Marker is in Middletown, Virginia, in Frederick County. Marker is on Valley Pike (U.S. 11) 0.6 miles north of Belle Grove Road (Virginia Route 727), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8437 Valley Pike, Middletown VA 22645, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this markerVermont at Cedar Creek (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named The Battle of Cedar Creek (a few steps from this marker); N.C. Troops at Cedar Creek (a few steps from this marker); Heater House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Battle of Cedar Creek (about 400 feet away); Monte Vista (approx. 0.2 miles away); Heater Fields (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Cedar Creek (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Middletown.
Also see . . .
1. The Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation (CCBF). (Submitted on October 20, 2014.)
2. Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park. National Park Service (Submitted on October 20, 2014.)
3. Cedar Creek. Civil War Trust (Submitted on October 20, 2014.)
4. Cedar Creek (VA122). Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (Submitted on October 20, 2014.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 627 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 17, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 6. submitted on October 18, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 7, 8, 9. submitted on October 17, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.