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Author Topic: SHERIDAN DESTROYS EARLY: CEDAR CREEK - 1864  (Read 52 times)
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PzLdr
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« on: October 19, 2017, 05:15:06 pm »

It was one of those days when it starts off great, then falls apart. And it fell apart big time on Confederate LTG Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley, at a place called Cedar Creek.

Early had been active in the Shenandoah for a good part of the Summer and Fall. He had been detached from the Army of Northern Virginia by Robert e. Lee for the purpose of putting pressure on Grant's army of the Potomac to reinforce Washington, D.C., and relieving pressure on lee.

Early has started, promisingly enough by feinting toward the capital, and then marching into the Valley. And, in a sense, Lee got what he wanted. But just not in the way he wanted. Grant sent Phil Sheridan, with an army of his own, to settle matters in the Shenandoah for good. Sheridan's orders were to raze the Valley so badly [it was Lee's chief source of provender], that 'if a crow wanted to fly over the Valley, he'd have to carry his own provisions'.

Sheridan then fought a series of battles with Early, generally winning them, and put the Valley to the torch.

But on October 19th, Sheridan was on his way to Grant, and unbeknownst to him, Early was in the neighborhood, planning an attack on Sheridan's army.

Early caught the Union troops unaware, and unprepared, just as they were cooking breakfast. Surprise was complete, and the Rebels carried the field, and drove deeply into the union positions. But then the attack started to break down. Many of the Confederates stopped to eat the Union breakfasts, since they were hungry, underfed and exhausted from the approach  march. Additionally, due to the complexity of Early's attack plan, not all his troops arrived on the battlefield as a cohesive force. So as the morning wore on the attack slowed, then stopped, with many of the Confederate troops looting Union positions. And despite the urging of his subordinates, particularly MG John B. Gordon, Early made no effort to renew the attack.

The Union troops took advantage of the lull to straighten their lines, and redeploy. then, in the afternoon, Sheridan, appeared. Having heard the sounds of battle that morning, he had returned, rallying fleeing troops as he did so. And then he attacked.

The Confederates were caught virtually flatfooted. And while the Union Infantry attacked them from the front, Sheridan's cavalry, led by Wesley Merritt and George Armstrong Custer, attacked them from their left front. In one of the few instances it happened in the civil War, the union cavalry charge broke the rebel infantry. Early's army fled the battlefield, routed. For all extents and purposes, after the cavalry broke off the pursuit the war in the Shenandoah was over.  And in six months, Lee's war would be over too.

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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2017, 06:58:27 pm »

It was one of those days when it starts off great, then falls apart. And it fell apart big time on Confederate LTG Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley, at a place called Cedar Creek.

Early had been active in the Shenandoah for a good part of the Summer and Fall. He had been detached from the Army of Northern Virginia by Robert e. Lee for the purpose of putting pressure on Grant's army of the Potomac to reinforce Washington, D.C., and relieving pressure on lee.

Early has started, promisingly enough by feinting toward the capital, and then marching into the Valley. And, in a sense, Lee got what he wanted. But just not in the way he wanted. Grant sent Phil Sheridan, with an army of his own, to settle matters in the Shenandoah for good. Sheridan's orders were to raze the Valley so badly [it was Lee's chief source of provender], that 'if a crow wanted to fly over the Valley, he'd have to carry his own provisions'.

Sheridan then fought a series of battles with Early, generally winning them, and put the Valley to the torch.

But on October 19th, Sheridan was on his way to Grant, and unbeknownst to him, Early was in the neighborhood, planning an attack on Sheridan's army.

Early caught the Union troops unaware, and unprepared, just as they were cooking breakfast. Surprise was complete, and the Rebels carried the field, and drove deeply into the union positions. But then the attack started to break down. Many of the Confederates stopped to eat the Union breakfasts, since they were hungry, underfed and exhausted from the approach  march. Additionally, due to the complexity of Early's attack plan, not all his troops arrived on the battlefield as a cohesive force. So as the morning wore on the attack slowed, then stopped, with many of the Confederate troops looting Union positions. And despite the urging of his subordinates, particularly MG John B. Gordon, Early made no effort to renew the attack.

The Union troops took advantage of the lull to straighten their lines, and redeploy. then, in the afternoon, Sheridan, appeared. Having heard the sounds of battle that morning, he had returned, rallying fleeing troops as he did so. And then he attacked.

The Confederates were caught virtually flatfooted. And while the Union Infantry attacked them from the front, Sheridan's cavalry, led by Wesley Merritt and George Armstrong Custer, attacked them from their left front. In one of the few instances it happened in the civil War, the union cavalry charge broke the rebel infantry. Early's army fled the battlefield, routed. For all extents and purposes, after the cavalry broke off the pursuit the war in the Shenandoah was over.  And in six months, Lee's war would be over too.


It must have been horrible fighting this war....man to man...sickness, wounds. Weather too.
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