A trip to Cedar Creek for the Civil War Battlefied

Finding the Fords


The morning of the Confederate attack, the 22nd was on picket duty at the fords on Shenandoah.  

“But what of the 22nd Pa. with their brigade camped over beyond the Bowman’s Ford Rd? Most of the squadrons were on picket at various fords of the Shenandoah. Before daylight, one of the pickets reported that he feared Lt. Wingate’s company of our regiment, on picket at the Brickhouse Ford,three miles below (meaning North of) Strasburg and one-and-a-half miles from our camp had been captured."

During our visit we inquired about The Brickhouse Ford but the park ranger had never heard any of the fords called by that name.  

Driven Back and Separated



“At 5 AM we were startled by volleys of musketry in the direction of Crook’s Corps. Our pickets that connected with the infantry to our right, and McNulty’s squadron, dashed into our camp reporting the enemy were in

Crook’s camp, driving our men in confusion toward Middletown. At the same instant, Sergeant ‘Davie’ Hart galloped in yelling to the teamsters, ‘Hitch up! Hitch up! Our brigade mounted quickly and moved as rapidly as possible through the dense fog that enveloped the hills, in the direction of the firing, which was moving away from us and to the left of the pike. We were aware that the enemy was between us and the rest of the army, in short, we were cut off, and the best thing to do was to move rapidly back, parallel with the enemy’s column until we could pass around them and join our main body.”

This picture was taken at Bowman's Mill Ford ( I think) on Cedar Creek.

Rejoined the Main Force


"Our men were on an obscure road in a wooded ravine, while their (rebel) force was on a road running along high ground, and consequently could be seen more distinctly. 

They now opened fire upon us and charge down the hill into the ravine from which we had just emerged. The field we were in extended to a piece of woods, and at this point narrowed to a few rods. The enemy could not find us because of deep gullies or ravines. Reaching the woods, we turned and gave them a volley, which checked those in front. They feared an ambush and hesitated to charge into the woods. This hesitation on their part gave us time to withdraw in good order and without further molestation. In the skirmish Sgt. William Hatch and Sgt. Harry Fisher were wounded, the latter severely.”

“When the squadron finally reached our lines, the officers were warmly congratulated upon their escape by the adjutant general who knew they were cut off and supposed they had all been captured.” civil war pennsylvania

Where the Cavalry Regrouped and Waited



A park ranger told us to go to the end of North Buckton Rd just across Highway 81. At that spot there was a marker and a couple flags that showed where the Union Cavalry was located just before the final charge. Thornedale Farm Is the farm where they waited.

The Field


From the marker at the Thorndale Farm the view is into this field where the Union Cavalry formed and waitied for the order to charge in the afternoon of the Battle of Cedar Creek. This group of cavalry under Col. Moore was on the far left flank of the Union forces.

This is much of the thrill of retracing steps. We located the exact field in which the 22nd Pa Cavalry would have been just before the end of this most important battle. pennsylvania civil war

Rebels Swept Away


In the afternoon, the orders were given and the Union forces swept back across the ground they had lost earlier in the day. The cavalry played a large part in the battle on the left and right flanks of the main force. pennsylvania civil war

Battle of Cedar Creek - Sheridan's historic ride

General Philip Sheridan


Following his promotion and the reorganization of Union forces in the Shenandoah the tide turned and the Union surge culminated with the rout of the Confederates at Cedar Creek.

What started out as a retreat in disorder for the surprised Union forces turned into a consolidation and a final crushing charge after General Sheridan arrived on the battlefield following his gallop from Winchester.

Sheridan's Ride


 Up from the South, at break of day,
Bringing to Winchester fresh dismay,
The affrighted air with a shudder bore,
Like a herald in haste to the chieftain's door,
The terrible grumble, and rumble, and roar,
Telling the battle was on once more,
And Sheridan twenty miles away. 

Click on the picture to see the entire poem by Thomas Buchanan Read

Belle Grove


This beautiful historic home was the center of fighting and still remains as an attraction at the battlefield. Click on the image and go to the Belle Grove site.