Following the victory at 3rd Winchester, the Union forces pursued the Confederates southward. The high ground at Fisher's Hill seemed the perfect place to make a stand. The 22nd Pa Cavalry was on the far right end of the Union advance.
Averill says, “As there is one road besides the Pike leading to Fishers Hill, with the exception of some blind lanes, I moved along the Back Road and across the country, driving the enemy outposts until a line of rail and earth breastworks was reached, behind which the enemy had a strong line of infantry or dismounted men.”
“Averill’s Division was on the extreme right of the line near the Back Road,” which was the road they had used to get to the field. On the morning of the 21st they had halted at Lebanon Church. Averill says he had instructions to “move along the Back Road until stopped by a superior force. When he reached such a point of built-up and defended rebel earthworks, he sent word and General Sheridan rode over the verify the position. Sheridan would want to be sure he knew the situation on his far right; and he had a plan. He was going to use the far right of his line to turn the left flank of the Rebels. In the darkness of the night of the 21st the forces of General Crook were moved behind the Army to the far right. Averill’s cavalry attacked the rebels to keep their attention.
From the point of view of the Union Army, the 22nd Pa Cavalry was on the far right flank.
Colonel Greenfield (of the Pa 22nd) reported he was directed by General Averill to help Crook find a path around and act as guide; which he did. Colonel Green field reported, “I was riding with Crook as the command emerged from the woods into a clearing of stumps and underbrush in full view of the enemy, and exposed to murderous fire from their artillery.”
Then “our cavalry brigade charged at the same time (as Crook) and entered the enemy’s breastworks simultaneously with the 8th Corps (Crook) only a little to their left. I joined my own command and we pursued the retreating force for several miles.”
Much of the battlefield is preserved and easily accessible to visitors. Here we pulled off to look at Tumbling Run.
To the left across the creek is Ramseur's Hill where the bulk of the Confederate forces were dug in forming the center of their line.
This is the view back toward Fisher's Hill from the position at the crossroads where the 22nd Pa Cavalry would have been as they made their charge to help flank the defenders.
Sheridan knew he had to move his people under cover of darkness or under cover where trees and hills provided that cover. History tell us that the “Mountain Creepers” of General Crooks unit marched around the rear of the Union army and took their place in hiding to the right of the rebel line.
Part of General Averill’s report reads: “General Crook’s corps passed along a ravine in our rear and around my right, and assaulted the enemy’s extreme left, in conjunction with one of my brigades which leaped the works and scattered the enemy in wild confusion. The Pa 22nd diarist added: “This was our brigade and the men of the 22nd Pa. cavalry were foremost in this charge and among the first inside the enemy’s works.”s.
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