October 19, 1864 – one hundred fifty-five years ago – saw battlefield surprises in the Shenandoah Valley. First, the Confederates under General Jubal Early launched a surprise attack on the Union army and managed to drive three corps from positions. Then, after a dramatic journey, Union General Phil Sheridan arrived, helped rally the army, and counterattacked, driving back the Confederates. Cedar Creek’s fight marked the last major Confederate offensive in the Shenandoah Valley. With hindsight, it’s also a battle that helped Lincoln win reelection in November 1864.
For the anniversary, we’ve collected some blog posts from our archives about this important battle and also added a American Battlefield Trust’s animated battle map for Cedar Creek which provides a great overview.