Question of the Week: 10/19-10/25/20

It’s the anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek, so let’s give the Shenandoah Valley a little highlight…

Which Shenandoah Valley battle (any Civil War year) do you think was the most important? Why?

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 10/19-10/25/20

  1. Will have to say Cedar Creek, only because it was fought on my birthday. And my wife’s great grandfather fought there with the 3rd Indiana Cavalry.

  2. Cedar Creek is probably number 1, but First Kernstown should be right at the top too. It’s impact resonated far beyond the battlefield, and impacted the Virginia campaigns for months afterward.

  3. Cedar Creek wasn’t the only Shenandoah event on October 19, 1864. An ocean away at the North Atlantic island of Madeira, the Confederate flag was raised over the infamous Rebel commerce raider, CSS Shenandoah. The very day that lost one Shenandoah to the Confederacy saw the birth of another. She would, in the words of her First Lieutenant, “Lead a torchlight procession around the world and into every ocean.”

  4. Probably Cedar Creek, but the back-to-back 1862 combo of Cross Keys and Port Republic may be an underrated choice. Victory there allowed Jackson to reinforce Lee on the Peninsula a few weeks later, which no doubt influenced that campaign and thus the war.

    Aside: as a VMI grad I’m admittedly partial to New Market, but its hard to choose that one….

  5. New Market. The events that transpired there and especially in its aftermath resulted in Phil Sheridan’s assignment to ‘the Valley’ just a few months later. And we know how that turned out..

  6. Including two battles might be considered cheating, but I’d argue that the Union victories at Third Winchester and Fisher’s Hill were more important than Cedar Creek even if they didn’t necessarily didn’t constitute a “decisive” victory like the latter did. Up until that point, Early’s army had posed a significant threat to the Federals and there was still that aura of the Valley as a place that only held disaster for Union armies. The losses that Early sustained between September 19th and 22nd crippled his army and gave Union an enormous morale boost, and he couldn’t mount a credible threat to Sheridan until Lee reinforced him prior to Cedar Creek.

    1. I think that’s a good point. In fact, I’d argue that Third Winchester made Cedar Creek what it was – a desperate last lunge by Early. Granted that it came close to succeeding tactically and that it ended any hopes of the CSA in the Valley, but it seems that Third Winchester tipped the balance in a final way.

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