Jubal Early's Confederates hovered near Sheridan's withdrawing army, looking for a chance to strike. The Federals marched north from Staunton, burning the Valley's farms, with the Confederate cavalry harrassing them continuously. Anxious to teach the Confederates a lesson, Sheridan ordered his cavalry to destroy Early's mounted force. The Federal horse soldiers hurled themselves at Early's cavalry at Tom's Brook on October 9, and routed it completely
Sheridan's army of 32,000 pitched camped along Cedar Creek, below Middletown. Early followed with a reinforced army of 21,000, and surprised the Federals when they attacked the Union camp on October 19. Driven back beyond Middletown, the Federals retreated in confusion. Sheridan arrived and not only averted disaster, but turned the tide of battle with a massive counterattack. The Federals swept the Confederates back across Cedar Creek and inflicted a third major defeat on Jubal Early. The Federals had lost 5,672 men; the Confederates 2,910.
Early retreated to New Market and continued to skirmish with the Federals throughout November. Eventually, Early was forced to withdraw up the Valley to search for supplies. Sheridan ordered his army into winter quarters around Winchester. Throughout the winter, both
Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon (above) who commanded the attack on the Union left flank at Cedar Creek in the Early hours of October 19. In fact, Gordon was, largely responsible for the formation of the Confederate plan of attack, and was so confident of success that he agreed to accept all responsibility in the event of failure.
(T^J Oct 6: Sheridan withdraws down the Valley, burning the crops along the way
Cl] ^ Sheridan's cavalry routs the
Confederate horse soldiers at Tom's Brook
\ Oct 19: Early surprises the Federals and v— overruns their encampment along Cedar Creek
Oct 19: Sheridan railys hij army and counterattacks, driving she Confederates across Cedar Creek s^s Feb 25: Sheridan breaks camp at
Winchester and heads south up the Valley
March 2: Sheridan brushes aside Early's cavalry at Mount Crawford
March 3: Sheridan crushes Early's / defenses at Waynesboro and force,?- / the Confederates out of the Valley /
Confederate troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser attack, the rear of Sheridan's retreating army, October 8 (above).¿Although enthusiastically welcomed by Edrly&Rosser's reinforcements were under-nourished and ill-equipped.
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