Battle of Cedar Creek, in the American Civil War, fought on Oct. 19, 1864, about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Winchester, Va. Union Gen. Philip H. Sheridan had driven a Confederate army led by Gen. Jubal A. Early south up the Shenandoah Valley. Sheridan then withdrew northward, destroying crops and other property. He left his troops encamped along Cedar Creek, commanded by Gen. Horatio G. Wright, while he visited Washington, D. C., for a conference.
Early moved his troops rapidly northward and surprised the Union army in an attack at dawn, dispersing part of it in confusion. Sheridan reached Winchester on his return trip and learned of the reversal. He rode to the battlefield and rallied the troops, who counterattacked and routed the Confederates. The victory ended the Confederates’ control of the Shenandoah Valley, which they had held for three years. Thomas Buchanan Read’s poem Sheridan s Ride celebrates the general’s role.