Cedar Creek Endangered
Most Endangered Battlefields 2010
Cedar Creek, VA - October 19, 1864
IN THE FALL of 1864, Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan marched up the fertile Shenandoah Valley, stripping the country bare to starve out the Confederate forces in Virginia. By mid-October, the end seemed near for Lt. Gen. Jubal Early and his exhausted troops. Outnumbered two to one, Early hoped to even the odds against him by launching a daring attack on the isolated flank of Sheridan’s army.
After an audacious night march, Early’s Confederates surprised Union troops near Cedar Creek and drove first one, then another, then a third Union Corps from the field. As Early paused to reorganize, Sheridan arrived from headquarters in Winchester just in time to rally his troops and launch a crushing counterattack from which Early’s forces could not recover. Sheridan’s victory at Cedar Creek extinguished any hope of further Confederate offensives in the Shenandoah Valley.
THREAT: In 2008 the Frederick County Board of Supervisors approved a massive expansion of the mine operating adjacent to Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. The vote allows the destruction of nearly 400 acres of the battlefield through limestone extraction and came despite significant public opposition and the recommendation of the county Planning Commission.
A group of local citizens has filed a lawsuit to block the project, which will commence in two separate stages – the first to the south of the park and the second on historically sensitive land to the north. Meanwhile a coalition of local, state and national preservation groups are working with government agencies and the mine itself, which is managed by a subsidiary of a multinational Belgian corporation, to protect significant historic resources and mitigate continued viewshed destruction.
CWSAC has classified Cedar Creek as a Priority I, Class A battlefield — its highest designation.