Tom's Brook Battle Hero
Library of Congress

Tom's Brook

Woodstock Races

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After his victory at Fisher’s Hill, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan pursued Gen. Jubal Early’s army up the Shenandoah Valley to near Staunton. On October 6th, Sheridan began withdrawing, as his cavalry burned everything that could be deemed of military significance, including barns and mills in what became known as "Red October" or "the Burning." Reinforced by Brig. Gen. Joseph Kershaw’s division, Early followed Sheridan. Maj. Gen. Thomas Rosser arrived from Petersburg to take command of Fitz Lee’s cavalry division and harassed the Federals as they moved north. On October 9th, Union Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert’s troopers turned on their pursuers, routing the divided divisions of Rosser and Brig. Gen. Lunsford Lomax at Tom’s Brook, five miles south of Strasburg. The Confederate cavalry flight was referred to by Valley residents and victorious Union troopers as the "Woodstock Races,'' named for a nearby village the Rebel troopers retreated through. The cavalry-on-cavalry fighting on the Back Road at Spiker's Hill pitted two former West Point roommates against one another--Tom Rosser and George Custer. Sheridan reportedly watched the battle unfold from the summit of Round Hill. With the victory here, the Union cavalry attained overwhelming superiority in the Valley. Early and Sheridan would meet again ten days later at Cedar Creek.

Battle Facts

Result

Union Victory
COMMANDERS
Forces Engaged
9,800

Union

6,300

Confederate

3,500
Total Estimated Casualties
407

Union

57

Confederate

350