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Battle of Cedar Creek
Harper's Weekly - November 5, 1864

          The following picture and articles is transcribed from Harper's Weekly, Journal of Civilization, dated 5 November 1864:

Phil Sheridan's Ride to the Front, October 19, 1864


          WE give on our first page a sketch of General SHERIDAN'S arrival on the field October 19. The victory gained at Cedar Creek that day surpassed in interest the victory gained precisely one month earlier at Winchester. It was a victory following upon the heels of apparent reverse, and therefore reflecting peculiar credit on the brave commander to whose timely arrival upon the field the final success of the day must be attributed.

The General was at Winchester in the early morning when the enemy attacked—fifteen miles distant from the field of operations. General WRIGHT was in command. The enemy had approached under cover of a heavy fog, and flanking the extreme right of the Federal line, held by CROOK'S Corps, and attacking in the centre, had thrown the entire line into confusion, and driven it several miles. The stragglers to the rear were fearfully numerous, and the enemy was pushing on, turning against the Federals a score of guns already captured from them.

          This was the situation a little before noon when SHERIDAN came on the field, riding, says one of his staff, so that the devil himself could not have kept up. A staff-officer meeting him pronounced the situation of the army to be " awful."

          'Pshaw," said SHERIDAN, "it's nothing of the sort It's all right, or we'll fix it right !"

          SHERIDAN hastened to his cavalry on the extreme left. Galloping past the batteries," says the World correspondent, " to the extreme left of the line held by the cavalry , he rode to the front, took off his hat and waved it, while a cheer went up from the ranks not less hearty and enthusiastic than that which greeted him after the battle of Winchester. Generals rode out to meet him, officers waved their swords, men threw up their hats in an extremity of glee. General CUSTER, discovering SHERIDAN at the moment he arrived, rode up to him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him on the cheek. Waiting for no other parley than simply to exchange greeting, and to say, ' This retreat must be stopped ! Sheridan broke loose and began galloping down the lines, along the whole front of the army. Every where the enthusiasm caused by his appearance was the same."

          The line was speedily reformed; provost marshals brought in stragglers by the scores ; the retreating army turned its face to the foe. An attack just about to be made was repulsed, and the tide of battle turned. Then SHERIDAN'S time was come. A cavalry charge was ordered against right and left flank of the enemy, and then a grand advance of the three infantry corps from left to right on the Enemy's centre. " On through Middletown," says the correspondent above quoted, " and beyond, the enemy hurried, and the Army of the Shenandoah pursued. The roar of musketry now had a gleeful, dancing sound. The guns fired shafted salutes of victory. CUSTER and MERRITT, charging in on right and left, doubled up the flanks of the foe, taking prisoners, slashing, killing, driving as they went. The march of the infantry was more majestic and more terrible. The lines of the foe swayed and broke before it every where. Beyond Middletown, on the battle-field fought over in the morning, their columns were completely overthrown and disorganised. They fled along the pike and over the fields like sheep."

          Thus on through Strasburg with two brigades of calvary at their heels. Two thousand prisoners were gathered together, though there was not a sufficient guard to send them all to the rear. The guns lost in the morning were recaptured, and as many more taken, making fifty in all, and, according, to SHERIDAN'S report, the enemy reached Mount Jackson without an organized regiment.

          The scene at SHERIDAN'S head-quarters at night after the battle was wildly exciting. "General CUSTER arrived about 9 o'clock. The first thing he did was to hug General SHERIDAN with all his might, lifting him in the air, whirling him around and around, with the shout : By ----, we've cleaned them out and got the guns ! ' Catching sight of General TORBERT, CUSTER went through the same proceeding with him, until TORBERT was forced to cry out : ` There, there, old fellow ; don't capture me !'"

          SHERIDAN'S ride to the front, October 19, 1864, will go down in history as one of the most important and exciting events which have ever given interest to a battle-scene ; and to this event will be attributed the victory of the day, Says General GRANT, " Turning what bid fair to be a disaster into a glorious victory stamps SHERIDAN what I have always thought him, one of the ablest of Generals."


          AMONG the killed at the late great battle and victory in the Shenandoah Valley was Colonel CHARLES R. LOWELL, Jun., of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry, commanding one of MERRITT's brigades. Entering the service at the beginning of the war, he was commissioned Lieutenant in the Sixth regular cavalry, and soon rose to be Captain. During the Peninsula Campaign he served upon the staff of General M'CLELLAN, and his great military skill and commanding character led Governor ANDREW to appoint him Colonel of Volunteers. When his regiment was ready for the field Colonel LOWELL was intrusted with the cavalry in the District of Columbia to watch MOSBY in front of Washington. From this duty he welcomed the summons to the Valley at the opening of SHERIDAN'S campaign, during which, in his daring and victorious assaults, for which his name was mentioned with constant honor, no less than twelve horses were shot under him.

          At the battle of Cedar Creek, at about eleven o'clock in the morning, Colonel LOWELL was struck by a spent ball in the breast. Removed from the saddle, but refusing the urgent request of Generals TORBERT and MERRITT that he would allow himself to be carried to the rear, he remained lying upon the field awaiting the order to charge. At three o'clock in the afternoon the order came. He caused himself to he lifted into the saddle, and although his voice was gone, so that he could whisper merely, he placed himself at the head of the column to which every whisper of their beloved leader was an inspiration. In the assault into the little town Colonel LOWELL was shot in the back, probably from an ambush, and his frame was instantly paralyzed. But his mind was perfectly clear, and he at once prepared to die. Nothing was forgotten in those last hours by the tenderest husband, the most faithful son, the truest friend. Every final disposition was calmly made, and he asked to be buried upon the field where he had fallen--a request which was overruled, and he yielded. Without pain, gradually sinking, he lingered through the night and died the next morning, as only good men and heroes die. He was in his thirtieth year.

          Gentle, brave, and generous; of a rarely blended manliness and tenderness ; carefully educated at Harvard College, and thoroughly trained to practical affairs by wide travel and much experience of men ; of a singular purity and nobility of nature, and entirely devoted to the cause for which he fought, he falls like his only brother, Lieutenant JAMES LOWELL, killed upon the Peninsula, and his brother-in-law, Colonel ROBERT G. SHAW, killed at Fort Wagner in the flower of his youth and domestic happiness, another of the costly sacrifices that

this nation offers for its salvation. And so long as the grass grows green upon the graves of these dear and heroic youths, the hearts that loved and honored them are pledged more surely than ever to the overthrow of the system which instigated this rebellion to destroy the country, and murders our friends and brothers who die to save it. They die, these brave and noble boys, but they live. They live in our purer purpose, in our firmer resolution, in the surer justice of the nation. Against compromise, against concession, against surrender, this precious blood cries from the ground. God be thanked ! no nation could be saved to which it cried in vain.

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