Silent March

An 1885 photo shows a improved dirt road flanked by wood fences and farms.
Bowmans Mill Road still looks much as it did when this photograph was made in 1885, just 21 years after the battle.

4:30 a.m.—After fording Cedar Creek, approximately 3,000 Confederates, under General Joseph Kershaw, marched up this road. With a rising fog obscuring their movements, the Southern spearhead gobbled up over 300 soldiers of the Union picket line. The rest of the Confederate force moved into battle lines on both sides of the road and then, silently, began to ascend the ridge in front of you. Their surprise was complete, as the Confederates soon overwhelmed the Union position. By 5:30 the Confederates had captured seven cannon and pushed the Union forces west of the Valley Pike.

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    Part of a series of articles titled A Victory Turned From Disaster.

    Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

    Last updated: December 17, 2021