Third Battle of Winchester

A red-tinted color 1880s print depicts a cavalry charge.
"Sheridan's Final Charge at Winchester" by Thure de Thulstrup, c. 1886

Library of Congress

“Sheridan moved at the time he had fixed upon. He met Early at the crossing of Opequon Creek and won a most decisive victory—one which electrified the country. Early had invited this attack himself by his bad generalship and made the victory easy. He had sent Anderson’s division east of the Blue Ridge…”

Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant

Confederates suffered a costly defeat at the Third Battle of Winchester, September 19, 1864. The largest battle in the Shenandoah Valley saw 54,400 total troops engaged and 8,630 casualties, including over a quarter of the Confederate Army of the Valley. The Confederates' retreat from Winchester to Fisher's Hill was the beginning of the end of their resistance in the Valley.

Third Winchester Battlefield

Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (SVBF) preserves the battlefield at Third Winchester Battlefield Park and Fort Collier Civil War Center. Visit Third Winchester Battlefield »

Beginning of the End of Resistance in the Valley

Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan and his Army of the Shenandoah were on a roll, literally. The army’s wagon trains, along with horses, cannons, and over 35,000 soldiers were lumbering west toward Winchester, Virginia, on the Berryville Turnpike, the primary Federal avenue of approach. Their intent: destroy the 15,000-man Confederate Army of the Valley under Lt. Gen. Jubal Early, and finally rid the Valley of all secessionist resistance, civilians included. 

Part of a series of articles titled Drive the Enemy South.

Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park

Last updated: February 1, 2023