Union Counterattack

An 1864 sketch depicts an armed battle on farm fields at a distance.
Looking southeast, Union troops advance from left to right; part of the Confederate line stretches across the Valley Pike to, and eventually beyond, the Miller House (far right)

Sketch by James E. Taylor, an artist for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1864

“With great pleasure I tender to you and your brave army the thanks of the nation, and my own personal admiration and gratitude for the month’s operation in the Shenandoah Valley; and especially for the splendid work of October 19, 1864.“

—Abraham Lincoln, Letter to Philip Sheridan, October 22, 1864

4:00 p.m.—General Philip Sheridan’s reformed battle lines stretched for almost two miles from east to west, with cavalry anchoring both ends, ready to exploit any openings. Their counterattack took them back over the fields that they had earlier fled. The Union advance met determined resistance and the fate of the battle hung in the balance before the Confederate left was turned. Union cavalry then struck hard, and the Confederate line unraveled, quickly turning their retreat into a rout. Sheridan had snatched a “victory from the jaws of defeat.”

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

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    Last updated: December 20, 2021