Official Battle of Cedar Creek Self Guided Auto Tour

Please stop by the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove Visitor Contact Station at 7712 Main Street to pick up a brochure of the driving directions, or use these:

The Tour

This18-mile tour consists of 10 stops. All of the roads used are public (state or county) and traffic on some can be fairly heavy (especially the Valley Pike, U.S. Route 11). Use caution, especially when pulling into traffic or slowing for a stop, as some stops are located at pull-offs along the road shoulder. Long Meadow Road and Bowman’s Mill Road, located at the southern end of the park, are unimproved (narrow, gravel surfaced and two-way). Obey all posted speed limits and traffic regulations.

Tour starts at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters (8437 Valley Pike, Middletown, VA).

Stop 1: CCBF – Overview –Modern U.S. Route 11 (the Valley Turnpike) was a vital line of supply and communications for both armies. Across the fields and around Belle Grove (Sheridan’s headquarters) was encamped the Union army. Signal Knob, the highest peak of the Massanutten Mountain, is located to the southeast, and can be seen throughout the tour as a landmark to gauge the distance of troop movements.

Turn left out of the Foundation Headquarters parking lot and proceed south on U.S. Route 11 for 1.0 mile.

  1. Turn left onto Water Plant Road. Proceed 1.0 mile to the intersection with Long Meadow Road.
  2. Turn right onto Long Meadow Road. Proceed 0.1 mile.
  3. Turn right onto Bowman’s Mill Road. Proceed 1.4 miles to Stop 2.
  4. Stop 2 (8th Corps Camps) is marked by a Civil War Trails sign, at a sharp left bend on Bowman’s Mill Road (near a metal cattle gate which is clearly marked with a small white sign which reads “Shenandoah Valley Battlefield Foundation - Access By Permission Only.” Pull off to the right side of the road in front of the sign.
Stop 2: 8th Corps Camps –This location marked the left end of the Union line. Signal Knob (marked by the modern radio tower) was used by the Confederate high command to scout the Union army and plan their daring attack. The first Confederate assault struck here at 5:00 a.m., out of the pre-dawn darkness and fog, completely surprising and routing the 8th Corps. The Confederate attack continued north, toward the 19th Corps and Valley Pike (U.S. Route 11).

  1. Proceed 0.6 mile on Bowman’s Mill Road. Turn right to stay on Bowman’s Mill Road, at intersection with Long Meadow Road.
  2. Proceed 0.1 mile to Stop 3.
  3. Stop 3 is located at Bowman’s Mill Ford. Park on the right side of road just prior to the low water bridge which crosses Cedar Creek.
  4. 3: Bowman’s Mill Ford – Gen. Kershaw’s Division of approximately 2,500 Confederates slashed across Cedar Creek here, just prior to their attack on the 8th Corps. After overrunning the Union pickets posted along the creek, Kershaw’s men deployed for battle in the fields to the north.

Carefully turn vehicle around and proceed 0.1 mile back on Bowman’s Mill Road to its intersection with Long Meadow Road.

  1. Turn right onto Long Meadow Road. Proceed 1.6 miles to Stop 4. (The confluence of Cedar Creek and the North Fork of the Shenandoah River is 1.2 miles along Long Meadow Road).
  2. Stop 4 is located just beyond the driveway to Long Meadow Farm. Park vehicle along the right side of the road in order to not block the driveway and allow other vehicles to pass. Long Meadow is privately owned and is not open to the public. (Visitors are encouraged to stay in their vehicles).

Stop 4: Long Meadow – A log cabin built here in 1737 (by Jost Hite and his son Isaac Hite, some of the earliest settlers of the Valley) was replaced by the brick house in the 1840s. Bowman’s Ford, another crossing point for the Confederate army, is just beyond. Approximately 7,500 Southern troops then marched up Long Meadow Road to move into their attack positions. The tour follows their route and the general flow of the battle from this point.

Proceed 0.9 mile along Long Meadow Road.

  1. Turn left onto Water Plant Road. Proceed 1.0 mile.
  2. Turn right onto U.S. Route 11, traveling north less than 0.1 mile.
  3. Turn left onto gravel access road to Stop 5.
  4. Stop 5 (19th Corps) is located at the 128th New York Monument. Park in the gravel lot beyond the monument.

Stop 5: 128thNew York monument – This monument honors the 128th New York, which held the left end of the 19th Corps. After crushing the 8th Corps, the Confederate attack struck the 19th Corps’ left and rear at this location. A second Confederate force struck their front (southwest). Fighting lasted about an hour before the Union lines were overrun, and forced to retreat toward Belle Grove. A self-guided walking trail follows the trenches constructed by the 19th Corps. (Permission to visit this site can be obtained from the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters (540) 869-2064).

Turn left onto U.S. Route 11. Proceed north on U.S. Route 11 for 0.7 mile.

  1. Turn left onto Belle Grove Road. Proceed 0.5 mile to Stop 6.
  2. Stop 6 is located at Belle Grove. Visitors are encouraged to visit the site, which is managed and operated by Belle Grove, Inc. and offers guided tours of the house (fee). Touring the grounds is free.

Stop 6: Belle Grove - Belle Grove was built in 1797 by Isaac Hite Jr., grandson of Jost Hite (who helped his son, Isaac, build Long Meadow). This plantation served as Sheridan’s headquarters before and after the battle. Heavy fighting swirled around the house before the Confederate advance overran this area at approximately 7:00 a.m.

Turn right onto Belle Grove Road. Proceed 0.1 mile.

  1. Turn right onto Meadow Mills Road. Proceed 0.8 mile.
  2. Turn left onto Veteran Road. Proceed 0.4 mile.
  3. Turn right onto State Route 635 (SR 635). Proceed 0.3 mile to Stop 7.
  4. Stop 7 (Middletown Cemetery) is located at the small gravel parking area in front of the second set of brick entrance gates to Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Visitors are encouraged to walk into the cemetery, to near the white cinderblock building along the cemetery’s first driveway. Please be respectful of the cemetery grounds. This is an active cemetery. (Please do not enter the cemetery grounds if a funeral procession is in progress).

Stop 7: Mt. Carmel Cemetery – Fighting amongst the cemetery headstones, Union Brig. Gen. George Washington Getty’s 2,400 man division held this prominent hill for 1 ½ hours (8:00-9:30 a.m.), slowing the Confederate attack for the first time. Getty repulsed two Confederate infantry assaults and then endured a 30 minute bombardment from Early’s artillery (located along U.S. Route 11 near the modern factories). Facing a third Confederate attack that threatened to cut him off, Getty ordered a withdrawal.

Proceed 0.3 mile along High Street.

  1. Turn right onto Chapel Road. Proceed less than 0.1 mile.
  2. Turn left onto Mineral Street. Proceed 0.5 mile to Stop 8.
  3. Stop 8 is located at Miller’s Mill. Park the car along the right side of the road, opposite the Miller house and just beyond the intersection of Mineral Street and Cougill Road. The Miller House is privately owned and not open to the public. (Visitors are encouraged to stay in their vehicles).

Stop 8: Miller’s Mill – This brick house marks the furthest point of advance for the Confederate army. Early formed his line along Miller Lane (modern Cougill Road), which was then lined with stone walls. As the Confederates halted to reorganize and rest, others had left their ranks to pillage the Union camps for much needed food and supplies.

  1. Proceed 0.8 mile along Cougill Road.
  2. Turn right onto Hites Road. Proceed 0.9 mile.
  3. Turn right onto Klines Mill Road. Proceed 0.9 mile to Stop 9.
  4. Stop 9 (Sheridan’s Arrival) is located on the small concrete bridge that spans Meadow Brook. Park your vehicle in the gravel area on the right side of the bridge. (Visitors are encouraged to stay in their vehicles).
Stop 9: Sheridan’s Arrival –Sheridan arrived back in the Valley on October 18th and spent the night in Winchester, 15 miles north. On the morning of battle, he was alerted to trouble by the sound of distant artillery and began his famous “Sheridan’s Ride” back to his army, arriving around 10:30 near this location. Riding the length of his disorganized battle lines, the sight of Sheridan instantly rallied his men. Sheridan then began to prepare a counterattack which commenced that afternoon.

  1. Proceed 0.5 mile to U.S. Route 11.
  2. Turn right onto U.S. Route 11. Proceed 1.4 miles south.
  3. Turn left onto Skirmisher Lane (opposite Cougill Road) to Stop 10. (This is the 3rd entrance into the Lord Fairfax Community College campus).
  4. Stop 10 (Union Counterattack) is located at the parking lot at the southern end of the Lord Fairfax Community College campus. Please park in the first available parking spaces at the edge of the parking lot. Visitors are encouraged to visit the state historical marker titled “Battle of Cedar Creek” located at the western end of the parking lot, fronting Route 11. Caution: The campus parking lots can be quite full on weekdays during the fall and spring semesters. Please respect the campus grounds and facilities.
Stop 10: Union Counterattack – This area marks the Confederate line, which stretched across U.S. Route 11 along Miller Lane (Cougill Road); the Miller House is visible in the distance. At 4:00 p.m. the Union counterattack swept across the fields before you and struck the Confederate line here. After fierce resistance, the Confederate line collapsed from west to east, setting off a full-scale retreat. By nightfall Early’s army had disintegrated and Cedar Creek had ended as a resounding Union victory.






Last updated: December 2, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 700
Middletown, VA 22645

Phone:

540-869-3051

Contact Us