Community College

Continue .3 mile east on CR 633 to the stop sign at US 11.

The power lines to your left front beyond the weigh station mark the VIII Corps rallying point.

Turn right (south) and go 1.3 miles to the Lord Fairfax Community College, turning left into the second entrance (student parking lot). Park next to the high berm (grass mound) separating the parking lot from the main entrance, and walk up to the crest.

Look west across US 11 and you will see the red brick house at Miller's Mill where Ramseur made his last stand. To the left a half mile beyond is visible the metal roof of a barn which marks Kershaw's western flank. Turning left (south), on your left you will see a tall sign and the turquoise roof of a restaurant at the I-81 interchange with CR 627. Wharton's line was 300 yards south of that.

The area on which you are standing saw Federal cavalry activity starting at 0730 the day of the battle. Wesley Merritt's two brigades fought dismounted most of the day. They were supported by Custer's Division which remained mounted on the plain just north of the college. Sheridan sent Custer to his army's western flank at about 1300. Thereafter Merritt's forces held their own, finally mounting to conduct a series of charges against Wharton as part of the Federal counterattack.

When the Federal attack began, Confederate resistance in this area was very determined. Positions in this area did not change much until XIX Corps units and Custer's Division broke Gordon's lines to the west. Even then, Ramseur's defense at Miller's Mill was strong until he was wounded. When that happened, Early was unable to hold in place Wharton's and Pegram's units. One final cavalry charge turned the Confederate withdrawal into a rout.

Earlier, pressure had been placed on Ramseur by Gibbs' Ohio Battery. The battery had been positioned first astride US 11 at about the yellow apartment complex. From there, the VIII Corps Artillery chief, Captain Henry A. DuPont, brought it and Light Battery B, Fifth U.S. Artillery down to a point just west of the college buildings so they could enfilade (flank) Ramseur's position, helping to break resistance there.

From the berm, walk to the main entrance to the college and read the sign adjacent to it.

This concludes the self-guided tour. You can get back to I-81 by going south on US 11 for .2 mile and turning east on CR 627 for .3 mile. A more interesting route is to follow US 11 southward through Middletown 4.3 miles to the intersection with I-81 at Stickley's Hill.

This drive takes you on the Pike back through the battlefield and serves as a review of the action. It also offers an opportunity to view a number of interesting sites in Middletown. The Wayside Inn, a Federal headquarters in 1862 and 1864, marks what was the northern edge of the village during the Civil War. Colonel Charles Russell Lowell died in the house across the street of wounds received in the final cavalry charge. Every church you see in the village was a hospital after the battle.

As you pass the open fields around Belle Grove, it is interesting to recall that Gen. Sheridan held a vast final review here prior to returning to Winchester on 10 November 1864. His entire force was arrayed around the mansion.

The Battle of Cedar Creek is one of the thousands of events which compose the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley. May the memory of the brave men who fought here remain with you.