Battle of Cedar Creek, October 19, 1864
Confederate troops led by Lt. General Jubal Early launched a surprise attack on Union troops near Cedar Creek, Virginia. A counter-attack led by Union Major General Philip Sheridan defeated the Confederate troops, securing the Shenandoah Valley from further Confederate offensives.
The battle was part of Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, which was intended to wipe out the Confederate army’s primary source of grain and flour, thus weakening the Confederates by starving them. The Campaign also was planned to secure the Valley and prevent further attacks from that region.
Cornwall’s troops in the 2nd Heavy Artillery and the 13th C.V.I. fought at the Battle of Cedar Creek. The Captain of the 12th C.V.I. later wrote “I never on any battlefield saw so much blood as on this of Cedar Creek. The firm limestone soil would not receive it, and there was no pitying summer grass to hide it.”
2nd Heavy Artillery Casualties at Cedar Creek
Private Elisha Soule was killed by a musket ball shot through the top of his head, leaving a fragment of skull in his cap. He was found that night, still alive but “stripped of everything” of value. Soule died the next morning. Corporal Henry Vaill was shot in the neck and lungs, and died in a hospital weeks later.
Corporal George W. Page was mortally wounded in the neck; Corporal Charles J. Reed was wounded in the chest. Close friends throughout the war, they crawled towards one another in their final moments and were found dead, locked in each other’s arms, when the battle was over.
Others were wounded but survived: Private Charles Bosworth, Sergeant James Parks, and Lieutenant Gad Smith.
13th C.V.I. Casualties at Cedar Creek
The Cornwall members of the 13th C.V.I. fared better than those in the 2nd Heavy Artillery at Cedar Creek, with only two injured: Lieutenant J. Milton Gregory lost his right arm, and Private Alexander Cook was wounded but recovered.