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1864 October 22: First News of the Battle of Cedar Creek

October 22, 2014

Following is the weekly summary of war news from The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal of October 22, 1864.

The Battle of Cedar Creek took place on October 19, 1864, and was the final battle of Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign.  Confederate General Jubal A. Early launched a surprise attack against the encamped army of Union General Philip H. Sheridan, across Cedar Creek, northeast of Strasburg, Virginia.

From The Polk County Press:

News Summary.

In Sherman’s Department there has been lively work.  Hood with his whole force has made an attempt to break Sherman’s communications, and with some successes, though no serious damage has been done.  Gen. Slocum has command at Atlanta, and has supplies for four months on hand.  Hood captured Dalton and Resaca, but he was so closely pressed by Sherman that he was obliged to retreat.  Hood’s losses exceed ours.—He managed to break up 28 miles of railroad, but was obliged to retreat with haste.  Our forces are still pressing him, and at last accounts skirmishing was going on with his rear guard.  [William T. Sherman, John Bell Hood, Henry W. Slocum]

—  Grant is still operating in front of Richmond.  No new movements are reported.  His army is being heavily reinforced.  Grant is slow but sure.  Things look encouraging, in his department.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

—  Sheridan has fought still another battle with Early’s rebels under Gen. Longstreet.  The engagement took place at Cedar Mountain [sic] and was a hotly contested battle.  No decided result gained by either side.—The rebels fell back with severe loss.  Our loss is reported at 240 killed and wounded.  [James Longstreet]

—  Important movements are being made to defeat Price in Missouri.—We soon expect good news from that quarter.  [Sterling Price]

—  The department of the Gulf is active.  Important movements may soon be expected to be announced in that direction.

—  Guerillas [sic] are disturbing the peace in Kentucky again.  A train was captured near Paris, and Hon. Montgomery Blair was taken prisoner.  He subsequently escaped.  Gen. Meredith¹ is after the guerillas [sic] with a sharp stick.

— A peace convention is in session at Cincinnati with closed doors.

— On the 14th inst., Col. Gransevort, 13th N. Y. Cavalry, surprised Mosby the gurilla [sic] chief at a place called Pigeon, Va., and routed him capturing four pieces of cannon, and a number of prisoners.  [John S. Mosby]

— Alexander H. Stevens [sic] of Georgia, vice President of the so called Southern Confederacy, has written a letter on Peace.  He thinks there is hope of southern independence in the Chicago Platform.  [Alexander H. Stephens]

— Gen. Butler on learning that the negro prisoners captured by the rebels were forced to work on rebel fortifications, has placed an equal number of white rebel soldiers at work on the Dutch Gap Canal.  [Benjamin F. Butler]

— Jeff. Davis’ speech at Macon, Ga., the other day, was a “whine.”  He begged the Georgians to fill the ranks of the rebel army in their State, and told them troops were as scarce in Virginia as in Georgia.—is showing of the rebel situation was was [sic] not calculated to encourage the Georgians.  [Jefferson Davis]

From The Prescott Journal:

— SHERIDAN has won another magnificent victory in the Shenandoah Valley—completely routing Longstreet, taking 43 cannon and a large number of prisoners.

— The latest news from Pennsylvania, gives a small Union majority on the home vote.  The army vote will increase it to 20,000.

— Hood has been operating with considerable force in Sherman’s rear, but Sherman keeps his communications open and is pressing Hood closely.

— Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the United States, is dead.  He was 87 years of age.  He was made notorious on addount [sic] of the famous Dred Scott decision.  It is stated that he will probably be succeeded by S. P. Chase.  [Salmon P. Chase]

1.  Solomon Meredith (1810-1875) was a 6′ 7″ tall farmer, politician, and lawman in Indiana before the Civil War. He recruited and organized the 19th Indiana Infantry and was its first colonel. The 19th Indiana joined the x, x, and x Wisconsin infantries to form the Iron Brigade of the Army of the Potomac. Meredith was injured at Brawner’s Farm (August 28, 1862) and at the Battle of South Mountain abruptly reported himself unfit for duty due to the lingering effects of his injuries at Brawner’s Farm and fatigue. His replacement was killed at the Battle of Antietam, earning the disdain of General John Gibbon. Due to politics, Meredith was promoted to brigadier general and he led the Iron Brigade in combat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, where he drew the ire of General Abner Doubleday, who temporarily replaced him with Colonel Lysander Cutler. The Iron Brigade saw little combat in the Chancellorsville Campaign, but suffered significant casualties during the first day of fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. Meredith was severely wounded and disabled, unfit for further field command. He commanded two Mississippi River port garrisons—at Cairo, Illinois, and Paducah, Kentucky. After the War, he served as the surveyor general of the Montana Territory (1867-1869) and retired to his farm and raised prize-winning long-horn cattle, sheep, and horses.

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