Battle of Fisher's Hill

The Battle of Fisher's Hill was fought September 21–22, 1864, near Strasburg, Virginia, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Despite its strong defensive position, the Confederate army of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early was defeated by the Union Army of the Shenandoah, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan.

Battle of Fisher's Hill
Part of the American Civil War
Battlefields of Fisher's Hill and Ceder Creek

Battlefields of Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek, VA
DateSeptember-October, 1864
Location
38°59′02″N 78°23′45″W / 38.9838°N 78.3959°WCoordinates: 38°59′02″N 78°23′45″W / 38.9838°N 78.3959°W
Result Union victory[1]
Belligerents
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Philip H. Sheridan Jubal Early
Units involved
Army of the Shenandoah[2] Army of the Valley[3]
Strength
35,000 ("present for duty")[4]
29,444 (engaged)
9,500[5]
Casualties and losses
528[6] 1,234[7]

Background

Military situation

Sheridan had almost 35,000 men in the Shenandoah Valley opposing Early, with just under 10,000. Early, following the Third Battle of Winchester took a strong position. His right rested on the North Branch of the Shenandoah River. The left flank of his infantry was on Fisher's Hill. Confederate cavalry was expected to hold the ground from there to Little North Mountain. Maj. Gen. George Crook advised Sheridan to flank this position. His command was assigned to move along the wooded slopes of the mountain to attack the cavalry.

Opposing forces

Confederate

Battle

ATLAS OR BATTLE OF 3RD WINCHESTER
Side by side atlas maps of the Battles of Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek
Fisher's Hill battlefield, section at Ramseur's Hill
Section of the battlefield pictured in 2016

Crook's attack began about 4 p.m. on September 22, 1864. The infantry attack pushed the Confederate troopers out of their way. Maj. Gen. Stephen Dodson Ramseur tried refusing the left flank of his division. Crook and Brig. Gen. James B. Ricketts's division, of Horatio G. Wright's VI Corps struck Ramseur's line, pushing it in. Wright's remaining divisions and XIX Corps broke the Southern line.

Aftermath

The Confederates fell back to Waynesboro, Virginia. Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert was sent into the Luray Valley with 6,000 cavalrymen to force his way through the 1,200 Confederate cavalrymen under Brigadier General Williams Wickham. Torbert was then supposed to move through the New Market and Luray Gap in Massanutten Mountain and come up behind Early and cut-off his retreat at Fisher's Hill. Torbert fell back after making a token effort against Wickham's force at Milford (present day Overall) and Early escaped.

Four Union Army enlisted men and one officer received the Medal of Honor in the action at Fisher's Hill.

Battlefield preservation

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners have acquired and preserved 362 acres (1.46 km2) of the battlefield.[8] The preserved portion of the battlefield is marked by trails and interpretive signs.[9]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ National Park Service.
  2. ^ Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, pages 107-112.
  3. ^ Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, pages 1002-1003.
  4. ^ 40,000 (at Third Battle of Winchester) - 5,000 casualties (Third Battle of Winchester); Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, page 61 and pages 112-119.
  5. ^ Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, page 1011.
  6. ^ Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, pages 120-124.
  7. ^ Further information: Official Records, Series I, Volume XLIII, Part 1, page 557.
  8. ^ [1] American Battlefield Trust "Saved Land" webpage. Accessed May 25, 2018.
  9. ^ [2] American Battlefield Trust Fisher's Hill Battlefield page. Accessed May 28, 2018.

References

Memoirs and primary sources

  • Early, Jubal A. A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence in the Confederate States of America. Edited by Gary W. Gallagher. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001. ISBN 1-57003-450-8.
  • Sheridan, Philip Henry. Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army in Two Volumes, Vol. II. New York, New York: Charles L. Webster & Company, 1888.
  • U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901.
116th Ohio Infantry

The 116th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (or 116th OVI) was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

11th Indiana Infantry Regiment

The 11th Indiana Zouaves was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

11th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment

The 11th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

14th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry

The 14th New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment was an infantry regiment that participated in the American Civil War. It was the last three-year regiment raised in New Hampshire, serving from September 24, 1862, to July 8, 1865. Carroll Davidson Wright was one of its regimental leaders. The regiment lost a total of 232 men during its service; 8 officers and 63 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, 4 officers and 151 enlisted men by disease.

On September 24, 1862, the regiment was organized and mustered in Concord, New Hampshire. In October 1862, the 14th NH arrived in Washington, D.C., where it camped on East Capitol Hill before establishing winter quarters at Poolesville, Maryland. From November 1862 to April 1863, the 14th NH served picket duty along the upper Potomac River. In April 1863, the regiment moved its quarters to Camp Adirondack, in northeast Washington D.C. From April 1863 to the end of the year, the 14th NH performed guard duty at Old Capitol Prison, transporting prisoners and deserters, and at the Navy Yard Bridge (Benning's Bridge). In early 1864, the 14th NH briefly performed picket duty in the Shenandoah Valley.

The regiment returned to New Hampshire to vote in the spring elections which were heavily contested. On March 16, 1864, the 14th N.H. departed for Louisiana to participate in the Red River Campaign, but arrived after it had ended. The regiment served at Camp Parapet, Carrollton, and Jefferson City until June 1864, when they returned to Virginia. The 14th served at Fortress Monroe and Berryville in Virginia until the end of July 1864. From August to December 1864, the regiment was part of General Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah, and participated in the Third Battle of Winchester, on September 19, 1864, with heavy losses at the Battle of Fisher's Hill on September 22, 1864, and the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Sergeant Major J. Henry Jenks, from Keene, New Hampshire, was the last man from this unit to fall in battle on October 19, 1864, in the Battle of Cedar Creek. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the 14th NH was stationed near Augusta and Savannah, Georgia. On July 8, 1865, the 14th New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment was mustered out in Savannah.

4th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry

The 4th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

5th Maine Battery

5th Maine Battery was an artillery battery that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

61st Alabama Infantry Regiment

The 61st Alabama Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment of the Confederate States Army regiment during the American Civil War. The regiment was composed of nine companies from the southern parts of Alabama.

61st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment

The 61st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Carpenter's Battery

Carpenter's Battery, also known as Alleghany Artillery or Alleghany Rough Artillery, was a famed Confederate artillery battery unit in the American Civil War. The unit was first organized at Covington, Virginia on April 20, 1861 as Company A of the 27th Virginia Infantry Regiment, the "Alleghany Roughs." When the Captain who organized the company resigned due to ill health, the captaincy devolved upon his First Lieutenant, Joseph Hannah Carpenter, who was born in 1834 at Covington, Virginia, in Alleghany County, Virginia. Carpenter had been an artillery cadet under General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson in the class of 1858 at Virginia Military Institute and legend has it that General Jackson recognized his former student's name on the company muster roll and ordered the company converted to an artillery battery with Carpenter as its captain, thus becoming "Carpenter's Battery."

Among the original members of the company were Joseph's brothers John Cadwalider Carpenter and Samuel Steuben Carpenter. The brothers played a central role in the unit's wartime service. When the company's commissioned officers were reorganized after the First Battle of Manassas, Joseph H. Carpenter became the captain of the battery with John C. Carpenter as his first lieutenant; in a later reorganization John C. Carpenter became the captain of the battery with Samuel S. Carpenter as his second lieutenant. Captain Joseph H. Carpenter was wounded in action on August 9, 1862 at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, and died from the effects of his wound on February 5, 1863 at his parents' home, Fort Carpenter, Virginia. John Cadwalider Carpenter, born in 1839 at Covington, Virginia, served as captain of the battery after his brother Joseph was wounded; he commanded the battery through many engagements, including fifteen major battles, and lost an arm in combat at the Battle of Fisher's Hill, but survived the war.

Edgar M. Ruhl

Edgar M. Ruhl (1841–1864) American soldier, a Captain in the American Civil War.

Edgar Monroe Ruhl was born in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. Following the separation of his parents, he worked as a cigar maker.On August 31, 1861 Ruhl enlisted in the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry in Company D, a unit his father commanded. The muster date for the unit is listed as September 19, though this may be the date of his promotion to Sergeant from Private.Ruhl was promoted throughout the war, at least in part because of his father's interventions. He was promoted from Sergeant to First Sergeant on May 12, 1862. On Oct 25, 1862 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant. He was promoted to First Lieutenant on May 10, 1863. His final promotion, to Captain, occurred on April 20, 1864.Following the discharge of members of the 87th whose three-year term of enlistment was up, on September 23, 1864 Ruhl was left in command of 200 members of the 87th who had later discharge dates. He led his troops up the Shenandoah Valley, engaging in the Third Battle of Winchester, the Battle of Fisher's Hill, and finally the Battle of Cedar Creek.In the evening of October 18 and early morning of October 19th, Ruhl wrote a letter of recommendation to the battalion for Sgt. William Esias Culp to become quartermaster. Early the morning of the 19th, Ruhl was killed when a Minié ball traveled through his body, severing an artery. He is reported to have thrown up his hands and said, "Boys, its all up with me." He died a few minutes later.On November 1, 1864 Noah Ruhl collected his son's remains and had them removed to Shrewsbury, where they were buried with military honors.He is the namesake for Pennsylvania's Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Camp #33, Edgar M. Ruhl.

Edward N. Whittier

Edward Newton Whittier (July 1, 1840 – June 14, 1902) was a Union Army officer during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Battle of Fisher's Hill near Strasburg, Virginia fought September 21–22, 1864. The battle was one of the engagements of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.

George G. Moore

George G. Moore (July 2, 1844 – November 26, 1925) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Battle of Fisher's Hill near Strasburg, Virginia fought September 21–22, 1864. The battle was one of the engagements of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.

James Connors (Medal of Honor)

James Connors (1838 – unknown) was an Irish born Union Army soldier during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Battle of Fisher's Hill near Strasburg, Virginia fought September 21–22, 1864. The battle was one of the engagements of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.

Connors enlisted in the Army from Canajoharie, New York in August 1861, and mustered out with his regiment in June 1865.

John Creed (soldier)

John Creed (1819 – November 28, 1872) was an Irish born Union Army soldier during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Battle of Fisher's Hill near Strasburg, Virginia fought September 21–24, 1864. The battle was one of the engagements of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.

Creed joined the 23rd Illinois Infantry in August 1862, and was discharged in June 1865.

Kanawha Artillery

The Kanawha Artillery was an artillery battery of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Originally organized in Charleston, Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1861 as Captain John P. Hales Kanawha Artillery, this company saw action in 1861 at the Battle of Scary Creek under the command of George S. Patton, Sr and the Battle of Carnifex Ferry under the command of John B. Floyd. Captain Hale enlisted as a Captain on July 8th, 1861 and resigned August 2nd 1861. Lieutenant William A. Quarrier took command and himself resigned on August 21st, 1861. Captain Thomas E. Jackson took command of the Kanawha Artillery thereafter. The battery was captured at the Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee on February 16th, 1862.

The Kanawha Artillery was reformed on May 2nd, 1863 with many former Kanawha Artillerymen and men from the 8th Virginia Cavalry and Virginia State Line companies, again commanded by Thomas E. Jackson. Then known as Jackson's Virginia Horse Artillery and sometimes referred to as the Charlottesville Artillery, it was attached to Albert G. Jenkins Cavalry Brigade during the Gettysburg Campaign. The battery participated in the Battle of Gettysburg under the command of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. In July and August 1863, the battery was assigned to the Horse Artillery Battalion, Cavalry Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. From the fall of 1863 to the Spring of 1864, it was assigned as an unattached company to the Department of Western Virginia with Ransom's Cavalry Division and participated in the Battle of Droop Mountain.

After the Spring of 1864, the Kanawha Artillery was attached to Lomax's Cavalry Division, Valley District, Department of Northern Virginia under the overall command of Gen. Jubal Early. The unit participated in many battles during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 including the Battle of New Market, the Battle of Cold Harbor, the Battle of Lynchburg, the Battle of Monocacy, the Battle of Georgetown and D.C., the Battle of Folck's Mill, the Battle of Moorefield and the Battle of Fisher's Hill.

Kanawha Division

The Kanawha Division was a Union Army division which could trace its origins back to a brigade originally commanded by Jacob D. Cox. This division served in western Virginia and Maryland and was at times led by such famous personalities as George Crook and Rutherford B. Hayes.

Meriwether Lewis Anderson

Dr. Meriwether Lewis Anderson (June 23, 1805 - March 5, 1862) was a prominent Virginia physician and politician.

Anderson was born at "Locust Hill" in Albemarle County, Virginia to Edmund Anderson and Jane Meriwether Lewis, the sister of Meriwether Lewis. He graduated from the University of Virginia and went on to get a degree in medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After qualifying as a physician he moved to Mississippi to begin his practice and take up farming. Anderson returned to Virginia in 1837 upon inheriting his maternal grandmother's estate and became a well known and respected physician of the Piedmont region. His prominence in Albemarle county resulted in his election to the Virginia Legislature in 1861. Anderson died several months after his election in 1862.Anderson married Lucy Sydnor Harper (1811–1885) in 1831; the daughter of Charles and Lucy Smither Harper. The couple had five children including Meriwether Lewis Anderson, Jr who was killed at the Battle of Fisher's Hill in 1864. The Andersons also adopted several nieces and nephews in addition to their own.

Sylvester D. Rhodes

Sylvester D. Rhodes (December 1, 1842 – August 29, 1904) was a Union Army soldier during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for gallantry during the Battle of Fisher's Hill near Strasburg, Virginia fought September 21–22, 1864. The battle was one of the engagements of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.

Rhodes joined the army from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in September 1861. He was commissioned as an officer in December 1864, and was mustered out in June 1865.

Union Army of the Shenandoah

The Army of the Shenandoah was a Union army during the American Civil War. First organized as the Department of the Shenandoah in 1861 and then disbanded in early 1862, it became most effective after its recreation on August 1, 1864, under Philip Sheridan. Its Valley Campaigns of 1864 rendered the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia unable to produce foodstuffs for the Confederate States Army, a condition which would speed the end of the Civil War.

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