Battle of Fisher's Hill
On September 22, 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early with 18,000 Confederate soldiers made a stand at Fisher's Hill against the Union army. Union General Phillip H. Sheridan with 60,000 Union soldiers defeated the Confederate army mainly due to overwhelming numbers.
Backstory and Context
Confederate Gen. Early had been ordered to divert Union forces from the Siege of Petersburg and the fighting around Richmond by threatening Washington by taking control of the Shenandoah Valley. He succeeded somewhat by drawing forces away from the other battles. Union General Phillip Sheridan had about 30,000 men opposing the 18,000 men under the command of the Confederate General Jubal Early for control of the Shenandoah Valley. After the defeat of Gen Early at the Battle of Winchester, the Confederate army was retreating south.
South of Strasburg the Shenandoah Valley is split in two by 40 mile long Masanutton Mountain, crossed by only one steep pass halfway down its length. The entrance to the northern half of the Valley is only four miles wide. A stream, Tumbling Run, comes down out of the west, carving a ravine on the north side of a steep-fronted ridge known as Fisher's Hill.The position seemed like a good place for Confederate Gen. Early to take a stand.
Gen. Early had a weakness as he didn't have enough men to fully span the 4 mile length of the line as he ran short about a mile short of the mountains to the West. Gen Early dispatched unmounted cavalry to loosely cover the gap. The Union forces recognized the Confederate weakness and dispatched Union Gen. George Crook to attack the weak gap of the Confederate forces while Union Gen. Sheridan's forces attacked the main Confederate force. This plan worked and the Confederate forces were beaten and forced to retreat about 75 miles to Waynesboro.
This battle left the Shenandoah Valley as far South as Staunton open for the next stage of Grant's strategy which was to burn crops, cattle, barns and mills to eliminate the Shenandoah Valley as the breadbasket for the Confederate army.