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The Battle of Cedar Creek and Its Aftermath: Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

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The Battle of Cedar Creek and Its Aftermath: Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Defeat

In-Person Program

Weekend All-Day Tour

Saturday, June 1, 2024 - 8:00 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1CD035
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Belle Grove Plantation (National Park Service)

Among all the battles fought in the Shenandoah Valley, none achieved more significant results and had wider consequences than the Battle of Cedar Creek on Oct. 19, 1864. What began disastrously for Union forces in the morning, as Confederate Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s Army of the Valley launched a surprise attack, transformed into arguably one of the most remarkable Union triumphs during the afternoon.

Militarily, the battle finally wrested the Shenandoah Valley, a vital source of provender for Confederate troops in Virginia and an avenue of invasion into the North, from Confederate control. Politically, the victory achieved by Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan’s Army of the Shenandoah tremendously aided President Abraham Lincoln’s bid for reelection in November 1864. Additionally, Union success at Cedar Creek defined Sheridan’s legacy and elevated him to the pantheon of great American generals. In the decades after the Civil War, the Cedar Creek battlefield attracted both Union and Confederate veterans as they attempted to shape how this critical moment in the Republic’s history would be remembered.

History professor Jonathan A. Noyalas leads a daylong tour exploring the complexities of the battle, its impact on the soldiers who fought there and their families, its significance in the Civil War’s broader context, the battle’s aftermath, and veterans’ efforts to shape the battlefield’s commemorative landscape. The tour includes a visit to Belle Grove Plantation, a National Trust Historic Site. Lunch is included at the historic Wayside Inn.

Know Before You Go

  • The tour departs by motorcoach from downtown Washington, DC with a designated secondary pick-up outside the city. Content delivered by the study leader on the way to the destination, after the secondary pick-up, is an integral part of the study tour experience. Meeting the group once the tour is en route is discouraged.
  • Tour participants meet at and leave by bus from the Holiday Inn Capitol, 550 C St., SW, with a pickup stop at the Vienna Metro south-side Kiss & Ride kiosk at about 8:25 a.m.
  • Considerable walking on uneven terrain requires good mobility; dress in comfortable clothing and footwear.

General Information

  • Registration for this tour will end by 2 p.m. ET on Friday, May 31, 2024.
  • Smithsonian Associates is a mask-friendly environment. Please feel free to bring and wear a mask at any time during a tour, both for your safety or the safety of others.
  • For additional tour information: