Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

 

The Valley Campaign


While Lee lay helpless in Petersburg, Sherman began his march to the sea. Lee cast about for some maneuver that would force Grant to pull troops away from the Union Army and weaken the siege. An opportunity came when General Jubal Early chased Federal forces from the Shenandoah Valley, freeing him for other operations. Lee authorized Early to cross the Potomac and threaten Washington. Lee knew that Grant would have to send reinforcements to the capital.

With 17,000 men, Early and his Confederate forces headed north at the end of June, 1864.As Early approached Maryland, the only Federal detachment of 6,000 Union forces under the command of Gen earl Lew Wallace. They were easily routed and Early continued on toward Silver Springs, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington. He arrived on the 11th of July. At that time, Early could have taken Washington had he pursued an aggressive attack, but he received reports of Federal reinforcements pouring into the city from Grants forces.

By the 14th of July, Early was back in Virginia and heading for the Shenandoah. Lee had anticipated that Grant would send more Federal forces from Petersburg to chase Early, and indeed, Grant did just that. He dispatched General Phil Sheridan with 48,000 troops into the Shenandoah with there primary job being to wreck the farms, burn the crops, and confiscate the livestock. The Federals pushed into the Shenandoah leaving a trail of fire and devastation in their wake.

The Federals caught up with Early at Winchester. Early' forces, battered fled south with Union cavalry in pursuit. Sheridan attacked Early again at Fisher's Hill, where the Rebels had dug in strongly. The Confederates were routed again. Sheridan then turned North to commence again the work of destruction.

Early reorganized his Rebel forces and began to harass the Yankees. General Sheridan was called away to Washington to confer with his superiors. On his return, on October 18, he stopped off at Winchester, some 20 miles from where his army was encamped at Cedar Creek. The next morning, Sheridan awoke to the sound of firing in the distance. Sheridan quickly mounted his charger and took to the road. As the firing was approaching him faster than he was approaching it, he realized that his men must be retreating under pursuit and heavy fire.

Galloping over a rise, Sheridan saw his army in full flight. Early had mounted a surprise attack on the sleeping Federals and they had bolted out of camp and were running for their lives. Sheridan took note that many in their underclothes still held tight to their rifles. As he charged down the road, hat waving over his head, the soldiers cheered. As he roared by screaming like a demon, the word spread to the far reaches of his scattered army. It took a full two hours to get the Federals ready for battle. Meanwhile, the Rebels dallied around the abandoned Federal camp eating the Federals food and drinking their whiskey.

Battle of Cedar Creek © Kurz & Allison


Sheridan and the Federal troops swept out to the attack, the sound swelling like an oncoming cyclone. The Rebels had little choice but to skedaddle as fast as they could, every man for himself. The battle of Cedar Creek finally ended Early's power in the Shenandoah valley. In March 1865, General Custer's cavalrymen wiped out the remains of the Confederate army under Jubal Early at Waynesboro. Early and two officers escaped with only twenty men. Sheridan completed his mission by the sacking of the once-beautiful valley, destroying or confiscating its farms, crops, animals, mills, powder works, barns, tanneries and railroads. Then he headed back to join Grant in his efforts to finish off General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

Painting of General Sheirdan's ride, Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection, Brown University.



Comments:
Keep up your noble work sir, lest U&WE turns into a scene like this one in Connecticut.

--regrettably anon.
 
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