New Acquisition Marks Battle of Cedar Creek
Last week, Craig Cobb and his family visited the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives from Indiana. While here they donated a personal account of the Battle of Cedar Creek written by Mr. Cobb's ancestor, B. F. [Benjamin Franklin] Cobb, in 1907.
October 19 marks the anniversary of this battle, which took place in 1864 as Confederate and Union forces struggled for control of the Shenandoah Valley and its resources. The course of battle initially went in the Confederacy’s favor as General Jubal A. Early’s Army of the Valley launched three successful surprise attacks. The tide turned when Major General Philip Sheridan arrived at Cedar Creek after a swift ride from his headquarters in Winchester. He rallied the Union Army to a crushing counter assault that cemented the Union’s victory and effectively ended the Valley campaign.
B. F. Cobb served with C Company of the 10th Georgia Regiment during this battle. He records that on October 18th, 1864, he was camped with his regiment on Fisher’s Hill, near Cedar Creek Valley, when he received orders that they were to move out at “two o’clock the next morning and to leave off everything that would rattle or make a noise.”
Cobb and his fellow soldiers broke through Union defenses but before he could make it any further he was shot through the hips. Upon seeing his condition a passing officer left him with a canteen of apple brandy until he was finally evacuated to a field hospital and operated on by the regimental surgeon.
According to Cobb, the doctor did not think he would survive and so he was left behind when other casualties were send back up the Valley. He lay in a tent on a straw bed with only his belongings, including the canteen of apple brandy. When an ambulance came by after dark he hailed it. “I … asked the driver to take me on. I can’t he said I have all I can carry. I said I have a canteen of brandy if you take me on I will give you all you can drink all night. Said he get in.” Cobb survived and went on to live another forty or so years after the battle.
B. F. Cobb’s account of the Battle of Cedar Creek is filed with our Civil War Collection, 1610 THL, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library and Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society. Picture shows Mr. Cobb and his family donating the account to Rebecca Ebert, Archives Librarian (pictured left).