Battle of Tom's Brook

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Battle of Tom's Brook
Part of the American Civil War
DateOctober 9, 1864 (1864-10-09)
Result Union victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Alfred Torbert Thomas L. Rosser
6,300 [1] 3,500 [1]
Casualties and losses
57 [1] 350 [1]

The Battle of Tom's Brook was fought on October 9, 1864, in Shenandoah County, Virginia, during Philip Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign of the American Civil War. It resulted in a significant Union victory, one that was mockingly dubbed The Woodstock Races for the speed of the Confederate withdrawal.[2]

After his victory at Fisher's Hill, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan pursued Jubal A. Early's Confederate army up the Shenandoah Valley to near Staunton. On October 6, Sheridan began withdrawing, as his cavalry burned everything that could be deemed of military significance, including barns and mills. Reinforced by Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Kershaw's division, Early followed. Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Rosser arrived from Petersburg to take command of Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee's Confederate cavalry division and harassed the retreating Federals. On October 9, Brig. Gen. Alfred Torbert's Union troopers turned on their pursuers, routing the divisions of Rosser, whose cavalrymen were repulsed by Custer in a flanking maneuver along the base of Spiker's Hill off of Back Road, and Lunsford L. Lomax, who was positioned in the vicinity of the Valley Pike, at Tom's Brook. With this victory, the Union cavalry attained overwhelming superiority in the Valley.[2]

That's General Custer, the Yanks are so proud of,
and I intend to give him the best whipping today that he ever got,

— Confederate Major General Tom Rosser on the eve of the battle.[3]

Jubal Early later commented sourly about Rosser's Laurel Brigade, "The laurel is a running vine".[4]

Battlefield preservation[edit]

The Civil War Trust (a division of the American Battlefield Trust) and its partners have acquired and preserved 516 acres (2.09 km2) of the Tom's Brook battlefield.[5]

See also[edit]

  • Edward R. Hanford – Union private, capturer of the 32nd Battalion Virginia Cavalry battle flag


  1. ^ a b c d National Park Service Battle Summary
  2. ^ a b National Park Service battle description
  3. ^ Wittenburg, Eric J., The Battle of Tom's Brook North & South - The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society, Volume 10, Number 1, Page 30.
  4. ^ McDonald, William (2002). A History of the Laurel Brigade: Originally the Ashby Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia and Chew's Battery. JHU Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780801869525. Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  5. ^ [1] American Battlefield Trust "Saved Land" webpage. Accessed May 29, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Miller, William J. Decision at Tom's Brook: George Custer, Thomas Rosser, and the Joy of the Fight. El Dorado Hills, CA: Savas Beatie, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61121-308-9.

Coordinates: 38°56′34″N 78°26′45″W / 38.9429°N 78.4458°W / 38.9429; -78.4458