When the Battle of Cedar Creek began in the early morning hours of October 19,
1864, General Philip Sheridan was some 20 miles away from the battlefield, having
made a trip into Washington, DC, to confer with administration officials. Jubal
Early's Confederate forces quickly gained the upper hand and were on their way to
winning a decisive victory when Sheridan, after a desperate ride to reach the
scene of the fray, finally appeared on the field and rallied his troops for an
assault that gained Lincoln the battlefield success he needed to insure his re-
election the following month.