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Henry Schaeffer
Private 159th Regiment - Fourteenth Pennsylvania Calvary Company M (F)
Compiled by Rev. Lee E. Schaeffer, Sr.
Edited and expanded by Lee E Schaeffer, Jr. 1999

This little Booklet is dedicated to

Who, for over sixty years, held our family together through self-sacrifice and loving devotion. When there was a death in the family, or a tragedy or problem, - her home was our home. The family get-togethers, dinners, picnics, outings, etc. give us all precious memories. A devout Christian Lutheran (as were her grandparents) a member of the DAR, active in other social, cultural and educational activities; she has quietly given to charitable causes to help the less fortunate. Her brothers and sisters stand up to cheer her and call her BLESSED!

The emotional, sometimes dramatic Colonel James Martinu Schoonmaker was one of the youngest commissioned officers in the Army of the Potomac. Later, elected Judge of Allegheny County Court, Pittsburgh, Pa. He and my Uncle Lee Miller, were good friends. As a historian, Uncle Lee heard from him many of his Civil War experiences, since the Colonel knew Grandfather well and respected him as a brave, obedient soldier with whom he shared some of his battle experiences.

This really was a gold mine of information for me over the years of my boyhood - 1909 to 1913. With the Schaeffer Grandparents in the summers of 1914 to 1916 and with the Miller Grandparents in their log cabin home. In 1916 I worked in on the Walter George farm in South Bend. These are "Pegs" to help date the following stories. Note- There is no attempt at Chronological order- sister Audrey asked me (her brother- Rev. Lee Schaeffer Sr.) to write down some of the memories I had of our Grandfather, Henry Schaeffer. 
(Rev. Schaeffer would have been about 11 when Henry died.)

More the attempt has been to place him in the times in which he lived - surrounded by those, whom he loved, knew, hated, or who loved, knew or even hated him.

I wish to write some things which, I believe, our family should remember, check on, revise, delete, or add to anything I have written or will write as a part of our memories of our Grandfather Schaeffer. SO, EVERY BODY CHECK!

Rev. Lee E. Schaeffer, Sr.
   You are visitor since May 2001 - Statistics


He came from Heidelburg, Germany in l765 following his future wife, Maria Catherine Reeg, who had come two years earlier in 1763

The Ohio Branch of the Schaeffers - Records take from the Family Bible, owned by Margaret Schaeffer Brumgard- may be a bit confusing but adds something to the composite picture of our Grandfather.

Descents of Anthony Schaeffer and his wife, Maria Catherine Reeg Schaeffer

George Peter Schaeffer married Helfrich

George and Maria Schaeffer, the parents of John George Schaeffer

John George Schaeffer: born- Aug. 28, 1815; died Feb. 16, 1882. (Margaret Schaeffer Bumgard had a note that said Dad's family is the John George Schaeffer Family.)

John George Schaeffer's son was George Franklin Schaeffer born July 25, 1845

His son, Linus (or Lynus), the father of Mrs. Bumgard, born, Oct. 9, l892, Greenville, Ohio. Died, June 3, 1968.

Mrs. Linus Augustus Schaeffer, a niece Eva Cook- living in Columbiana, Ohio on Feb. 9, 1973- knew Grandfather Schaeffer, could describe him, at least in his middle years. She attended the Schaeffer Reunions in King's Grove, Brick Church, Pa, and the old Schaeffer Burying Ground. One of her older brothers and several of her husband's uncles were good friends of Grandfather. (They, of course, would be related to him.) She also mentioned the Reubeu Schaeffer branch of the Schaeffer Family. John (Big John or Doc) owns a TV and Repair Store In Sebreing. The family comes from Ford City Area and has a Schaeffer Family History but claims that a cousin in Ford City has our Family History that differs a bit from ours. Doc also attended the Schaeffer Family Reunion at King' Grove at Brick Church, Pa and visited the old Schaeffer burying grounds. While he knew something about Grandfather and other Schaeffers, he did not add too much to the composite picture I was seeking.

Christopher Schaeffer, the father of the first Anthony, I think, was a

Bürgermeister of Heidelburg. If this could be proven correct, then sister's Ruth's assertion that the Schaeffers once had the "Von" before their name would be correct.

UNCLE LEE MILLER was a wealth of information- brother of our Mother, Margaret Elizabeth Schaeffer. Uncle Lee and Colonel Schoonmaker were good friends. Since Uncle Lee loved Civil War History, he loved to listen to the Colonel talk of his experiences. Of the youngest commissioned officers in the Union Army and as our Grandfather's Commanding Officer, he knew him well. He spoke of him frequently with respect and affection and saved Grandfather from punishment by an angry General Sheridan.


By Addison Kelly Schaeffer and his wife, Margaret Elizabeth Schaeffer. Sister Ruth, now needing 24 hour care in a fine rest Home, near Gettysburg, Pa, under the loving care of her devoted sons, Urivin and William Freasch, - provided a large number of old family pictures which were very helpful. Sister Audrey and Lee would remember Grandfather in his late 60's or early 70's. Plus, of course what has been handed down in folklore and tradition by the older generations. In this way, we get a composite picture of a younger man. His facial features and physical build would be similar to those of Brother Keith at the time (Keith entered the Air Force in World War II) - or Cousins Merle and Calvin Schaeffer in their younger days, or Tom Schaeffer, Jr. - the son of Tom and Lucy Lemmon Schaeffer. Broad hands, broad shoulders of the dirt farmer, sturdy, well-muscled, walked fast, laughing, sometimes joking, not often angry and an exceptionally skilled horseman.

Up to the Civil War, he did speak some English. But, I, Rev. Lee Schaeffer, Sr. remember how our two Grandfathers, - Henry Schaeffer and Philip Miller- (First Cousins) sat in the living room of Grandfather Miller's log cabin home and talked all morning in Pennsylvania Dutch- their eyes were shinning, they were laughing, having a wonderful time

Interpolation here lest I forget some little things - John Miller, cousin of both of our Grandfathers, got his life long nick name following the defeat and rout of Sheridan's troops in the First Battle of Cedar Creek by General Early and his cavalry. Time and again, he told others, "I cam a Hell's damn kitin down Shenandoah Valley with guy-ment boots on. " So his nick-name, "Kitin' John,"

This was the first pair of boots that Kitin' John had ever owned. They were very precious and valuable. Grandfather Miller told me that he was 18 years old (b. 1832) When he bought his first pair of "store-boughten" shoes." Previously, he had worn the half-tanned rawhide square toed type of brograns a kind if moccasin-shoe with laces about the ankles, or a moccasin type that came up to the knees for winter wear as a protection against snow, sleet, briars. It was this last kind Grandfather Miller wore when he took a pack horse East across the mountains to get the winter supply of salt, pepper and some of the necessities for his Mother, He was about 14 or l5 at the time. For some strange reason, there had been a "Indian scare." Probably started by some stupid men to frighten the boy. Without rest, he came home as fast as he could.

His father (John) Henry Miller died in 1849 - a semi-invalid when Grandfather was about 17 years of age. He was married to Elisabeth Schaeffer, - the Aunt of Grandfather Schaeffer and the daughter of John Philip Schaeffer. Our two Grandfathers were first cousins, good friends, enjoyed each other's company so that the memories we have of Grandfather Miller helps in or composite picture of Grandfather Schaeffer and of the times in which he lived.

Our grandmother Miller (Nee Mary Cook - Scotch-Irish) was orphaned when quite young. Her Father and two of his two brothers and her Uncles harvested timber holdings in Northern Pennsylvania and West Virginia plus other investments. In the Cook family History, no mention is made of Grandmother or her brother, Uncle Leci Cook, who was a prosperous farmer and successful horse trader whom I knew and talked with at Country Fairs. According to the laws of inheritance of that time, Grandmother did not receive one cent of what should have been her rightful inheritance. Grandmother was raised by a family-country doctor- Elliott- who gave her an excellent education. Legend has it that she was one of the first female public school teachers in Western Pennsylvania before the Civil War.

Grandfather Miller, at that time, was a young widower with two children: Uncle Henry Miller and Aunt, Laura Miller Smeltzer. Grandmother was a widow with one son- Uncle Dick Hilemaan. Grandfather, while driving to his home in a buggy or wagon saw Grandmother walking and offered her "a life home" - graciously accepted buy the brown-eyed, curly hared Scotch-Irish lassie. This began a life long romance. Grandfather had had 4 years of 4 months of public education. Grandmother taught him the 3 R's. He became a better Bible student than many of the Bible teachers I have known.

Another interesting insight - Grandfather barked, cut and trimmed logs in Cook's Forest. As a young man he was a raft captain floating the logs down the Susquehanna River to Harrisburg, Pa,

Our youngest Uncle, Isaac, was preparing to enter Western Theological Seminary Pittsburgh, Pa. He was helping to build the old iron bridge across Crooked Creek, below Grandfather's and near the Aruba Farm, The guy ropes broke, the pole fell and killed the young Isaac. Aunt Essie was teaching at Dime, near Leechburg, Pa, For some reason there was difficulty in getting the sad message to her. They were near the same age, close to each other. For some reason even in the early 1900's communications were poor. Years later, I talked with the couple with whom Aunt Essie roomed; they told how deeply this tragedy had struck. However they did what they could to get Aunt Essie the ten or so miles to her home.

Too, Grandfather Miller would chuckle about the lunches children took to school, before World War 1- "sort of sissy. " When asked about his school lunch he said his mother fried a sausage, a Johnny cake or buckwheat cake, wrapped the cake around the sausage and put it in the pocket of his home-spun coat. At noontime he ate them greasy and cold, with a drink of cold, spring water.

14th Pennsylvania Cavalry in the Civil War

President - Abraham Lincoln
General of the Army of the Potomac - U. S. Grant
General Commanding Calvary Forces - Colonel James M. Schoonmaker

Colonel Schoonmaker, Was Grandfather's Commanding officer. He had taken the place of Colonel Ringgold in command if the 14th Pennsylvania Calvary.

GENERAL PHILIP Sheridan never lost a battle. He was a harsh, stern disciplinarian; demanded all orders, rules and regulations be obeyed immediately and carried out perfectly and completely. He was daring to the point of rashness and wanted officers with discipline and daring. He also commanded other regiments Grant assigned to him to bring about a quick, decisive victory for the Federal Cause.

Lincoln and Grant realized that the bloody, costly Civil War must be brought to a quick conclusion. General Robert E, Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia must be totally defeated - there was on other way. The number of killed and wounded was hitting almost every home. The cost of living, especial for the poor and lower middle class was grinding them into deeper poverty; taxes were exorbitant and increasing.

There was a strong Peace party, advocating peace with the Confederate States, no matter the cost. In fact, our Grandfather Miller, a Peace man, voted for General McClellan against Abraham Lincoln in the 1864 Presidential Campaign. Today, I understand this better than I did in 1914 when Grandfather told me about it.

Now, back to Grandfather, He was registered for the draft; he knew that, with the-additional call for men, he would soon receive his notice, He and his young bride tried to make some plans. (She was Margaret George of Scotch-Irish descent). He had many relatives and good friends who kept him informed of the progress of the Draft. The morning the draft officer came up the dusty road to the front door, Grandfather slipped quietly out the back door, down the valley probably to Kittanning, Pa. where he enlisted. This gave him several advantages. As a volunteer, he had certain privileges not granted to draftees; he received a bounty of $400.00 which would be of great help t Grandmother. I was also told that Uncle Alvie was named for him, Henry Alvindore Schaeffer, Jr. because Grandmother was fearful that her young husband would not return from the War.


Grandfather was a skilled horseman; he could train, break, gentle horses the most fractious horse by gentle word and treatment though there were times when he did not spare the whip. Probably, as a volunteer, he himself had something to do with being assigned to the famous 14th Pennsylvania Regiment under Sheridan. Not only in the Calvary but also as a Wagon Master. By whatever title he would be truly in his element in the kind of work that which he enjoyed. He was experienced in a number of trades, such as black-smithing. A hard working, sometimes, as a young man, I was told, some that excitable-yet mostly stable, steady-going, reliable Pennsylvanian Dutch type of young man.

Here, mention should be made of his helper or assistant, by what ever name another Private, a teenage with blue eyed lad with blond curls. The men called him Sister or "Sissie." for short. Once, watching a Calvary charge down hill into a valley from their wagon on a hill top, a bullet from the side whizzed past, nipping Grandfather's nose, drawing a bit of water. Spitting out tobacco juice, he chuckled unperturbed, "That was a close one, Sissie!"

Grandfather had a number of duties:

His horses had to be well fed, well shod, groomed, health, ready to go, day or night over rutted country toads or across stony fields. The wagon and harness had always to be cleaned and in good repair, - every moving part well greased, rims and spokes tight. He had a small toolbox containing pliers, rivets, hand anvil, hammers, grease, clothes, etc. - plus his long rifle and bayonet and a brace of 45 caliber, six-shooter double action, bright blue Star Arms 45 caliber steel revolvers.

The wagons would carry the rations or the troops; some might be loaded with extra guns, munitions, swords a small field cannon, etc.

Sometimes, when available, the wagons would also bring medicine and medical supplies.

If possible, when the Calvary charged into battle, the wagons would be drawn into a circle, guarded by a Sergeant and six or eight men.

Sometimes, if it were necessary for the cavalrymen to fight on foot which they hated- their horses were placed inside the circle of wagons-guarded by an officer and some men. It was here that our Grandfather was superb. The sound, the smoke and confusion of battle made some of the horses excited, fractious, squealing, jumping. Quietly Grandfather would slowly walk in among them, talking quietly, gently, slowly securing the reins of a horse, stroking his head, giving him a bit of his chewing tobacco (It always seemed to work. I saw him do this with that young horse "Tony" when I was a boy) Colonel Schoonmaker said that no one could do more with crazy horses than Private Henry Schaeffer could.

Sister Audrey told me that Grandfather had, at least once, been on a foraging expedition along the road of Sideling Mountain. This must have been a number of wagons, convoyed by an officer and his men, seeking rations for General Sheridan and his men just before the Battle of Cedar Creek. From farmers, they would buy livestock, chicken, eggs, vegetable, grain, fruits- anything that soldiers would eat. The farmers would receive specified prices through receipts cashed by the War Department.

So today, dear Family, if you drive along the Pennsylvania Turnpike and come to The Sideling Mountain Tunnel- just remember that your dear Grandfather saw all that beautiful country first,

Sheridan's Campaign in the Shenandoah Valley
Aug. 7-Nov. 28, 1864

Today, the broad Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is still lush and full of prosperous farms. It was the bread basket feeding General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. To destroy utterly this source of supply would bring the tragic, bloody, costly Civil War to a quick conclusion. With General Sheridan, Commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, appointed by Grant in 1864, the action started.

In the Wilderness Campaign (May 9-24, 1864), he destroyed supplies and communications and defeated General Jeb Stewart at Yellow Springs. The success of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early in the Shenandoah Valley prompted Grant to give Sheridan command of all the Union forces (cavalry and foot soldier regiments) there in August, 1864.

At Winchester, (Sept. 19) and Fisher Hill (Sept. 22) Sheridan roundly defeated Early and drove him southward up the Valley - remember the Shenandoah River flows north. Then Sheridan slowly withdrew, systematically laying waste the Shenandoah so that as he reported, "Even a crow flying across the place would have to take his rations with him.

General Early marched his hungry Confederate troops, about 17,000 men, to Fisher's Hill, just north of Strasburg on October 13. When he came to Cedar Creek, he saw Sheridan's secure army of over 30,000. General Early was short of provisions and decided to attack. He sent three divisions under Major General John B. Gordon across the Shenandoah River and along the side of Massanutten Mountain on the night of October 18.

"Never since the world was created was such a crushing defeat turned into such a splendid victor as at Cedar Creek"
       Capt. S.E. Howard, 8th Vermont Infantry

"The last great battle of the Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia took place on 19 October 1864 along Cedar Creek between the towns of Strasburg and Middletown. It marked the end of Confederate power in the Valley, and its timing three weeks before the national elections unquestionably influenced the magnitude of President Lincoln's reelection."
               from A Self-Guided Tour of the Battlefield
- Joseph W. A. Whitehorne
            Battle Field Map

Gordon's divisions attacked in the foggy early morning. The Federal troops were surprised. Early successfully drove the Union Troops from their camps and through Middletown. At mid-day, he stopped his forces at the north side of Middletown to his victory.

Sheridan, returning from his consultation, heard the sounds of battle. He rode to Winchester and found his army on the north side of Middletown. Grandfather was able to get his team and empty wagon a "hell damn kitin" down the Shenandoah!" Some of the Cavalrymen had lost their horses.

When he came to Grandfather (according to Grandfather and Colonel Schoonmaker) He shouted, 'Turn boys, turn, we're going back!" Grandfather turned his teams and wagons around, followed Sheridan closely, direct1y behind him. Some of the houseless soldiers hitched a ride on his wagon. Soon, with waving sword, other wagons, cavalry men and soldiers were put in some kind of order.

At a turn in the road, Sheridan rode his horse straight through a swamp. Grandfather right behind him, whipping his horses with their noses close to the tail of Sheridan's horse. Some where in this picture is the laughing, excitable young Colonel Schoonmaker having the time of his life as he told Uncle Lee Miller later.

This counter attack from the swamp caught the Confederates by surprise. They were relaxed, enjoying the good food the Federals had left behind but again Sheridan won a decisive victory.

Grandfather cleans Sheridan's muddy boots.

It was here that Sheridan ordered Grandfather to clean and polish his boots (he probably already knew the kind of work Grandfather did.) The tired young soldier soon had the mud cleaned off and the boots and shined a lovely, glossy back-with the help of the little box on his wagon. Sheridan was pleased and as usual, Colonel Schoonmaker said that he would have given his Commission to clean Sheridan's boots after that glorious victory.

Hung up by the Thumbs


Just after the Battle of Cedar Creek (Oct. 19), there was still much confusion. Some of Sheridan's Staff, Aides and Counselors were still missing. Sheridan was the kind of martinet where everything had to be letter perfect and the army run according to strictest regulations.

Grandfather had already given instant obedience, showed daring and initiative. So Sheridan appointed him a special Courier probably recommended by Colonel Schoonmaker.

Grandfather was sent north to Winchester with an urgent message to one of Sheridan's officers and was ordered to return. Here the Army rules were strict - nobody, but nobody goes barging in on a General Of the United States (unless it is the President!) Sheridan's rules were strict. The courier would slap hard the flap of Headquarters tent, then shout out, loud and clear, "Courier, Private Schaeffer, Sir, with an important message for General Sheridan" Then wait until, he was ordered to enter.

Instead, this excited, proud young soldier, jumped off his panting horse, ran into the tent, dramatically slapped down the message on Sheridan's camp desk without saluting.

Sheridan literally blew his top and demanded that Grandfather be hung up by his thumbs for breaking regulations. A heavy string would be tied about his thumbs, bringing them tight together. The string would be thrown over the limb of a tree and tightened until the tips of Grandfather's toes barely touched the ground; the other end of the string would be tied tightly to the trunk of the tree. This excruciating punishment could last a certain number of hours under a hot sun, without shade, food, or water depending to the seriousness of the infraction of t he rules.

It was here that Colonel Schoonmaker intervened with a strong protest saying that private Schaeffer had been a good soldier, obeyed orders; certainly had helped win the victory that day

So the General and his young; Colonel got into another of their red-faced, angry, shouting matches (I have a feeling that they enjoyed them.) They both had great respect and affection for each other even after the War.

Finally Schoonmaker took off his gloves slapped them down on Sherdan's table and shouted, "If this man is punished, I'm resigning my Commission!"

Sheridan cooled, Said, "All right; get him the Hell out of here. You punish him!" Schoonmaker grabbed Grandfather quickly by the arm, practically threw him out of Headquarters. Outside, he slapped Grandfather on the back, grinned and told him to be sure to obey all the orders in the future - thus, theses two men parted for a while.

One summer at Grandfather Miller's farm I heard his familiar, shouted signal, "Boop, Boop." I would trot to the spring, get a jug of cool water, cross cornfield to where Grandfather would be sitting in the shade of a great Oak, wiping his face with a red bandanna handkerchief. This was when he would tell me Civil War stories - and the one about being almost hung up by the thumbs. He would chuckle about it. Uncle Lee through Colonel Schoonmaker also confirmed this in more vivid detail.


Here Rev. Schaeffer quotes from The History of the Civil War - (See the Appendix)

"Sheridan now joined Grant near Petersburg. General Lee was trapped; his communications were destroyed; the Shenandoah Valley devastated; his soldiers, decimated, weak, hungry, bone-tired. Lee tried to move westward along the Petersburg road, hoping to break through the Federal lines and join the remnants of Confederate forces in the south and southeast. However, Sheridan forestalled this by sending the Ohio Calvary west of Appommattox, blocking Lee's retreat, So Lee Surrendered to Grant. When Grant asked Lee if there were anything more he could do for him Lee said that his boys were starving and that if Grant could supply them with rations, Lee would appreciate it. Grant immediately ordered that sufficient' that sufficient ration for 29,000 men be taken to the Confederate Camp."


Also, I am certain that Colonel Schoonmaker was one of the officers in command because of his vivid descriptions of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalrymen and the foot soldiers helping in the distribution of that much food and drink

We can picture this brown, curly haired young driver his campaign cap at a jaunty angle, laughing a bit, or calling out to others along the road. With Sissie on the seat beside-him, the long train of wagons behind him, driving up that dusty road, past the Triangle, where the Confederate solders had stacked their surrendered arms, into the Confederate Camp.

Grandfather told me, he shouted, "Here, Johnny Reb!' Come and eat!" With the help of Sissies and other soldiers, they soon were giving food and drink to the Boys in Gray. Several times Grandfather told me this story, as did Uncle Lee Miller. The old man wept as he talked about it. He had great respect and admiration for the Boys in Gray their courage, daring and fighting spirit.

History of the Schaeffer Family

In the year 1861, when the storm cloud of rebellion that had been hovering over the horizon of our Republic, broke upon us in its mighty fury, and an internal foe threatened to destroy our glorious Union, and our President called for loyal patriots to defend the Stars and Stripes, we find of the sons of Anthony Schaeffer among those who responded, and on the battlefield gave blood and life in defense of the country of their father's choice. When the Dove of Peace again spread her wings over our country, and these sons, along with their brothers in blue, came home again, they resumed their various avocations, and today his family is represented in every profession, trade and calling in life.

Thus we see the ties of blood and affection that bind us together have been and still are the main stay of our family, and we trust will so continue through all time to come; and when those of us here today have passed off the stage of action, and have been called to the new country of our fathers, may our children and children's children be animated by the same spirity which permeated General Picket, who won fame by his bold and daring charge on the battlefield of Gettysburg, when in our congressional hall when his State seceded, with tears streaming down his cheeks, proclaimed: "Proud as I am of being an American citizen, and dearly as I love those Stars and Stripes, this arm of mine shall never be raised against my own kith and kin.

Note by Rev. Lee Erwin Schaeffer.


Years later, my first wife, Catherine Cochran Schaeffer, and I stood there at the Triangle at Appomattox. I could picture our Grandfather, young then, full-of-life, excited, happy that the long war would soon be over. I myself shouted danced, sang- I know that people thought that was crazy but it was a "High Hour" for my soul!

A little chuckle here mightn't hurt- it does show a change in the attitude and convictions - to deeply seated prejudices - not felt by the men who fought on both sides of that fraternal war.

My first wife knew that I had great respect for General Robert E, Lee. In a bookcase in the museum, she called my attention to a new biography on Lee. While we were discussing it, a lady came up behind us and said in a long drawl, "Paw-d Me are yo-all from the Deep South? I replied, "No- Ma-a-am, I a- a-a-a-M-m, from the fahr North!" With a whirl of her skirts, she quickly turned and stomped away!

Grandfather also took part in the March Of the Grand Army of the Republic, in Washington, D. C. following the War, with President Johnson and other dignitaries in the viewing stand, People did not know it then, but this was the LAST HURRAG FOR THE Boys in Blue!

Henry Schaeffer Grave


Historical Marker
The fort on the hilltop to the southwest, known as Star Fort, was taken by Colonel Schoonmaker of General Philip Sheridan's army in the battle of September 19th, 1864.(Route 11, .8 mile north of Winchester). Frederick, Virginia.

Historical Marker # A3
Capture of Start Fort 9/19/1864
The hill top fort to the southwest, known as "Start Fort",
was taken by Colonel Schoonmaker of Sheridan's army during the battle.
(Route 11, .8 mile north of Winchester)

The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley   The Battle of Third Winchester

"General Sheridan moved forward to the battle lines and urged his men on. At about 3:30 p.m. as the intensity of the battle reached its zenith, the cavalry divisions of Averill and Merritt advanced astride the Valley Pike. First at a walk, then at a gallop as the divisions charged the Confederates at the Collier Redoubt. The Confederate was driven back to the base of Star Fort.   Schoonmaker's brigade (Averill's division) continuously attacked the Fort until he over ran it. The Confederates tried desperately to realign about 150 feet to the rear but failed . The sound of thundering hooves and the clash of swords from the Union Cavalry was just to much. As the rear of the line crumbled, the panic spread and the Confederate went running to the rear. General Rhodes divisions managed to change fronts and stop the cavalry long enough for Early's Army to retire, although in disorder."

See: http://www.dai-sho-electronics.com/SiteUsaVA_FJ.htm , Nov., 1999
Historical Marker (A3) CAPTURE OF STAR FORT

The Battle of Cedar Creek

Self-Guided Tour of the Battlefield - Joseph W. A. Whitehorne



Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation
P.O. Box 229
Middletown, VA 22645
Phone (703) 869-2064

Other Internet References
Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation -
Complete Details
The Battle of Cedar Creek

The Battle of Cedar Creek by Dan Reigle - Detailed account
The Battle of Cedar Creek - Belle Grove Historical site - Biographies
Civil War Battles Pages - Units in the battle
Cedar Creek Report, 2d Cavalry Division, Army of West Virginia (OR, 43, 506, 509-11)

"Never since the world was created was such a crushing defeat turned into such a splendid victor as at Cedar Creek"
Capt. S.E. Howard, 8th Vermont Infantry

Valley of the Shadow - Multi-Media Presentation

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to SCHOONMAKER, JAMES M.

Rank and Organization: Colonel, 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry
Place and Date: At Winchester, Va., 19 September 1864.
Entered Service At Maryland.
Born: 30 June 1842, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Date Of Issue: 19 May 1899.

Citation: At a critical period, gallantly led a cavalry charge against the left of the enemy's line of battle, drove the enemy out of his works, and captured many prisoners.

Picture of Mrs Schoonmaker
Picture refference:
The Story of the sesqui-centennial celebration of Pittsburgh, July 4, September 27 to October 3, and November 25, 1908 : illustrated with
portraits of prominent men and women and views taken during the sesqui-centennial, of marine parade, Greater Pittsburgh day, University
of Pittsburgh and Memorial hall day, etc. / edited by W.H. Stevenson ... [et al.] ; Sidney A. King, managing editor and compiler ; R.W.
Johnston, art adviser.

The Colonel was married twice. His first wife was Alice Winders Brown of Pittsburgh. She passed on in the early 1880's. His second wife was Rebecca Cook of Cincinnati. The Colonel's parents were James and Mary Clark Stockton Schoonmaker. James, the father came to Pitttsburgh around 1836 and set up as a druggist and paint anufacturer. The father was raised on the home farm near the Erie Basin of New York


One of the Pittsburgh area's most famous Civil War heroes was Col. James M. Schoonmaker, who was a Pitt (then Western University of Pennsylvania) student when war broke out and he enlisted.

When he was promoted to colonel within a couple of years, he bought a guitar, feeling it might cheer his men to sing by the campfire. It was a great success, and many soldiers wrote home to tell their families how much they enjoyed the music their colonel played.

Carried to the headquarters wagon of the 14th Cavalry, the guitar became a place of record. Scratched on it with a horseshoe nail were the dates and places of every battle the regiment fought.

Sometimes, as the regiment ranged the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, there were almost daily entries.

After the war, Schoonmaker, who had at one time been the youngest colonel in the Union Army, became quite prominent in business.

Involved with the start of the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroad, he became its chairman of the board as he rose through the executive ranks. he operated several coal and coke companies, and was an officer and director of several banks.

Lt. Joseph Stockton Schoonmaker was Colonel Schoonmaker's younger brother. He was known to the family as 'Bitsy'. Company F was initially recruited from the Uniontown area of Fayette County Pennsylvania. The HISTORY OF THE FOURTEENTH CAVALRY IN THE CIVIL WAR was reprinted recently by the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Military Museum Located in Pittsburgh.

J. S. Schoonmaker was promoted from 2d to 1st Lieut Jan. 14, 1864; to Captain Jan. 28, 1865.

SPECIAL ORDERS No. 1. - HDQRS. SECOND CAVALRY DIV. DEPARTMENT OF WEST VIRGINIA, Charleston, W Va., May 1, 1864.  Brigadier-General Duffie will select 1,000 men, best mounted and best equipped, from his brigade, which, with the brigade of Colonel Schoonmaker, will constitute an expeditionary force, to move under the immediate command of the general commanding.



schoonmaker1.jpg (81212 bytes)
More pictures of Colonel Schoonmaker's beautiful monument
on Millionaire's Row of Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh
GPS: N 40 26' 35.5"  -  W 79 54' 27.9"
by Tom and Nancy McAdams.

Armstrong County in The War of the Rebellion
159th Regiment - Fourteenth Cavalry


August 18, 1862, Lieut. James M. Schoonmaker, of the 1st Maryland Cavalry, but a citizen of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was authorized by Secretary of War Stanton and Gov. Curtin to recruit a battalion of cavalry of five companies. Recruits came in so rapidly that on the 29th the authority was extended to the recruiting of a full regiment of twelve companies. The companies were composed chiefly of men from Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler, Erie, Fayette, Lawrence, Washington and Warren counties. Companies K and L were principally, and Company M entirely, composed of Armstrong men, and for that reason, a brief outline of the history of the regiment is here inserted.

The regiment rendezvoused first at Camp Howe and subsequently at Camp Montgomery, near Pittsburgh, where, on November 24, organization was effected, with the following officers: colonel, James M. Schoonmaker; lieutenant colonel, William Blakeley; majors, Thomas Gibson, Shadrach Foley and John M. Daily. On the same day, the regiment moved toward Hagerstown, Maryland, and from thence to Harper's Ferry, where it remained on picket duty, varied with an occasional skirmish with the guerrilla bands which infested that region, until May, 1863, when it was sent to Grafton, on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and attached to the mounted command of Gen. Averill. The service at this time consisted in holding the towns of Beverly, Phillipi and Webster against a body of the enemy's cavalry. The 14th was held at Phillipi, and the remainder of the command at Webster and Beverly. The force at the latter place was surrounded by a brigade of the enemy. The 14th marched to their relief, and after a toilsome march reached the town early in the morning. A short skirmish took place and the enemy was compelled to withdraw. After this time, Gen. Averill's command was engaged on the Upper Potomac during the Gettysburg campaign; also at the Greenbrier White Sulphur Springs, where the 14th distinguished itself by repulsing three determined charges of the enemy. It was in the Droop Mountain raid and some smaller engagements. At Craig's creek, where Gen. Averill and his command seemed doomed to certain capture, he skillfully eluded the enemy, and no less than seven times in twenty-four hours the artillery was dragged by hand through the creek, which was deep and filled with floating ice. In November 1863, the 14th by the destruction of the bridge over the Jackson river was cut off from the main troops, and Gen. Early sent in a flag of truce demanding its surrender. Although surrounded by adverse circumstances, the men of the 14th reg. were not the kind to weakly yield, but setting fire to the train and fording the river, they made their escape and rejoined the command, which swam the Greenbrier that same night, crossed the Alleghenies by an old bridle-path, and, finally, after a march of five days over almost impassable roads, where the men were compelled to walk, reached Beverly. From this point, the command went to Martinsburg and into winter quarters. In recognition of the great service, which the command had performed, the War Department gave to each man a new suit of clothes as a gift from the government, the only instance of the kind during the war. The command was engaged on picket duty all of that winter, and arduous duty it was, too. In the spring of 1864, Gen. Averill's command undertook a movement through Virginia, which was successfully accomplished after great difficulty. While on this march, the soldiers of the 14th, on one occasion, were without food for five days, and many died from hunger. The last portion of the service in which this regiment was engaged included the battle of Moorefield and those brilliant engagements under Sheridan, which have made his name famous. April 20, 1865, the regiment went to Washington, D. C., and on June 11, to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where it was consolidated into a battalion of six companies. The date of the muster out was August 24, 1865, and the companies returned in a body to Pittsburgh, where they disbanded. During all the campaigns in which it was engaged, the 159th lost about eighty men killed and more than 200 wounded, besides many reported missing.


Privates in the Company
     Shaffer, Henry, m. i. s. Feb. 20, 1864; trans. to Co. F July 31, 1865.
    www.pa-roots.com/~armstrong/smithproject/history/chap2l.html, Nov. 1999

A History of the Civil War

By Benson J. Lossing LLD

Copyright 1895 by Charles P. Johnson, 1905 by Lossing History Company, 1912 by The War Memorial Association
I have this set of commemorative booklets which was given to Catherine Cochran Schaeffer in 1932. 
( A tour guide at the Gettysburg Battlefield to me it is vary rare and valuable - Lee Schaeffer Jr.)

Section 12 -The Battle of Cedar Creek- Page 380

Sheridan's forces fell back to a strong position behind Cedar Creek, and that leader departed for Washington city with the belief that the Valley was purged of Confederates in arms. It was a mistake. A month later, Early, reinforced, fell with crushing weight upon the Nationals at Cedar Creek, commanded by General Wright, and, for a time, their destruction seemed inevitable. They fell back to Middletown and beyond, where they turned upon the pursuers, and a desperate battle ensued.

When the battle commenced, Sheridan was in Winchester on his way to the army. The sound of conflict fell upon his ear, and, mounting his powerful black horse, he pushed on toward Cedar Creek. Presently he met the van of fugitives hurrying from the lost battlefield, at that stream, who told him a piteous tale of disaster. Sheridan ordered the retreating artillery to be parked on each side of the turnpike, and telling his escort to follow, he dashed forward, his horse on a swinging gallop, and at that pace he rode nearly twelve miles to the scene of conflict. The fugitives became thicker and thicker every moment. But Sheridan did not stop to chide nor coax; but as his powerful black steed thundered over that magnificent stone road which traverses the Shenandoah Valley, he waved his hat and shouted to the tumultuous crowds "Face the other way, boys, face the other way! We are going back to our camp to lick them out of their boots!" The man and the act were marvelously magnetic in their effects.

The tide of disordered troops was instantly turned, and flowed swiftly in the wake of their young commander. As he dashed into the lines, and rode along the front of forming regiments, he gave to each most stirring words of cheer and encouragement, and declared in substance, "We'll have all those camps and cannon back again." The men believed him, and showing their faith by their works, secured a speedy fulfillment of the prophecy. General Wright had already brought order out of confusion.

A very severe struggle ensued, and very soon Early was again sent "whirling" up the Valley. The National cavalry of Emory's corps, falling upon both flanks, caused the Confederates to flee in hot haste up the Valley pike, in great disorder, to Fisher's Hill, leaving the highway strewn with abandoned hindrances to flight. The road was clogged with masses of men, wagons, cannon and caissons, in utter confusion, and these were left behind. This short but brilliant campaign of Sheridan, which nearly annihilated Early's force, ended hostilities in the Shenandoah Valley.

Lee Schaeffer Aug., 2000 - Last Modified on 08/22/16