Tom's Brook was a battle of strategy and maneuver that pitted cavalry against cavalry. The Confederate cavalry were eager for revenge against their Federal counterparts, who had been burning barns and mills in the Valley for the previous week. After his victory of Jubal Early's Confederates at Fisher's Hill, Sheridan ordered his horsemen to "whip'' the enemy or get whipped themselves. In the resulting conflict, the troopers of George Custer and Wesley Merritt's divisions routed the Early's mounted arm, impairing its morale and efficiency for the remainder of the campaign. The precipitous flight of the Confederate cavalry was referred to by Valley residents and victorious Federals as the "Woodstock Races." The fighting on the Back Road at Spiker's Hill pitted two former West Point roommates against one another--Tom Rosser and George Armstrong Custer. Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan watched the battle unfold, reputedly from the summit of Round Hill.
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