The Central Virginian

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Why Trevilian Station

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2013 at 10:01 am

BTSThis is the first of a series of articles to be submitted by the Trevilian Station Battle Foundation concerning the Battle of Trevilian Station and leading up to the 150th Anniversary Re-enactment of this battle in June of 2014.  

After over a month of stalemate fighting between Generals Grant and Lee from Wilderness to Richmond, Grant needed a diversion.  He also needed a flank movement.  Grant ordered his Cavalry under General Phil Sheridan to go to Charlottesville by way of the Central Virginia railroad and create destruction on the way.

From there, he was to travel south to Lynchburg and link-up with General Hunter coming out of the Shenandoah Valley and proceed to Richmond together.  While this was happening, Grant would lay siege to Petersburg and sever those rail lines and strangle Richmond.

Sheridan’s specific instructions were to strike the railroad at Trevilian Station, then continue to Gordonsville and ultimately on to Charlottesville, utterly destroying anything and everything railroad-related.

Sheridan, after studying the topography, decided to hit the railroad at Trevilian Station, bypass Gordonsville and go directly west to Cobham and hit it again there, then proceed on to Charlottesville.

General Robert E. Lee learned of Sheridan’s movement and ordered Generals Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee (his nephew) to move west and intercept Sheridan.

Sheridan had a two-day start on them but had to travel a much longer route. Hampton started out late, but traveled a shorter and more direct route and also covered more mileage daily, arriving at Trevilian Station early in the day on June 10, 1864.

To read the entire story, see the Aug. 8 edition of The Central Virginian.

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