Battle of Lynchburg – Photo Essay

In the summer of 1864 the upper Shenandoah Valley was a hotbed of military activity.  After US Major General Franz Sigel’s Federal army was badly mauled at the Battle of New Market, on May 15, Ulysses S. Grant would remove him from command of the Valley forces.  Major General David Hunter would be placed in command of the demoralized Valley troops and would move with celerity on the Confederate forces.  In early June he would defeat CSA Brigadier General William E. “Grumble” Jones‘ cavalry at the Battle of Piedmont.  Jones would be killed in the battle and Hunter would leave the Valley to attack Lynchburg, Virginia –  a vital Confederate supply depot and hospital.

Hunter would arrive on the outskirts of Lynchburg about the same time CSA Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early arrived to command the meager forces that held the city.  Early would deceive Hunter into believing more troops were garrisoned in the city by having his troops create a significant amount of noise –  something the local citizens would take an active role in.  On June 17, Hunter would attack Early and push his troops back into the city.  Unfortunately for the Union fortunes, Rebel reinforcements would arrive during the day.  On June 18, Hunter would launch several small probing attacks and a more concentrated attack against Early’s right flank.  He would be repulsed.  Early determined to attack Hunter the next day, but would find his adversary had retreated overnight into the Shenandoah Valley.  Low on supplies, due to his supply line being crippled, Hunter would retreat into West Virginia.  This proved costly for the United States as Early would invade the north, eventually reaching the very defenses of Washington.

During my May 2010 trip to the Shenandoah Valley, I was able to visit historic Lynchburg.  To view my photo essay on Flickr, click HERE.

About Michael Noirot

I grew up in the Central Illinois farming community, of Dunlap. Growing up, I played sports, tinkered with cars and enjoyed photography. While I did well in school, I did not become passionate about history until my early 30's. I have built a large library, of books on early America, politics and the Civil War. I am an avid reader. Fortunately, I have had plenty of opportunities to travel, over the years, and have been to most of the Civil War battlefields. I work while I travel, so more often than not, I am up, in the middle of the night, to get sunrise pictures, or I will be out until well after dark, exploring Civil War battlefields. I have other hobbies, and passions, that I really enjoy. Number one on the list would be guitar. I play my guitars on a regular basis, and enjoy the Bluegrass, and Contemporary Christian (CCM) genres. I play a style of guitar, called FLATPICKING, where using a flat pick, you play lead solos, similar to the way a fiddle would have been played during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Laura, my wife, and I also enjoy scuba diving, travel and spending time at our property, in the country. Lastly, we spend as much time with our families, as possible. Thanks for stopping by.
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One Response to Battle of Lynchburg – Photo Essay

  1. bobilee says:

    “Low on supplies, due to his supply line being crippled, Hunter would retreat into West Virginia.”

    Which is very ironic, as he was stopped by West Virginians. From Jack L. Dickinson’s “16th Virginia Cavalry”.

    “The Confederate cavalry was finally forced back to Lynchburg. Early arrived at Lynchburg on June 17 to reinforce McCausland. Early found the cavalry brigades posted on the hills near the Salem Turnpike. On June 18 the cavalry brigades made a brilliant stand against Hunter’s advance four miles from Lynchburg near the intersection of the Forest Road with the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad. The confederates lost 100 men killed and wounded. The 16th Virginia Cavalry reported no casualties. McCausland and the brave men of the 16th Virginia Cavalry had held Hunter in check long enough for Early and his men to assure the safety of the town. As a result of McCausland’s stubborn stand, he was presented by the people of Lynchburg with a pair of spurs and a gold-inlaid sword inscribed “From the City of Lynchburg to General John McCausland-July 18, 1864″. McCausland was credited after the war with being the single force that saved the town of Lynchburg. (pg. 45)

    I believe the sword is in the state museum in Charleston.

    “At his death, the city of Lynchburg sent the family the following telegram: ‘It is with exceeding regret that Lynchburg learns today of the passing of General McCausland, whose splendid services in behalf of this city during the conflict between the states, will be remembered with gratitude. The people of Lynchburg desire to express to his family their heart-felt and deepest sympathy.’

    At Virginia Military Institute the following orders were read to the cadets:

    It becomes the sad duty of the superintendent to announce to officers and cadets the death of General John McCausland, the first distinguished graduate of the class of 1857, who for many years prior to his demise enjoyed the distinction of being the oldest living graduate of this institution.

    ‘On the 23rd instant, in the 90th year of his age in his country home near Point Pleasant, West Virginia, General McCausland passed away, leaving a record of military achievement and honorable endeavor of which his descendants and friends are justly proud.’
    From “The Life of General John McCausland”

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