Battle of Trevilian(s) Station
Train depot at Trevilians Station as it looks today
Sign commemorating the battle.
1997 Mort Kuntsler painting "Charge at Trevillian Station"
CSA Cavalry General Fitzhugh Lee
CSA Cavalry General Wade Hampton
Union Cavalry General Phil Sheridan
Movement during the second day of the battle
Movement during the first day of the battle
Reenactors during the 150th anniversary
Union Cavalry General George A. Custer
Battle of Trevillian monument. Erected in the 1920s.
Netherland Tavern in 1864. This building served as a hospital following the battle. 94 men, listed as "unknown" were buried outside the tavern
Backstory and Context
In June of 1864 Union General Ulysses Grant ordered General Sheridan to go on a raid destroying as much of the Virginia Central Railway as possible. His ultimate goal was to destroy the road in Gordonsville, then move into Charlottesville and destroy the supply depot there and join up with Major General Hunter where they would join the army at Petersburg.
General Sheridan met the Confederate Calvary under Generals Wade Hampton and Fitzhugh Lee at Trevilians Station, 6 miles southeast of Gordonsville. The first day of the battle Hampton struggled against the Union troops and Lee's men had to fall back. This gave Union reinforcement troops under General George Custer the opportunity to split the Confederates and capture Hamptons supply train. However, Custer's charge took him farther away from Union lines than planned and he found himself surrounded from three sides. During the desperate fighting, his mortally wounded guidon barer tore the unit's flag (5th Michigan) from its staff and gave it to Custer, who stuffed it into his coat. Sheridan sent brigades under Merritt and Devin to Custer, who's unit (and Custer himself) was rescued, though losing 361 men. This moment from the battle as been coined, "Custer's First Last Stand," foreshadowing his fatal Last Stand in 1876 during the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana. The Union would destroy miles of railroad here.
The second day of the battle would be different. Confederates would gain reinforcements. The Union would try and defeat them but the Confederates had fortified their lines and pushed back every Union attempt. Sheridan would be forced to withdraw he would fail to meet up with Hunter, but did succeed in destroying rail lines and drawing attention from General Grants movement of troops, so that Grant could cross the James River unopposed.
The Union lost 955 men (95 killed, 445 wounded, 410 captured/missing). The Confederacy lost 813 men (exact figures not known).
Due to the size of the battlefield, there is no single address/location for the battle. Louisa County (VA) Historical Society holds tours of the battlefield and all points of interests or visitors can take the auto tour.