The Anchorage

The Anchorage (HM11R2)

Location: Buchanan, VA 24066 Botetourt County
Country: United States of America

N 37° 31.435', W 79° 41.046'

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— Hunter's Raid —

On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy transportation facilities at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. "Grumble" Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.

(marker text)
Union Gen. William W. Averell led his cavalry brigade in advance of Hunter's army as it moved south from Lexington, pursuing Confederate Gen. John McCausland's brigade as it retreated. McCausland burned the bridge over the James River at Buchanan to prevent Averell from following, but the Federals crossed the river at a ford south of The Anchorage on June 13. Averell's men fired on the house, apparently believing that the civilians scrambling for shelter in the cellar were Confederate troops. They ceased firing when Averell learned the truth.

While Averell's men occupied Buchanan, the general established his headquarters on the lawn of the Presbyterian manse across the road from The Anchorage. The Whittles' cook prepared food for the officers, including game brought to the house each morning, before Averell's and Hunter's forces departed on June15, crossing Blue Ridge into Bedford County and heading to Lynchburg. Years later, Roberta Whittle, who was seven years old at the time of the occupation, recalled that Federal troops "invaded the premises and uprooted the vegetables."

"[Buchanan residents] protested against the burning of the bridge, but McCausland, with his characteristic recklessness, persisted ?, involving eleven private dwellings in the conflagration, ? [which] was stopped by the friendly efforts of our troops, who extinguished the flames." — Gen. David Hunter, August 8, 1864

William Conway Whittle (1805-1878), whose primary residence was in Norfolk, bought this substantialbrick house in 1848. An officer in the U.S. Navy, he named it The Anchorage and, after the war, lived here until his death. He resigned at the start of the war and joined the Confederate navy as a captain, commanding the port of New Orleans when the city capitulated on April 25, 1862. Whittle's son, William "Conway" Whittle Jr., was the executive officer on CSS Shenandoah, the last Confederate ship to surrender.
HM NumberHM11R2
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker Condition
0 out of 10 (1 reports)
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 8:56pm PDT -07:00
Photo Credits: [1] REBRUM  
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 616278 N 4153808
Decimal Degrees37.52391667, -79.68410000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 31.435', W 79° 41.046'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 31' 26.10" N, 79° 41' 2.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 19391-19405 Main St, Buchanan VA 24066, US
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As the last leg of the James River and Kanawha Canal, Buchanan served as an important Confederate supply depot for shipment of agricultural produce and pig iron to Richmond. Buchanan’s farmers provided the Confederate quartermaster with beef, cotton, yarn and corn as well as troops for the Confederate war effort, most notably the Botetourt Artillery. The unit distinguished itself in the defense of Vicksburg.

Federal General David Hunter marched through Buchanan on June 13, 1864 on his ill-fated raid in Lynchburg. The following day Confederate General J.D. Imboden reported that Hunter had driven Confederate troops under McCausland’s command out of Buchanan. Period letters tell how McCausland burned the covered bridge over the James River before leaving igniting a fire which destroyed close to thirty buildings.

Personal letters of the era also tell of the devastation to Buchanan caused by the war including the burning of Col. John Anderson’s home known as Mount Joy, the three day Federal occupation of Oak Hill, the Anchorage, the Presbyterian Manse as well as other private homes and offices throughout Town.

(Text copied from Civil War Trails)

Mar 28, 2018 at 7:03pm PDT by rebrum

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