Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish

Rio Hill 1864 Skirmish (HM4RT)

Location: Charlottesville, VA 22901
Country: United States of America

N 38° 5.19', W 78° 28.356'

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George A. Custer Attacks a Confederate Winter Camp

In December 1863, Confederate troops established winter quarters here. The approximately 200 soldiers, under the command of Capt. Marcellus N. Moorman, were from Stuart's Horse Artillery Battalion and were equipped with 16 cannons. The men built huts and their horses grazed on surrounding fields during the encampment.

While the artillery troops rested through the early months of 1864, Union Generals Ulric Dahlgren and Judson Kilpatrick raided Richmond in an unsuccessful attempt to free about 15,000 Union prisoners. Two minor diversionary raids were initiated at the same time. Gen. George A. Custer led one with approximately 1,500 cavalrymen into Albemarle County.

Custer's mission was to divert Confederate forces away from Richmond and to destroy Confederate supplies in Charlottesville as well as a key railroad bridge at the woolen mills east of town.

On February 29, 1864, a detachment of about 60 of Custer's men charged into the camped Confederates, burned huts and destroyed artillery equipment. Confederate artillery guns, guardingthe camp from higher ground to the south, were fired into the melee. Mounted Confederate artillery troops formed a battle line simulating cavalry. According to some accounts, many men were armed only with sticks and clubs.

Cannon ammunition stored in a Confederate caisson exploded within the camp just as more Union troops arrived. Amidst confusion andchaos, Custer's troops began firing at each other, then broke off the encounter.

Custer, thinking he was outnumbered, ordered a withdrawal. He burned the wooden bridge and a large flour mill near the Rivanna River before returning north toward Stanardsville. One Union cavalryman was wounded and two Confederate soldiers were captured during the skirmish. The only armed engagement to take place in Albemarle County during the Civil War had ended.
HM NumberHM4RT
Series This marker is part of the Virginia Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 5:17pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 721655 N 4218429
Decimal Degrees38.08650000, -78.47260000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 5.19', W 78° 28.356'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 5' 11.40" N, 78° 28' 21.36" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)434
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1768 Rio Hill Center, Charlottesville VA 22901, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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