The Battle of Trevilian Station

June 11-12, 1864 in Louisa County, Virginia

Battle of Trevilian Station
Union Forces Commanded by
Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan
Strength Killed Wounded Missing / Captured
±9,286 95 445 410
Confederate Forces Commanded by
Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton
Strength Killed, Wounded, Missing / Captured
±6,762 813
Conclusion: Confederate Victory
Grant's Overland Campaign

To draw off the Confederate cavalry and open the door for a general movement to the James River, Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan mounted a large-scale cavalry raid into Louisa County, threatening to cut the Virginia Central Railroad. Leaving his ordnance wagons and 800 horses at Trevilian Station on the Virginia Central Railroad on the morning of June 11, Gen. Wade Hampton led 2 brigades of dismounted cavalry northward through thick woods. Pushing forward, they attacked an 8,000-man Union cavalry force commanded by Gen. Philip Sheridan. On the converging road to the east, another division of Confederate cavalry commanded by Gen. Fitzhugh Lee also moved northward for the attack.

Hampton's men fought furiously for several hours while anxiously awaiting the sound of Lee's attack on the right. Vastly outnumbered, the Confederate horsemen were gradually being pushed back toward the railroad when the sound of battle suddenly erupted from their rear. Hampton quickly disengaged 1 of his 2 brigades and returned to Trevilian Station. He discovered that a Union brigade commanded by Gen. George A. Custer had slipped past Fitz Lee's command and was capturing the station and Hampton's horses and wagons. Custer's fortunes quickly changed, however, when his men were suddenly attacked from 3 directions by angry Confederate troopers. A Confederate reserve brigade charged from the west, while Hampton's men hit from the north, and Fitz Lee's division came charging in to attack from the east. The Confederates quickly recaptured their wagons and horses as well as Custer's headquarters wagon and a large number of Union prisoners.

Custer's brigade was on the verge of being completely overwhelmed in the furious battle. Stepping up the pressure from the north, Sheridan pushed aside the brigade Hampton had left behind and came charging into Trevilian Station from the north. The cavalry battle became a wild melee of saber strokes and pistol shots that ended when the Confederates, outnumbered eight to five, withdrew and left the Union troopers in possession of the station. Sheridan did not pursue but began instead to tear up the 4 miles of railroad track he had captured. Sheridan withdrew after destroying about 6 miles of the Virginia Central Railroad.

Confederate victory at Trevilian prevented Sheridan from reaching Charlottesville and cooperating with Hunter's army in the Valley. This was one of the bloodiest cavalry battles of the war.

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