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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Richmond in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Battle at Meadow Bridge

Forcing a Crossing

 
 
Battle at Meadow Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
1. Battle at Meadow Bridge Marker
Inscription. On May 12, 1864, this crossing of the Chickahominy River was the scene of a sharp engagement between Union and Confederate cavalry The previous day, Gen. Philip Sheridan and his Union troopers fought and defeated Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and his Confederate cavalry near Yellow Tavern. Stuart was mortally wounded during that battle.

That evening, under cover of darkness and a heavy thunderstorm, Sheridan led his troopers south, through the outer defenses of Richmond and into a potentially dangerous trap. The following morning, the Union commander found himself boxed in with the manned trenches of Richmond’s intermediate defenses in his front, the swollen Chickahominy to his left and Confederate cavalry threatening his rear. To escape, the Union commander chose to force a crossing at Meadow Bridge, where the Virginia Central Railroad crossed the river.

Although the Confederates had dismantled the road bridge, the railroad crossing remained intact. The responsibility for seizing this span was given to Gen. George Custer Throughout the morning and early afternoon, while Southern cavalry pressed from behind and government clerks and workers (turned soldiers) sallied forth from the city’s fortifications, Custer worked hard to clear the north bank of the Chickahominy of the stubborn Confederate troopers.

After gaining a
Battle at Meadow Bridge Map image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
2. Battle at Meadow Bridge Map
With Confederates advancing on two sides and his back to the river, Sheridan chose to fight his way across the swollen Chickahominy, abandoning any further designs on Richmond.
foothold on the Confederate side of the river, Custer’s men kept the Southerners pinned down while Union pioneers repaired the road bridge and planked the railroad span. By 4 p.m., the bridge was open and Union soldiers crossed the swollen stream. Sweeping resistance aside, Sheridan successfully pulled his men out of the trap and pointed the head of his column toward Mechanicsville and out of harm’s way. Two days later, the Union commander led his cavalrymen to the safety of the James River, ending a raid on Richmond begun five days earlier.

“We had to fight or die”
- Michael Donlon, 2nd U.S. Cavalry
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 37° 36.499′ N, 77° 24.775′ W. Marker is near Richmond, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker is on Richmond Henrico Turnpike 0.7 miles east of Azalea Avenue. Click for map. The marker is 100 feet east of the railroad crossing. Richmond Henrico Turnpike becomes Meadowbridge Road on the Hanover County side of the Chickahominy river. Marker is in this post office area: Mechanicsville VA 23116, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies
Confederate Gen. James B. Gordon image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
3. Confederate Gen. James B. Gordon
While leading his brigade of North Carolinians in an attack on Sheridan’s rear, Confederate Gen. James B. Gordon was mortally wounded, the second such blow to the Southern cavalry’s high command in as many days.
. Old Dominion Building (approx. 1.5 miles away); First Lieutenant Jimmie W. Monteith, Jr. (approx. 1.6 miles away); Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial (approx. 1.7 miles away); The Chickahominy River & Seven Days' Battles (approx. 1.9 miles away); Hanover County / Henrico County (approx. 1.9 miles away); Sheridan's Raid (approx. 1.9 miles away); WWII Memorial Wall (approx. 2 miles away); Seven Days' Battles Begin (approx. 2.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Richmond.
 
More about this marker. In the lower left is a portrait of General James Gordon. While leading his brigade of North Carolinians in an attack on Sheridan’s rear, Confederate Gen. James B. Gordon was mortally wounded, the second such blow to the Southern cavalry’s high command in as many days.

On the right is a map of the tactical situation described in the text. With Confederates advancing on two sides and his back to the river, Sheridan chose to fight his way across the swollen Chickahominy, abandoning any further designs on Richmond.
 
Also see . . .  Civil War Traveler. Henrico County (Submitted on February 12, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Looking east across the Chickahominy river on Meadow Bridge Road image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
4. Looking east across the Chickahominy river on Meadow Bridge Road
Railroad bridge crossing the Chickahominy river at Meadow Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
5. Railroad bridge crossing the Chickahominy river at Meadow Bridge
Chickahominy River at Meadow Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, January 12, 2009
6. Chickahominy River at Meadow Bridge
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,816 times since then and 154 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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