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

Battle of Coffee Hill (Second Battle of Auburn)

Battle of Coffee Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, March 3, 2007
1. Battle of Coffee Hill Marker
Inscription. During the early morning of 14 Oct. 1863, just northwest of here, Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and two cavalry brigades, cut off from the Army of Northern Virginia by Federal infantry, attacked Union Brig. Gen. John C. Caldwell’s forces as they brewed coffee and prepared breakfast on the hill. Confederate Maj. Robert F. Beckham’s Horse Artillery fired on Caldwell’s troops to begin Stuart’s attempted breakout. This surprised Caldwell’s men, but the Federals turned their artillery around and responded. During the ensuing conflict, Caldwell’s troops repulsed a Confederate cavalry charge. Stuart’s actions, however, enabled him to break through the Union lines. Ever since, this hill has been known as Coffee Hill.
Erected 2001 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number CL-9.)
Location. 38° 42.133′ N, 77° 42.097′ W. Marker is in Auburn, Virginia, in Fauquier County. Marker is at the intersection of Rogues Road (Virginia Route 602) and Old Auburn Road (Virginia Route 670), on the right when traveling west on Rogues Road. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Warrenton VA 20187, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Neavil’s Mill (about 400
Wider view of Battle of Coffee Hill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger Dean Meyer, March 3, 2007
2. Wider view of Battle of Coffee Hill Marker
feet away, measured in a direct line); Neavil's Ordinary (approx. half a mile away); Stuart's Bivouac (approx. 1.3 miles away); Grapewood Farm Engagement (approx. 2.5 miles away); Warrenton Cemetery (approx. 3.8 miles away); McClellan’s Farewell (approx. 4.3 miles away); Fredericksburg Campaign (approx. 4.3 miles away); Colonial Road (approx. 4.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Auburn.
More about this marker. Rogues Road (County Route 602) is the historical trace of the Old Carolina Road through this section of the County.
Also see . . .
1. Battle Summary, Auburn VA. (Submitted on September 11, 2007, by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota.)
2. Second Battle of Auburn or Coffee Hill. Short National Park Service summary. (Submitted on December 23, 2007, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Additional comments.
1. rearguard action at Coffee Hill
The crossing of Cedar Run was defended as Caldwell's Brigade withdrew after
Caldwell's Line image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 22, 2007
3. Caldwell's Line
Caldwell's Federal Division camped in this vicinity on the night of 13-14 October. The division's artillery was originally oriented to the north and west, but shifted to fire to the east when Beckham's Confederate artillery opened up from Stuart's Bivouac.
the battle by part of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry (that had served at Hilton Head, Charleston and Norfolk earlier in the war) and was then stationed at Aquia, Virginia. A number of the 100 reported casualties in the battle were 1st Massachusetts men captured as they protected the Union withdrawal, as rear-guards often are. They were marched to Richmond, 100 miles away, and imprisoned at Belle Island in the James River. The camp commandant was Capt. Wirtz, later to gain infamy at Andersonville, GA. Many of the Massachusetts men died there, but some, stricken with smallpox, were exchanged at City Point and evacuated to Annapolis where they died and were buried at the National Cemetery on West Street there.
    — Submitted February 26, 2011, by Gordon E. White of Deltaville, Virginia.

Categories. War, US Civil
Rodes' Attack image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 22, 2007
4. Rodes' Attack
Near the intersection of the Dumfries Road and the Carolina Road (modern County Routes 605 and 602 respectively), Confederate General Robert Rodes'Division attacked in a relief effort aimed to gain contact with Stuart's cavalry. Countering Rodes was the 10th New York Cavalry Regiment. General Stuart, about a mile and a half to the south, ordered his artillery to fire upon the Federals, bringing on a confusing morning of fighting.
Gordon's Attack image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, December 22, 2007
5. Gordon's Attack
When Beckham's artillery began firing upon Caldwell's position on Coffee Hill, a Federal Brigade under Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays moved to counter the Confederate guns. Advancing from the Cedar Run bridge (close to Neavil's Mill), Hays had the 125th New York Infantry Regiment in the lead. Hayes encountered Confederate Brig. Gen. John B. Gordon's brigade counterattacking from the fence line to the left. Gordon was wounded in the attack, and Col. Thomas Ruffin of the 1st North Carolina Infantry was captured. Yet, the counterattack was effective and allowed Stuart to withdraw the artillery, cavalry and Gordon's infantry to the South.
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 3,592 times since then and 294 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Roger Dean Meyer of Yankton, South Dakota.   3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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