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Drakes Branch in Charlotte County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Drakes Branch

“Burnt all the depot buildings”

 

—Wilson-Kautz Raid —

 
Drakes Branch CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
1. Drakes Branch CWT Marker
Inscription. In June 1864, to deny Gen. Robert E. Lee the use of the South Side R.R. and the Richmond and Danville R.R., Gen. Ulysses S. Grant sent Gen. James H. Wilson and Gen. August V. Kautz south of Petersburg on a cavalry raid to destroy track and rolling stock. The main Union force arrived here about 9 A.M. on June 25 and halted for two hours. The Federals continued destroying track from here to present-day Randolph, then known as Roanoke Station.

“Burnt all the depot buildings and works at Drakes Branch… and nearly every saw mill on the line…. [T]hey burnt tobacco houses and corn cribs with their contents but everywhere spared the grist mills at the solicitation of the Negroes.” - Confederate News Report, The Richmond Examiner, July 4, 1864

“I ordered two regiments of the First and two regiments of the Second Brigade to be constantly engaged in tearing up and burning the railroad as far down as Drakes Branch, requiring Chapman to cover the movement with two regiments. The day was excessively hot, and the men were completely exhausted by their continued hard work on the railroad. I was obliged to halt the division at Drakes Branch for three or four hours in order to let the working parties come in and rejoin us. Fortunately, during all this time, we were not molested by the enemy.”
Richmond & Danville Railroad image. Click for full size.
May 18, 2010
2. Richmond & Danville Railroad
- Col. John B. McIntosh, Commander, First Brigade, Wilson’s Division

“Saturday, 25th, marched on up the railroad, reaching Drakes Branch Station at 9 A.M., destroying the road as on previous days; Halted for two hours, then marched on toward Roanoke Station.” - Col. Samuel D. Spears, Commander, Second Brigade, Kautz’s Division

(sidebar)
Confederate president Jefferson Davis, members of his Cabinet, and a guard from the Confederate navy to protect the Confederate treasury passed through Drakes Branch on their way to Danville after the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. Drakes Branch, like so many other communities on the Richmond and Danville R.R., was used as a water and fuel stop. While there is no documentary proof, it is probable that the train stopped in Drakes Branch to refuel before continuing south. Davis assembled the remnants of his government at the Sutherlin Mansion (now a museum) in Danville, making that city the last capital of the Confederacy. Since then, there have been persistent rumors of Confederate gold buried along Davis’s escape route to prevent its capture by Federal forces. Those rumors have become folklore and people continue to hunt for the gold.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included
Destruction of the Orange & Alexandria RR image. Click for full size.
By Timothy H. O'Sullivan, Oct 1863
3. Destruction of the Orange & Alexandria RR
Library of Congress [LC-DIG-cwpb-00768]
in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 59.551′ N, 78° 36.068′ W. Marker is in Drakes Branch, Virginia, in Charlotte County. Marker is at the intersection of Depot Street and Drakes Main Street (Virginia Route 47), on the right when traveling south on Depot Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Drakes Branch VA 23937, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Greenfield (approx. 4.7 miles away); Edgehill (approx. 4.7 miles away); Charlotte County Library (approx. 4.8 miles away); Charlotte County Confederate Monument (approx. 4.9 miles away); Henry and Randolph's Debate (approx. 4.9 miles away); Charlotte Court House (approx. 4.9 miles away); Charlotte Court House Historic District (approx. 4.9 miles away); Campaign of 1781 (approx. 5 miles away).
 
More about this marker. On the center is a photo with the caption, "Destroying railroads included heating and “wrapping” the rails."

The sidebar displays a photo of "Jefferson Davis"
 
Also see . . .
1. Wilson-Kautz Raid Driving Tour. Civil War Traveler - Southside Virginia (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 

2. A History of Drakes Branch, Virginia
Drakes Branch image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
4. Drakes Branch
. (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. The Search for Lost Confederate Gold. By Hans Kuenzi, The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable (Submitted on May 21, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsWar, US Civil
 
Richmond & Danville RR bed (facing south) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
5. Richmond & Danville RR bed (facing south)
Richmond & Danville RR bed (facing north) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 18, 2010
6. Richmond & Danville RR bed (facing north)
Drakes Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
By Daniel Thomas, circa April 2, 2012
7. Drakes Branch Marker
Found this while metal detecting
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,105 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.   7. submitted on , by Daniel Thomas of Midlothian, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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