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

Buchanan Bridge

An Artillery Duel Ensued


óHunterís Raid ó

Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
1. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker
Inscription. (preface)
On May 26, 1864, Union Gen. David Hunter marched south from Cedar Creek near Winchester to drive out Confederate forces, lay waste to the Shenandoah Valley, and destroy transportation facilities at Lynchburg. His raid was part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grantís strategy to attack Confederates simultaneously throughout Virginia. After defeating Gen. William E. “Grumble” Jones at Piedmont on June 5, Hunter marched to Lexington, burned Virginia Military Institute, and headed to Lynchburg. There, on June 17-18, Gen. Jubal A. Early repulsed Hunter and pursued him to West Virginia. Early then turned north in July to threaten Washington.

(marker text)
On June 14, 1864, after occupying Lexington and burning Virginia Military Institute, Union Gen. David Hunterís 18,000-man force marched south toward Lynchburg through Buchanan, a river port located at the western terminus of the James River and Kanawha Canal. Parts of the canal wall are just downstream to the right.

When Union Gen. William W. Averellís cavalrymen attempted to seize the Buchanan Bridge across the James River here, Confederate Gen. John C. McCauslandís troopers, who had been harassing them, confronted them again. By the time Averell arrived, the Confederates had packed the wooden covered bridge with coal oil-soaked hay.
Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking downriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
2. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking downriver)
The pedestrian swinging bridge is supported by the old bridge piers.
McCausland ignited the north end of the bridge then escaped in a small boat to this side of the river, crossing beneath the burning structure. An artillery duel ensued, and Federal shells struck Oak Hill, the large house on the hill above and to your right. The wind carried embers from the bridge across the river to dwellings in Pattonsburg. Averellís men helped extinguish the flames, but not before eleven houses burned. The bridge, which survived the fire, was unusable, so Union soldiers, wagons, and artillery forded the river upstream, losing a dayís march. The next morning, Hunterís force crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains on present-day Route 43.

The old bridge piers today support the pedestrian swinging bridge.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Location. 37° 31.788′ N, 79° 40.776′ W. Marker is in Buchanan, Virginia, in Botetourt County. Marker can be reached from Lowe Street (County Road T-1305) west of Main Street (U.S. 11), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Located in the parking lot near Twin River Outfitters. Marker is at or near this postal address: 635 Lowe Street, Buchanan VA 24066, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Buchanan & The James River & Kanawha Canal (a few
Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking upriver) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 28, 2012
3. Buchanan Bridge CWT Marker (looking upriver)
steps from this marker); Wilson Warehouse (approx. ľ mile away); The Botetourt Artillery (approx. 0.3 miles away); Buchanan (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Anchorage (approx. half a mile away); Looney's Ferry (approx. 1.3 miles away); Mount Joy (approx. 2 miles away); Cartmill's Gap (approx. 2.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Buchanan.
More about this marker. On the lower left are photographs of "Gen. William W. Averell" and "Gen. John C. McCausland"

On the upper right are photographs with the captions, "Demolition of covered bridge, ca. 1897. photographed from this position." and "Oak Hill, upper right, photographed in 1885."

On the lower right is a Virginia Civil War Trails map of Hunter's Raid.
Categories. War, US Civil
James River Suspension Bridge, Buchanan, Virginia image. Click for full size.
By Jack E, Boucher, 1971
4. James River Suspension Bridge, Buchanan, Virginia
The stone pier is a remnant of the Civil War era covered bridge. Library of Congress [HAER VA,12-BUCH,1--1]
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 532 times since then and 94 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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