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

Stuart's Ride

Old Church


—1862 Peninsula Campaign —

Stuart's Ride CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 15, 2012
1. Stuart's Ride CWT Marker
Inscription. In May 1862, Union Gen. George B. McClellan led the Army of the Potomac up the Peninsula to the gates of Richmond. Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia in June and began planning a counterattack. On June 12, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart led 1,200 cavalrymen on a daring 3-day reconnaissance and discovered that the Union right was unsecured. Stuart’s “Ride around McClellan” gave Lee the vital information he needed to launch the offensive known as the Seven Days’ Battles on June 26.

To your left is Immanuel Episcopal Church. On June 13, 1862, after running clashes with Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalrymen between Haw’s Shop and Linney’s Corner, the 5th U.S. Cavalry retreated here to Old Church, where it had camped. Stuart was close on its heels. Confederate Col. Fitzhugh Lee, who had served in the regiment before the war, commanded the 1st Virginia Cavalry. When he learned that his former unit was here, he asked Stuart for the privilege of leading the attack. Lee quickly drove off the 5th and captured the wrecked camp with its abundant supplies and a few stragglers. Lee joked with the prisoners, many of whom recognized their former comrade. One observer noted that “It was difficult to believe that the Union prisoners and the dashing young colonel represented opposing armies
Stuart's Ride CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 15, 2012
2. Stuart's Ride CWT Marker
mustered to slaughter each other.”

As Stuart and the rest of the column arrived at Old Church, residents emerged from their houses with food and drink for the grateful troopers. Stuart decided to continue east rather than retrace his steps back toward Hanover Court House, assuming that Federal reinforcements probably blocked that route. Just seven miles ahead was also the tempting target of Tunstall’s Station astride Union Gen. George B. McClellan’s supply line to White House Landing. Behind Stuart, his father-in-law, Union cavalry commander Gen. Philip St. George Cooke, was left literally in the dust as his forces pursued the Confederates.

The house across the street, somewhat altered from its appearance in this 1912 photograph, was called Wicker’s Hotel and Tavern during the war. Owners Bentley and Elizabeth Wicker lost two sons in the conflict, and Bentley Wicker drowned himself in despair in May 1865.

Immanuel Episcopal Church was founded on the Pamunkey River in 1684. A new building constructed here in 1853 replaced the “old church” (ca. 1718) for which the community is named. The new church was remodeled in 1881 in the Gothic Revival style.

Gen. Philip St. George Cooke was a West Point graduate and Stuart’s commanding officer on the frontier in pre-war Kansas. It was
Stuart's Ride CWT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 15, 2012
3. Stuart's Ride CWT Marker
Immanuel Episcopal Church in background.
there that Stuart met and married Cooke’s daughter Flora. Stuart much admired his father-in-law, and the young couple named their first-born son Phillip in his honor. When Cooke, a native Virginian, remained loyal to the Union against the wishes of the rest of the family, Stuart in disgust changed his son’s name to J.E.B. Stuart, Jr.
Erected 2012 by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 38.59′ N, 77° 12.93′ W. Marker is in Old Church, Virginia, in Hanover County. Marker is at the intersection of Immanuel Trail and Old Church Road (Virginia Route 606), on the left when traveling south on Immanuel Trail. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mechanicsville VA 23111, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. “The Old Church” (approx. 0.3 miles away); Edmund Ruffin's Grave (approx. one mile away); a different marker also named Stuart’s Ride (approx. 1.7 miles away); Cavalry Action At Linney's (approx. 2.3 miles away); a different marker also named Stuart's Ride
Immanuel Episcopal Church c. 1853 image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 15, 2012
4. Immanuel Episcopal Church c. 1853
(approx. 2.7 miles away); Cornwallis's Route (approx. 3 miles away); Henry's Call to Arms (approx. 3 miles away); Cavalry Action at Cold Harbor (approx. 4 miles away).
More about this marker. (captions)
Gen. J.E.B. Stuart Courtesy Library of Congress
Gen. Fitzhugh Lee Courtesy Library of Congress
(Wicker Hotel) Courtesy Amanda T. Pendleton
Gen. Philip St. George Cooke Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute
Also see . . .  Richmond Discoveries - Stuart's Ride. Information and map of the Stuart's Ride Civil War Trail (pdf file). (Submitted on December 16, 2012.) 
Categories. War, US Civil
Wicker's Hotel and Tavern image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 15, 2012
5. Wicker's Hotel and Tavern
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 348 times since then and 102 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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