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

Bethel Church

Union Command Meets


— Lee vs. Grant - The 1864 Campaign —

Bethel Church Civil War Trails Marker image. Click for full size.
May 26, 2007
1. Bethel Church Civil War Trails Marker
"At the church…the 9th Corps was marching past, and Burnside was sitting, like a comfortable abbot, in one of the pews, surrounded by his buckish staff whose appearance is the reverse of clerical.”
– Theodore Lyman, aide-de-camp to Meade.

On May 21, 1864, Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside’s Ninth Corps left Spotsylvania and pursued the retreating Confederate army southward. When Rebel cavalry blocked Burnside’s passage of the Po River at Stanard’s Mill, he turned east and followed the Second and Fifth Corps to Guinea Station. He rested his corps there for two hours on May 22 before crossing the Mattaponi River at Downer’s Bridge and proceeding here to Bethel Church.

Grant and Meade met Burnside at the church in the afternoon before establishing their headquarters at the nearby Tyler House. Burnside joined them there later in the day. Encountering Mrs. Tyler, the bewhiskered general pleasantly remarked, “I don’t suppose madam you ever saw so many Yankee soldiers before?” Grant’s staff roared in laughter as the lady replied, “Oh, yes, as prisoners. I have just come from Richmond.”
Erected by
Bethel Church image. Click for full size.
May 26, 2007
2. Bethel Church
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Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 21, 1864.
Location. 38° 4.34′ N, 77° 25.151′ W. Marker is near Woodford, Virginia, in Caroline County. Marker is on South River Road, on the right when traveling south. Bethel Church is just south of the intersection of Paige Road (VA Rt. 605) and South River Road (VA Rt. 638). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Woodford VA 22580, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Cephas (approx. 3.9 miles away); Star Hotel (approx. 4.2 miles away); Town of Bowling Green (approx. 4.2 miles away); Caroline Veterans Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away); Caroline County, Virginia (approx. 4.2 miles away); Campaign of 1781 (approx. 4.2 miles away); Caroline County Courthouse (approx. 4.2 miles away); Caroline County World War I Memorial (approx. 4.2 miles away).
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of Bethel Church captioned, "Timothy O’Sullivan made this photograph of Union horsemen at Bethel Church on May 23, 1864, just hours after Burnside’s departure. One day earlier, Gens. Grant and Meade had established their headquarters at the building. A memorial service – perhaps the first – for “Stonewall” Jackson was held here in May 1863, shortly after the general’s death at nearby Guinea Station.”

On the lower right is a photo of Gen. Ambrose Burnside captioned, "Ambrose Burnside reached Bethel Church at 2 p.m., May 22. For the next sixteen hours he would make his headquarters here."
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 15, 2008. This page has been viewed 1,693 times since then and 104 times this year. Last updated on April 17, 2018. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 15, 2008. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 2, 2022